The Ugly Duckling
When Nick Theaker took over The Stamford pub in Altrincham’s “posh bit”, Bowdon, he had a big job on his hands. He gave it more than just a zhuzh up on the decor front and took the pub menu up a few notches too. The huge, pitched roof function room tacked onto the side held many a local get-together and acted as an overspill when the pub was busy but Theaker had swan-like ambitions for his “ugly duckling” space. In 2022 it was transformed into a room fit for a dinner date for the bougie locals – think pink velvet seating, hanging wicker baskets full of overflowing plants and very expensive tropical scene wallpaper. The Ugly Duckling as a restaurant in its own right was hatched.
But it’s not just a pretty space, Head Chef Stuart Snell’s CV is littered with Michelin experience from a stage at the three-star Maaemo in Norway to a long-term role at The Star Inn at Harome, he’s also worked for the powerhouse that is Liz Cottam at Leeds’ HOME. His top kitchen background is reflected in the menu of small sharing plates which feature many a playful take on a junk food favourite but utilise the best of local produce. Think frogs leg hotdogs with green goddess dressing, doner kebab doughnuts and ugly salad with “essence of Big Mac”. For those veering towards traditionalist, worry not, you will still find chicken tenders, pork nuggets and fillet steak – all done with a sprinkle of Snell’s creative flair.
The wine list will please ladies who lunch with decent rosés and Chardonnays but stretches to some more adventurous orange wines for the trend seekers. There’s an ever-evolving list of cocktails too.
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