The Fox, Haslington

The Fox, 58 Crewe Rd, Haslington, Crewe CW1 5QZ. www.egorestaurants.co.uk

This week’s review is a little closer to home.

When growing up, Sandbach and the surrounding towns didn’t have much to offer in terms of places to eat but these days things have picked up a little. South Cheshire is now home to some of my favourite street food traders so the demand is clearly there for a bit of culinary excellence in these sleepy Cheshire towns. And considering the number of new housing estates going up, demand is only ever going to increase!

So when James at Ego Pubs got in touch to invite Sophie’s Scran to review the newly established The Fox in Haslington, I was happy to take one for the team. Here’s what I thought.

The Refurb

Overall the place looks great. Stunning, in fact.

There have been a few layout changes but the most striking is the open kitchen and brand new bar. You can watch the chefs as they work to get the food out on time as the serving pass is right before your eyes. A nice touch that I think keeps everybody on their toes.

The decor is lovely. Just how I’d imagine a trendy, well-travelled Grandma would decorate their luxurious home. Traditional, comfortable seats and nods to the Mediterranean throughout with books, exotic plants and trinkets, Parque flooring, patterned tiles and mismatched fabrics. It really is quite beautiful.

It’s finished well and I absolutely love the addition of the floor to ceiling window opposite the kitchen and the room towards the back which feels a little more ‘snug’.

The Food

To start, three of us shared the Mezze Platter and had some bread and olives for the table. I can’t really fault it, the hummus was lovely and the bread was fresh, warm and soft. I’d perhaps like a little more salad on the sharing platter but overall we enjoyed it. The star of the show is the crispy fried halloumi cheese… It’s light and crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Perfection. But be warned, the lamb kofta has a spicy kick!

My friend is a soup fanatic, so naturally, she ordered the soup of the day; a classic carrot and coriander that had a warming curry kick. Served with fresh bread and loads of butter!

One of my favourite pasta dishes of all time is king prawn and chilli linguine. Back in the day, when Piccolino’s was good, they used to serve the best version of this dish. It was introduced to me by my Grandad at Piccolino Chester and ever since, when I see it on a menu, I have to have it!

The Fox’s version is almost there. The prawns were cooked to perfection and the pasta was just al dente – which is great. The portion size was a little on the generous side, but the main issue was with the level of spice. In my experience, “with chilli” shouldn’t ever mean “blow your head off” but on this visit, I do think someone in the kitchen got a little trigger happy with the chilli oil.

Unfortunately, the chilli, therefore, overpowered the dish. My friend ordered the same, but couldn’t hack the spice (it was HOT) so she let them know when they came to ask how our meals were. The manager was great, he apologised and within minutes she had a fresh version omitting the chilli and she loved it.

The seafood special of sea bream, mash potato, Tenderstem broccoli and a herby sauce was fantastic. The fish was grilled to perfection and the veggies had a great bite to them!

Finally, the slow-cooked lamb tagine was rich and tasty but the portion size was absolutely huge! There was a mountain of couscous and bread too which made it difficult to finish following a starter too.

Overall the food at The Fox is fresh, tasty and portion sizes are generous without the need to order sides, especially if you have starters and bread which they seem to encourage! It’s not cheap, but for the price of each dish, you get a big portion and some dishes can be served smaller. Take it easy when ordering if you don’t want to be wasteful!

The Drinks

Decent lagers, an extensive wine list and some lovely cocktails – I think everyone will be happy with the drinks offering.

My friend also ordered a passionfruit pornstar Martini which she loved and I had a glass of Spanish Rioja which was stunning. The lads were content with their Estrella!

The Service

It was opening weekend AND Bank Holiday Monday but the service was friendly and efficient. And the chilli king prawn issue was dealt with very well indeed.

The Verdict

Overall, I’m looking forward to heading back to try their seafood specials, wine-pairings and PIZZA. I think Ego Pubs have transformed an otherwise derelict place into a great family-friendly pub that feels nice enough for a date night too.

It’s what Haslington has been waiting for, and finally, there is a decent place to eat in Haslington to rival Jimmy’s Chippy! 😉

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