Food

The Piper Hoole Review

ThePiperThe Piper
Hoole, Chester

www.piperpub.co.uk

Reviewed by Pete Allen

Tonight we visited “The Piper” in Hoole, Chester. This is a pub style restaurant offering a wide selection of starters, light snacks, main meals and deserts.

On first sight of the pub, it appeared well lit from the outside with decent signage lighting up the “Piper’s” name. The car park was huge with more than ample parking and access was from the main road, A41 near Chester. At the front of the building is a rather excellent raised patio area. This would have been ideal sipping Pimm’s or real ale, on a warm summer’s day.

On entering the restaurant I could tell it was an old style pub. Dark wooden tables were well spread out throughout the dining area with the odd sofa, well placed next to the open fire or tucked away in one of the quiet alcoves.

We were then greeted by a member of staff who introduced herself as “Nikki”, the manager of the restaurant / bar. Nikki was very friendly and chatty and immediately offered us a selection of seating areas, all within the restaurant side of the pub. We chose to sit fairly close to the open fire, on a table which was lit by candlelight.

The restaurant was split into an eating area and a bar. The bar area offered a selection of TVs which were showing live sport. The bar had a selection of what appeared to be local customers who the quietly watching the football. Although the football was on in the bar, the noise level was turned right down so it was not disturbing the customers within the restaurant area. Here I could easily hear the music which was playing at a nice level.

Nikki brought us the menus for the evening, which offered a large selection of starters including soup of the day, sharing platters and pulled pork. In total there was a choice of 23 different foods for every palate, {inclusive of vegetarian choices}.

Once again, the main meal choices were vast. Of the 16 on offer, they covered fish, steak, lamb, pasta and vegetarian. Whilst browsing the menu we were offered the wine list and chose a Spanish red Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz.

After a good look at the menu I decided on the Homemade Chicken Liver Pate, topped with butter and served with warm breads (and a Jar Of home-made Chutney). My wife opted for the soup of the day, home-made broccoli, tarragon & almond.

For the main meal I chose the 8oz Rib-Eye Steak. This was served with sautéed Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onions & Mushrooms with a Side of Creamy Celeriac & Potato Gratin & a Pot of Spicy Peppercorn Sauce. My wife opted for the pork belly, a new dish on the menu which was served with mash, celeriac and a pulled pork roulade. To be honest, this was such a hard choice for me as every one of the main meals sounded so appealing.

A short time later the starter arrived and I was amazed at the size of the portions that were on offer. This was a pub restaurant (priced between £3-£6 per starter) but the initial appearance and quality on offer appeared far superior to that of a normal pub meal. The bread was lovely and warm and the chicken pate was immense, delicately flavoured with the chutney. My wife’s soup looked incredibly fresh showing all the vegetables poking through the soup. This was also served with an ample size piece of bread.

After working through this starter I was well aware that portion size and value for money was possibly going to be a great success for The Piper. I’m very fond of large portion sizes but to get this quality (for the same price as a chain restaurant meal) was great value. As we ate we spoke to Nikki who stated that the Piper was under new management (2 years prior) and their ethos was all about quality, service and value for money.

Nikki and her staff cleared the starters away, ensuring that they had checked we were happy throughout our meal. A short time later the main courses were brought out. Once again the portion sizes were more than adequate. My steak was laid out on the bed of tomatoes, mushrooms and onions with a lovely side serving of Creamy Celeriac & Potato Gratin. The steak was cooked medium and was most excellent, served with the pepper sauce. The creamy potato side dish was mouth-watering.

I also tasted my wife’s pork dish which was again served with mash and celeriac. The pork was tender, moist and very tasty indeed.

What stood out about this meal was the fact that it all appeared freshly cooked. It was well presented and served by very pleasant and attentive staff. The main meals here varied between £10 – £15 but for the size and quality of the serving this was very inexpensive and puts the big chain pubs to shame.

In between meals we gazed through the other menus and noticed that they offer children’s meals for £4.75. This price included a small dessert if they completed a puzzle on the rear of the menu, a great idea if you brought the kids.

To complete the meal we shared a dessert, due to the fact I was almost full to the brim. We chose the Baileys Cream & Choc Cookie Trifle Pot with home-made shortbread. When this arrived it looked quite stodgy but once we tucked into it we found it to be totally beautiful, and lighter than it looked. We ordered two lattes to accompany this dessert which were served with a twist, one which I will let you make your own mind up about.

They offer a 3 course lunch menu for £10.95, served between 12-5pm. This is ideal for the late afternoon main meal eaters and includes a choice of 5 starters, five mains and 4 deserts. This is an outstanding lunch time deal, one which I will be returning back to try on my next visit.

One more thing, they offer a Sunday lunch for £8.95 for 1 course, £10.95 for 2 and £12.95 for the 3 course option. More surprisingly is the fact they offer a roast platter for 2-4 persons. This is the first time I have ever seen this on offer. It comes with a selection of meats plus all the usual trimmings to accompany it.

The Piper has a lot to offer. It was clean and the atmosphere was nice. It’s great for a nice quiet pint or somewhere to watch the football or have a meal. It’s also an ideal pub to visit on route to the Chester races as it’s only a short drive away. Most importantly though, the service is excellent, the staff and friendly and welcoming and the food is tremendous. You won’t leave the Piper with an inch left in your belly.

I would rate this venue as 4/5. I dropped a point on it due to the fact that it’s an old style pub, set out like an old style pub. The tables were old and showed signs of wear and tear. Apart from that the food, service and staff were truly awesome. I would certainly visit the venue again.

Rating: 4/5

For more information or to view menus and special offers visit www.piperpub.co.uk.

The Piper, Pipers Lane, Hoole, Chester, CH2 3LS | 01244 322093

4 Star

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