Lancashire’s leading country house hotel Bartle Hall has been awarded a coveted AA Rosette for its new restaurant, Nest.
They join the top ten per cent of restaurants nationwide judged to be of a standard that is worthy of One Rosette and above.
Bartle Hall, a former mansion set in 16 acres of grounds and gardens just five miles from the centre of Preston, has been long known as a favourite wedding and short-break venue.
But since the appointment of executive head chef Craig Brown, the restaurant has risen to new heights and is now the venue of choice for lunches and dinners by food lovers across the county and beyond. It’s also become renowned for excellent afternoon teas, using locally produced and sourced items.
Craig joined Bartle Hall from Lytham’s Coast restaurant at the Glendower Hotel, where he also won an AA Rosette. His arrival coincided with the re-launch of Nest with new décor and a completely new and exciting menu.
A fan of American celebrity chef Thomas Keller, who has run Michelin star restaurants in California and New York, as well as creating the French Laundry cookbook, Craig’s cooking is classic British with an imaginative twist.
His signature dishes include a new take on a favourite starter, Morecambe Bay shrimp ravioli with tomato essence and baby basil.
Among his main courses you might find locally sourced Goosnargh duck breast with curly kale, butternut squash, and roast beetroot. And for dessert, there might be poached pear with brown Parkin and black liquorice ice cream.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this award,” said Nicola Haworth who runs Bartle Hall with her husband Andrew. “We know that this is a huge achievement, and not to be underestimated.”
Nicola is pleased that the award recognises the quality of the entire kitchen team as head chef Craig was on leave when the AA inspector made a surprise visit. It was sous chef Rowan Simmons who was on duty that day. “So we are assured that Craig’s influence has made a big impact on the whole team, and that all of our restaurant and kitchen staff can rise to the occasion.”
The long-established Rosette scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK. Success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector; the visit is a snapshot, whereby the entire meal is assessed, and the award is not influenced by outside reports or reviews.
The relaxed yet luxurious Nest, decorated with Zoffany wallpapers and a Victorian tiled floor, is proving to be a midweek choice for business meetings, networking events, ladies that lunch and celebrations, as well as discerning diners from Manchester, Liverpool and Preston.
Nicola and Andrew’s family, with his parents Peter and Pat Haworth, took over the hotel in 1991 and the intervening 25 years have been a labour of love to turn the former country mansion, set in 16 acres of garden and woodland, into one of the county’s most appealing and idyllic venues.
The hotel and restaurant also have a name now for networking events during the week. Busy folk in Preston, and even in the Greater Manchester area, are finding that the Hall’s atmosphere and facilities can give staff and clients a sense of complete escape from the city – but with a fraction of the travelling time to the Lakes or Dales.