If there’s one thing I love more than food and cocktails it’s a bloody good tick list so I’m chuffed to announce that I have now crossed another item on my Festive Foodie Bucket List off (see also Festive Afternoon Tea at the Malmaison). So without further ado, let me tell you all about Christmas dinner Southern USA-style at Hickory’s Smokehouse in Chester…
The saying usually goes save the best ’til last but on this particular frosty afternoon in early December, it transpired to be quite the opposite. I say this because what was originally a little time-filling amuse-bouche turned out to be something I haven’t stopped hankering after since and that was a bacon, maple and banana shake boldly dubbed, ‘The King‘. The clash of sweet banana ice cream, whipped cream and the unique saltiness of bacon sprinkles was a combo created in milkshake heaven which I would highly implore you getting your chops around should the chance ever arise.
The theme of lip-smacking continued through the early stages of our festive three-courser with a starter that wasn’t actually on the Hickory’s Christmas menu but one we simply couldn’t resist. Drum roll please for the bubbling mini skillet of Hickory’s Garlic Dough Balls topped with molten BBQ sauce and melted cheese. Holy mackerel, these babies were freakin’ delicious, either as an appetizer for one or a bit of bitesize fun between four which is exactly what we did.
The reason for our seemingly sensible sharing was not in aid of any particular health-consciousness or respect for our waistlines – don’t worry, I haven’t been swapped with aliens. Our tact was purely to leave room for the Southern Fried Chicken with Honey Mustard Dip and the Wood Fired Smoked Sausage which also packed out our starter selection, both fresh off the alternative festive menu. The Southern Fried chicken fillets were perfectly tasty and tender, and came accompanied by a handful of delicious nacho chips for extra added crunch. I was assured that the smoked sausage were equally good albeit not what we had expected at all. At a time when pigs in blankets are commonplace, this dish of sliced sausage and garnish was a seasonal renegade.
In the name of honest and transparent restaurant reviewing, I’ve got to admit that things did go a bit Pete Tong post-starters. Around the table we ordered the Mac ‘n’ Cheese and the ‘16 Hour Smoked Texas Style Brisket‘ from the standard menu and two of the Southern Style Roast Turkey from the Christmas list. I believe the Mac ‘n’ Cheese was what one might describe as meh (translation: pretty average) and for £14.50, it doesn’t take a genius to calculate that a small portion of super fatty brisket meat with no sauce in sight and a few measly fries was a tad unjust.
After a bit of a Christmas pantomime around a long wait for the two Southern Style Turkey Roasts, the dishes coming out cold and then another lengthy stretch while our meals were remade, we eventually got two piping hot plates of delicious food. After chowing my way through a generous portion of turkey, beautifully seasoned potatoes, some seasonal veg and a sage & onion biscuit, all drowned in a gorgeous white gravy, I’m happy to say equilibrium was restored. As far as roast-dinners-that-aren’t-mums go, I really really enjoyed this one and will definitely be adding it to my foodie calendar next year again.
After harping on about the Egg Nog Tart since bloody September, I’m not so pleased to admit that we dodged the Hickory’s dessert menu in favour of something sweet from the Chester Christmas markets but I guess there’s always next year, right? A perfect excuse to return for another one of those milkshakes if you ask me.