[Alderley Edge, Cheshire] Oakwood

A return lunchtime visit. I do enjoy parking my beat up Skoda next to the Beamers, Mercs and, today, a rather lovely soft top Bentley. Yes, the pub’s in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle - footballers’ wives territory.

There’s a new spring menu – they describe the food as “proper pub food with our French twist”.

To start, there was a very seasonal pea and broad bean salad. Pea puree, topped with a few beans, surrounded by frissee and peppers. Very light. Very fresh. Nice start. I’m a sucker for Vietnamese spring rolls. I find it hard to look past them if they are on anyone’s menu. These were OK but not stellar examples, needing more of a zing from fresh herbs. I thought the dipping sauce was a bit sweet and would have benefitted from a greater use of citrus and chilli.

There was a classic moules frites as a main. A goodly sized portion cooked in a
marinière sauce (they also do them mouclade). Plump shellfish. Nice winey sauce. Frites were fine. It could have done with some bread to mop up the sauce but that’s a minor quibble. A burger was pretty much as you might expect. Tasty meat in a sourdough bun. It comes topped with Comte cheese (it’s your proper pub food with a French twist, remember). And they serve a really tangy chutney on the side – I want to go back and mug the chef for the recipe (or at least know what jar s/he opens). Frites with that as well.

Good lunch.


It’s months since we’ve been here for lunch and I don’t think we’ve ever seen the Oakwood so busy – which might account for why service wasn’t that great. It’s part of the White Brasserie chain – that’s White as in Michelin 2* chef Raymond Blanc, who set up the group. The menu is always a good mix of modern pub food and French classics, and it changes seasonally. That said, we may not have ordered too well or, at least, the food was a bit disappointing.

A heritage tomato salad seemed bang-on for seasonality and, with the addition of fennel, chicory and radish sounded as though it would have some good crunch for a change on texture. However, the tomatoes were just underflavoured, the amount of crunchy items were minimal so made little contribution. And there was a very watery dressing. I’ve not eaten mussels for three years, since I ate an off one on two consecutive occasions – I’d wondered whether I may have developed an allergy but, after that break, thought I should see what’s what. And, served in a mariniere sauce, they were lovely (and writing this nearly 24 hours after eating them, I seem to be OK, so no allergy). Big, plump mussels in a well flavoured sauce for which they thoughtfully provide a soup spoon and bread for dunking.

It was National Burger Day – who knew – and they had a special. Burger with bourguignon sauce. Now, I think it fair to say that they hadn’t put much effort into this and what had been done didn’t work too well. This was a straightforward, decent tasting burger with tomato and pickle. But they’d then simply poured gravy from their beef bourguignon over it, making the bottom half of the bun soggy and impossible to pick up with your hands. It was a job for cutlery which is not what you expect with a burger. Tasted fine though. Across the table, a veggie concoction which, again, was OK. Sweetcorn and potato fritters were as you might expect. There was a quite tangy guacamole and some nice crunch from coleslaw.

As I mentioned earlier, service had been a bit on the slow side and we had other things to do so didn’t bother with dessert or coffee and just got the bill.


Underflavoured tomatoes are unforgiveable this time of year! I love a good tomato salad though.

The first local coronavirus casualty that I know of. The Oakwood is closing, with immediate effect, “until further notice”.


It’s happening all over the world, John.

Over in Oakland, California, Peony Seafood Restaurant, perhaps the most established restaurant in Oakland Chinatown, announced its closure 10 days ago. I was a regular there back during its hey-days in 2010s, as it was only a few minutes’ walk from the-then regional headquarters of the American President Lines shipping company (where I worked).

I was thinking, if Peony can’t survive, who can?!

1 Like

One of our semi-regular places is a tiny Michelin starred place, Fraiche. Only 8 covers and the chef works alone, plus a couple of front of house. Had an email from him yesterday saying he intends to stay open while it’s viable. Replied saying I had to cancel our reservation for next month as we are in lockdown as “vulnerable” people. Then had an email from his front of house guy asking if we wanted return of our deposit or let it go forward to whenever we can get back. In what I hope was a bit of solidarity, I told him to hang on to it.


Every bit helps, John. I have friends here who own/run restaurants, too, and they are very, very worried for the very survival of their business. So, we do need to help them as much as we can: ordering take-outs, for instance. Giving them some moral support doubtlessly helps.

1 Like

Now we’re in lockdown, we’re swapping our weekly “restaurant night” for “delivery night”. There arent too many places do home delivery and several are chains. But we’ll order and enjoy and I hope that a number of other restaurants start to do this which should make it a bit more fun.


Day 3 of the Lockdown here in Penang. Taking a page out of “Julie & Julia”, where a bored Julie Powell decided to replicate one recipe a day out of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook, I whiled my time away today cooking! :grin:

But I did NOT use my copy of Julia Child’s cookbook. Instead, I used Singapore chef-author, Philip Chia’s “The Peranakan Kitchen”.

So, for my “Peter & Philip” Recipe #1, I cooked Ayam Pongteh, a traditional Nyonya chicken-and-potato stew today. :joy:


Us too. We are going to try and spread our custom around.

We don’t have any chains near us apart from Neros. A lot of restaurants that aren’t on Deliveroo are now doing their own deliveries. Our bakery and wine shop have just started. I was saying to the missus that 5 years ago this would have definitely killed a restaurant but they may survive thanks to delivery apps. There is also a push locally to buy gift vouchers to help cashflow and then use them at the restaurants when the social distancing is over.

That’s our plan. Although I have minimal enthusiasm for the week we do TGI Fridays. But we’ll kick off with either the local Lebanese or Mumbai street food place.

1 Like

The Oakwood has announced that its temporary Covid closure is now permanent. It’s the first of the local places we visit regularly to succumb. A shame as it’s generally been a decent lunch spot.