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Harden's survey result
“A beautiful building in a beautiful setting with a beautiful kitchen garden, and beautiful food… just fabulous!”. Mark Birchall’s “outstanding” two-year-old occupies a “mediaeval manor house adapted for the 21st Century” to the north of Liverpool and is “excellent in every way, from start to finish”. After the approach down a long driveway, “an ancient stone arch holds a door of ecclesiastical proportions, leading onto to a panelled reception. From here you are led into the lounge (proper fire places, more intricate carvings and Latin inscriptions) to be served from the charcuterie bar as you wait (black pudding parcel; smoked eel basket with edible flowers; cod’s roe mousse with caviar and the most beautiful crackers ever…)”. Once in the dining room proper (a very modern space), “everything coming out of the kitchen is exquisite”: thoroughly “deserving of its two stars” and oft-compared with L’Enclume (even if the food’s “not quite as cheffy and messed about with”). “What Mark Birchall can do with carrots and turnips is just remarkable” and “symptomatic of the ethos: fresh, simple ingredients taken to a higher level by the chef’s craft”. “Integral to the experience” is a “front of house team fully on the top of its game; and a team of sommeliers passionate about their work, all dedicated to creating the ultimate dining experience”. It doesn’t all take itself too seriously either: the vibe is “fun and convivial”. Top Tip – don’t miss a jaunt to the cheese room, and take a stroll around the gardens if you have the time.
“In such a short time, what Mark Birchall has created is remarkable” at his year-old smash hit – already fêted with two Michelin stars (the second was added in October 2018). “Many restaurants at this level can become temples of gastronomy, where one has to be hushed and awestruck, but there is none of that here: staff and customers are all at their ease and it’s striking just how comfortable and relaxing the set-up is”. “Several of the staff have come with Mark from L’Enclume, so the service is top-notch”. “The dining area is a brand new extension to the old Hall: a very modern, light space. The kitchen is open, and behind the chefs you can see the kitchen garden that supplies some of their home-grown produce”. “Freed of the Rogan stable, Mark Birchall’s food has settled into his own rhythm and, arguably, has greater focus than it did at L’Enclume”. “There’s a selection of three-, five and eight-course tasting menus and dishes are perfection”: “precise, clean, perfectly balanced flavours with a modern approach” (involving brining, curing and baking on-site). Comparisons are often made with other top kitchens: e.g. “enjoyed it more than recent meals at L’Enclume and just as good as the Clove Club”. “The wine list is a fascinating collection and the sommelier team are very helpful”. Complaints? “Portions are sometimes a bit small”.
“A new star is born in the North West” at ex-L’Enclume head chef, Mark Birchall’s new restaurant-with-rooms, which opened just prior to our survey in March 2017 and instantly inspired a good number of reports saying that “so far, it shows amazing promise”; and, at a regional level, “is a gamechanger for West Lancashire (with Liverpool just 10 miles to the south)”. The main building – a Grade II-listed gentry house – is “already lovely” and reviewers “can’t wait to see new developments on the site unfold” as “The Barn (a 65-seater, providing more casual dining, as well as a small dairy, bakery, curing room and mini-brewery) and the planting of the large kitchen garden is completed”. “Service is full of care and love”; if “some of the staff are recognisable from L’Enclume, so is the faultless food”, which is “delivered with the style and panache” one would expect (“open only a few weeks and already some the best food I have ever eaten”). “The cheese room is a fun addition” too. “All in all, it’s an exceptional experience (and one more relaxed than L’Enclume too)”. STOP PRESS – at the end of October 2017, The Barn opened.
Simon Rogan’s one-time righthand man Mark Birchall (former exec chef at L’Enclume) sets out to open his own restaurant-with-rooms at this Grade II-listed Lancastrian gentry house. An opening date of 1 February, 2017 has been set for his 50-seater, glass-walled dining room (with adjacent cheese and wine rooms) and a more informal eatery in a nearby barn is pencilled in for later in the year.
Moor Hall, near the ancient market town of Ormskirk in West Lancashire, opened in March 2017. The impressive Grade II* listed gentry house, owned in partnership by chef Mark Birchall and investors Andy and Tracey Bell, was transformed into a contemporary restaurant with rooms after a sensitive restoration and rebuild project. Moor Hall was crowned ‘National Restaurant of the Year’ at Restaurant Magazine’s Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards in June 2019, with its achievement of #1 in the scheme’s top 100 list. Square Meal also named it the Best UK Restaurant in September 2019.
Awarded a second Michelin star in October 2018, the 50-seat Restaurant’s menu showcases Mark’s own style of modern British cuisine, wherever possible using produce grown on the five-acre Moor Hall site, or from local suppliers, and reflecting the broad culinary experience he has garnered over the last 15 years. A second, more informal dining room, The Barn, opened in October 2017, and the Head Chef is Nathan Cornwell. The 65seat space is located adjacent to the main house, with a charcuterie and curing room and a small dairy on the ground floor.
TYPICAL DISHES – THE RESTAURANT Smoked eel, potato, fermented garlic, flowers Raw langoustine, radish and nasturtium Crown prince, cured yolk, mushroom pickle Turnip and crab, anise hyssop and sunflower seeds Baked carrots, Doddington, chrysanthemum and sea buckthorn Holstein Friesian, barbecued celeriac, mustard and shallot Turbot cooked on the bone, bay shrimp, salsify and sea herbs Aynhoe Park fallow deer, beetroot, kale and elderberry Gingerbread, roots and pine Wild blackberries, buttermilk, verbena and begonia Garden apples, woodruff, birch sap and apple marigold
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
Talented chef patron, Mark Birchall, creates delicate produce driven menus inspired by our exceptional surroundings and home grown ingredients.
Mark was born in Chorley, Lancashire and trained at Runshaw College. He was most recently Executive Chef of 2 Michelin Star L’Enclume in Cumbria and won the Roux Scholarship, the premier competition for chefs in the UK in 2011. He also worked at El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant owned by the Roca Brothers, twice voted the world’s best restaurant.
Mark’s menus showcase his own style of modern British cuisine, wherever possible using produce grown on the 5 acre Moor Hall site or from local suppliers, and reflecting the broad culinary experience he has garnered over the last 15 years.
THE PRIVATE DINING ROOM
The private dining room is a cosy space, with views out over our exquisite grounds and seats 7 to 14 guests, perfect for that private function or intimate celebration.
Moor Hall Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Food superb as ever and sommelier brilliant. The only things that jarred were having to wait in the bar for almost an hour before being able to sit down at the table (50 mins after the booking time) and the very slow pace of the service. Don’t remember it being so glacial previously."
Prescot Rd, Aughton, L39 6RT
|Wednesday||6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑1:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:30 pm|