You Be The Judge: Former Court Building Serves Incredible Food
What's our verdict?
If you're looking to dine outside of Manchester City Centre and more towards the leafier suburbs of Cheshire, Knutsford is home to a number of hidden gems.
But the one that stands out the most to us recently is one that offers more than an intriguing menu: there's a former courthouse which keeps it's traditional features.
And we're here to deliver the verdict.
The Courthouse is certainly an ambitious and unique project; developed as a hotel, a wedding venue, a bar and a restaurant after being an old majestic property for so long. It's one of the town’s most iconic buildings, as the Grade II listed Sessions building still gas the original stone pillars built in 1818.
The 'court' theme is going nowhere: from stepping inside The Barristers (the name of The Courthouse restaurant), you're greeted with extremely high ceilings, a courtroom style layout (with a square bar sitting in the middle) and walls adorned with celebrities and famous people who were once convicts.
And when you open up the menu, the theme stays strong. Diners can enjoy nibbles from 'The Opening Statement', starters from 'Proceedings', grills from 'Grilled on the Stand', main courses from 'Main Evidence' and desserts from 'Closing Argument'.
What is 'evident' is that this is a fine dining restaurant, serving up quality British seasonable dishes. It's fairly meat and fish heavy, where the chef has created a modern and luxury twist on classic meals.
I opted for the Treacle Cured Salmon with Beets, Fennel, Hazlenuts and Cucumber, and when it arrived, the presentation was phenomenal. It was presented exactly how you would expect a 5 star hotel to serve. Not to mention the starter was incredibly delicious.
Other starting favourites include the Salted Shin of Beef with Warm press, red wine, Dijon mustard, egg yolk, cornichons, gaufrette, potato gf, and the Gruyere Souffle, with twice baked, baby leeks, Pomme Anna, smoked potato espuma.
If you like your grills, fish and meats, you're in for a treat with the mains.
From the new Chicken and Sweetcorn with a crisp breast, braised & spiced leg pastry, sweet corn puree, torched kernels, thyme roasted potato gf and the Monkfish, with a marinated tail, razor clam, cockles, seaweed gnocchi, vanilla foam, sea rosemary 18.5, you're spoilt for choice.
But let me recommend the Lamb Hot Pot - the most melt-in-the-mouth lamb I have possibly ever tasted, alongside the creamiest potatoes and veggies.
Desserts also exceeded my expectation. I ordered what I thought would be an ordinary Apple Tart, but out came more of a sauteed layered apple bake with the tastiest vanilla cremeux, sour cream and apple blossom.
Although it tasted out of the this world, the long dark brown sticky slice just failed to take an insta-worthy photo.
I can also vouch that the Sticky Toffee Pudding, with dates, fudge and honeycomb was a real treat too.
The Barristers at The Courtyard sits on the higher end when it comes to pricing (mains can set you back £18, with starters averaging at £8.50) but in my opinion, it's reflective of the quality and service. I was overly impressed with my three courses.
At first I wondered if the serving sizes were on the small size, but from how stuffed I was upon leaving, I was wrong!
Those who wish to enjoy cocktails, wine and beers can sit around the central square bar in the middle of the restaurant, but the venue is also used for exhibitions, weddings, conferences and events. Plus, they are currently working on an array of boutique hotel rooms, which are due to open to the public soon.
Final verdict? Guilty of serving up incredible dishes.