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Sunday Dinners: The Collingwood, West Kirby

Aiden Byrne lends his name to this dining pub. But it this a roast to toast?

Written by . Published on July 25th 2011.


Sunday Dinners: The Collingwood, West Kirby



Where this time?
The Collingwood, Black Horse Hill, West Kirby, Wirral. CH48 6DS. 0151 625 4525

Why go there?
Easy. It's the Michelin-starred chef on the kitchen tools, innit?

Well, actually, no. Aiden Byrne, although lending his name to The Collingwood, by his own admission very rarely dons the whites in here. 

(Click here to add text)]If you want a slice of that action, the Saturday Kitchen man is still firmly holed up at The Church Green in Lymm.

Here in West Kirby, you will find another Byrne, Aiden's brother, Louis, running the kitchen on a day-to-day basis.

“But both are excellent chefs and Aiden does call in now and again to see what's happening,” our waitress keenly informed us.



What's the deal on the table?
There is no deal, as such. There is a choice of two main course Sunday roasts for £12, placing it at the higher end of the scale, shall we say.

The main course...
Chicken, a modest, boneless skin-on breast, which came with an interesting,  spicy shard of dark meat in place of forcemeat; The other choice: a single slice of topside, cooked medium rare.

ChickenChickenAccompaniments were identical for both meats – Yorkshire pudding and a jug of thin gravy that tasted of brown.

Horseradish? Condiments? You don't ask, you don't get. 

Yorkshires...
....Weren't too bad for 5pm when dinner was served, but not sizzling and crunchy, straight out of the furnace, which they may well have been at one o'clock. But they do insist, here, that Sunday lunch is available until 7pm and, as such, the quality must remain the same throughout service.

Dscf9058
Big and home-cooked uneven, they gave the impression of having sat around for a while. A bit like the seals basking in the sun off the shores of the nearby Hilbre Island, but without the factor 15. Happily they had not yet acquired the same texture.

Roast potatoes
“What variety of spuds?” we wondered. “What variety?” repeated our server uncertainly, before going off to check with the kitchen. Maris pipers, it turned out. Three economical nuggets.  They did not bear the characteristic crunch (from a god roughing up, missus) but were not unpleasant either.

Veggies
An appetising dish of roasted Chantenay carrots, roast parsnips, broccoli and green beans.

What if you are a vegetarian or don't like Sunday roasts?
There are one or two non-meat choices on the bar menu, served all day every day, and, for the rest, several other pub grub staples such as burgers and risotto.

But you might struggle to be completely animal free. Even the chips are cooked in dripping.

Dscf9062Bangers and mash for kidsChild friendly?
If you are a kid with a big appetite, or can pass for 10, you are laughing. 

There is a very good value Young Person's menu. £6 buys three courses and a drink, which proved, in relative terms only, mind, bigger than the adult portions. 

Lots of good, soft, garlic ciabatta was followed by bangers and mash, which was whipped up with the same care and attention as you would expect on a full size plate in the best gastropub (“best mash ever”).

Meanwhile, a boulder of fish (in a heavy-going batter),  chips, tasty marrowfat mushy peas and white sliced bread and butter, defeated the seven-year-old who thought the fish too oily. He had a point though, as we discovered when, still as peckish as West Kirby seagulls, we attempted to finish it off for him. 

Remember that Summer Pops tent?Remember that Summer Pops tent?Proof of the puddings
The children wanted the chocolate brownie, popcorn and home-made ice cream off their inclusive mini-menu, as did one of the adults who ordered the standard £6 version. However, there wasn't a great difference in size when they all came.



Eton Mess resembled the old stripey big top at the Summer Pops, but with too many hard meringue discs, too much piped cream, an odd basil jelly and a strawberry sorbet that did little to cut through, it was all too much.

On the other hand, the brownie was a rich, proper, cocoa-packed treat and won the dessert round by a sugar mile.

