A New Dining Experience
An eclectic menu, put together with individual flair, makes this new Preston venue a dining experience not to miss, writes Kate Ford
The latest restaurant to open on Guildhall Street in the centre of Preston, is a new and exciting development in an old and familiar location. Based in the building which housed Tiggis for many years, Palm Court looks set to prove a worthy successor to a restaurant which was perennially popular with local diners.
Certainly, the setting looks the part. A stylish makeover has transformed the building, creating a contemporary, fresh look for its interiors. Making the most of the traditional high ceilings and period features, the décor is a combination of subtle, natural tones and city chic.
Palm Court is co-owned by Chris Maughan, who is also the head chef and the mastermind behind the restaurant’s menus. A chef since before leaving school, who went on to an apprenticeship under Paul Heathcote, Chris has had a life-long passion for food and is determined to offer something original at Palm Court.
“Restaurants in town and city centres nowadays are so often part of a chain, which can make the food slightly predictable and a bit unadventurous,” says Chris. “We wanted to buck that trend by offering something a bit different and, because we’re independent, we can do our own thing and be as individual as we want.”
Chris and co-owner, Ian Fowler, are both from Preston and are proud of the food heritage of Lancashire. “We will source locally, wherever we can,” says Ian, “including meats from local farmers and vegetables grown in the fields of rural Preston.”
Between the two of them, Chris and Ian have over 50 years’ experience in the food and drink business, and they’ve put together an offering at Palm Court which ticks a lot of boxes. As well as their staggeringly good set menu (more of which later) and a treat-laden a la carte menu, Palm Court also offers afternoon tea, served in the stylish lounge, and a sumptuous Sunday lunch, which children under 10 can eat free.
The star of the show, however, is the set menu, available from noon to 10pm Sunday to Friday, and from noon to 7pm on Saturdays. Unsurprisingly, it’s proving extremely popular because, even though it’s a set menu, you certainly won’t feel short-changed in terms of flavour, ingredients or choice.
The 12, yes 12, starters include tempura king prawns, a smooth, rich chicken liver pate with red onion marmalade, mussels mariniere with a Thai broth and a light, fresh tomato and feta salad. For your main course you could opt for a rump steak, teriyaki North Sea salmon, a Palm Court chicken burger or a wild mushroom risotto, just four of the nine mains on offer.
At only £9.95 for one course and £12.95 or £15.95 for two or three courses respectively, it really is incredibly good value. “We’ve been in this business for a long time and we like to think we know what people want,” says Chris. “We choose our dishes and ingredients carefully and creatively, enabling us to offer great value without compromising on flavour or choice.”
In the kitchen at Palm Court, Chris is working alongside talented young chefs who have served their time in different restaurants around the world. This is reflected in the main menu which offers dishes inspired by the flavours and cooking styles of Europe, South America and Asia. Pan-fried duck breast with red wine jus, sits alongside crispy Asian pork belly and an Argentinian fire steak kebab.
Downstairs at Palm Court is a fabulous room for parties and private dining. Every bit as stylish as the restaurant upstairs, the private room has its own bar and can cater to up to 60 guests, either seated or buffet-style. There is room for a DJ and space for dancing, so it’s the perfect place for birthdays, family celebrations, christenings, corporate events and Christmas parties.
In the restaurant itself, bookings are already being taken for the three course Christmas menu, which is £19.95 on Sunday to Thursday, and £24.95 on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s great to be in such a historic building and we’re looking forward to welcoming back the food lovers of Preston and the surrounding area,” says Chris.
All the evidence so far suggests that the welcome will be warm, and the food will be mouth-watering, with an originality all of its own.
Guildhall Street, Preston PR1 3NU