Mal Morris goes Cosmopolitan (literally) with his latest venture
How many really fine dining restaurants are there in Chorley town centre, we mused, as you do, as we took our seats at the Cosmopolitan, opened just four weeks ago.
“D’you mean posh nosh,” your reviewer’s research assistant wants to know? “Yes, elegant surroundings, top class food.”
“Mmm. There are a few in the outskirts ... but the town centre? I can count them on the prongs of one fork.” She has a knack of staying in context.
“Do you mean an ordinary four-pronged fork or one of those fish forks which only has three?”I asked, quite reasonably I thought.
“One of those ... oh, just choose a starter, OK?
Your assistant has already chosen, a herb crusted goats’ cheese on green leaves, cherry tomato and shallot salad. I have a salad capresse with basil vinaigrette, vine tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
They are both delicious – light, fresh, just-right tangy dressings, tasty tomatoes, but it’s clear the assistant has scored as her warm goats’ cheese, I’m allowed to sample a miniscule amount, is tastier than my mozzarella.
So the initial hunger pangs sated we have time to ponder further in the stylish surroundings.
The story of the restaurants which have occupied 30a St George’s Street in Chorley down the years is an intriguing one. It’s a lovely spot. Fine red brick buildings, elegant, enclosed patio space at the front, an interior both spacious and intimate ... hang on, I’m sounding like an estate agent.
Restaurants have opened up, and then faded away. The signs are Cosmopolitan deserves to be a different story.
For a start, cosmopolitan it certainly is. Across the room a teenage lad is tucking into burger and chips. So that’s English. His mum and dad are on international tapas.
We scan the attractions of Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Rome and the ‘Ottoman’ grill. My Barbary duck, also known as Muscovy duck, extends the geography lesson even further. I’m warned that it will be pink, and I order it as there can be no other way to eat it.
The six delicious pink pieces have a nice herb crust and a char-grill taste. They nestle in half an inch of gravy which has hints of orange and fennel, and lie atop thin strips of a complimenting lemony/aniseed flavour of celeriac. A ring of thinly sliced dauphine style potatoes rounds off a perfect main course.
Catalan provides the inspiration for the assistant’s fish stew. It’s piping hot on a warmed plate, and on delicate inspection proves to include scallops, prawns, salmon and one or two more hard to indentify species embraced by a cured tomatoes and leeks based sauce, with a flat garlic and herb dumpling on top. It’s fresh and packed with taste.
We had spotted a Merlot on the list, and could have had a Chilean bottle at a touch over £13, but went for an £18 bottle of Italian Voga ... and here’s a twist. It comes in a tall, straight bottle with minimal markings, has a large plastic screw-on top which reveals a cork stopper. Once emptied, we can take it home and use as required.
The wine itself, on first tasting, is a touch sharp, but after the supreme self-discipline of allowing it to stand untouched and breathing away nicely for a full 10 minutes, is much softer and tastier.
There’s just enough left to enhance the savouring of a raspberry infused crusty Catalan crème brulee for me, and an intriguing homemade tiramisu for the self-appointed world expert on that very subject.
It’s the kind – with generous layers of cream over a liqueur infused sponge - which forces you to eat it in little quarter spoon sized nibbles the longer to put off the inevitable scraping of the dish ... which signals the paying of a very reasonable £69 bill.
Name: Cosmopolitan Restaurant - wine and cocktail bar
Address: 30a St George’s Street, Chorley
Hours: Restaurant, 11.30am to 2.30pm. Orders taken at 5.50pm. Cocktail bar, Weekdays open untill 1am, and Friday and Saturday, untill 2am.