Living went along to sample the winter set menu at Aston Marina’s No.26 restaurant near Stone
I am a real fan of seasonal menus. Not only because our favourite restaurants give us even more choice and variety but because we can truly celebrate the wonder of British produce and sample it at its best. So, when Aston Marina reached out to us to taste test its latest winter menu we couldn’t be happier to sample the latest delights from the kitchen at No.26.
I’m always impressed by the unique setting of this waterside restaurant located just outside Stone. It’s lit up beautifully at night and as you approach off the main road you are instantly drawn in to its cosy and welcoming exterior. Situated on the banks of the Trent & Mersey canal at lock 26 – hence the name – the peaceful and mellow ambience of this casual eatery can be enjoyed both day and night – and it’s easy to see why so many couples choose it as a wedding venue.
Entering No.26 and you are met with a marina-inspired decor fitting its location perfectly. It’s a light and airy restaurant with contemporary-style seating, rustic wooden tables and a large open chiminea style fireplace in the centre of the room giving off plenty of heat. The bar area has a bright and modern design with fetching animal art on the walls. Calming sea-blues and muted greys with fish wall prints complete the nautical vibe.
There’s a real light-hearted and casual atmosphere to No.26, which I love. The staff are easy going and comfortable and happy to chat about the weather and the specials in the same breath. We were choosing from the winter set menu deal which offers a condensed version of the main winter menu from £16 per person. There are four starters, four mains and four desserts to choose from including seasonal favourites.
I took a vegan companion with me which meant we could really give the seasonal menu a run for its money. We started with the crispy vegetable spring rolls and the soup of the day which was leek and potato. The soup was full of flavour, well-seasoned and came with warm Irish soda bread – delicious. The spring rolls were very tasty served with a pickled cucumber and carrot salad and a zingy sweet and sour sauce. Both ample portion sizes for a starter. The other appetisers on the menu included a classic chicken liver pate and a seasonal trout, prawn and tarragon fishcake dish – which will be my next choice when I go back!
For a main we went with the vegan option of aubergine, artichoke and butterbean cassoulet with a sweet potato topping (imagine a vegan cottage pie). The aubergine made it super-filling and gave it a real creamy texture. We also went for the 12-hour braised blade of beef bourguignon with a horseradish potatoes and Yorkshire pudding – a mini roast which was absolutely delicious. The beef fell off the bone and if you’re after a winter crowd-pleaser, this is it. Also available on the main selection is seared coley fillet and a Malaysian chicken supreme and vegetable curry – both very enticing dishes all on their own!
For dessert we went for the Italian mascarpone espresso cheesecake with biscoff ice cream – what a combination and this is certainly a must-try. You can also choose from the marina’s signature triple chocolate brownie, Snugberry’s ice cream or a ginger parkin with poached rhubarb. Yum, yum and yum again!
Good food, great atmosphere and reasonable prices – this a fantastic mid-week treat.
Various menus are available throughout the week but the winter set menu is available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5pm until the end of March. Two courses are £16 and three courses are £20. The spring menu will launch for April, May and June.
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