First look: The Ugly Duckling, Bowdon

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Here’s a first look at The Ugly Duckling, the new Bowdon restaurant from the team behind the Stamford pub.

The 70-cover restaurant is opening in the space occupied through the Covid lockdowns by Bowdon Village Stores, and the restaurant arm of the Stamford before then.

Director Nick Theaker told us it had always been the plan to do a standalone restaurant in the space to compete against some of the other special occasion dining experiences in Hale and Altrincham.

It will offer a small plates menu curated by Head Chef Stuart Snell, whose CV includes the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome and the three-star Maaemo in Norway.

Head Chef Stuart Snell

“We actually hited him three and a half years ago with the restaurant in mind,” Theaker told us. “He’s at heart at an honest Yorkshire lad who understands a good plate of food.”

The quirky menu includes crispy pancakes filled with lobster, doner kebab doughnut, salt ‘n pepper smiley faces, a salad with “essence of Big Mac”, a hot dog made from breaded frogs legs and a rhubarb and custard cheesecake.

Lobster-stuffed crispy pancakes

“It’s a lot more adventurous than stuff we could serve in the pub,” added Theaker. “People are well travelled these days… they want to experience different cuisines.

“”It’s a more social dining experience. The idea is that you tuck in and share among friends and family.”

Theaker said it was “business as usual” in terms of the food offer at the adjoining Stamford, with the pub having relaunched its own menu earlier this month. The renowned Sunday roasts are staying too, and indeed the Ugly Duckling space will provide extended space to cope with demand for roasts on a Sunday afternoon.

Another dish from the Ugly Duckling menu

Apart from that, the new restaurant will be open from 5pm on Wednesday through to Sunday. It officially opens this Saturday.

As for the much-loved Bowdon Village Stores, it looks like there will be a second chapter. Theaker confirmed to us that another building on the site was, pending planning agreement, being turned into a new home for the shop, potentially opening this autumn.

Inside The Ugly Duckling (photos: Chris Drew)

Soft launch night

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