In review: No.26 @ Aston Marina

LIVING headed to Stone for a relaxed evening at Aston Marina’s canalside restaurant No.26

Aston Marina
The sophisticated decor at Aston Marina

Looking for restaurants in Stone? Aston Maria’s No.26 restaurant is a great place for a relaxed dinner. We visited during February to taste its seasonal winter menu. Changing four times a year, it’s good value for money and has lots of tasty dishes.

As you turn off the A51 into the grounds of Aston Marina, you can spot No.26 straight away, a good-sized venue, all lit up and so inviting, and you find yourself letting out a gasp of delight.

Aston Marina is set on the banks of the Trent & Mersey canal on the outskirts of Stone; it’s famed locally for its picturesque and unique setting and it’s likely you’ve been to a wedding or two at its event venue, The Boat House.

But this time LIVING was invited along to sample the seasonal winter menu at No.26, the relaxed but classy bar and restaurant located at the foot of the hill and aptly named after the canal lock that neighbours the marina.

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It’s a warm and cosy atmosphere as you walk in and the team are friendly and welcoming. We have the pick of tables due to a few weather cancellations, but we’re instantly drawn to a table next to a huge log burning fire in the middle of the room.

The interior is a nod to its marina and countryside setting with sturdy ropes hanging from the rafters and sea life paintings on the wall. It’s rustic but contemporary with a touch of Italian flair. There are comfy tartan-covered armchairs at wooden tables with geometric patterned walls, and modern blue seating through in the bar area. Low lights create an intimate atmosphere.

The seasonal winter menu selection has four options per starter, main and dessert, and is varied to suit all tastes. You can expect to find British classics like Smoked Haddock and Salmon Fishcakes, Pork Belly and Bread & Butter Pudding, mixed with subtle Italian influences such as Sicilian Arancini and Butternut Squash, Truffle and Sage Risotto, as well as an Asian favourite Thai Green Spiced Chicken Supreme. Snugbury’s Ice Cream and the award-winning Triple Chocolate Brownie also feature on the dessert menu. It’s difficult to choose.

Aston Marina
The seasonal menu is priced at £16 for two-courses

We decide to start with the fishcakes and Pressed Ham Hock. The fishcakes are not overly filling and tasted very fresh. The citrus crème fraiche was delicious and complemented the smoked fish perfectly. The ham was very tasty – succulent and juicy – but a touch too much for a starter and was missing a dribble of dressing maybe. The fresh soda bread it came with was also divine, as was the peppered pineapple – a must-try!

For main, we opted for the Pork Belly Roulade and the Thai Spiced Chicken Supreme. The pork was delightful – perfectly cooked and complemented with a bubble and squeak mash, caramelised apple and cider jus. Just scrumptious! The Thai chicken was equally as tasty, presented beautifully with sticky coconut steamed rice, prawn crackers, and an amazing hot and sour sauce. We opted for the Vanilla Crème Brulee and the Rich Triple Chocolate Brownie for dessert which finished the meal perfectly.

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The seasonal menu is priced at a reasonable £16 for two courses and £20 for three courses. The kitchen, led by Head Chef Andy Pickstock, pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients and you can taste the attention to detail in every bite. The restaurant also offers a larger a la carte menu which is just as tempting. It has salad options and light bites and daily chef specials. We caught a glimpse of the Beer-Battered Fish and Hand Cut Chips and decided we would certainly be returning for that!

Aston Marina also runs regular themed events at No.26 including tapas nights, as well as an afternoon tea and Sunday lunch menus. Currently running its summer menu. See more at:  www.astonmarina.co.uk.

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