Juniper, Altrincham, Cheshire

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Love it or hate it, you have to admit that molecular gastronomy makes for an eccentric and unique dining experience.

Love it or hate it, you have to admit that molecular gastronomy makes for an eccentric and unique dining experience. Take, for example, Paul Kitching's mind-boggling ideas at what is, arguably, the north of England's most innovative restaurant. Picture a saddle of lamb which is served with almonds, banana, mushroom, prune, cheese scone, spring greens, dill, pea cream, malt loaf and chocolate powder. Another dish is the curried cod, partnered with a ragout of figs and scallops, root vegetables, basil, fig puree, peanut sauce and "yeast cream". Chicken breast is offered with a lemon tart, best end of lamb with bee pollen, scallops with pineapple shortbread, and trout fillets with buttered teacake and melon glaze. Desserts include hot cross bun soufflé with cheddar cheese ice cream and a deconstructed ploughman's. The menu reads as though a child has been let loose in a well-stocked kitchen - but the restaurant has been given rave reviews and has established a cult following. Thankfully the décor does not try to compete with the food: the basement bar is smart but low-key, and the restaurant's backlit turquoise glass wall and Uccello mural, while stunning, are conventional compared to the fireworks that go on in Juniper's kitchen.

Juniper, 21 The Downs, Altrincham, Cheshire 0161 929 4008, www.juniper-restaurant.co.uk, Lunch Tue-Fri 12-2pm Dinner Tue-Sat 7-9.30pm. Meal for two, excl wine: £45

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