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Highwayman, Northcote, White Bull & others


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#31 adey73

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 10:08 AM

Went to the White Bull for dinner last night with a good mate of mine who I thought was going to ask me to be bestman! Fortunately he hasn't asked his g/f the big question...

Anyway food was good and portion size was thankfully smaller than the last time I went.
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Egg & Bury Blackpudding.

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Seafood Mixed Grill, all perfectly cooked.


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Roast Cod.


The dinning room was very busy and we had a few summer pints in the garden.
“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#32 spanielking

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 12:11 PM

They like their rocket !!!

#33 RDB

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 05:08 AM

Went to The White Bull again on Sunday, which is strange for me to revisit a place in a matter of weeks. Often when it comes to deciding on a spare of the minute Sunday lunch, I often find it hard to generate options. Some places I have been to fail on food, but deliver on atmosphere, some almost deliver on food but lack good service etc etc. I think with the White Bull you get the full package, great food, excellent friendly service, great beer, wonderful atmosphere and very cheap prices.

Six of us went on Sunday including my daughter the self proclaimed "Kid Critic", and we all followed the rule of trying not to order what anyone else does, so to get a full range of the dishes. This enabled a more detailed analysis of the cooking on offer, rather than judging a restaurant on one or two dishes. I have to say that all starters and mains were really excellent, with none (yes really) failing in any way. Sorry I have no copy of the menu so maybe bet sketchy. Some examples included a beautiful pork terrine with an apple chutney, perfect mackeral pate, a piece of salmon with med veg was divine and chilli spiked summer squash soup was elegant. There did not appear to be any starters on the specials board.

Mains included an amazing belly pork, creamed cabbage and black pud mash, alright not the most summery of dishes but in deepest Lancashire summer was not apparent. A well executed Sunday roast, I think brisket of beef, with all the trimmings. Now this is the "Kid Critic's" domain, and she was very, very impressed with the dish, except there was not enough gravy. However before she could demote the dish from a five star to a four star, unprompted a little jug of personalised gravy appeared. They saved themselves culinary ruination with that foresight!!! I had roasted cod with saute potatoes, rocket, wild mushrooms and truffle, which was excellent, well cooked fish, earthy mushrooms, really good. There was a parmesan gnocchi dish which was the vegatarian option which was hailed delicious by a carnivore. Few specials which we did not try, halibut and fillet steak, I think. I would have to agree with Adey that portions have gotten a little smaller, which means they are now what would be considered normal size.

Service throughout was excellent, with just two staff members, they managed a full room of diners with ease and remained appropriately conversational as one would expect from a good country pub. Googling reveals that the head front of house is the owner of the pub along with her husband, head chef Chris Bell, who has worked in Tom Aikens, L'ortolan (JBR), original Deanes and Roscoff, and head chef at Longridge. So quite a lot of experience and knowledge between the two, and it shows.

Desserts were deemed very good by those that enjoy sweet things, ice creams, Eton Mess, stick toffee pud etc. I don't get to excited by desserts. I ordered the cheese which was a mixture of Irish and English varieties, e.g. Durrus, Blacksticks Blue. Unfortunately they were past there best, being a little dried out. This was dealt with and replaced, albeit with the replacements being just a little better. I remember receiving similar quality cheeses in Northcote once and was informed by a very scary German waitress that the cheeses were meant to be like that!

Good coffees from exchange coffee, which were much better than our last visit, I think there was a problem with the machine. I am not sure what the final bill was, but it is £14 for two courses and £17 for three, specials may carry a supplement. I had quite a few good local Bowland Brewery ales, wine list appears short but well rounded, and modestly priced.

The bar area appears very lively and has good atmosphere and I was told the beer garden is 'fun'. It manages to achieve the balance of a good pub with a good place to eat out and it definitely deserves its Bib Gourmand.

Personally I am delighted I have found a place which ticks all my requirments for a spare of the moment weekend lunch. I just hope it maintains its standards or the "Kid Critic" will be down on them with more wrath than the likes of Jay Rayner or AA Gill could ever muster.

