I’ve walked past the impressive building in Knutsford a fair few times and often wondered, why nothing was being done with it – recently I found out it somebody actually was.
The Old Cheshire Courthouse was built in 1818 and enlarged in 1840 to increase the size of the prison – its an impressive looking building.
The structure still stands tall and it’s not easy to miss as you pass on the small but busy road. It was closed back in 2010 and is now being renovated to turn it into a Grand Hotel for the small market town.
Already open and operating is Barristers – A tea room and restaurant. I had been invited to go and try it out for myself on a number of occasions, however other commitments have often prevented me from doing so – until now.
So I visited as a guest this weekend to try out their Afternoon Tea as well as their brand new ‘Savoury Afternoon Tea’.
You enter Barristers through a side door, not through the grand doors at the front of the building – which in time would be a much more impressive entrance.
Once inside, the original wood panelling gives it an upmarket feel, although the grey used on the walls (Albeit similar to the grey I have in my Victorian hallway) doesn’t shout the same grandeur in my honest opinion.
I love the art theme, with the link to ‘ex-convicts’ as well as the huge ceiling dome, which gives a light airy feel to the room.
We had a tour of some of the other rooms in the building, including the long and impressive freestanding staircase, as well as the bowler hats on the wall, which apparently represent the hangings that took place there, the amount of history in this place is amazing.
I can clearly see that once all work is complete and the hotel opens, this building has huge potential for being such a grand and impressive venue. They are already taking bookings for conferences and events in their grand hall and smaller side room.
Back for tea itself – I was handed a box of tea leaves from which to choose, for me it was the fragrant Earl Grey, however there’s many other options to choose from.
The Afternoon Tea arrived – the colourful delights just shouted at you and looked so beautiful on the stand. All the Sandwiches were tasty, with the Salmon being my favourite.
As impressive as all the cakes looked, I really am not a massive cake lover – which is why the savoury stand really took my fancy. Others however couldn’t stop eating all there beautiful looking delights, which and afternoon tea fan would just love.
It definitely doesn’t look as great – with lots of Grey and Brown – but what it lacks in colour, it makes up in flavour.
The sweet doughnut filled with meat and Guinness took me back to a similar dish I had at a London restaurant a few weeks ago.
The Lamb Pasty was flaky and flavoursome, with great minty taste. The Black Pudding Sausage Roll also pleased immensely, as did the Scotch Egg that had a chilli hit to it.
Everything on this platter pleased me – and I would happily have ate this time and time again – So if you aren’t really a sweet toothed person like me – but your partner / mum is, then its a great way to both have something you love. Or order one of each and share the delights.
As well as afternoon tea – The Courthouse has a great selection to choose from on their Al a Carte Lunch and Dinner Menus
The Courthouse can be found on Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 0PB
Or online at https://www.thecourthousecheshire.com/.
I was invited to try the Afternoon Tea as a guest, however all thoughts and opinions, as always, are honest and entirely mine.