The Courthouse, Knutsford
THE COURTHOUSE: KNUTSFORD
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
For the unique and impressive surroundings
Choose between a sweet or savoury afternoon tea
Sit outside on a sunny day and enjoy a cocktail
Try out the newly opened roof terrace
The Courthouse is exactly what it's name suggests - an old courthouse. But it's no longer somewhere you may visit as part of a trial, instead it's a bar, restaurant, hotel and event venue. It's situated minutes from Knutsford train station and the large stunning building is easy to spot.
I was visiting on a lovely sunny afternoon with my Mum to sample their afternoon tea menu.
A lot of the original courtroom has been kept as it is during the refurbishment of the building and in the Barristers restaurant, it's just like sitting in court (just to add, I only know that from my student Journalism days and a spot of jury service!) but with the addition of a bar.
Original wooden panelling is mixed with lots of cool artwork in large gallery wall displays and we were informed that a lot of the art and frames are picked up in local charity shops. The restaurant is a large room that definitely has a wow factor, with striking pendant lighting and a mixture of velvet and leather seating.
We were given a tour around the rest of the downstairs and the private event spaces were equally impressive. We were interested to hear that they will be transforming the original jails into private dining booths and there is talk of a secret cellar bar to open soon, alongside the newly opened roof terrace and renovated hotel rooms.
The hallway features 7 bowler hats above the door to the restaurant in reference to the people who were hung on the steps of The Courthouse, back when the venue was a working court.
We were visiting to sample afternoon tea and Barristers restaurant offers both a savoury and sweet afternoon tea. I often find that there are too many sweet options with afternoon tea so I was looking forward to mixing in a few more savoury snacks. Here is what we ordered -
Barristers Traditional Afternoon Tea: Macaron, Fruit Scone with Clotted Cream and Preserves, selection of finger Sandwiches alongside Chocolate and Fruit cakes (£15.95 - there are some offers in the week for afternoon tea so it's worth checking!).
High Court Savoury Afternoon Tea: Walnut Scone, Pork Sausage Roll, Chilli Scotch Hens Egg, Arancini, Minted Lamb Pasty, Croque Monsieur and Potted Shrimp (normally only served for two priced at £39.93).
Both served with loose-leaf tea or Jaunty Goat Arabica coffee (we chose tea).
We did start off sat outside as there is a lovely and peaceful area outside the front of the building with comfortable seats, tables and chairs and umbrellas. But there were so many wasps pestering us that we had to move inside!
We ordered a glass of prosecco each, as it would have been rude not to on such a lovely and sunny day, and tucked into our savoury tea first. It was a welcome change having more savoury items during afternoon tea and my favourite had to be the Croque Monsieur and Arancini and my Mum also liked the Minted Lamb Pasty.
However, I have to say that the sweet selection did look more impressive and had a bit more afternoon tea wow factor. The cakes were deliciously moist and it was just the right amount, without being too sweet. A personal favourite was the Chocolate and Raspberry Torte, which despite being chocolate, was actually really light.
Unfortunately I had asked prior to our arrival to have no mayonnaise and all the sandwiches that arrived had mayo in, but the staff quickly took the cake stand away and brought us a new one with mayo-free sandwiches. All of these were delicious but we particularly liked the duck, hoisin and rocket sandwich. We finished it all off with an extra glass of prosecco each.
Everything for each afternoon tea was served on vintage crockery and it was all presented nicely. I think there is always something decadent about drinking a cup of tea out of a cup and saucer and the china tea sets used definitely suited the surroundings.
We had an enjoyable afternoon at The Courthouse in Knutsford. The sweet afternoon tea was definitely the highlight and it was served by helpful staff in unique surroundings that make it a special place to visit. I'd love to go back to try out a cocktail on the new roof terrace!
The Courthouse, Toft Road, Knutsford, WA16 OPB.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Courthouse - but as ever, all reviews are our honest opinion!