Moor Hall – What it’s like to eat at officially the best restaurant in England

Which happens to be less than an hour from Manchester

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 12th May 2024

There are a lot of good places to eat around the north west. Some are even great. But very few are exceptional – and only one can claim to be the best not just in our region, but in the entire country. 

The restaurant in question is Moor Hall.

This two Michelin-star spot, just outside Greater Manchester in Lancashire, opened back in 2017. It achieved its first Michelin star at break-neck speed, proudly mounting a red plaque within six months of opening. A year later, it got its second. It’s been named the Best Restaurant in England two years in a row at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards. And that’s just the tip of the glittering iceberg. 

All this might seem quick, but I doubt anyone has walked through these doors without emphatically agreeing that Moor Hall deserves every accolade on its shelves. If I had the power, I’d give it another star on the spot.

The experience begins before you’ve even got through the door.


You’ll drive through the stone gates and down the winding driveway, passing a lake, a group of geese pottering about on the lawn, and around the back of the beautiful former mansion house.

You could have arrived on the set of Bridgerton (if the Bridgertons happened to have a wine list so comprehensive that the table shakes under the weight of the menu).


As each guest is given a staggered arrival time, they know who you are the second you walk through the door. Being greeted by name takes us both aback – is this how the Beckhams feel all the time? Fetch me my Birkin! Where’s my security?!

Anyway. The initial grandeur of Moor Hall carries through for the first part of your meal – drinks and snacks in the bar area, where the walls are covered in dark wood and cosy bay windows look out onto the lake. 

Here, you begin to see the many, many cogs that go into making a restaurant like this function. Someone is in charge of water. Someone else is carefully slicing charcuterie into slices so thin it dissolves on your tongue like butter. 


Tiny black pudding bites pack a rich, meaty punch that immediately makes me wish we were staying overnight and could eat breakfast here too (there are 14 guest bedrooms at Moor Hall plus new garden rooms being constructed in the grounds). 

The next miniature mouthful bursts open with flavours of barbecued asparagus and smoky chorizo, then a dinky English muffin topped with buttered lobster turns me misty-eyed. 

A pair of pretty leaf-shaped crackers, each one embossed with herbs, arrives next, alongside a tin of cod roe and caviar, like a classic pate but 1000 times richer and more interesting. 

At this point, you’re whisked off your feet by another Moor Hall staff member, who promptly escorts you out the door. Have we done something wrong? Nope – it’s time to see the kitchen gardens. 

He expertly points out all the herbs, fruits and vegetables that are grown on-site in the beautiful walled gardens, tended to by a small team of gardeners. 


The tour then spits you out into the kitchen, where each of the many, many chefs whipping up your dinner will greet you with a friendly smile, and chef-patron Mark Birchall offers a warm handshake and yet another snack (this one resembles a small bird’s nest, filled with smoked eel and potato).

While the bar is dark and stately, the dining room is a modern, simple space flooded with sunlight and views of the lake. 

The dishes at this stage of the Provenance menu become instantly more theatrical. 

Suddenly we have people spooning brilliant white crumbles onto plates of carrots, herb-infused stocks being poured onto plates, quenelles of butter being rolled out of wooden dishes. 

Some dishes are simpler, like a loaf of the best sourdough we’ve ever had, but most are unimaginably intricate, like 80-day aged beef served with beetroot and mustard, and rich guinea hen complimented by even richer morel mushrooms.


Whatever the dish (and we get through a LOT), it’s the sort of food that makes you stop in your tracks. It triggers involuntary reactions – I keep catching us smiling, or closing our eyes, or gleefully pointing out goosebumps on our arms. I actually well up at one point. I didn’t know ice cream could move me to tears, but laced with spicy stem ginger – a staple on Moor Hall’s menu from day one – apparently it can. 

And throughout, Moor Hall will go to great lengths to show you where each dish has come from (because let’s be honest, fine dining sometimes gets so complicated it stops resembling food at all), whether that’s showing the huge joint of meat your dish has been carved from or handing you a tiny card telling the story of Ormskirk gingerbread. 

If you add a cheese course, you’re even escorted into the cheese room (is this… heaven?) to build your own cheese board from the huge selection of British creations inside. 

There’s a refreshing level of transparency throughout and although we’re surprised plenty of times, it doesn’t feel like trickery. 

It’s hard not to appreciate the meal you’re eating because you’ve seen every painstaking step and every ingredient being used before you’ve even sat down, from the gardner pruning the rosemary shrub to the sous chef placing micro herbs on bright green butter with a pair of tweezers.


It’s elaborate but intimate, complex but never intimidating.

You might wonder how a £235 tasting menu could ever NOT be intimidating to the average person, and that really comes down to the team who work at Moor Hall. 

They’re so warm and inviting, it’s like dining with friends. They could switch it up from explaining one of the most intricate menus in the world to joining in with our debate about whether it’s weird for adults to have a favourite colour. 

It’s hospitality on an unparalleled level.

At Moor Hall, it’s all about comfort. 


It’s the best restaurant in England, but it feels welcoming to everyone.

It’s the best restaurant in England, and it’s just an hour from Manchester. 

It’s the best restaurant in England and I’ll never stop thinking about it. 


Have you ever wondered what a £235 lunch looks like? Well here it is – and Moor Hall is pretty exceptional. #moorhall #manchester #ormskirk #michelinstar

♬ original sound – The Manc

Read more

Featured image: The Manc Group