It was fourth time lucky for my partner and me when we dined at Dantes the Saturday before last.
We’d actually booked a table at Truffles, also on Preston Road, for 7.30pm, but when we turned up shortly after 6pm for pre-dinner drinks (after reading on the website that it’s open all afternoon), we were disappointed to find the place all shut up.
I’ve called Truffles since and was told that we were the only booking that night, so they only opened later on.
The Bay Horse was our next port of call, which I’ve heard good things about, but that was booked up for a birthday party.
On to the Beaumont via taxi, where noisy customers were enjoying a football match – not a particularly romantic setting.
So finally, we sat down at one of the high bar tables on comfortable fabric bar stools, and enjoyed some much-needed drinks at Dantes.
We managed to book a table for an hour’s time, so enjoyed sampling a few beverages before the waitress showed us to our table.
About 15 seconds later, another waitress came over to take our order!
We panic-ordered some bread and dip (balsamic vinegar and olive oil) and olives with feta cheese to nibble on as we requested a little longer to choose our main courses.
I later noticed a choice of appetizers, from which you can select three as a sharing starter, which included pâté, mussels, meatballs, prawns and cured meats – but it was too late for that.
The bread was warm and came in the form of French stick slices as well as pitta-style, and the dip, olives and feta were all very tasty and fresh. But it probably wasn’t worth filling up on.
For my starter, I went for what I expected to be an unusual combination of goat’s cheese on a crumpet.
In fact, it turned out to be, to quote Peter Kay, a taste sensation.
It was topped with honey, which added a subtle sweetness, and served with a red onion marmalade and rocket, also suitable additions.
The crumpet was soft and moist and the goat’s cheese had melted slightly into the little holes, so it was scrumptious and indulgent.
Jack went for baked mushroom and black pudding with bacon and cheese, which he also thoroughly enjoyed.
The main courses were just as excellent; duck breast for yours truly, and steak pudding across the table.
My duck was cooked pink as ordered, and was juicy and tender, absolutely delicious.
It was served with veg, roast potatoes (which were more like giant chips), and a pungent sweet cherry and red wine jus, which was mouth-watering, and a good match for the duck.
The steak pudding had a soft, suet case and was filled with chunky, melt-in-the-mouth meat, with mushrooms, veg, fries and a rich gravy.
I was slightly disappointed that I felt so full, as I noticed that Frederick’s ice cream made an appearance on the dessert menu, but I was certainly satisfied with what I had eaten.
Just a couple of complaints though; I ordered a glass of red wine with my meal and somehow, two waitresses ended up bringing two glasses over on separate occasions.
The second asked ‘do you want this one anyway?’ even though I had explained I already had one and had hardly touched it, so I declined her offer.
On checking the bill when I got home however, I discovered that we’d been charged for both glasses.
We were also informed that there would be live music from 9pm, but by the time we left at around 10pm, there had been no sign of that.
After everything we’d been through just to get a good meal that night though, we were generally very happy with our experience at Dantes, and will certainly be back in future.
The bill, minus the drinks from the bar at the start, came to just shy of £65.
Name: Dantes at the Halfway House
Address: 470 Preston Road, Clayton-le-Woods, PR6 7JB
Contact: 01772 334477