#34 dipardoo

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 04:31 AM

Was at the Three Fishes on Saturday. Lovely lunch, cheese pie and fish and chips all round. There seem to be some great specials and new dishes on the menu but i have now got to the stage that all i want there is the calorie-laden horror that is the cheese pie. Didn't have a starter in order to save space for the ace summer pudding with clotted cream that we all had, rather unorginally.

The Clog and Billycock is set to open in Pleasington at the end of the month. Looking forward to trying the cheese pie there.

#35 RDB

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 06:54 AM

Had another great lunch at the White Bull a few weeks back, again all the dishes were excellent, and super value for money. Enjoyed an excellent piece of calves liver, and compared to last time, the cheese board was very, very impressive. Having been there three times in a few months, I can really vouch for consistency on both cooking and FOH, I only wished I lived nearer.

#36 adey73

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 07:51 AM

I made it to the Clog and Billycock today. It's more spacious that the other two, service was warm & accommodating the kitchen got the food out very quickly. Unfortunately Some of the specials and other items off the menu were not available (like the whole roast partridge that jumped straight at me, but was AWOL).
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for starters I had a bowl of extremities; trotter, tripe & black pudding (wish there had been a jowl in there too). All unctuous goodness.
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Followed by a fantastic buttery Orkney Lobster and Cambridge sauce. (yes I had chips that's because at heart I'm still a lumpen-prole)
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I was full already, but couldn't resist some cheese from the region, unfort didn't have Leagrams Curd.
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All excellent quality pub food, though Ribble Valley Inn's are more pub themed restaurants. No sign of any credit crunch round here. Every other table was taken when I left, with a mixture of pensioners, couples and fat mouthed boorish suits. There may be 4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, but this isn't one of them, so doesn't belong in the Albert Hall. (am sorry, so sorry)

Incidentally, the American documentary King Corn is playing on Sky Arts at the moment. Saw it last night, not as preachy as Spurlock, but achingly hard discovering the plight of grain fed cattle. Watch it.
“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#37 dipardoo

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:25 AM

Adey, well done, you made it. It looks great - i want that starter and that main (and the AWOL pigeon now i come to think of it)

There was some discussion of going to C&B on Saturday and Sunday chez Dipardoo but alas the £9.99 for two courses at San Marco in Much Hoole won (not my choice i hasten to add)

£1.5million refurbishment for a 1970s tratt menu. not sure i get it. still, i enjoyed my funghi ripieni and hawaiian pizza...

#38 PhilD

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:18 PM

Adey - what camera do you use. The photos are really crisp, good resolution and it looks like no flash.

#39 adey73

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 01:25 PM

Leica D-lux3
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“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#40 adey73

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 08:24 AM

Here's another party political broadcast on behalf of the Clog and Billycock.
Was passing through that part of the world so decided to dive in for lunch.
Car park was half full as were the tables, not bad for a November Monday I suppose.

Pumpkin soup may have been emulsified with oil, like Heinz do with their Tomato, background taste of curry powder. Just lit fire warmed the cockles.
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Goosnargh chicken a la chips with a chive and garlic sauce. today's specials. Spent £16.25 with a soft drink, left sated and happy.
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Edited by adey73, 10 November 2008 - 09:06 AM.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#41 RDB

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Posted 06 January 2009 - 07:38 AM

Had a very pleasant pre christmas lunch at Northcote, all dishes in our party were a success. I opted for the white beef tartar with cauliflower, bone marrow toast and quails egg, which I just love. I had a venison dish for main which was again very, very tasty. I really think Northcote is very consistent food wise, and I even thought service was more polished this time around, albeit it was not full.

Speaking of consistency, went to the White Bull on boxing day. Feeling a little jaded from the previous days festivities, this was a welcome retreat. I had an amazing hare dish, totally blown away by it. It was actually my first time tasting hare, and I was very impressed by it as a meat. Again prices are low and quality high, I am sure it will maintain its Bib. The White Bull is without doubt my find of the year, if you are in the area do go.

#42 SaladFingers

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 04:27 PM

Paid the Highwaymann Inn a visit today for lunch. The staff were all lovely, we must have said goodbye about 20 times on the way out.

