English restaurant in Other
4 Cecil Rd, Hale, Altrincham, WA15 9PA
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Simon Rimmer meant to employ a hot-shot head chef at his first venue, Greens – but when he realised he couldn’t afford anyone, he rolled up his shirt sleeves and took to the kitchen himself. It all paid off, of course; these days Greens is nationally recognised as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country and Rimmer himself makes a tidy living out of sideline appearances on cookery and property programmes.
Hidden away in the quaint and fashionable village of Hale, Rimmers second venture, Earle, is a definitely an attractive venue. Exposed brickwork and a beige, brown and gold colourscheme creates a classy atmosphere while touches like the embossed paper, sparkling bar and cast iron spiral staircase keep it stylish rather than sedate.
The menu is as comfortingly British as marmite on toast. Safe choices for the most part, Rimmer makes sure his new venture ticks all the right boxes by emphasising locally sourced and seasonal ingredients for the most part, with only the occasional loss of focus over dishes like the distinctly not local green Thai curry.
My starter saw the richness of smoked venison perfectly balanced against the sharpness of the beetroot and the grainy sweetness of the pear. My companion’s leek and goat’s cheese filo parcel had a satisfying tangle of rich and salty filling but was so large that it could easily have doubled as a main.
The mains themselves were bigger still. My Cumbrian lamb steak was big as an average sirloin, pink and tender with a pat of mint butter that melted slowly over the top and dribbled down to the sweet roasted root vegetables and intense redcurrant sauce below. My companion’s green Thai curry was full of depth and slow, subtle heat, served with a pile of perfumed stick rice and a tower of crisp broccoli tempura.
Desserts were standard fare – chocolate tart, ice cream and the omnipresent crème brulee all made an appearance on the menu, though there was a distinct and disappointing lack of warm puddings with custard.
Overall, Earle is a success. The menu may not break any boundaries or show the same level of inventiveness as demonstrated at Greens, but the dishes are still executed perfectly. Good service, attractive surroundings and prices of around £5.50 for a starter and most mains falling around the modest £12 mark all work in the restaurant’s favour, making Earle a great choice for comfort food.
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