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The Church Green Review

Visited January 2016

The Church Green

It's a very nice part of the world is Lymm. Where the other half live as they say, nestled quaintly in the green fields of Cheshire. In this rural oasis you will find The Church Green; a pub-restaurant run by celebrity chef Aiden Byrne, now better known perhaps for his very delicious exploits at Manchester House. Once it was a fine dining tasting menu kind of a place, now it's a more universally accessible British Grill kind of a place. Nonetheless, despite the apparent downgrade in fanciness, it's a restaurant with a good reputation, so I was very much looking forward to an accomplished meal as I visited for Saturday lunch with my wife and young daughter.

The restaurant has been refurbished in the not too distant past and that was evident on arrival; like many of the best pub-cum-restaurants, it had a nice clean modern feel which I liked. We were seated in the conservatory area; the initial service was very good and warm including with my young daughter, so at that point I was feeling pretty good about the whole experience. Lunch for me began with the ham hock terrine. It was an enjoyable dish, nice balance of flavours and well presented too, couldn't really have asked for much more. For my main, the pork belly stood out on the menu for me and I duly selected that. It was very tasty as expected however the additional £4 I'd paid for the optional scallops was a bit of a regret; I love scallops but these weren't done particularly well and didn't really integrate fully into the dish by any means. I've no problem in principle with smart restaurants doing some up-selling on dishes, but it has to work and this didn't. However it was still overall a very enjoyable main course.

I opted for some beef dripping chips on the side also to share; these were good but in all honesty not needed, the plates here are plenty big enough to not require side dishes in my view. I did (of course) manage to save some space for dessert and the lemon creme brulee was a very decent end to the meal. It lacked a bit of crunch and could have done with an extra few seconds under the blow torch if I'm being picky, but the flavours of the main event combined with the accompanying rhubarb worked well so no real complaints.

Service up until the main course had been very good, however after mains the levels of service unfortunately deteriorated rapidly as the restaurant got busier. There was a long wait for mains to be cleared and to be offered desserts and likewise after desserts, another even longer wait to be offered the bill. I even at one point saw a waitress stare right at me as I was sat, plate empty, staring our into the abyss, clearly waiting for some service but she just completely ignored that fact and wandered off somewhere else.

It's a real shame because the complete lack of service towards the end of the meal did sour the experience somewhat and was unexpected given how well we'd been treated on arrival at the restaurant. Nonetheless, this is still a very fine restaurant serving good food and if you can forgive a few service indiscretions, it's well worth a visit.

Dress Code

None that I could see, but I would imagine people arrive reasonably smart for dinner.

Top Tip

Child friendly including a good kids menu. There is parking but it's limited.

Guide Ratings

I think the AA have this spot on with two rosettes. The Good Food Guide are quite harsh in my opinion.
Ratings Michelin Guide AA Guide Good Food Guide
At time of review Listed AA RosetteAA Rosette 2
Our view Listed AA RosetteAA Rosette 3

Group size: 2 adults & 1 child. Total bill (including service): £107.