Having visited Knutsford many times before, I was delighted and intrigued to be invited along to sample Afternoon Tea at the recently opened Barrister’s Restaurant at The Courthouse, Cheshire.
Advertising lunch, afternoon teas and a full evening menu Tuesday to Sunday afternoons, on paper the iconic 17th century building, once the Session House for the Crown Court, seemed like the ideal place to spend a Sunday afternoon. I was even more looking forward to it when I found out that the restaurant was dog friendly so I could take along my pooch, Frankie.
Frankie and I looking forward to Afternoon Tea (my dog refuses to pose!!)
Originally designed by architect George Moneypenny, the Grade II listed building makes for an impressive sight as you approach and so my friend and I couldn’t wait to get inside. Located in the heart of Knutsford, close to the train station, bus station and Tatton Park (ideal for walking the dog before/after); we were very pleasantly surprised to find there was plenty of space to park right in front of the building.
As we walked into the restaurant itself, we were greeted with the most beautiful and impressive venue. Closed as a working court in 2010, the room has been totally refurbished whilst retaining many of its original courtroom features including the area where the jury and the observers would sit, and where the accused would stand whilst court was in session. I love when a place makes an effort to retain original features and build them in to the new function of a space and here it adds a wonderful sense of presence.
A view of the restaurant from the jurors area – the bar would be where the defendant would stand before the judge
Delightful decor – artwork and mirrors
As we were seated at our table, we couldn’t help but admire the array of artwork on the walls (in particular the portraits of some famous faces who’ve appeared in court including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Frank Sinatra and even Sirius Black) and the beautiful glass domed ceiling, which, with the winter sun low in the sky, had the most beautiful light streaming through it.
Our waitress quickly brought us over the menus alongside a bowl of water for Frankie and we settled into our seats. I selected the Rose Bubbles Afternoon Tea which consisted of a traditional afternoon tea with a pink cocktail made from rose petal liquor, lavender and prosecco (£22.95). Other options available are the traditional afternoon tea which is £15.95 or the champagne afternoon tea which is £26.95.
A lovely tea selection
After selecting our tea from a box full of blends (I went for the Earl Grey), we were brought both our hot and cold drinks and shortly after the main event…
The picture speaks for itself – rose bubbles, sandwiches, cakes, pastries, macarons and scones. Heaven.
The food itself looked beautiful. A selection of finger sandwiches (salmon and horseradish, egg mayo, cheese and spring onion and ham and tomato), cakes, macarons, pastries and of course, a scone with jam and clotted cream. Served on a lovely china cake stand, we couldn’t wait to tuck in and I have to say, the taste really lived up to expectations. The sandwiches were light and fresh and the sweets were absolute heaven. My favourite of them all (other than the scone, which will always be number one!) was the raspberry and lavender dome. Sweet without being sickly with a nice crunch to the shortbread biscuit base, it went perfectly with my Rose Bubble cocktail.
Raisin scone with jam and creme
The staff were lovely and friendly, with our waitress giving us lots of information about both the history of the building and the ongoing refurbishment (which soon will include a rooftop garden, prisoner holding cells which are being transformed into private dining rooms and a selection of luxury hotel rooms).
We weren’t made to rush at all and we were made to feel very comfortable having a dog there which allowed us to thoroughly enjoy taking in the food, drinks and the elegant surroundings. Whilst not typically ‘diet food’ the light nature of an afternoon tea is, in my view, the perfect treat for those of us that have saved up our points for something special at the weekend and this afternoon tea was most certainly worth every point.
Frankie enjoying herself!
Our experience of the Courthouse was lovely. A beautiful and impressive venue with service and food that lived up to its surroundings. I will certainly be back to sample the full evening menu and to have a drink in the rooftop garden!
Frankie enjoying a walk around Tatton Park after our lunch