They do say that when one door closes another opens and that bittersweet fact is certainly true in Hale Village at the moment.
Whilst we mourn the disappearance of restaurants and businesses, there appears to be a plethora popping up in their place.
The latest arrival on the scene is Juniper. Now the fact the Juniper plant is an evergreen (yes I’ve performed a Google), bodes well for longevity.
Already successful in Bramhall, the stylish cafe has thrown open its doors in Hale and having already given its attractive fascia inquisitive side-eye over recent days, I was eager to step through.
The first thing that struck me was how tasteful and chic the furnishings and general look of Juniper are and is.
I had to double check that the establishment really did close at 7pm without an evening service as (and I don’t mean this in any way negative) there does tend to be a distinct difference in ambience between daytime eateries and those which venture into the evening. And Juniper has a feel of the latter.
If you’re heading to Juniper for breakfast, brunch, lunch, an afternoon snack or perhaps early bird dinner with the children, it has the feel of a destination place.
And indeed there’s no missing that that destination is Hale, given the beautiful local artwork on display by Hale artist, Neil Roland, especially commissioned for Juniper…
But does the food look as good as the decor?
But does it taste as good as it looks?
The menu covers a range of light food favourites, although don’t let ‘light’ fool you into thinking that you’re going to leave hungry.
Watching the dishes come out of the kitchen, I went full on meerkat sneaking a peak at those ordered by my fellow diners; smashed avocado, American pancakes, Belgian waffles, toasted bagels, Cheshire spring lamb kleftiko, Cajun chicken and a very exciting looking signature burger were just some of the plates promenaded by my table.
Eyes wide, mouth open, dignity just about intact, I allowed the procession to delight my senses but also to instil the terrible emotional state that is…
Dear god, what if I’ve chosen wrong.
I mean I had no option but to choose my choice.
Aside from the fact that it’s one of my favourite dishes, the name play was a pun after my own beating heart:
Behold the salad that is, the Hale Caesar:
You say Caesar, I say Geezer.
I was so smug when my dish was set down.
I mean of course I wasn’t.
Well yes I was.
Every single classic ingredient of the caesar was present (yes I’ve adopted such an affinity to it that I don’t even need to say the ‘salad’ bit now) and striking.
It came with parmesan. However, it was a parmesan basket. And parmesan crisps!
The chicken and bacon strips were plentiful, the leaves generous and crunchy, the croutons garlicky and the dressing classic.
My plus 1 (honestly he’s down with being made to be reduced to that insipid description) had to wait a little longer for his but…
*he’s a very patient man (he has to be – see me);
*it was only a very short wait; and
*he got to sample some pancakes whilst he waited.
His fajita chicken wrap was worth the wait.
Crunchy where it should be, soft in all the right places, the flavours worked wonderfully (I tried them just to make sure – my gender confusing name is on the line here) …
And never underestimate the power of a great chip.
They were great chips (again I tried them to allow me to keep on living my truth).
I agree, great chips
Nigel Slater and your wonderful way of adding emotion, romance and nostalgia to your food descriptions? Eat your heart out.
And so thanks and praise go to the Head Chef, Saleh Ahmed and Manager, Imad Ammar, who, along with their charming and friendly team, are bringing an additional touch of style to Hale and its dining credentials.
For menus, bookings and indeed all the ‘deets’ please visit the Juniper website.
Now let’s end on another nod to the wonderfully named dish
– second only to Hale Geezer in an exclusive list of locally influenced puns…