Pinion, in Prescot, is a bold statement about great food, community, and regeneration

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His & Hers was excited to be at the launch of Pinion a year ago. The people of Prescot were celebrating the arrival of an independent restaurant that provides classic cuisine at affordable prices. Already, a year on, a wine bar and several other shops have launched, and the street has a different, more optimistic aspect. This vibrant gem of a restaurant adds a classic dimension, to a town that hasn’t had a new restaurant for over 30 years.

WORDS: Jean Hill

I called at Pinion to do interviews with the manager and head chef, prior to the Channel 4 documentary about the venture. In the hour-long documentary. Gary Usher explains his quest to open a bistro in one of Merseyside’s most neglected town centres. This was always a statement of intent, that the people of Prescot deserve the best.

I was delighted to discover Crème Brulée on the lunch menu, so dessert was sorted. I took a recommendation from the manager and tried their cauliflower salad: sumac and apple roasted cauliflower, spiced lentils, and Jerusalem artichoke. It is a balancing act: crisp as opposed to tender; spice in retaliation for sweetness. And it works beautifully.

I chatted to James the chef, who loves his job and enjoys life outside the city. Cat, the manager, like all Gary’s crew, enjoys her role and loves the location. The menu remains classic, though new seasonal dishes may emerge from time to time. Feather-blade beef remains a well-deserved firm favourite, slow cooked to perfection.

Chef and entrepreneur Gary Usher, founded the award-winning Elite Bistros group back in 2011. He started with a restaurant set in a row of terrace houses in the small suburb of Hoole on the outskirts of Chester. Since then, Gary has gone on to open five more award-winning restaurants throughout the North West. Gary has managed to raise almost half a million pounds through crowdfunding. All his restaurants appear in the Good Food Guide, which is quite an achievement.

After leaving school at 16, Gary worked in a series of pubs and top restaurants before opening his flagship restaurants. He turned his life around with a mission to bring exceptional food, that doesn’t cost the earth, to people in the North West. It takes 20 minutes to get from Liverpool to Prescot, either by train or car. The décor of Pinion is as timeless as the cuisine. A fabulous chandelier takes pride of place, in beautiful peaceful surroundings.

I met an American, on vacation in London, who travelled to Liverpool to take in an exhibition, and visit several restaurants. She had read a great review of Gary Usher’s Wreckfish and was excited to be dining there. Pinion offers the same classic cuisine in a smaller, more intimate setting. It works beautifully for an out of the city, relaxing lunch or dinner.

The documentary will air in Autumn 2019 on Channel 4. For more information about Elite Bistros, visit: https://www.elitebistros.com or follow Gary Usher on Twitter @garyusherchef.

Pinion, open Wednesday to Sunday, 08001601811.

Related read: The unstoppable Gary Usher.

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