Nico’s, Lion Quays Country Club, Moreton

Rating **** Sue Austin discovers a gem as she marks 30 years of wedded bliss!

Nico’s, Lion Quays Country Club, Moreton

Rating **** Sue Austin discovers a gem as she marks 30 years of wedded bliss!

It was a world away from our first anniversary celebration. Then it was chicken and chips in a basket – or maybe we pushed the boat out and had scampi. It was a long time ago!

To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary we decided to head for the Lion Quay hotel, restaurant and leisure complex. And we found – quite by mistake - a "pearl" of an eatery.

I had heard there was a new chef at the Lion Quays. But we never got to sample his fayre. For in my confusion I booked a table at, not the main Waterside Restaurant, but at its brasserie, Nico’s. However it proved to be a lovely evening.

After asking in the hotel we discovered Nico’s was on the first floor of the Lion Quays spa and walked into a real wow factor. The brasserie is ultra modern yet with clever lighting and some stunning artwork still manages to give off a cosy and welcoming feel.

Welcoming was certainly the word for the staff who could not have been more helpful. And the wow factor continued as we decided to sit on the outside terrace enjoying a drink and a bowl of olives and sundried tomatoes while looking at the menu. The Sicilian Shiraz was excellent and good value.

The terrace overlooks the hotel, the Llangollen canal and a manmade lake that is just beginning to look part of the surrounding countryside. We watched the sun dip down behind the Welsh hills, enjoyed the sight of the swallows feeding on the lake and even enjoyed people watching as guests from a wedding at the hotel mingled in the grounds.

Nico’s is described as Simply Italian and so the menu proved to be. The choice was certainly not enormous but had all you would expect, pizzas, pasta, risotto and three other main courses – steak, lamb and seabass. It was however having a revamp in a week or so, our engaging waiter told us.

He showed us to our table as our starters were ready. As taste testers we should have different starters, however the lure of Muscoli Agilo, mussels in white wine, parsnip and cream sauce (£5.50) proved too tempting for us both. It was an excellent portion, lots of delicious sauce and served with two large pieces of deliciously soft ciabatta bread.

Inside Nico’s, Lion Quays Country Club, Moreton
Inside Nico’s, Lion Quays Country Club, Moreton

Nico’s is a large restaurant yet it has been designed so that you can enjoy a quiet meal for two as were another couple tucked away who were also celebrating their pearl anniversary, or a meal with a large group of friends or family. A group of ladies were obviously enjoying their girls night out and two couples arriving independently ended up asking to share a table.

There were also groups of people, probably gym members simply enjoying a drink together, adding to the very sociable atmosphere.

Melvyn chose a pizza, Pesce Delizia (£10.50) for his main course along with a side order of chunky chips (£2.45). And hot and tasty as they were the chips were a mistake. For the pizza was packed with calamari, prawns and anchovies with a slight kick from chilli and Mel simply couldn’t finish his chips.

My Ravioli Spinaci di Capra (£8.95) was just enough after my mussells. The ravioli was tasty, stuffed with spinach and goats cheese and plenty of pesto and pine nuts scattered on top. My only complaint was that there was just slightly too much tomato sauce, even for someone who likes her sauces and despite it being obviously homemade.

We asked for time before deciding on a pudding and enjoyed a chat with some fellow runners having a drink in Nicos.  Staff also enjoyed chatting to us and said they too enjoyed the sociable ambiance.

Melvyn decided he was simply too full for desert but I could not resist the wonderful sounding Amaretto Liquer Cheesecake (£5.95). Mmmmmmmmm, it was all the tastes I love together on a plate. Although it tasted like a baked cheesecake it was also light and fluffy with the taste of Amaretto and amaretti biscuits and served with vanilla ice cream.

It also came with a glass of Amaretto – I never did find out whether it was part of the desert or because we said we were celebrating a special anniversary. I will be watching as Nico’s changes its menu. And I will be hoping that it keeps that lovely cheesecake.

ADDRESS

Nico’s Lion Quays Country Club, Moreton, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 3EN

Tel: 01691 684300

Web: www.lionquays.co.uk

MENU SAMPLE

STARTERS

Roasted red and yellow pepper soup £3.95; Calamari £5.20; Antipasto to share £8.95

MAINS

Pizza Margherita £6.90; Lasagne £8.10; Lamb Shank with sun dried tomatoes and rosemary with minted potates and red wine jus £15.00; Seabass in white wine, lemon and parsley served with Mediterranean vegetables and potatoes. £15.95

SIDES

Salad with balsamic vinegar £2.95; Tuscany potatoes £3.40; Garlic Foccacia £2.40

DESSERTS

Strawberry Panna Cotta £4.95; Tiramisu £4.65

ATMOSPHERE

Welcoming and sociable

SERVICE

Staff friendly and helpful

DISABLED FACILITIES

Access lift to first-floor restaurant and disabled toilet

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