Started with 'Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot Belly Pork and
Blackpudding, crumbed and deep fried,Apple Purée,
Crackling Salad'


This comes in the form of a cube and is packed with juicy meat and delicious blackpudding at the bottom bound together by breadcrumbs. The apple purée was 'sweet as' mate. Classic combination and cooked to perfection.

Then I had 'Highwayman Game Pudding, Purée Potatoes,
Roasted Root Vegetables, Juniper Berry Gravy'.


I make these all the time myself, because it's probably my favourite dish of all time. What? The pudding was sizeable (I could feel the fabric of my stomach coming apart afterwards) and the quenelle of creamy potato wasn't much smaller but then I wasn't complaining. Scattered root vegetables made it all look rather pretty and the juniper gravy was spot on.

Anything else after all that was out of the question. My mate had Battered Deep Fried Haddock, Marrowfat Peas, Real Chips cooked in Dripping,Tartare Sauce. Reports were good and the fish was gianormous - something of a theme.

We both had several glasses of Sasparilla - bringing back memories of childhood. I haven't had 'sas' since I was a kid in a mate's shed taking sips of his Dad's supplies, pretending it gave me super powers. Mmm it was every bit as good as I remembered.

After gauging on all that wonderful food, we decided to try burning a corner of it off by walking into Kirkby Lonsdale. Such a beautiful and mainly peaceful walk through the countryside; the snow on surrounding mountains creating a nice postcard feel. We did however nearly get run over a few times as cars like to power through so keep in close to the edge if you fancy that walk.

#43 SaladFingers

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:54 AM

Taking my brother out for dinner on Saturday. Originally planned on going to the Highwayman Inn (Burrow) but decided against it because I want to try somewhere new.

What are people's preferances; Three Fishes or Clog and Billycock?

Three Fishes online menu grabs me a bit more but want to make sure we eat at the best place.

#44 adey73

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 09:24 AM

Haven't been a while to either. But I would go to Three Fishes because I like Clitheroe and especially the superlative Byrne Bro's wine shop on King St. and the cheese shop, Cheesey Tchaikovsky.
“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#45 Harters

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 11:28 AM

Isn't there also a very decent butchers in Clitheroe - seem to remember they have a large selection of sausages.
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#46 RDB

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 12:59 PM

Isn't there also a very decent butchers in Clitheroe - seem to remember they have a large selection of sausages.

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It is called Cowmans, they do some good sausages. Also Wellgate Fisheries good for fish, coffee exchange good for coffee etc. Clitheroe (and surrounding area) has always been great for food, and one of my favourite food destination. LIttered with places to pop into once you come of the M6 and travel to Clitheroe itself. As mentioned Byrnes is amzing for price, quality and originality.

Saying that I feel the Three Fishes has went down hill the last few times I visited on both service and food.

#47 Harters

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 02:20 PM

Cowmans! I knew it was something appropriate sounding.
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#48 Harters

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 09:10 AM

Nigel Haworth can market the Three Fishes as a “proper pub” as much as he likes – it doesn’t make it true. By any usual definition, this is not a “proper pub” – nobody is coming here on Friday night to get bevied up with their mates. You get shown to a table. And the toilets are clean. This is a place you’re going to come for the food – by any usual definition this is a restaurant that happens to be in a pub and one where you happen to order your food at the bar. It was about to be a pretty good lunch.

I started with the Shorrocks Lancashire cheese on toast. Like other customers I overheard later, I’d assumed the default menu item included Sillfield Farm bacon and Worcestershire sauce dressing at £5.50 (as the menu then offered, as suitable for vegetarians, “without bacon and dressing” at £4.75). So like the other customers, I was a tad disappointed to get the naked version. Damn good cheese on toast, though – and a bit of salad on the side.

Mrs H had the warm Morecambe Bay shrimps – a ramekin packed with shrimps with a good slosh of melted butter, heavy on the mace, but not overly so. Came with a toasted muffin which was absolutely necessary for mopping up the delicious butter.

She followed this with haddock, chips and mushy peas. Crisp batter on good fish. Crisp chips tasting of fried potato and they were perfect chip sized chips. Mushies a bit bland.

I had braised oxtail which had all the good signs of long slow cooking. Alongside, some mash and root veg.

