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Abode Chester

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Abode Chester

Another Abode and another Michael Caines @ Abode restaurant.

This particular branch is situated on the fifth floor of the newish hotel, overlooking the race course and river, then off towards Cheshire and Wales. There is a bar with a narrow terrace, the dining room and a private dining room too. There is also a bar / food place on the ground floor but the fifth floor is the place to be. On a nice day it is a very nice place.

As it was a nice day we got there a bit early for an al fresco drink. Cocktails, mocktails and beer. It all went down well. The sun shone, the waiter joined up a couple of tables and enough chairs and gave us our menus and half an hour passed happily.

The food. As at the Manchester branch “Amazing Graze” lunch is offered. At the moment this costs £9.95 for three courses and £18.95 with the addition of a glass of wine per course. We decided to make the most of the good value on offer and each took six courses with one wine pairing. A six course tasting menu with wine under for less than £29 quid. This caused a little confusion sorting out what we all wanted and what wine we would like, but the lady taking our order was patient and everything was fixed with minimal fuss.

So we ate

Hot fresh bread, baguette, olive and tomato and a roll possibly with onion seeds. Quite good bread, not quite up to the standard of the bread at Simon Radley, but good enough. The bread also comes in a basket rather than served up bit by bit, eliminating the moments awkwardness when you want to say I’ll have one of everything but usually take one piece and hope they come back with more! A good idea.

Slow poached salmon confit, pea puree, white asparagus, wild mushrooms and morel veloute. This was a very good looking plate. Everything was cooked and seasoned nicely, the food was hot, but most of all the flavours were excellent. The wine was a French voignier.

Duo of duck, confit of leg and liver, pickled vegetable and spiced orange sauce. This was essentially a terrine, two good sized cubes of the leg and two of the liver. Pickled tiny veg gave a nice tangy contrast and the spots of sauce looked nice on the plate without adding massively to the overall dish. A little crispy skin was a bit fatty but added to the ducky flavour and gave a little crunch. This also came with a slice of toast which I ate because it was there rather than it being necessary. The portions were not bad sizes.

Just to add to the confusion there was also one portion of Wild mushroom soup with toasted almonds and herb foam ordered. This was also well done, light and frothy but packing plenty of flavour. I didn’t try this but it was polished off in no time, even with a tiny teaspoon as the chosen tool for the job.


First up was salted haddock with cock crab, chorizo, samphire and tarragon and lemon puree. Another good looking plate and pleasing quantities of food. The chorizo was quite a spicy offering on its own, but the other elements kept a decent balance. I don’t really see the point in samphire personally, but again the empty plates were the evidence. Not bad at all.

Macclesfield beef sirloin shallot and horseradish, asparagus, morels and Madera sauce came next. The beef was a little over done for pink, but it was a tasty piece of cow none the less. It came as four or five beefy slices on a little spinach with the other items artfully posed on the plate. The sauce was good too. This came with a glass of malbec and it was a good choice.


Chocolate pot de crème, coffee jelly, vanilla foam and a warm doughnut. This came with a really decent sized glass of Banyuls. The pot looked like a macchiato and tasted good. The doughnut was grease free and had enough vanilla sugar dusted over it to make a pint of custard.

I finished on the rhubarb plate. This had a shot of rhubarb and custard with lemongrass foam, a sorbet that tasted more of beetroot than rhubarb, but was nice enough and a lozenge of beetroot jelly topped with a lightly poached rhubarb stem. It disappered pretty quicky.

The two portions of Banana parfait with lime and banana sorbet also met a similar fate.

We didn’t have coffee, we were full.

This was a good meal. We arrived at 12.30 and left a little after three.

I would say in comparison to my one visit to Manchester this is better. The dishes were complex for the cost and heavy on quite expensive ingredients. Looking at the website the chef, Stuart Collins, worked at Gidliegh park, GR – RHR and two years head chef at Maze New York. I don’t know if chef was in the kitchen but there was some very good cooking coming out. On this showing a 5-6/10 in gfg terms would not be unreasonable and not a million miles away from becoming Chester’s second Michelin *.

Service was good. There was no confusion over who was eating what and no problem with ordering different items. The restaurant was not full but it was busy enough to keep the staff occupied and create a bit of atmosphere.

In terms of value for money it was outstanding.

The only downside, and this is down to personal taste, but the lounge jazz funk smooth music did irritate me after a while. Mix it up a bit, it need not be the Wu Tang Clan or Burzum (although it would have been fun) a little variety would be nice, please.

For £10.00 you can’t go wrong.

A few beers in the excellent spitting feathers brewery tap in the afternoon and a good day out was had.

I also came across Richard Phillips at Oddfellows, he of the TV and Thakerays and Chaple Down or wherever he cooks. No idea what his level of involvement is but it may be another place worth a try.



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Quite good bread, not quite up to the standard of the bread at Simon Radley, but good enough.

Mrs H is the bread fan of the duo. She reckons Simon Radley to be best in the north west (Fraiche and the Midland French tying for second).

John Hartley

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Sounds great. Its now on my visit list for next week.

Oddfellows is well worth a try. I love its quirky interior and the food is also good.

Richard Phillips is consultant chef and I,m sure the head chef has a decent background

There are several very good places at the moment in Chester: Oddfellows, Chez Jules, 1539 (which shares MC's view over the Roodee) and Joseph Benjamin, for example.

But Martin Caines and Simon Radley's places are in a class of their own.

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Martin Caines? Is he Michael's brother? ;) Will be trying Abode in couple of weeks for birthday hopefully.

