IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SMALL PLATES

I’ve noticed the increasing amount of “small plate” restaurants cropping up, not just Spanish tapas style plates, but all sorts of dishes being served up as small portions allowing you to share and try a variety of dishes on a menu. This is great especially if you’re one of these people who can never decide between dishes on a menu. This week I was luckily enough to go to 3 very different, but all very delicious tapas restaurants…

Aiden Byrne: The Church Green Lymm, Cheshire 

The Church Green is a lovely gastro pub in Cheshire owned by chef Aiden Byrne and ran by his wife Sarah. I was taken here for a birthday lunch treat from Steve. We sat in a spacious conservatory type area and served by very friendly staff. We didn’t realise that the restaurant offered “small plates” which are waiter informed us would be a great option for lunch. It included a selection of favourite Church Green dishes from the last eight years. There were classics such as fish and chips mixed up with specials so you could enjoy a variety of their offerings in one sitting. Between us we choose the goats cheese, beetroot and tarragon risotto, which I would have to say was my personal favourite. Pickled peppers, beef dripping chips, smoked chicken ravioli with a sweetcorn veloute, pork belly Lyonnaise, Cheshire Wagyn burger (of course) and sautéed mushroom and spinach.

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Porta Tapas Chester 

My Aunty Angie and I came here on a lovely sunny evening and sat outside, it almost felt like we were in Barcelona! It’s a tiny place with such a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Here they offer Spanish style tapas, quite simple dishes but the taste is incredible! I introduced Angie do the delicious salt blistered pardon peppers which Steve and me had sampled whilst in Barcelona. We had calamari, ox cheek, which I’d never tried before, it was gorgeous and tender! Chorizo and lentil stew, potato bravas and some cured meats. This was all washed down with their special drink which was a red Spanish vermouth topped with cava and served with a slice of orange.

At the Hollows Hoole, Chester 

My good friend Emily got back from New Zealand after being away for 2 years. I decided that the Hollows would be the perfect place for Emily, Sara and I to have a good catch up over a nice bottle of wine and some food. Again with the Hollows, everything seems so relaxed and you really appreciate the sharing of food and conversation. Sara doesn’t eat meat and here they offer a great selection of vegetarian and fish dishes. Emily and me ordered a couple of meat dishes which were definitely my favourite – the tender lamb poutine, served with melted goats cheese in a rosemary jus was delicious. The tamarind pork belly looked so exotic and came with a lentil and what looked like bombay mix- very tasty though!

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