The Fox & Barrel is a delightful country pub just 30 miles (about 45 mins) from the centre of Manchester.
Listed in both the Michelin and the Good Food Guides and having been voted the Cheshire Life Dining Pub of the Year (2013), it has a reputation for quality food thanks to Head Chef Richard ‘Dickie’ Coterill, who trained at The Box Tree and at The Chester Grosvenor.
What Michelin say: ‘Well-run pub with wood-panelled walls, heaving bookshelves and a smart terrace. The constantly evolving menu offers originality and interest, with sensibly priced dishes arriving neatly presented and generously sized.’
They serve a lunch menu, sandwich based afternoon menu and evening menu from 6pm. Having arrived about five, I took the opportunity to while away an hour in the friendly bar with a prime spot in front of the roaring log fire.
What I ate:
Oxtail Risotto with Horseradish Mascarpone & Madeira – an intensely rich, earthy dish with shredded oxtail meat, mushrooms and the glossy Madeira sauce; the horseradish mascarpone added another layer of rich creaminess when mixed through.
Roast Scottish Grouse with Smoky Bacon Lentils, Game Faggot & Juniper Sauce – another rich glossy sauce, this time with the punchy flavour and aroma of juniper. The grouse was delightfully pink but it was the rare treat of the game faggots that put the biggest smile on my face.
Verdict (Would I return?): A friendly place with decent food less than 45 mins away from where I live… I’ll definitely be back.