Oddfellows definitely worth a try but ask to sit in the more intimate-seeming main restaurant 'upstairs' (on same level as bar, sounds odd but trust me on this) rather than the fishbowl like 'Pantry', which is at ground level and looks out on the street. There ARE some issues with waiting staff (some useless, some good though) but food has generally been quite good on a upper mid-range level (it't not fine dining by any stretch of the imagination).

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  • 1 month later...

This is a really welcome addition to the Michael Caines dining options especially so as it is just about an hour away from where I live. Its a while since we have been, but MaLO hits the spot with the description, so I will stick to posting some photos and be brief with the narrative.

"Have any of the Hollyoaks cast been in yet"

"No, but Anthony Worrall Thompson has" :blink:

As has been mentioned, build your own tasting menu, plus three glasses of wine for under £29 is an absolute steal,however they have now upped the price a teeny bit to £19.95 for five courses. Still a steal for the quality of food coming out of the kitchen.

Chef Stuart Collins was in the kitchen on our visit and he is clearly a talent, not surprising though given his background with Michael Caines and Gordon Ramsay ( with perhaps a bit of Jason Atherton thrown in?).

Bread was very good and generous in choice.


Leek and Potato soup, with a poached Quail egg,


Salad of marinated Tomatoes, tomato foam, buffalo mozzarello,


Crab cannelloni, chorizo, red pepper, lemon foam


Wild mushroom risotto, herb veloute'.


Pan fried Mackerel, crispy Squid, tagliatelle, spiced coconut sauce.


Macclesfield Beef sirloin, shallot and horseradish confit, English Asparagus, Madiera sauce.


Rhubarb and custard with lemongrass foam, rhubarb sorbet,


Chocolate pot de creme, vanilla foam, warm doughnut.


Lemon tart, confit lemon sorbet.


Even though I say it myself I,m pleased that looking at the photos again jogged my memory as to how good the meal was.

Clearly at £9.95 for lunch its a loss leader just to get you through the doors so that you can spread the gospel to your friends and family.

Stand outs were the very smooth and extremely tasty Risotto, the simple but flavoursome Beef, and the very enjoyable

( but overseasoned ) Mackerel dish. The Rhubarb plate satisfied my sweet (and sour) craving, not so sure on the Chocolate pot.

Portion sizes were indeed generous putting a few of the Michelin places to shame with their offerings.

Three pounds a glass is about where I personally think wine should be, but clearly its not much on my horizon so we won't go there. Neadless to say (to my knowledge) you will not drink wine of this quality anywhere in the land at this money, except at a Michael Caines venue.

Service was good and attentive without being overbearing. The glass fronted, temperature controlled wine room is the highlight of a not too bad looking room with its balcony overlooking Chester Racecourse.

I followed this meal up with a visit to Manchester Abode the following week but I'm afraid you will have to wait until I post that review to find out what my thoughts were in comparison.

Happy Eating :biggrin:

Edited by david goodfellow (log)

"So many places, so little time"



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  • 1 year later...

Lunched here yesterday.

There have been changes of head chef in a number of Abode kitchens recently. The chef in Chester is now Chris Cleghorn. He has Abode Exeter, Gidleigh Park, Danesfield House and the Fat Duck on his CV. The old chef was good.

So we ate from the amazing graze menu. Three courses with matched wine is pennies over £20. We added one extra plate from the more expensive grazing menu just because.

We ordered the same first two savory plates based on the wine pairing.

First up - poached chicken terrine, mustard vinaigrette and pickled mushrooms. It came with pinot noir. It was light and fresh. The chicken remained moist and the jellied stock was just set, sometimes these things can become a bit vulcanised but this was nice. I ate something similar at Gidleigh Park in the early summer.

Chicken terrine.jpg

Next braised lamb neck with glazed carrot, cauliflower came as a spiced puree and a roasted floret. The lamb was very tender; the cauliflower was good too. The carrot, it was a carrot and there is nothing wrong with that. This came with a glass of Malbec. When I was in London the other week I picked up a (hopefully) interesting bottle of Malbec from Gaucho.

Braised lamb.jpg

The extra plates came in at about £13.

The first was Goosnargh partridge, braised chicory, quince, caramelised walnuts and gewürztraminer sauce. I quite like partridge and enjoyed this. A single breast and leg, a fruity wine sauce, sweet and sour from the quince and chicory. Decent.


The other was Braised halibut, squash and cumin purée, pickled baby onions with a yoghurt and pumpkin seed cracker. I only tried a little and it was good. There was none left. The fish was quite a lump for the money.



We took one Chocolate fondant with coffee ice cream and one poached pear with chocolate ice cream and a panna cotta type thing. We made a chocolate fondant with coffee ice cream last weekend at home. Ours was quite good, theirs was a little better. Only a little though.

Poached pear.jpg

Chocolate fondant.jpg

It’s still good. You wouldn’t know there was a new chef. Although that is a compliment it is also a criticism. I understand that Michael Caines is the boss but perhaps giving the chef more licence to stamp their personality and style on the menu and cooking would make for a slightly more interesting experience.

That said, the cooking is good and the value is hard to fault.

I will go back sometime in the not too distant future, perhaps to one of the wine events.


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to the super savvy or professionals out there, how are they doing food & drink for such a low price?

Economies of scale, loss leading, lesser ingredients?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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certainly a preponderance of cheap cuts when i went to manchester a while ago now, but probably a combination of technique and sourcing too. certainly very little in the way of the luxury ingredients that were present in the opening weeks.canny operation by the looks of it.

tony demetre at arbutus blazed the trail in this style.

you don't win friends with salad

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Because its a hotel?

Prestigious restaurant draws business to hotel - hotel cross-subsidises restaurant.

When times might otherwise be quiet it makes sense to keep the restaurant filled with customers and the kitchen ticking over nicely, even if it means dipping into that cross-subsidy.

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