After attending the relaunch party at Duttons Chester a couple of weeks ago – and listening to a member of staff explain her favourite dishes on their fabulous new menus, I couldn’t wait to dine there with my better half.
And we did just that last night. New Duttons is gorgeous – and can you believe this super sexy refurb which started at the beginning of the year took this firm Chester favourite into its 21st year?
JW Lees has owned and operated Duttons as a café bar for 21 years having converted Dutton’s wine shop in 1999. The wine shop, Dutton’s Wine Merchant was bought from Piers Dutton when there was no one left in the family to run the business.
So – the all-new Dutton’s is a lovely space, but none of the actual structure has changed which is a good thing, as I really do love the cosy corners hiding throughout the venue. The new décor is a little ‘Ivy-esque’. It’s much lighter than it was before, and has been brought bang up to date by a very talented design team. And the quality of the food definitely matches the quality of its sophisticated new look.
Dutton’s is the perfect after-work place – a stylish restaurant and bar set in the gorgeous setting of Godstall Lane, the prettiest little alley in the city. Thursday evenings aren’t packed, giving the staff a bit more time to spend with their customers, but there is plenty of buzz and a great atmosphere. Assistant Manager Matt is obviously as pleased-as-punch with his new restaurant, as indeed they all are – and we were delighted to meet some more members of the team. Our waitress Kenya was an absolute dream, a student from Liverpool who has graduated as a Criminologist and settled in Chester – and also head over heels in love with her job. We also met Kieran the Chef in a bar after dinner and had a great foodie chat with him too …
… and after much foodie chat with Kenya, we decided on our order. I absolutely love sharing dishes over a good bottle of red, so we decided to go for three of their sharing plates along with one main course dish – also to share. The new menus at Dutton’s are perfect for grazing – and you can mix them up just as you fancy. We chose the Steamed gyoza dumplings filled with oriental vegetables with plum sauce, Salt & pepper squid with sweet chilli dipping sauce & griddled lime plus Crispy tortillas with soured cream, jalapenos, smashed avocado & house salsa from the small plates menu. All of them were totally delicious. This food is fresh, very tasty and great for sharing. The presentation is spot on, and its all really good value, especially the Prix Fixe at £15 for 2 courses and £18 for three.
We also ordered the Pumpkin & sage tortelloni with roast broccoli florets, chopped chestnuts, crispy sage and rapeseed oil. This vegan dish seriously hit the spot and was the star of the show for me. I love all of these flavors, especially the pumpkin with the chestnuts, and there were plenty of them too. Absolutely delicious, I’ll be back for this dish again and again.
Desserts were also divine – we went for the Baked waffle with warm butterscotch sauce & vanilla ice-cream and Chef’s homemade (lemon) cheesecake of the day.
I can sum up Dutton’s very easily – this is not a ‘special occasion’ restaurant but more of an ‘every occasion’ restaurant. There are high tables for groups, bar tables, restaurant tables and super-chic Parisian-style tables too. And we especially love the new Garden Room for events & parties.
Dutton’s serves food morning, noon and night – their outside space is oh-so-gorgeous (and very instagrammable), and I can’t wait to try their breakfast and brunch menu while sitting under the heaters in that gorgeous little lane.