It was popular with families and, in a pleasant change to the usual round of chicken nuggets, fish fingers and pizza, the “young persons menu” offered small portions of a number of standard menu items. OK, there was no oxtail for young uns, but they could have had the fish & chips, or Goosnargh chicken and veg or the burger. Why don’t more places serve real food to real people – even if they are aged 8.

Service is good from the pleasant smiley young women who staffed the bar or who work the room, attentively spotting that you’ve finished eating and might like the crockery removing and an offer of coffee made.

We then nipped into Clitheroe to stock up on sausages from Cowmans.

Edited by Harters, 26 October 2009 - 09:10 AM.

John Hartley

#49 RDB

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 11:38 AM

I had another terrible meal at The Three Fishes a few weeks ago, not sure why I keep going back??

I had a bowl of mussels with apple and shallot. The mussels were ok but the raw tarty apples and raw shallot ruined it.

Burger and chips (kids) dry beef with a distinct sour taste.

Fish and chips, flacid and soggy batter. Sent this back and was informed this happens to batter. Sent out another one which was as soggy. Bizarre. Maybe they need a trip to the Golden Hind or Magpie Cafe to see how good batter can stay crisp after 10 seconds.

Platter of seafood was good.

As always the way they deal with any complaint here is: A) Get defensive; B) Try and convince you that you wouldn't understand the complexities of cooking C) Take the approach that you don't know what your taking about.

Maybe I have been unlucky on my last three visits.

#50 MaLO

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:34 PM

Lunched in Northcote yesterday. The place was packed, I suppose the great British menu is a great way of raising the profile.
We had booked for one thirty but were not seated until after two.
The food was very good, better than my last visit when it was decent if a little uninspired.
We ate Risotto with kale and chestnuts and Smoked salmon with chilli tempura squid and followed with Partridge in puff pastry and a tremendous lump of line caught cod. Desserts were queen of puddings and a blackberry and yoghurt trifle. We had coffee and dinky, hot Eccles cakes in the lounge. There was also a canapé of artichoke mousse with crisps.
Service was good although I didn’t recognise anyone from past visits; I suppose some will have been transplanted into the pubs.
We rounded things off with a trip to Clitheroe for sausages and a poke about in the wine shop. We also stopped off at Huntleys, well worth a stop if you are passing – very good selection of all things edible. Good wine shop too.
Martin

#51 Harters

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:23 AM

Lunch at the Clog & Billycock. As with the other Ribble Valley Inns this presses all the dining pub buttons for me. There’s a heavy reliance on local ingredients, good pricing and friendly and eager young staff. What’s not to like?

There were several of us for lunch so I didn’t keep track of all the dishes but I didn’t hear a word of complaint about any. I went for a “seasonal special” by way of a starter – warm pheasant salad with orange and pomegranate dressing. This did exactly what it said on the tin – there was warm pheasant, perfectly tender and with good flavour; there was salad - dressed and with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and orange segments.

Main was a slow baked pigs trotter stuffed with black pudding & chicken. Trotter was OK but the stuffing was much better. Came with some mash and a good gravy. It also came with some unadvertised roast squash – which made my separate order of cauliflower cheese somewhat unnecessary.

Menu has a good range of traditional desserts, including pancakes but I stuck with cheese. Three decent slices – Blacksticks Blue, Singletons and Leagrams Curd – with bread, biscuits, butter & chutney
John Hartley

#52 adey73

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 09:43 AM

Longridge Heathcotes the one time gastronomic destination of Lancashire.
On this visit under new hands, the review was mixed.
Half our party thought the food & service was overpriced and bereft of innovation.
The other half thought it was good, but preferred Northcote.
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Mum's been to Iceland, deep fried off cuts of pork & fish, as entree.
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Cauliflower Veloute.
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Foie Terrine.
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Classic Heathcote Blackpudding & egg.
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Morecambe shrimp risotto.
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Goosnargh Chicken with the stink of truffle oil.
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Pork Belly and Scallop.
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Fillet & shin of beef
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And that's where it ends.
The restaurant got hit at about 8.30,
when we were waiting to order desserts the service staff had moved to welcoming the new diners.
We eventually got the eye of a server and placed the order. Which after a long period hadn't arrived. So we left.

