33 Sunderland Street
Last night, the 23rd of December, Sue and I went to Craig Shaws
Restaurant on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield. Not the most up-market
of areas, near the bus and rail stations and set amongst numerous
independent fast food outlets, it is a surprising oasis to find. It is
also near Macclesfield's "Latin Quarter" where one may find places
"Bar Cuba" (who somehow seem to pull in some well known bands as
listeners to Galaxy 102 will know).
Craig Shaws in unlicensed, so you bring your own drink and pay 50p a
person corkage. To be honest, I prefer this to buying wine in the
restaurant. Few restaurants have a good cellar and frequently if they
do, I haven't the wherewithal to indulge. Far better to get something I
like for £5-10 in Tescos or Oddbins than to spend £15-20 in the
restaurant that would only command £3-4 in a supermarket.
Craig Shaws is in a very old building with low ceilings and rickety
stairs. Disabled access is good to the ground floor, but I didn't check
for disabled toilets; able-bodied toilets are up the rickety stairs.
Inside is small and Spartan, with white walls, exposed beam ceiling and
open gas-fire. The downstairs can take 12 covers on four tables (2x4
and 2x2), upstairs is similar. It is small and fronts a busy road.
When we arrived, there was another couple already there and a third
arrived as we were eating. By the time we finished we were the only
ones left. The ambience was pleasant and friendly, generally cosy,
despite the bleak decor.
The menu offered 5-6 starters and as many main courses and sweets.
Three courses with coffee or tea is charged at £13.95 a cover in the
I had mussels in a Tai sauce. The mussels were pretty much as mussels
are, but the sauce was very pleasant, piquant, spicy and flavoursome,
the mussels were really just a vehicle to mop up the sauce.
When Sue rang to book, she asked what vegetarian dishes they did and was
told that VS was the only one on the menu, but if we wanted to suggest
any vegetarian dish we would rather have, they would happily oblige, as
long as we let them know a day or so before so they could get the
I always appreciate such a response. A small establishment who cook
their own food cannot be expected to carry numerous vegetarian options,
unless they are in the cook-chill-microwave game - or are a vegetarian
restaurant. So it's good when they offer to do anything, as you know
they are not just running through the chilled meals from their
Anyway, we did both have the stroganoff. They arrived, beautifully
presented on the plates, with steamed rice. Just as I was about to
panic over there not being enough, a dish of vegetables and another of
sautéed new potatoes arrived - Hurrah!
The stroganoff was well done with fine batons of still-crispy vegetables
in another well-made and flavoursome sauce. The side vegetables were
steamed carrots, swede, broccoli and sautéed parsnips. The steamed
vegetables were just right, still with a little bite and the parsnips
were soft and melted sweetly in the mouth the way well-behaved parsnips
should. The potatoes were light and floury inside and just browned to a
savoury crunch on the outside.
For sweet, Sue had a lemon mouse, which she greatly liked. I on the
other hand, not being a great pudding lover, asked if I might have the
stilton and broccoli soup that Sue had enjoyed as her starter. No
problem, soup and mouse arrived together. I enjoyed the soup too.
A cafetiere of coffee was then served. Probably the only criticism, it
had already been "plunged" when it arrived, and either it was done too
early or not enough coffee used, but I found the coffee too weak.
All in all, a good experience that we will be trying again and one that
I would recommend to others. Maybe one day Craig Shaws will turn into a
"little gem", it certainly on the way.