Apr 9 2008 by Peter Harvey, Midweek Visiter
Go West for fabulous food!
WEST Tower in Aughton has a proud reputation for its culinary excellence. Now, it is entering a new and exciting chapter of its success story under head chef Scott Gavin.
Scott, 28, joined the team six months ago and his latest menu is delighting existing customers and winning new admirers. The menu has a strong local influence and he delivers his creations with an equal emphasis on presentation and flavour. That’s not to say his dishes are fussy. Far from it. They are simple yet striking.
The starter menu is mouth-watering. The pan fried salmon topped with beetroot chutney and horseradish cream got our meal off to a cracking start, while the pigeon with parsnip risotto, cassis syrup and coffee foam also got top marks.
Scott’s careful balance of colours, textures and flavours worked well.
Other favourites include a wonderfully light goats cheese ravioli and a sweet pea soup with king crab tortellini and crispy pancetta. The soup, in particular, is worth trying.
For the main course I went for beef fillet with mustard mash potato, sauteed spinach and wild mushrooms. It was exquisite and the gravy was finger-licking good.
The apricot glazed rump of lamb with wild garlic and fondant potato was equally good, while other diners raved about the slow-cooked spiced pork belly with grilled tiger prawns, tomato and chorizo chutney.
Customers spent a minute or so admiring their dishes as they arrived, eyes wide open with astonishment and anticipation. Always a good sign.
Main courses vary in price from £14.95 to £24.50 which, for the quality of the food, is arguably good value.
West Tower was built in 1785 and is the former home of shipping magnate Lord Alfred Holt who could see his ships sailing in and out of Liverpool Bay, carrying exotic cargoes from the Far East. On a clear day the view across Downholland, Altcar and Formby to the Irish Sea is spectacular.
One of the West Tower’s signature desserts is the assiette of fairground treats. It follows the success of the school dinners combination featuring mini jam roly poly, etc.
The latest dessert is a rollercoaster of nostalgic indulgences such as toffee apples, doughnuts, candy floss, popcorn and fudge. Each is presented in mini form, enough for a mouthful and not too heavy. Great for sharing. Other desserts include chocolate souffle with mint chocolate ice cream, and lemon panacotta with orange curd cream.
The only criticism I would make, and it’s a minor one, is that some of the fancy plates could be replaced by simple white crockery. The food itself, though, is surely worthy of consideration from Michelin inspectors.
The West Tower has a reputation for being a posh place which can put off some would-be customers. Posh? No. Classy? Yes.
The decor is fresh and the dress style is smart and comfortable. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, the setting is relaxed and comfortable, and the quality of the food is simply top class.
An evening visit could set you back £40 to £50-a-head with drinks (there is a cheaper early bird menu) but for a special night out featuring some of the best cooking you’ll ever experience, there can be few, if any, better places in the North West than West Tower.
l West Tower, Mill Lane, Aughton: 01695-423328 or visit www.westtower.co.uk