If you’re up to date with my Piccolino, Chester review you’ll know that as I was typing it, I was waiting for my Mum to pick me up and whiz me away from the office, towards The Hollies in Little Budworth, Cheshire for one of our lunch dates. As you know, I’m a massive fan of their ‘59 at The Hollies‘ evening offering and I know from experience that their day time operation is just as tasty so what better way to cram in some more mother-daughter QT?!
So after spending the morning in work and then 40 minutes in the car to arrive at our destination, I was feeling hangry AF – like, hella hangry – so you’ll have to forgive me for the lack of perfectly focused close up shots this time. With my mind on my stomach and my stomach on my mind, I resorted to Instagram Stories to document my dining experience so the snaps don’t really do the food much justice but let’s just roll with it…
When I’m daytime dining, I do tend to stick to a boring old bottle of h2o (I mean, you’ve gotta stay hydrated kids) but with the Fri-yay feeling flowing and a complete lack of will power, we decided to indulge in something from the Iced Frappe menu. My Mum went for Strawberries & Cream and I went for Chocolate and I’ve got to be honest, I think these guys are selling themselves short in dubbing these drinks ‘iced frappes’ – they’re bloody majestic milkshakes is what they are!
(We did add a shot of Amaretto to ours because you know how I like to pimp my shakes if there isn’t a dessert cocktail on the menu to catch my eye).
We perused the lunchtime menu and the specials board but as longstanding Hollie’s regulars, this was just a token gesture or force of habit because we both knew what we wanted. In fact, we had known for the two weeks we’d had our little sojourn scheduled. So Steak & Onion Pie and The H Burger ordered, we set about sippin’ our shakes and waiting patiently for that glorious moment when you see the waiter(ess) approaching with your food.
The one (and possibly only) criticism I have of The Hollies restaurant is that you can wait a pretty long time for your food to arrive. Okay, less of a criticism and just a little something-to-think-about because I guess fresh, homemade food takes its sweet time and I suppose it’s not their fault they’re always so damn popular. Basically, if you’re in a rush, The Hollies isn’t the place to grab a quick bite but if you’re after something wholesome, piping hot and always impeccable then it’s more than worth the wait.
The Steak & Onion Pie I had ordered was as delicious as ever and free of mushrooms which is a benefit from my anti-mushie point of view. As should be the way with pies, you do get served a generous, hearty slab of tender meat, buttery pastry and a jug of gravy to drown it in. It came accompanied by handcooked chunky chips and I asked for a ramekin of garlic mayo on the side because my addiction to garlic is REAL.
I was reliably informed by my Mum that her burger was pretty much perfect and the almost sweet, seed-scattered, toasted bun got particularly enthusiastic praise. Oh and the best thing? Most of the stuff on the menu can be purchased in the adjacent (and award-winning) farm shop, which (not so) coincidentally had also just opened the doors to The Hollies Christmas Barn while we were there.
Our annual trip to The Hollies Christmas Barn is almost more obligatory than oxygen by now. As soon as October comes around and the festive decor is up in the barn, we’re there, ready to empty our purses in exchange for all that is glitter and gold. The foodie side of the farm shop is always an Aladdin’s cave of local produce, independent brands and artisan lines that we just can’t resist mooching through either.
Catch things like Slabs crisps, craft beers, more gins than you can imagine, cheese for days, locally sourced meat for weeks and all manner of condiments, biscuits and premium frozen fodder. This is definitely the kind of ‘Hollies’ that you’re going to want to deck your halls, cupboards and fridges with this season.