Michelle and Christian Ewen pay a visit to Mobberley and dine at The Church Inn, which has been voted the best pub in the country.

BATHED in the glow of candlelight, we sip our Sixty Clicks Shiraz and look out onto a rain-drenched Mobberley that vibrates with colour.

The summer downpour is impressive, especially when watched from the dry warmth of The Church Inn – officially the UK’s Best Pub.

Today, the fireplaces lie dormant, but the warren of rooms are infused with the perpetual cosiness that is afforded by beamed ceilings, brown antique furniture, nostalgic curios and a sprinkling of religious artefacts.

A ‘quick drink’ could easily become an all-day session as the hours grow elastic with great food and company. The vibe is down to earth and refreshingly relaxed – as a visiting stranger, you can happily rub shoulders with the locals.

We’ve already experienced a warm welcome from pub manager Simon Umpleby and his prize-winning head chef Richard Williams, so we’re down to the task in hand: sampling from a menu that’s designed to titivate every tastebud with seasonal and locally-sourced produce.

For our mains, we’ve gone with Simon’s recommendation and ordered the pork tenderloin and black pudding Wellington with apple curd, braised Savoy and pancetta (£17.50) and ale braised feather blade of beef with pickled walnut, smoked marrow mash and tenderstem broccoli (£16.95).

Firstly, there are the starters to savour. Richard tells us that the lamb and feta croquettes (£7.95) “flew out of the door” at Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park the previous weekend and it’s not hard to see why.

The combination of flavours is magical, with the airy texture of the minted yoghurt and pea puree providing the perfect accompaniment.

Christian opts for the salmon and haddock fishcake with saffron mayonnaise (£6.95), savouring the light texture and smoky aftertaste with every bite.

The diners on the neighbouring table start tucking into craft lager battered fish with Massey Farm chips (£13.95) – proof that you don’t need to be a gastronomic explorer to enjoy The Church Inn.

If you want something “fancy”, it is available, but so are country tavern favourites.

Winsford Guardian:

Richard and his team are “enjoying themselves, playing with ideas and pushing the boundaries” – and it shows when our mains arrive. The presentation is so special it feels like a sin to dive in, but then it smells so good you have to go for it!

The pork tenderloin is comfort food with a boujee twist.

Served pink, it’s encased in black pudding, Savoy cabbage and golden pastry. When drizzled with red wine sauce it’s a full 10 out of 10.

Over the table, Christian makes short work of his feather blade of beef, which all but dissolves in your mouth (a must-try for connoisseurs of quality).

After a comfortable interval, Simon appears with a platter of four desserts to sample (£6.50 each).

We start with chocolate bourbon millefeuille biscuit with chocolate ganache, orange mousse and tarragon ice cream.

It tastes of pure nostalgia and is cheerily festive – evoking winter to the summer sensation that is the seasonal strawberry panna cotta.

We’ve foolishly left the banoffee soufflé until third in line, but it’s still proudly intact when we finally dig in – relishing the rum caramel sauce.

Last but by no means least is the passionfruit and yoghurt baked Alaska – a riot of citrus tang, airy sponge and crisp meringue.

It’s all served with tea that tinkles from a teapot (wearing a knitted cosy) into china Wedgewood cups.

Winsford Guardian:

Before we reluctantly head home, we look round the upper-floor private dining rooms.

The Mallory Room can entertain up to 22 seated guests, while The Chef’s Library seats eight.

Both have a real sense of history and you’re reminded that a pub has existed in one form or another on site here since the 17th century.

The team can feel very proud to have added to that long lineage without sacrificing any of The Church Inn’s country charm and character.

The Church Inn swept the boards at The National Pub & Bar Awards 2019, winning Best Pub in Cheshire, the North West and the UK.

The venue, which was praised for its flawless attention to detail across its drinks, food, service and design, has reclaimed the number one spot after being named best in the UK back in 2016.

To top it off, head chef Richard Williams was named Pub Chef of the Year. 

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