AFTER 10 months of hard slog, steadily ramping up the weekly mileage running around Chester and Ellesmere Port, my body finally staged a protest and something very painfully went twang in my left leg.
The fact that this had occurred only five weeks away from my end goal, the Amsterdam Marathon 2017, to say I was feeling dejected, deflated and down was an understatement.
The encouraging words and treatment from a physio in Chester had helped a little, but yet again it was a case of dad to the rescue, with a call saying: “Come on, lets all go out for something to eat – is The Chester Fields ok?”
Over the years the answer to that question has always been a resounding ‘yes’.
The converted farm building eaterie, in Bridge Trafford, near Chester, is only a short distance from my parents’ and where myself and my wife live, so has become the restaurant of choice for us Barnett’s when in the mood for food.
As well as being part of ‘Operation cheer Jon up’ it was also my mum and dad’s 46th wedding anniversary.
We were taken through to the main restaurant and we settled into conversation, firstly about the big injury, then my parents’ big day and also touched upon the latest rantings of one President Donald Trump.
After a couple of minutes that topic proved all too much and we all set about the task of choosing our meals from the extensive menu.
There was a quiet chatter from the tables around us and given it had gone 8pm on a Monday evening, there were quite a few eating and an equal number enjoying a drink in the bar area, sectioned off with an ultra modern see-through fire place.
The waitress returned and took our order and somehow I managed to resist the urge to comfort eat, ordering the homemade falafel, with hot and spicy sauce and the fillet of seabass, with a side of new potatoes.
My mum opted for the soup of the day, which on this occasion was cauliflower cheese, and the fish and chips. My dad opted for the fishcake to start, followed by ham and eggs, a 10oz gammon steak.
After an 11th hour change of mind my wife plumped for the grilled halloumi, with sweet chilli caramel and ‘The herbivore’ – falafel burger - as her main.
More top level political analysis of Trump was thankfully broken by the arrival of our starters – all of which looked extremely appetizing.
My falafel starter was beautiful and the hot and spicy sauce was just that – leaving a tingle on the lips.
Everyone else reported back positively about the entrees, with my mum saying it was one of the nicest soups she had tasted for a long time.
My seabass arrived charred skin up, sitting pretty on a bed of veg.
The texture and flavour were top drawer and the hot buttery potatoes the perfect partner.
My wife’s veggie burger was huge and came complete with a generous number of thin and crispy fries.
I managed to snaffle a few when she wasn’t looking – only for the purpose of reporting back obviously!! I can confirm they were good.
My mum did battle with the Moby Dick-esque fish on her plate and the chunkiest of chunky chips. Again I managed to swipe one and can confirm they were also good. Really good.
The gammon looked delicious and judging by how quickly my dad cleared his plate, the taste obviously matched the presentation.
Given I had steered clear of the burger options, I was persuaded to get a sweet and chose the mighty sticky toffee pudding option.
Nine times out of 10 this is my go-to dessert and it didn’t disappoint – it was immense and single handedly helped me forget about the months of training and picking up an injury at the business end of proceedings.
Again the food and atmosphere did not disappoint and was the perfect place to celebrate my parents’ anniversary and also to cheer me up.
And as for the running – I am back slowly building up to decent distances thanks to the help of Danny ‘the magician’ physio.
The Chester Fields, Sandfield Farm, Chester Road, Chester. Tel: 01244 303100
Food quality: 10/10
Children welcome: Yes
Disabled access: Yes
See full story in the Chester Leader