Every now and then, you find a quirky little place that makes you wonder why you don’t venture off in to the hills more often. And the Peacock Room definitely has quirks in abundance, from the crystal cruise-ship chandeliers, rescued in the 90s, to the ornately carved wooden fittings with a distinctly middle eastern feel. All this in a big old stone country house on the outskirts of Rochdale that used to host wild parties back in the day. If those walls could speak. On the food front there’s 2 AA Rosettes earned by their modern British menu, which changes every six weeks or so. New head chef, Dave Broderick, has recently taken over the reins and is looking to continue that tradition of quality, seasonal ingredients; so when I heard the menu was having its latest rejig, it was about time to get acquainted with the place.
With a name like The Peacock Room you’d be within your rights to expect some fervently vivid dishes to emerge from the kitchen, and there was plenty of that to come, but we started with the more sober greys of a mushroom consomme and a golden brown arancini ball. Any blandness in palette was made up for in richness of palate though. The piping hot shot of fungus, like a little mushroom macchiato washing down perfectly that crisp, gooey ball of rice.
From here on in it all got a lot more vibrant, first with pert plump scallops amongst capers, sultanas and delicious paper thin slices of pickled cauliflower. The porcelain white of halibut fillet was next for a splash of colour, a pinenut crumble, broad beans and chorizo also adding crisp texture and umami to the dish. The slight sweetness and fruit of the Terra de Asorie Albarino balanced the saltiness of the dish brilliantly.
Our final savoury course was lamb loin laid upon wild garlic, peas and anchovies. There was plenty of gravy to moisten but in truth I thought the lamb could’ve been a touch pinker. Probably my favourite plate of the lot followed though, with the cryptically named blackcurrant and liquorice. Taking its name from the boiled sweet, a childhood favourite of mine and no doubt many, the dish combined tart spots of fruit, and blackcurrant parfait with liquorice hints. It looked magnificent too, a true feast for the senses.
Not to be upstaged, our final dish the fig tart tatin was another pleasure, decorated with a crisp caramel straw and lemon verbena ice cream, it was the sort of thing you wish you could both savour and eat whole at the same time.
It would be easy to concentrate on the decor, and there is plenty to be said for a visit merely on that basis, but the food deserves the drive out of town too. As it happened on the night I left my camera there and had to return the next day and enjoy a drink in their sunny grounds, a very happy mistake. A picture perfect setting with food and drink to match and a team that’ll make you feel right at home. So if you’re after a taste of decadence, with fine dining in an environment where you’ll feel it belongs, the Peacock Room is well worth a gander.