Saturday 23 March 2013

The Bells of Peover, Cheshire

In Literacy this term, I’ve been turning the children of Wythenshawe into poets. They can now tell you the difference between a Haiku, Tanka, Cinquain and Clerihew. They know Alfred Noyes’ The Highwayman inside out and thanks to The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe they are experts at the use of onomatopoeia and alliteration (we stopped short of anapestic and iambic meters and the diacopic use of ‘bells’.)

Whilst reading The Bells poem I was reminded of The Bells of Peover as somewhere I have been meaning to get to for quite some (mainly since seeing the ridiculously great looking beef on Mrs Petticoat’s blog - see here). 

It took us a while but one sunny Saturday at the beginning of March we took a pleasant drive out to Lower Peover, near Knutsford.

Hear the sledges with the bells - Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

The Bells of Peover can be found in a fabulous location in the Cheshire countryside. After driving up ‘The Cobbles’ we arrived to discover the pub set in lovely grounds next to the charming Grade I listed, St. Oswald’s Church. 

Inside, the décor has a modern edge with a restauranty feel. We sat in one of the large curved booths, festooned with scatter cushions in pinks and purples – my wife loved it. 

We opted for the great value 3 courses for £21.95. The menu makes a point of stating how Head Chef Matt Smith and his team make everything in house from freshly baked bread and chutneys, pâtés and sausages to ice cream and petit fours.

My wife started with the Pork Belly with slow cooked, quail egg & pineapple chutney. The food came attractively presented – way beyond our expectations of ‘pub grub’ although a pet peeve of mine is chefs who stand pieces of meat upright… all was forgiven though when I tasted the pineapple chutney – skilfully balanced flavours.

My starter, Hand Dived Scallops with cauliflower, pomegranate & capers (£3 supplement.) More beautiful presentation and another clever balance of flavours from the spiced cauliflower, caper puree and pomegranate salad. 

For her main, my wife went for the Rib eye steak with ceps, shallots & salad (in lieu of a carb) A quality, aged cooked well with a nicely dressed salad and a bed of fresh seasonal kale – simple perfection.

I fancied the ‘truffle glazed Daube of Beef’ but sadly they were out of stock so I made a snap decision for the Bells Cumberland Sausages with creamed potatoes and a rich, glossy gravy. The sausages were spot-on in terms of spice and seasonings; you can always tell the use of a natural skin on a quality sausage. I also had a side of Duck Fat Chips that were great for mopping up the gravy.

My wife’s dessert, a Selection of British Cheese with artisan biscuits was one of the most appealing looking cheese courses we’ve seen. The selection featured Cornish Yarg, Cashel Blue, Berkswell and Isle of Mull. My one gripe, whilst these cheeses are decent, they are pretty standard fare - it would be nice if at least one of the cheeses was local.

My dessert, a Chocolate Fondant with passion fruit curd & mandarin sorbet also hit top marks with presentation and flavour – I particularly loved the crunch of the cocoa nibs. A poetic dessert, the golden fruit, molten centre and sheer delight reminded be of one of the stanzas in Poe’s ‘The Bells’

Hear the mellow wedding bells, Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night,
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune, what a liquid ditty floats.

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