It has been many years since I have dined at Oddfellows – only once in fact since I left, after opening it back in 2008.
So it was good to hear from General Manager Lauren recently when she invited me in for a food review. Oddfellows is still the magnificent venue that we had created all those years ago. It has stood the test of time very well – and so many of those fabulous quirky features are still intact. The Alice in Wonderland tearoom was always my favourite and the upside-down table and chairs still hang down miraculously from the ceiling.
There are so many things to marvel at Oddfellows – this must be the most instagrammable venue in Chester, and much, further afield I would argue.
So, what can you do at Oddfellows?
Lots and lots of things! You can stay in one of their super-funky bedrooms (and indulge in their delicious breakfast), you can enjoy great cocktails at the bar tables with giant lamps, you can bask in the sunshine in the most fabulous secret garden, you can book a BBQ in the potting shed, you can get together with friends in the outside heated huts .. and you can enjoy casual all-day dining inspired by providence and seasonality. We’re IN for all of that!
On a chilly Tuesday evening in January – I met my better half in their busy bar – and duty manager Sean took us through the menu. This is my favourite kind of dining these days, very relaxed and informal with plenty of choice. Their new menu is jam packed with delicious sounding small plates, and Head Chef Nikki was in charge of our order – apart from the Truffle cheese hash browns, I’d had my eye on those for days!
Sean took us through to our semi-private table (nice touch guys!) and served a great bottle of red (Forge Mill Shiraz Cinsaut which was perfect) before bringing out a slate of sharing dishes which, quite frankly – I didn’t really want to share!
They’re not reinventing the wheel here – this menu is a crowd pleaser of dishes which we all love – Deep fried brie with spicy tomato relish, Hummus with pitta, Garlic & chilli whitebait and as mentioned those super-moreish Truffle cheese hash browns.
Nikki also sent out one of the main courses (if you are wanting the three course A La Carte dining experience), the Truffled corn fed chicken with onions, salsify, black garlic, hazelnut & baked potato sauce. We both absolutely loved this dish and I wouldn’t hesitate in going straight back in there and ordering it again!
Dessert was also great! We shared Nikki’s Signature chocolate opera gateaux and also the Caramelised milk tart with sourdough ice cream, both of which were totally lovely, but my personal favourite was that fabulous milk tart.
This new food direction at Oddfellows is an absolute winner for me – you can make of this menu whatever you want to – lots of great value, tasty sharing dishes for casual dining or a three course A La Carte experience if that’s what you’re looking for. Well done to Nikki and her team, we had a really great meal and we’ll be back very soon.