The Red Cat – Far From Purrfect
I was warmly welcomed into The Red Cat Chorley and browsed the menus in a perfectly clean, but ultimately uninspiring bar area. The cocktails were expensive (for Chorley) averaging £9. It’s an amount I’m prepared to pay, but their constituent spirits were not premium products, making them unjustifiable. Instead, I opted for the lowest priced – but still relatively expensive red wine – which was undrinkable. The bottle of wine cost less than the price of the glass; if not The Red Cat Chorley was ripped-off. I should have taken it back, but I was too awkwardly British. A friend ordered a Coke, which arrived ¾ full in a tacky Coca-Cola branded glass. No big deal, but The Red Cat Chorley asked £30 for some mains.
I went on the proviso of the limited but reasonably priced, ‘Red Cat Market Menu’, boasting three courses for £22.50. Although very restrictive, I eagerly looked forward to trying the risotto with black pudding and chicken with tarragon tagliatelle for the first time. Disappointingly, the risotto served was the standard mushroom issue, and the unusual tarragon tagliatelle was amended to tarragon mash. Appetising none of the less, but not quite the novel experience the Red Cat Chorley promised.
Once seated I was promptly given a complimentary crostini and fresh miniature loaves, which were quirky and lovely in equal measure. The mushroom risotto was cooked perfectly, very well seasoned and presented beautifully (often a challenge for risotto); however, the portion size was minuscule. I appreciate The Red Cat Chorley was not an all-you-can-eat buffet, but a slightly bigger serving would’ve cost 20p. Despite savouring the flavours, it was eaten in less than ten seconds. If I had eaten each grain with chopsticks – contemplating each molecule of flavour – it would have taken two minutes. For the main course, the chicken was succulent and delicious, and the mash was creamy and rich. It was all good stuff, but not a great deal of it: it cried out for baby carrots or grilled vegetables either as standard or recommended. The dessert of Panna Cotta was a stunning dish, perfectly balanced and presented with care and sophistication. Panna Cotta is all about the wobble factor – this was bootylicious.
A serious gripe was during coffees, The Red Cat bar was so cold we had our coats on, huddled together like penguins (the flightless bird, not the chocolate covered biscuit). A final issue was The Red Cat Chorley standard a 10% service charge not advised on the menu.
The Red Cat Review Summary
Atmosphere 6/10 Cost 7/10 Service 8/10 Quality 7/10
*Since this review was first published, The Red Cat is unfortunately no longer with us -hence the lack of link*