It’s been a couple of years since we ate at this smallish neighbourhood restaurant. We should go more often as it’s close to home but, sometimes, you overlook the places on your doorstep. Only open Wednesday to Saturday (and Sunday lunch), the Bay Tree offers two courses for £17.95 and three for another £2. Order before 6.45 and you save £2 on those prices. A number of mains carry a £4 or £5 supplement and there may be the odd dish when you want to order some additional spuds. On Wednesday and Thursday, they now also offer what is described as the “brasserie menu”, offering three courses for £12.95. They are doing something right as most tables were occupied on this cold Wednesday night in February.
We ordered from the main menu (promising ourselves a return to try the brasserie food to see if portions will be sufficient that a bag of chips on the way home won’t be needed). Fish pie is an uncommon starter which came in a small bowl but there were distinct and sufficient pieces of cod, smoked haddock and prawn, topped with mashed potato. This was pretty good. Also pretty good was a very large bowl of mushroom soup – well seasoned and with a good flavour of mushroom.
Mains were a bit disappointing. A cherry tomato, onion, basil and mozzarella tarte tatin was really nothing of the sort. The ingredients had been stacked on a disc of puff pastry and then finished under the grill. It was reminiscent of cheap supermarket pizza but flavours were actually OK. Some strange chips accompanied – a coating of some sort had been added to give crispness. And when I say “some chips”, I mean “four chips”. Nice well dressed salad sat alongside.
The other main was chicken breast served on sauté veg and potato. The lemon and honey sauce spoilt the dish. It was simply too sweet and gloopy (and presumably came out of a bottle or wherever Chinese takeaways get their homey/lemon sauce from). I commented on this to the server, noting to her also that I had left a clean plate. She said she’d pass the comment on to the kitchen and, I thought, that was the end of it.
Until the bill came. We found only one meal had been charged and when we drew attention to it, the response was “You didn’t like your chicken, you don’t pay. That’s how we work. We want to see you come back”. And, with friendly customer service like that, they will. It was an excessively nice gesture.
That is, if they are still in business. I assume they don't get too many complaints if they comp those they do get.
Bay Tree, Cheadle, Cheshire
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