I think it's a long way from the peak of Longridge original. For me the taste of the food was lacking. My main was on the dying point of luke warm and arrived 5-minutes after the others (the restaurant was barely half full). Factoring in all the extras, it was not value for money and I was glad I was not paying.

Edited by adey73, 10 February 2010 - 09:58 AM.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#53 Harters

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:06 AM

I'm not sure you've sold this enough to warrant a schlep from North Cheshire just yet.
John Hartley

#54 Harters

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:27 AM

A bargain three course lunch today at Northcote for £25 – sweetened even further by having a “fiver off” voucher from them. Perhaps that was what had dragged all the other punters in – place was heaving.

A ball of rabbit rillette had been wrapped in a very thin potato coating and then crisped. It sat on some lentils and smoked bacon cream. Excellent – just my sort of starter.

The other was pretty good as well – a disc of black pudding came with a mousse of trout and a nettle and mustard sauce. Good strong flavour from the pudding which perhaps overpowered the fish a bit. The sauce was simply “savoury”, no single flavour reaching out. There’d also been good bread offered – four different sorts, the Lancashire cheese one being a star.

We both went for the same main course – puff pastry wrapped loin of lamb, just about reaching “pink” in its cooking. But it was the vegetables that really shone here – baby turnips, an onion puree, fennel and some cavolo nero (some strips plainly steamed with a couple deep fried in a tempura batter). Fab.

For dessert, my wife with a very seasonal poached plums, which came with honey and thyme ice-cream. I fancied cheese – two decent slices – one each of Kirkhams Creamy and Blacksticks Blue. Some walnut bread and the most delicious thinner-than-wafer-thin crispbread.

Food was pretty much faultless although I suspect there were some issues at Northcote today (and ones you really don’t expect at a Michelin starred place). Dishes were very slow to come out to all tables and we did see a couple of plates being returned. Some folk also seemed to have been “held” in the lounge for a long time before being shown through to the dining room. Still, the benefit of being retired is that one is not in a rush.
John Hartley

#55 david goodfellow

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 10:47 AM

Looks a decent menu especially for £20 John. Little wonder they were packed out

Thankfully the £5 offer has been extended into September, best get up there to try Lisa's cooking again.

But it was the vegetables that really shone here – baby turnips, an onion puree, fennel and some cavolo nero


I dare say these were picked fresh from their kitchen garden in the morning, as chef Tom Kitchin states, "From nature to plate"

#56 Harters

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 11:12 AM

I'd assume at least some of the veg might have. The only thing I know for certain is that the flowers on the tables did.

As MaLO, upthread, we also stopped at Huntley's farm shop. Hadnt been there for some years and, frankly, wouldnt bother stopping again. It was all "badged" industrial pickles and the like. Even the meat and cheese looked a bit generic, if you know what I mean.

Edited by Harters, 01 September 2010 - 11:12 AM.

John Hartley

#57 adey73

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 11:13 AM

Went to Freemasons Inn in Wiswell just outside Clitheroe today. Surprisingly busy, needed to book. A pleasing little Lancashire village that I'd never been to before, full of characterful stone buildings.
Lunch was good and the stroll around the village repaid the effort of the car journey.

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Pumpkin Soup.

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Scallop Fishpie served in it's shell.

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Duck, cabbage, duck Wonton.

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side order of beans in a garlic sauce.

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Venison Cottage pie.

Wiswell
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“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#58 david goodfellow

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 04:58 AM

Anyone been to the White Bull recently?

I notice that it does not hold a Bib Gourmand anymore.

New chef?

Still worth a visit?

#59 PhilD

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 11:48 AM

I notice that it does not hold a Bib Gourmand anymore.

New chef?


Or simply a price change - bids are only awarded if you can get a good meal for under a certain price. If the price creeps up then they may lose the bib for this reason - all other elements remaining the same.

It isn't inconceivable that it could get better as the price rises, so loses a bib but not quite a star yet so it exists in a sort of limbo.

#60 Harters

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 11:56 AM

New chef?

Presumably. I think the old one left to return to Heathcote's Longridge restaurant. May account for why no decent reports in the last couple of years.
John Hartley