My bf had heard about a nice little restaurant in Stoke called the Church so we did a little research about it and ended up being really keen to go out there and have dinner.
The restaurant was only a short 5 minute walk from the town centre and much to our delight it was really beautiful inside and had really great food.
The building itself was built in 1860 by Welsh Miners as a Methodist place of worship. In the early 1900's it was converted to a Spiritualist Church and is reputed to be one of the oldest in the country.
In 2000 the church was closed and remained that way for a year. A sustained effort was made by the parties involved to keep the Church open, with new officers being appointed and a new acting committee put in place to attempt to ensure the future of the Church but sadly had to close again in 2003. Even though the church was not left in very good condition, it still has the original floor inside and the lovely stained glass windows which where once boarded up.
We were greeted by friendly staff and were seated promptly. One of the staff, who I presumed to be the manager of the restaurant was kind enough to offer to take our photo without me even asking, just because I had my camera sitting next to me.
The same man also took our orders and had some good recomendations on the menu for us. I chose the 'Stilton and Bacon Crown' to start which was smoked bacon and stilton cheese 'wrapped' in mayonnaise served with a dressed salad. I never quite got how the mayonnaise wrapped the bacon but it was a great bacon salad anyway!
Jai got Sliced chicken breast on a bed of dressed salad served with a garlic mayonnaise dip, which he polished off quickly.
To be honest, when our starters first arrived we both did think the presentation looked abit like it came straight out of a cheap and cheerful cafe somewhere, but the taste definitely made up for the lack of presentation.
For the mains I ordered the pan seared salmon fillet topped with parsley & tarragon sauce served with a timbale of rice and Jai got the boneless lamb rump served with seasonal vegetables potato and mint sauce which we were told is the chefs signature dish.
My salmon was cooked to perfection and the sauce on the fish was probably the most amazingly tasty sauce I've ever tasted so I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to visit the restaurant.
Jai loved the lamb and said it was really juicy and tender and I must say even though my fish was amazing, I was jealous at all the yummy vegies that came with the lamb. He had three bowls of vegetables all to himself so I just had to pinch some of the cheesy cauliflower and a couple roasties for myself!
The total for the bill was really reasonable as we got the option for £14.95 per person for a starter and main, plus drinks as well so the bill was pretty close to £35.
If we were in Stoke ever again this would probably be the first restaurant I'd come back to straight away and would recommend it to anyone visiting the area for sure.
The Church Bar & Restaurant
61 Old Town Road
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST1 2JS
Ph) 01782 269 440