Near the Storyhouse, Chester’s stronghold for arts and culture, you can find the proud culinary creation of two brothers, Joseph Benjamin. You’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of flexible menus and adjoining Tapas bar next door. A favourite in the Michelin Guide for value and quality, this place is as revered as it is renowned for its soothing presence in our great historic city. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Emily, one of the managers. This is what she had to say….
What’s the story behind the name?
It’s two brothers. Ben and Joe just loved food. Ben worked in the city for a while and Joe was a chef. They came together because they wanted to create some more interesting food in Chester; there wasn’t really that much at the time. They created one of the first quality independent restaurants in Chester!
When is the busiest time for your restaurant?
We are full on a Saturday in general. Our Sunday Roast is incredible, so we get a lot of people in every Sunday. We also do a weekly deal which is £10 for a glass of wine and main course – this rotates every week, so you always get something new and different. There are always lunch and early evening specials too. With the Storyhouse just down the road, we serve food from five thirty in the evening, so people don’t have to rush out to performances.
Talk me through your booking system.
You can just walk in or use ResDiary, which is all accessible through the Joseph Benjamin website. It is a bit like Open Table – you select when you want to come, and it’ll book you in. Alternatively, you can just give us a call and we’ll sort you out.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
At the moment there is a really lovely monkfish dish. It comes with an orange and fennel risotto. The monkfish is charred so it has an amazing texture. It’s nice with the spring weather. There’s also the Panzanella salad, which is a seabass filet with some basil mayonnaise – it’s simple but delicious!
Do you like to change things up a bit?
Yes, we definitely try to keep in line with the seasons and make the most of the different produce that’s available. We are not closed off, and open to lots of different influences. I’d say that our cuisine is modern European, but we do draw on other cultures and ideas. Our head chef, Jose, draws on a lot of Spanish flavours.
How do you do things differently to other independents?
Sounds cheesy, but we like to keep things real. We don’t go over the top, we are just doing what we do really well. The service is good, and we provide a rounded experience. We care less about reviews and more about people!
Define Joseph Benjamin in sentence.
We are small, independent and friendly with a really strong focus on quality food!
What does the future look like for Joseph Benjamin?
Just continuing being there for people and producing good food. We are quite happy with what’s going on at the moment – no branching out, doing burritos, or anything too dramatic. We take our inspiration from flavor and go from there!
To make a booking with Joseph Benjamin you can call them on 01244 344295 or you book through their website www.josephbenjamin.co.uk.