The first thing that hits you when you enter McKenzie’s is the beautiful architecture of the dining room, with a circular feel to it and an interesting balcony area where you can also dine. Converted from the Lichfield Corn Exchange, originally built in 1849, the feel of the restaurant and it’s surrounding businesses is certainly one which has kept the history of the corn exchange business of Lichfield alive, with beautifully sustained beams, a real cottage feel with a modern twist and a homely environment.
In the small, quaint city of Lichfield in Staffordshire lies a restaurant that was most certainly the only pick for a meal for my Dad’s 61st birthday. Not only is it situated in one of the most beautiful cities in England, and in an architecturally interesting and charming restaurants, but it also shares our family name (not that we have any connection to the restaurant other than sheer coincidence of having the same name). My family and I used to go with my Godparents to the restaurant when it was under a different ownership, so it was also interesting to see how it had changed. With stunning food and drinks, McKenzie’s is certainly the place to go for a special occasion or a treat in Staffordshire, especially on a Saturday when the market is bustling outside.
As you enter, you are welcomed by incredibly friendly and helpful staff who really make you feel at home, presented with the bar area to glance at the fine array of drinks available, including some interesting and cheeky cocktails such as their cappuccino daiquiri and intriguing teas like Russian Caravan and Gunpowder Pinhead. They also have a fabulous McKenzie’s Lemonade which is freshly made each day and tastes so citrus fresh.
The food encumbers the classic British feel to the restaurant perfectly offering a variety of ethically sourced, fresh foods and culinary creations. Their range of steaks and burgers is what screams their success in my opinion, with juicy cuts of meat and all homemade products, including their famous McKenzie’s Chips, which are crispy with the skin on and beautifully seasoned. Unlike most restaurants, their steak dishes are all individually hand crafted to each have different accompaniments to them to best suit the type from different types of salads to sautéed mushrooms to coleslaw. I tried a sample of the 8oz Rump Steak that my Dad ordered with a beautiful rocket and parmesan salad. The steaks are cooked to perfection and incredibly juicy.
Their burgers are also to die for, with chunky McKenzie’s Chips as an accompaniment, and definitely something I would recommend getting from McKenzie’s. They use only the best cuts of beef, minced, in their burgers with fresh tomatoes and home pickled gherkins. The burgers come with a variety of mouth watering toppings, including ‘Angry’ tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, cajun spices, or the stunning crispy bacon and melted creamy blue cheese that I ordered with ‘Angry’ tomato sauce on the side. I was so full towards the end of the meal, but I couldn’t stop eating, and of course had to try one of their intriguing desserts.
The desserts at McKenzie’s were absolutely gorgeous, with so many twists of classics and fascinating dessert combinations I hadn’t tried before. Whilst my Dad went for a gorgeous bread and butter pudding and my Mum went for another classic, the cheese board, where I went for a delicious chocolate ganache mouse topped with toffee popcorn. The cheese board is the dessert that impressed me the most, with an interesting array of local cheeses, including a cheese I had never seen before, a bright pink coloured cheese with a sweet taste that was delicious! I really wish I had found out what type of cheese it was as I would love to have it again. The crackers were also really lovely, with vastly seeded crackers and charcoal crackers and fresh grapes.
McKenzie’s is one of the loveliest, most homely restaurants I have eaten at that is so reasonably priced. If you are every in the Lichfield area or even in Staffordshire, it is one of those restaurants that is worth going to, even if to sample on of their delicious McKenzie Lemonade’s and in-house made shortbreads. Let me know in the comments below if you have ever eaten at McKenzie’s and what you thought of this quaint setting and their British classical food.