THE Yard won me over, not once but twice!
I did my usual checking of the top restaurants on TripAdvisor that I haven’t been to before and hit upon The Yard – which came in 14th in their top 20.
I saw an ecstatic review of seared scallops followed by a delicious guinea fowl dish – and was sold!
Having travelled there with great expectations, imagine my disappointment when, having sat down, I discovered neither of these two mouth-watering gems feature on the menu any longer.
The charming waitress explained that the guinea fowl dish had gone but the recipe had been replicated with chicken. It was a reasonable answer but not the one I wanted to hear – the fantasy one where you are told the chef will rustle it up for you immediately!
Anyway, due to a chicken overload in the previous few days, I declined and went back to the menu in a semi sulk.
It wasn’t the best start to our dining experience, as I’m sure you will appreciate, but they won me round.
I opted for the king prawns with fresh tagliatelle in a very gently spiced delicious herby sauce. I think the menu described it as jalapeno but the chef’s hand gave the fiery beast the very lightest of touches. A bit more wouldn’t have been amiss.
It’s a family-run Italian restaurant – not one of those portion control chains – and so it was generously laced with plenty of plump and tasty king prawns. I could have eaten more of the deliciously coated tagliatelle but that’s because a) I was hungry and b) I am, by nature, greedier than I should be.
My vegetarian-erring wife Rebecca opted for pumpkin and sage tortellini, which sounded a bland and boring way to spend £13.50 to me. How wrong I was!
After the oohs, aaghs and mmmns which accompanied each mouthful, I capitulated and agreed to try a morsel.
I have to say, the sauce was delicious and who knew that pumpkin could be so divine? I still think it’s a bit dear for a veggie dish but it sure does taste good.
I had hoped to produce pictures of our ‘bella pasta’ but my phone decided to switch itself to blue tint mode and I lacked the expertise to get rid of it before our dinner went cold!
We rounded our pasta off with an almond and plum tart with milk ice cream.
It was seriously nice but, if it was a competition, I still prefer the full on ‘almondy’ punch of a good old English Bakewell.
The service was warm and attentive, without getting in your face, and I always like it when you ask for water and they don’t make a song and dance about some ‘Agua Divine’ at rip off prices.
There was a nice gentle buzz about the place when we called ‘early doors’ on Saturday night around 7ish but I suspect booking is essential if you want to go prime time.
It is commercially connected to The Boardroom cocktail lounge next door and we would have enjoyed a few drinks there if we’d had time to do so. Next time, definitely.
The Yard is handy at the top of City Road if you are coming to Chester by train – but you can usually find a parking space not too far away once restrictions have ended.
How it rated:
The Yard, 26 City Road, Chester CH1 3AE. Tel: 01244 325199
Ambience – 7/10
Service – 9/10
Food quality – 9/10
Children welcome – yes
Disabled access – yes
See full story in the Chester Leader