Review of 'Cheshire Cat'

The “Cheshire Cat” on Welsh Row is always so busy. Any time we drive or walk by there seems to be quite a crowd inside and, in the summer, at their outside tables opposite. We have been intrigued to give it a try so we made a reservation for early on a Saturday evening.

The 17th century pub is enormous. On the ground floor there are a myriad of smaller rooms, several bar areas, and a large courtyard out back. Upstairs, where they only seat diners, there are a number more rooms often looking down on the spaces below and another bar area. Crammed into a space above the stairs is a grand piano, legs overhanging into space, and a small performance area which I swear performers would need to either squat, sit or huddle in. The space is generally untouched with many exposed beams, wonky floors and the like with the accoutrements of modern pub-ery added around it (e.g. big screen TVs as well as a glass ceilinged conservatory-like area).

Looking Down Into the Conservatory

Passing through the main entrance on Welsh Row (duck otherwise you will bang your head) we were immediately confronted with a wall of sound from many people, mostly drinking. Eventually we found a staff member who directed us to the stairs at the back where we were shown to our small table overlooking the ground floor. The menu is full of the standard pub offerings divided into “Breakfasts and Brunch”, “Tapas & Starters” (unusually), “Sandwiches & Light Lunches”, “Gourmet Burgers”, “Mains”, “The Grill”, “Sides”, “Desserts”, “Coffees” and “Teas”. Other than the Tapas, no real surprises. Prices were generally quite reasonable.

Our Table

To start with, we ordered “Wild Mushroom and Tarragon Arancini” (with truffle mayo, £7.50) because (a) I am a sucker for arancini and (b) I love truffles and mushrooms. This was delivered to our table after considerable delay. The 5 arancini in the serving dish were much smaller than expected, quite dry, and bland beyond belief though the truffle may did help to add a bit of a flavour.


Next up we both opted to try the pies as these are a good indicator of the talent (or not) of a kitchen. we had to, again, wait some time before this was delivered. I opted for the “Beef, Mushroom and Ale Pie” (with honeyed root vegetables, buttered greens and hand cut chips, £14.50). The pie crust was quite thick and the pie generally quite dry saved by a good amount of gravy which was quickly sopped up. The vegetables were quite good, not overcooked and simply prepared. The chips were simply amazing: Perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy, not overcooked, on the inside with a light smattering of sea salt.

Beef, Mushroom and Ale Pie

My companion opted for the “Cheddar Cheese, Potato and Onion Pie” (with honeyed root vegetables, buttered greens, onion gravy and hand cut chips, £13) which she reported as being bland and fairly dry with an excessive amount of crust.

Cheddar Cheese, Potato and Onion Pie

Though we were getting a full by this point, I had noticed a nearby table, and others, had ordered onion rings which looked quite tasty so we put in an order for these as well (£4). When they eventually arrived, they looked quite impressive but were, again, batter heavy but thankfully not as greasy as you might have expected. Nicely they also tasted of onion which is not always a given.

Onion Rings

We were now done with no room left for dessert. Our total came to a reasonable £46.90, including a cider and a soft drink, but with no service included (though there was an option to enter this on the credit card machine). The service was not great but they were incredibly busy with not a spare table to be found.

Disappointing boring, bland pub food in a busy old-world pub. It is Ok but nothing special. There are much better options for pub food in the area such as the much smaller, but nicer, Black Lion opposite.

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2022-11-12

Cuisine: Pub

Address: 26 Welsh Row, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 5ED ENGLAND

Location: Cheshire (England) - Nantwich



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