A relaxed and welcoming atmosphere plus the benefit of fantastic food with breathtaking presentation is served up at Restaurant One Eighty
WHEN choosing a hotel, there are many aspects that play a part in the decision.
First is usually location, as well as the quality of the rooms, the price, and any nice extras like a gym or a pool.
But for me, the food on offer is rarely a top priority, as I often opt to eat elsewhere, using the hotel just as a base for the night.
However, after a stay at the Pinewood on Wilmslow, my attitude was completely changed.
The hotel boasts a convenient location on the edge of the Cheshire town, close to Manchester airport.
Set in stunning gardens, Pinewood seems a favourite for weddings, and offers dedicated function rooms in private sections of the hotel.
The bedrooms are clean and spacious – ours even had a balcony – and provided a perfect setting for relaxing after a day taking in the sights.
But the jewel in the Best Western Plus hotel’s crown is undoubtedly its Restaurant One Eighty.
Located in the centre of the building, overlooking the gardens, the restaurant has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
The menu is devised by executive head chef Colin Starkey, with a focus on local, fresh ingredients.
The restaurant menu includes tempting, simple dishes like hummus and chips in the light bites section, fish and chips, and steak and Guinness pie, all cooked with an elegant, unusual twist.
Burgers arrived at the table next to us, which had clearly been carefully prepared and considered in their presentation.
Served with a brioche bun and onion marmalade, it was clear even the humble burger was lovingly made.
But we turned our attention to the seasonal menu, deigned to showcase the best produce.
The understated list of options gives a short summary of what’s on offer, with very little given away. But restaurant manager Karen, who served us all evening, clearly knew the menu inside out.
My partner chose a starter of “Applewood smoked scallops – celeriac – apple”, while I tried the “One Eighty Allotment”.
Both were stunningly presented and tasted amazing.
While I could never claim to be a food expert – or to know the first thing about cooking – I know what I think tastes good.
And everything we ordered from the Restaurant One Eighty was fantastic.
The main course for me was “pork fillet and collar – apricot – tenderstem broccoli”, while Martyn chose “veal rump – osso buco – asparagus”.
The presentation was breathtaking, and the pork fillet was the softest I’ve ever had.
The collar was patty-shaped, rolled in oats, and the apricots – never usually my favourite in savoury dishes – balanced perfectly.
Dessert was equally stunning. I chose “arctic roll – cherries”, which was home-made Swiss roll wrapped around cherry crumble ice cream, served with cherry sherbet.
After our meal we were given a tour of the restaurant’s gleaming kitchen, revamped as part of the hotel’s recent 1.5m refurbishment.
Sous chef Robert Cooke, who had cooked our fabulous meal, showed us around the state-of-the-art kitchen, which now uses no gas following the renovation.
The redevelopment in May also saw the addition of 12 new bedrooms, a new extended lounge, and an upgrade of meeting space.
Since our visit to the Handforth hotel last month, I’ve read that the restaurant has now received an AA rosette.
And not before time, in my opinion.
The food, the setting and the service was fantastic.
With its handy location for the motorway and airport, at first we expected the hotel to mainly attract travelling business people, as well as wedding guests.
But I hope, with this gem of a restaurant on offer, it attracts visitors from far and wide.
Address: Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow, 180 Wilmslow Road, Handforth, Cheshire, SK9 3LF
Phone: 01625 529211
Facilities: 70 bedrooms, including executive and balcony bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms.
Free guest parking with 120 spaces.
Free gym passes for Total Fitness, about six minutes from the hotel.
Tariffs: From £70 per room. Guests are advised to check online or contact the hotel for the best deals.
Special offers: Weekend dinner, bed and breakfast offer, which is £99 for two people in a double room. Extra charge of £25 for a balcony room, subject to availability.