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“Shame about the service”

Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor
Ranked #18 of 561 Restaurants in Chester
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, has held a Michelin star for nineteen years running ��� surely a record outside of London. Under the direction of Executive Chef Simon Radley the exceptional modern British menu changes seasonally and uses only the finest ingredients. The cellar is also renowned, having one thousand bins and a sommelier of prodigious knowledge. The dining room itself is as dashing as you would expect with comfy chairs, oriental carpets, fine woods, original artwork, ebony pillars and many-layered tones of gold and taupe. The service is distinguished by its warmth and professionalism. Top marks.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
272 reviews
199 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 227 helpful votes
“Shame about the service”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

When a chef has held a Michelin star for more than 10 years, one of the first questions that came to our minds when we booked at Simon Radley's was: does he stick to the same dishes that got the star in the first place. Clearly this is a question that arises occasionally in the world of chefs too and one we subsequently heard expressed in a general context in a TV foodie programme. Happily we could see at once on perusing the tasting menu that this was not going to be the case with Simon Radley, who, as we found, reflects the kind of skills and imagination that has put modern British cuisine at the forefront. However, we did consider the service so formal as to be mechanical, and the "menu wines" were pointlessly served in mini decanters which meant we did not see any of the bottles. Furthermore, the sommelier was incapable of any interaction and it was impossible to have any discussion about the wine with him. The only flexibility he showed was to substitute the South African Chardonnay with a decent Txakoli. But let us get to the food: a good start was made with the canapés - salmon cracker with prawn and avocado; radish, toast and cheese cream dip, and very light deep-fried chorizo with smoked paprika, all three delicious and appetite-awakening and then we had paraded before us the most amazing bread trolley with an enormous selection of home-made loaves and rolls, more than enough to satisfy even the most ravenous diner. And this prompted us to muse, not for the first time, about the way people in British restaurants appear to be in a race to consume the greatest quantity possible of the "free" bread on offer; it's a bit like the attacks made on the English breakfast menu in hotels. The amuse-bouche was designated "tastes of Caesar", but it was far more than just salad with crispy bacon bits, a lovely celery foam, jelly parmesan and striking anchovy giving that extra touch. The asparagus dish that followed was fresh and lively with slivers of white asparagus perched on top of a delicate green asparagus panna cotta alongside some super Devon crab and with a base of seaweed jelly. Next, a nod to the Mediterranean in the form of top-class lardo di Colonnata, tender octopus on a base of crushed broad beans and with slightly acidic tomatoes to provide a very good contrast. Our next course was remarkable not so much for the exemplary hand-dived scallop as for the three-way take on garlic - smoked, as a purée, wild and green (leaves) - which was handled perfectly so as not to overpower the scallop but to provide a complex scale of intensity. "Feathered and Furred" took traditional ingredients and provided another exciting display of ingenuity with a counterpoint of foie gras de canard, grilled rabbit, smoked magret, rabbit liver purée, cauliflower foam and hazelnuts - quite stunning! Cheese came next, eventually. It was a shame that the sommelier, who was held up at a big table on the other side of the room, could not have delegated the pouring of our Chablis to coincide with our Alpine fondue of Beaufort cheese, leek confit and Jersey Royals coated with the cheese, since as far as we're concerned the idea is to accompany the dish with the wine rather than dig in and then wash it down afterwards with the liquid. In any case we were not entirely convinced by the choice of wine following the full-bodied Malbec we'd just had with the duck. The pre-dessert of sweet pea and mint was in just the right proportion with the ubiquitous gariguette strawberries and the meringue to make this worthy of full dessert status, and the dessert proper was almost dominated by the sugary beetroot which had a slightly earthy taste but was expertly balanced by the truly excellent almond blancmange, rhubarb and sesame crisps. As an apology for the Chablis delay, we were served a wine upgrade with the dessert, the absolutely wonderful Ornus dell'Ornellaia, a sweet Petit manseng and a classic by anyone's reckoning. Like all the top chefs we've had the pleasure of meeting, Simon Radley was utterly charming and open, and willing to discuss our opinion of the guides. To sum up, the meal was certainly first-class and well worth Top 50 and one star status, but let down by the loose, non-star front of house side.

Visited May 2014
Thank acko_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Close to prefect”
Reviewed 23 May 2014

I genuinely would struggle to give this experience any negative remarks.

We ate on a Tuesday night using the Tasting Menu offer, which was really good value for 8+ courses. Of course they make some money back with drinks etc, but nonetheless, really good value.

The staff were extremely polite, friendly and attentive throughout the entire meal. They also put on some nice theatrics in terms of presenting each course to you in choreography.

The establishment is quite small and cosy, seating approximately 13 tables, 50-60 people. This leads to it being a really nice eating environment as it never feels overly busy, even when full.

The meal started with some extremely nice bar nibbles and wine/cocktails both of which were very good. Smoked nuts and two types of olives, arguably the best olives i've had. Followed by some hors d'oeuvres. These again being incredibly good.

Onto the meal. First comes the bread selection which is an event in it's own right. I must add, usually bread to me is a meal extra. It's a meal, plus bread to usually fill you up. However, this eating experience has changed that perception for me. The bread was amazing and came in such a variety. Baguette, Brioche, Cheese & Onion, Mash and Beer, Almond and Red Wine, and on and on, with rock salted butter on the side. It's the only time i've been genuinely excited about bread with a meal.

The 8 course tasting menu was like everything else, very well made, presented and tasted like you would expect from such a highly regarded restaurant. To this I will say, there was generally speaking a lot of things on this menu that I don't like and wouldn't order from a menu. Octopus, Duck, Pork.... But in the interest of experimenting I went with it anyway and I have to say every single course was beautiful.

We followed the meal up with some coffees in the bar which was again, a really smooth well made delight of a drink. We were then treated to some more little treats that were unexpected. Canapés and Cigar Chocolates.

Overall one of my favourite eating experiences i've ever had, if not my favourite. I'll definitely be returning.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank ScottC1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A very ordinary experience”
Reviewed 19 May 2014

We had a very underwhelming experience of the Simon Radley restaurant at The Chester Grosvenor. The dining room is bland and poorly-lit, with very little discernible atmosphere for such a gastronomic event. The highlight of the evening was listening to the litany of the many varied types of well-presented bread which the trolley contained - the remainder of the evening in truth was very disappointing, The hotel needs to work hard on creating a more pleasant dining environment. Service was generally poor and many of the staff seemed not to be that bothered about their guests. We have dined well in many comfortable and welcoming establishments - this is, however, definitely not one of them. We will not be returning.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
7 Thank Andrew_Bettley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tamworth, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Excellent Birthday Dinner”
Reviewed 11 May 2014 via mobile

My wife booked a surprise birthday tea at this restaurant. We were very well looked after by the manager and the attentive waiting staff. We went for the tasting menu with accompanying drinks. The food was very good, some of the courses were not to my particular taste but I could not fault the quality of the presentation or the taste. A real master chef style treat. They bought out a little birthday cake and some very nice chocolate 'cigars' when we decided to have a post meal drink, which was a very nice touch. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable evening, a little pricey but you get what you pay for. Thank you!

Thank Dave_tamworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

I have dined at other Michelin restaurants and opted for the taster menu- what a disappointment - the taster menu is an opportunity for me to taste the best - courses ranged from poor to OK- I understand that food is a very personal experience - but that wasn't any wow factor with any of he courses - when you come away remembering the bread it pretty much says it all! The staff were very friendly and did a great job although a bit of an over kill 3 people bringing 2 shot glasses over!!! The meal was crazy expensive and the food didn't warrant the price!

6 Thank bassey78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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