It's the festive season, which means between the countless shopping trips and visits to the supermarket, making the time to meet up with friends and family.

So when it was time to catch up with two friends who live in the Northwich area, the Stretton Fox seemed the ideal location when travelling from Ellesmere Port .

Located just off the roundabout at Junction 10 of the M56, near Antrobus, the Stretton Fox is a large modern pub with a country feel to it.

The pub, owned by Vintage Inns, has a welcoming bar area with a roaring fire and cosy seating, as well as a large dining area set over a number of rooms, giving it a homely feel.

The three of us dined on December 17 and had fortunately pre-booked a table because it was extremely busy – and the large car park outside was full to bursting.

Festive menu

Two of us opted to order from the set festive menu, which was two courses for £17.95 or three for £20.95 per person, while our other friend ordered from the extensive main menu.

There was a lengthy wait for the starter to arrive, but it was the week before Christmas, the pub was extremely busy and we were quite happy to spend time catching up while we waited for our meal.

From the set menu we opted for oak smoked chicken liver pate with a date and balsamic vinegar chutney and a prawn and lobster cocktail on cos lettuce with lobster mayonnaise, served with toasty crusty bread, while the non-festive menu option chosen was the toasted focaccia and sourdough breads with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, priced £2.99.

All of the starters were generous portions and were well received.

The pate was smooth and full of flavour, while the prawn and lobster cocktail was super fresh, though I personally would have preferred a more traditional marie rose dressing to the lobster mayonnaise.

For the main course we ordered fillet of sea bass on crushed baby potatoes with Mediterranean vegetables in a tomato and olive sauce (£14.50) from the main menu, while from the festive menu we chose herb crusted salmon in a white wine sauce served on lemon-scented crushed baby potatoes with Mediterranean vegetables and the hand-carved roast turkey with sage and onion stuffing, pig in blanket, honey glazed parsnip, Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roast potatoes and gravy.

The herb crumbed salmon served at the Stretton Fox
The herb crumbed salmon served at the Stretton Fox

The meals were well presented, all came hot, were generous portions and full of flavour.

The roast potatoes served with the turkey were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, while the salmon was a succulent fillet with a rich tasty sauce.

“It was like having a dessert but you don’t feel too naughty”

The portions were so large that two of us opted for just opted for hot drinks for dessert – a hot chocolate (they had run out of decaffeinated coffee) and an Americano which was served with hot milk in a miniature milk bottle.

For those who fancy a pudding but don’t have much room left there is the option of ordering a hot drink and mini pudding, with a choice of four available for £4.50. My friend chose a cappuccino and trifle – which was the “perfect size” and was bursting with fruit including blackcurrants.

My friend said: “It was like having a dessert but you don’t feel too naughty”.

The cappuccino with mini trifle, the hot chocolate and the Americano and hot milk served at the Stretton Fox
The cappuccino with mini trifle, the hot chocolate and the Americano and hot milk served at the Stretton Fox

The service throughout the evening was excellent. Despite being extremely busy the staff were attentive, patient and efficient.

The pub was welcoming and and tastefully decorated for Christmas, with wreaths hanging and garlands draped in baubles resting above the fireplaces and doorways.

Overall it was great pub food, conveniently located pub for meeting people from other areas, with reasonably priced food and with very good service.

Scores on the doors:

Quality of food: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere/surroundings: 9/10

Value for money: 9/10

Food brag rating (how good it looks): 4/5

Food hygiene rating: 4/5 (from

Total: 44/50

What does TripAdvisor say? It is ranked #30 out of 321 restaurants in the area and gets four out of five stars based on 1,287 reviews.

Where is it? Spark Hall Close, Stretton, Cheshire, WA4 4NU. Tel: 01925 730693.