All in all
The Collingwood pub might have been rebranded in Aiden Byrne's colours last winter, but we are talking only figuratively.

(Click here to add text)
The exterior is in need of a lick of paint and while there is a pleasant beer garden and grassy area to amuse the younger members of families, the large, Furniture Outlet Village-style interior remains slightly gloomy, and, on this occasion, largely empty.

This was on a pleasant, sunny Sunday. On the wet Morrissey sort, and depending on your mental constitiution, you might struggle. 

But if you are passing....

 

*Liverpool Confidential reviewers dine unannounced and the company picks up the bills. Not the restaurant, not a PR company. 

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on July 25th 2011.
AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

With Claire Lara on her way to La Mouette, is Wirral fast becoming food Mecca?
The Collingwood is well worth a visit for Aiden Byrne-inspired food. We had the ‘lounge’ menu although seated in the restaurant and can’t figure out why he’s bothering with the (what looks like a brilliant) £35 per head set restaurant menu as the place is still a boozer with all that entails and he’s inherited the mahogany/zebra/butch/lunching lady/bad tempered baldy décor of the pub’s previous incarnation. All hard noisy surfaces for the list-shouting (what a lot of things we’ve got) private school lot. And don’t like the estate agent-alike web and print material masthead.
Good cooking (by AB’s brother, apparently, that night), great wine list (my goodness, Condrieu and Cote Rotie in the Wirral), and a pleasant and willing serving team (first job: turn down the music; second job: jug of water) who were coping well with a sudden influx of two larger parties than our foursome.
I had the spring veg salad and the bavette butty with chips. Ace both. The others had stuff from all over that menu and all met with praise (including the risotto, where I am v hard to please).

AnonymousJuly 27th 2011.

Had a few pints with other Byrne brother, Danny on Saturday. Dig.

Clive RichardsJuly 28th 2011.

The Collingwood is currently ranked 12 out of 12 restaurants in West Kirby on trip advisor. Before Aiden Byrne took over it was in the top five. We used to go every week. We've stopped going. The service is patchy. The food too expensive. One night we turned up for a pre booked meal to find - without warning - that they'd stopped doing the bar menu on a Friday and Saturday night and the cheapest main course was £20. Not too many years ago this was the Black Horse Pub. It was transformed under the previous owner who created a menu of decent quality comfort food and refitted it. For some reason he decided it wasn't working and sold out to Byrne, who appears more interested in promoting himself and making the most of the fact he once appeared - with God knows how many other Chefs - on Great British Menu. The sooner Byrne moves on to his next project, the better.

MikeAugust 1st 2011.

I was asking a Wirral foodie about The Collingwood recently and service was described as iffy and a modest ginger beer was popped on the bill at a swienging £5. When the question was asked the waiter went for advise and returned saying "Thats how much it is--I put two bottles in diddnt I" Hmmmmm?

Clive RichardsOctober 7th 2011.

Aiden Byrne's done a runner from the West Kirby. The Collingwood is closed and all reference to it has been removed from his website.

Yorkshire pudOctober 9th 2011.

Now there's a surprise.

Absinthe & TurksOctober 11th 2011.

Will it be called The Black Horse again? The name of the pub is so old the road is named after it.

Jim JohnsonOctober 31st 2011.

as i didnt think Mr Byrne was right for the collingwood i will say he tried, unfortunitly his style and prices did not suit us. i can understand that he was trying to do something. that was to make food more than just calories and stodge lets be honest there is a reason we dont have many top chefs in the north west, dont get me wrong there is a few, so to Mr Byrne goodbye and next time you visit come and say hello we are usually in weatherspoons eating pies and cheap south american steak for less than a fiver.

Yorkshire pudNovember 12th 2011.

Funny

AnonymousDecember 9th 2011.

Due to re open in Jan - with a new name, sadly not the black horse as it is known by many

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 18th 2012.

The Collingwood will be re opened in Feb 2012 - under the new name " The Hilltop" back to basics and welcoming the many - not just the few

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