There is a serious flaw with both Sticky Walnut and Burnt Truffle – and it is that they are four hours away from my house . . .
I first heard of Sticky Walnut thanks to Marina O’Loughlin’s Guardian review in February 2014. As someone who doesn’t travel outside of London very often, a small restaurant in Hoole (near Chester) wasn’t likely to be somewhere I’d be eating at soon – but her warmth towards this unassuming bistro led me to seek them out on Twitter, and what a Twitter account it is . . . Whether you’re interested in the hospitality industry or just like eating out, chef and owner, Gary Usher, is well worth a follow (mainly tweeting from @StickyWalnut). You’ll see everything; anecdotes about staff and customers, photos of delicious dishes, commentary on the chef shortage, as well as some hilarious Tripadvisor takedowns. Following Gary will give you a valuable insight into what it’s like running a restaurant (and you’ll be laughing out loud too) and it’ll also make you a better diner – knowing what helps and hinders both the front of house and the kitchen is invaluable. Occasionally Gary takes a self-imposed break from Twitter, understandably, the pressure of running a business and dealing with difficult customers on social media can take its toll, but managers Adam and Emma (Sticky Walnut and Burnt Truffle respectively) do a stellar job when they have to jump into the breach.
Anyway, I digress . . . In October 2014, Gary announced he’d be crowdfunding his second restaurant on Kickstarter – and I, like hundreds of others (many of whom, like me, had never even been to Sticky Walnut), wanted to be a part of it. The project reached its target and beyond, and in July 2015, Gary and his team opened Burnt Truffle in Heswall. My reward was a £100 voucher – and so one weekend, I made the trip to Chester, dining at Burnt Truffle on the Saturday night, followed by Sticky Walnut for Sunday lunch.
We were welcomed into Burnt Truffle with two glasses of Prosecco, as a thank you for supporting them – a thoughtful gesture that really set the tone of the service to follow. After hearing so much about their ‘sourdough, truffle and walnut butter’, we ordered this before even deciding on our starters. It didn’t disappoint, and was one of the best sourdoughs I’ve ever tasted, but what made this even better, was the truffle oil and walnut butter. It was so good, we had seconds.