February’s featured restaurant was Moor Hall, Prescot Rd, Aughton, Ormskirk L39 6RT
Visit: 27 February 2020
Award: 2 Michelin Stars and 5 AA Rosettes
Moor Hall is an impressive restaurant in a Grade II listed country house in Aughton, Lancashire. It has 7 bedrooms, a kitchen garden with raised beds and glass houses, an impressive cheese room and a wine cellar to store the 350-bin wine list in. A second dining area, The Barn, is a more casual restaurant that serves lunch and dinner.
In 2017, just six months after opening, Moor Hall received its first Michelin star in the Michelin Guide UK 2018. Then in 2018, it received five AA rosettes and a second star in the Michelin Guide UK 2019.
We chose the 8-course tasting menu at £155 per head with the matching wines at £95 per head. We booked an Escape Package, that includes dinner and an overnight stay. There are 7 rooms available, 5 are located in the main Hall with a further 2 in the gatehouse by the lake. Our room was large, with exposed beams, a great view of the grounds, an excellent bed, well sized bathroom with bath and a walk-in shower. The standard of the room was very high.
Dinner started in the adjoining bar where drinks were served along with homemade charcuterie and other excellent and original snacks. We were then led into the dining room and visited the open kitchen where we eat our final snack, smoked eel, potato, fermented garlic, and flowers, while standing at the pass. This was an excellent introduction and very memorable.
The 50-cover dining room is spacious with high ceilings and well-spaced tables. It has views into the open kitchen on one side and the grounds and lake on the other.
The standard of the food was exceptionally high. Mistakenly, I expected the food at Moor Hall to have similarities to L’Enclume, because of Mark’s history there. I eat at L’Enclume the night following my dinner at Moor Hall, and I was wrong. Mark’s food has its own distinct style. Highlights for me were the beef tartare, which was the best I have ever tasted, the turbot and the superb venison. There were no courses I didn’t enjoy. The food was original, packed with flavour and had interesting texture combinations. Foraging and home-grown vegetables were clearly big influences. There were lots of interesting herbs used and a small booklet introduced the more unusual varieties.
The wine selections were very good, and all worked well with the food. The cheese room is extraordinary, and I would advise a visit even if you can’t make space for an extra cheese course. I’m sure you will change your mind as soon as you are in the room!
The standard of service was very good. The waiters were friendly and extremely knowledgeable. The pace at which the courses were served was well judged.
Moor Hall is a relatively new gastronomic destination and Mark Birchall is clearly one of our top chefs. This was a superb restaurant experience and I highly recommend a visit.