The Yew Tree, Bunbury
Louisa Warde samples the new spring menu from head chef Ben Ackland
Set in the Cheshire countryside, we visited The Yew Tree on a sunny Friday afternoon, not quite brave enough to embrace some outdoor dining but promising to return when it was that fraction warmer. Others were braver, donning their cardigans and sunglasses with friends of the two- and four-legged variety.
We headed indoors and took up a corner in one of the 19th century freehouse’s many rooms. I, of course, was distracted by the interior design and paintings, my other half the array of local ales and beer on tap. The venue has been taken over by the Chester Race Company since we last visited and it offers a light, contemporary feel and a new spring menu from head chef Ben Ackland, who counts The Ivy and Soho House as credits on his CV.
The small plates looked great as did the Bunbury burger, complete with smoky maple bacon and onion rings but that would have sent us into a post-food siesta, and we had jobs to do in the afternoon. Hence we settled on the Ham Hock Hash with crispy hen’s egg and piccalilli and Cheshire Cat Steamed Menai Mussels with smoked bacon, shallots and cream followed by Herb Crusted Cod Loin with pancetta, sprouting broccoli and sauté potatoes and Cheshire Pork & Leek Sausage Ring with cheesy mash and caramelised onion gravy.
The ham hock was devoured with gusto crowned by the perfect runny egg. Good chunks of ham were mixed potato and cooked with some caramelisation for a lovely flavour against the sharp chunkiness of the piccalilli. The local Menai mussels didn’t disappoint either, the best bit always the dunking of some crusty white bread wedges in the left-over cream sauce.
Perfectly flaky the cod was a great dish to eat one handed as our youngest family member decided to disturb the peace and demand cuddles. The meaty cod worked well with the vegetables and lemon and parsley dressing. The sausage ring, while possibly not the most well-presented dish (although I couldn’t give you a better way to present a sausage ring), was rich in flavour and indulgent with the cheesy mash and buttered kale – a heartier option, good for a post-countryside walk perhaps.
I’m afraid our not-so-light lunch ended at these two courses on this occasion as we eyed up other diner’s choices and gazed out into the sunshine. The obligatory Cheshire Farm Ice Cream is on the menu, and my favourite Honeycomb was on there, alongside Sticky Toffee Pudding and Rhubarb Crumble with Proper Custard.
Our final word: The Yew Tree has kept its charm and offers a contemporary dining experience to suit all tastes and appetites. We look forward to returning and enjoying some sharing plates and the sunshine on the patio next time.
The Yew Tree Long Lane, Bunbury, Cheshire, CW6 9RD
t: 01829 304384 e: email@example.com