ALMOST 30 Cheshire restaurants have been rewarded for their culinary excellence and named among the best in the UK.

The 2020 AA Hospitality and Hotels guide – the 27th edition – features 2,000 of the finest restaurants in the country, with venues in Sandiway, Knutsford, Wilmslow and Warmingham among those making the cut.

The guide hands out its famous rosettes for excellence, with five being the maximum. The Chester Grosvenor and 1851 at Peckforton Castle received three and four stars, respectively.

To gain one rosette, a restaurants will be achieving standards that stand out, from food preparation skills to quality ingredients.

At two rosettes the standard is higher still, with better consistency, precision and ingredient selection.

The Bear’s Paw in Warmingham, The Cottons Hotel in Knutsford and Best Western Pinewood in Handforth are three recipients of one rosette, demonstrating creativity, local produce and consistent style.

Meanwhile, Alderley Edge Hotel, Mere Golf Resort and Spa, Mottram Hall and Nunsmere Hall in Sandiway – complete with its own lake – have each picked up two rosettes.

Between them, the quartet demonstrate ‘top-class ingredients’ and ‘modern statements’ while maintaining traditions.

Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media, said: “We are pleased to see the hospitality industry going from strength to strength, with over 140 new dining destinations being added to The Restaurant Guide 2020.

“The establishments in this year’s guide demonstrate the high quality of culinary experiences across the country, offering delicious food and impeccable service.”

Alderley Edge Hotel, Macclesfield Road. Chef Colin Starkey, seats 80.

“The wealthy industrialist who built this hilltop Victorian Gothic pile certainly bagged pole position for its views over lush grounds, gardens and the countryside.

“The kitchen doesn’t stint on top-class ingredients and its modern British dishes are well rehearsed and delivered.”

Cottons Hotel and Spa, Manchester Road. Chef Adrien Sedden, seats 80.

“A large, modern hotel at the edge of town, Cottons’ menu is an appealing Mediterranean brasserie-style package.

“Try the lemon and black pepper queenie scallops with chilli mayonnaise; chicken liver parfait, Armagnac prunes, baby leeks, pickled mushrooms and toasted brioche.”

The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, Chester Road. Chef Mark Fletcher, seats 76.

“The Mere is a must for Cheshire’s fairways fans, plus it’s a good location for accomplished brasserie dining in the open-plan Browns.

“Linen tablecloths and relatively formal service are slightly at odds with the overall tone, but the food makes some good modern statements.”

Mottram Hall, Wilmslow Road.

“A dapper 18th-century pile, Mottram Hall’s attractions stretch as far as golf, pampering in the spa, and modern country-house dining in the classy Carrington Grill.

“The food keeps step with the times and is well prepared from high-quality raw materials.”

Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Tarporley Road. Chef Mark Burke, seats 60

“A delightful country house with its own lake. Start with a drink in the Captain’s Bar, then glide

in state to a berth in the Crystal dining room, where pictures of polo players adorn the walls.

“The cooking keeps things firmly anchored in European tradition.”

The Bear’s Paw, School Lane. Chef Scott Cunningham, seats 150.

“A Victorian pub given a modern makeover inside, with lots of light wood, and library shelves in the

dining room.

“Local farmers supply the kitchen with quality north-western produce, with cheeses and ice creams also sourced from within a tight radius.”

Best Western Plus Pinewood, Wilmslow Road.

“This good-looking red-brick hotel is home to the thoroughly modern One Eighty restaurant, a sleek-looking space with darkwood tables and fashionably muted tones.

“The menu maintains the brasserie attitude and reveals keen creativity in the kitchen.

“Expect honest cookery produced with very good skill levels.”

The Restaurant Guide 2020 is available for £16.99 in bookshops and online.