RESTAURANT REVIEW: The Bird in Hand – Chester Handbooks


Impressive modern dining in Guilden Sutton

Nestled down Church Lane, Guilden Sutton, The Bird In Hand pub has perched for longer than this old bird can remember. Recently refurbished, renovated and interior lovingly restored by the owners, whilst award winning chef, Alex Hickson has breathed new life into the crowd pleaser of a menu. 

We parked up right next to the historic building (more parking available in the church car park close by), while I, in full Bridget Jones mode, tried to barge through locked patio doors to the side of the pub, much to the amusement of the animated diners within. My embarrassment melted away on entering via the roadside doors, so warm was the welcome from Stavros Nicolaides and his obliging team. Stavros, a dynamic and charismatic restaurant manager, who, perhaps thanks to his experience as a lobster trawlerman, certainly runs a tight ship! In seconds we were efficiently ensconced in the cosy bar, menus and perfectly chilled aperitifs in hands. The modern yet inviting dining room, twinkled invitingly, lit by its Tiffany lamps and before long we were seated at a table of our choice, enjoying the leisurely, relaxed atmosphere. Even though it was mid-afternoon, business was already brisk with several tables occupied. 

The menu announced itself to be “expressive modern dining”. Spoiler alert; more like “impressive modern dining” as we later discovered. Helpfully guided by chef Alex who maintains a reassuring presence on the restaurant floor, we wisely made our choices from the carefully curated selection of Modern British dishes, all reasonably priced.

My creamy stilton garlic mushrooms starter on ciabatta arrived oozing with loveliness whilst husband’s chipolatas came glazed in gorgeous honey and mustard with a delicious mustard mayonnaise dip; his only lament, he could have eaten even more of them! Had he done so however, we never would have managed what was to follow. His ‘Desperate Dan’ sized portion of braised beef short ribs; braised for hours, was enveloped in a rich red wine stock worthy of special mention.

My succulent salmon served with clams, saut├ęd potatoes, fresh greens and a langoustine bisque more than matched expectations. Next came dessert, not having a sweet tooth, I was tempted by the cheese board. However, I was uncharacteristically drawn towards the white chocolate and Baileys cheesecake and when it came, looking pretty as a picture, I strangely managed to wolf it down! (note to self: invest in some Bridget style big pants!) Of course, my husband chose the sticky toffee pudding, declaring it to be one of the best he’d had!

Not being the designated driver, I enjoyed more than a sip of Chablis from the wine list and husband wants to return by taxi next time to try the Argentinian Malbec. Fast becoming legendary, Sunday lunch at The Bird in Hand, gets booked up in advance. Chef Alex has won previous prestigious accolades for his Sunday lunch from the Northwich Guardian, voted for by the public, and we are going to secure our table without delay… after all, a bird in the hand…!