Social dining: a leisurely lunch at the Hollows

Until a few years ago, Hoole was just another suburb in Chester. Charming, sure, but there really wasn’t really anything special about it. Or was there? In a couple of years, Hoole has become the “it” area in Chester, with recognition for its high street from a national organisation, award winning restaurants, new watering holes and community events constantly growing in size and popularity. Even the little pubs that may have been woefully out of date and perhaps exactly because that so charming and much loved by the locals have recently received a lick of paint and a breath of fresh air and have now joined the modern “shabby chic” movement. It’s all systems go in Hoole.


The Hollows


Now, I’ve lived in Hoole for almost a decade, and admittedly, what I really love about it is that I can just open my door and I’m almost on the high street already. It’s a blessing on the days when I have a fuzzy head from the night before, and it’s great for the nights before, too. I can shop in independent businesses and feel less guilty about emptying my account in the many clothes shops, delis or pubs because I’m supporting my local community.



With this in mind, hubby decided to take me out for lunch one day, to test out the newest kid in the block. At the Hollows is the younger sibling of its next door neighbour, Suburbs. They serve small plate food, cooked with seasonal and local ingredients, designed to encourage the social aspect of dining. For someone suffering from a serious case of food envy this is a brilliant concept: no longer do I need to lean over hubby’s plate with a longing look in my eyes, even though I ordered exactly what I wanted only moments before. Now I don’t have to use the puppy-dog eyes technique to get my mittens into dish he is enjoying, we’re supposed to share.




The surroundings At the Hollows further encourage being social. The décor is undeniably quirky, but there is a relaxed atmosphere and comfy seats to lounge on. The staff deserve a gold star for mastering the fantastic balancing act of being friendly and attentive, and leaving the punters to enjoy their meals and drinks. It just seems natural to take your time, enjoy every bite and sip, and just chat the afternoon away.



So the fact that the food in delicious is just a bonus. We took full advantage of the lunch time deal of choosing 2 dishes and a drink for £12.50, and topped it up with some tasty bites from the main menu. The small plates are beautifully presented and the food is absolutely scrummy. We had six plates to go through between us and we were absolutely stuffed by the end of the meal.



I might warn you that the food comes when it comes – hurry has no place in this eatery. Nor should it! If you’re in a rush you should probably go somewhere else. The food is prepared from scratch, fresh ingredients and made to order so those who venture here should do so with the intentions of staying for a while. They have a fantastic wine menu and some brilliant beers as well so my advice is to order a bottle of something delightful and chat the afternoon away with good friends and family.