This Is Unquestionably The Best Steak In The North West
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The Best Steak in the Northwest?
How far would you travel for one of the best steaks you’ll ever eat? How about 20 miles from town – to the Church Green gastropub in Lymm?
It is here that superstar chef Aiden Byrne escaped in 2009 to dim the glare of the Michelin spotlight that had been on him constantly since he earned his first star at the tender age of 22 – the youngest ever chef to be so anointed. He's picked up a few more since then – and could yet add more for Manchester House, which he opened in 2013 as a defiant return to the limelight.
Lymm may be home to Ian Brown and Sir Bobby Charlton, but you’d never mistake it for a hipster hotspot. This is one of those handsome Cheshire villages that is part of South Manchester’s posh commuter belt, home to privacy-seeking celebs and the Dubarry-and-Barbour set.
I’m an unrepentant carnivore. I may live in the age of the raw vegan diet and the spirulina shake, but salads are still side dishes to me, unless they have chicken in them.
But red meat is a rare treat these days – more out of necessity than choice – so when my friend Ed and local Lymm lad talked excitedly about the Church Green’s Great British Beef menu, I felt my stomach juices rumble and the taste of flesh in my mouth. It was his wife’s birthday too, so what more fitting occasion for the meat sweats?
Before ordered, the cuts of Hereford beef were presented to us in the manner of a hunter’s trophy. Thick, rich slabs of meat aged for 45 days in a Himalayan salt chamber. A beautiful centre cut fillet, wrapped in a white napkin. An 18oz Chateaubriand, taken from the fat, stocky end of the fillet. A 10oz sirloin, cut through with a rich streak of marbling.
Adrian getting beefy
Ed’s wife ordered the fillet, but Ed and I opted to share the 32oz Wing rib, a beautiful cut of sirloin left on the bone. The rest of the party ordered from the main menu – a tasty slow-cooked pork belly with date puree and malted pineapple; a locally sourced chicken breast with onion macaroni, confit egg and radishes grown in the garden.
But we were all about the red meat. When it came, it was glorious. It was cooked to medium-rare perfection and had that gorgeous barbecue flavour from being cooked over charcoal in an Inka grill. It was served sliced on a wooden board, with some thick-cut beef dripping chips, a bowl of gravy and a garnish of tomato and a green I barely noticed. I like my meat plain, covered in nothing but a sprinkle of salt.
My faith was not in vain. Every bite was perfect – that combination of red meat and marbling was as soft and succulent as any I’d ever eaten. It reminded me a bit of a bistecca Fiorentina, that wood-grilled T-bone cut from the rib cage of the Chianina breed, only softer. I felt that twinge of panic that it would soon be done and I’d be left with a yearning for more, but there was plenty for both of us. I didn’t even order a dessert. My meat lust had been sated, but I'll soon feel the call again.
Church Green (Warburton, Lymm, WA13 9SS; aidenbyrne.co.uk) Two/three courses £23.50/29.50; steaks £27-45