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Highwayman, Northcote, White Bull & others

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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

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  • 2 months later...

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.


Mum's been to Iceland, deep fried off cuts of pork & fish, as entree.


Cauliflower Veloute.



Foie Terrine.


Classic Heathcote Blackpudding & egg.


Morecambe shrimp risotto.


Goosnargh Chicken with the stink of truffle oil.


Pork Belly and Scallop.


Fillet & shin of beef


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 (log)

“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.

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  • 6 months later...

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

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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"

"So many places, so little time"



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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 (log)

John Hartley

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  • 1 month later...

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.




Pumpkin Soup.


Scallop Fishpie served in it's shell.


Duck, cabbage, duck Wonton.


side order of beans in a garlic sauce.


Venison Cottage pie.





“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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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  • 7 months later...


We’ve never failed to enjoy food at any of the Nigel Haworth pubs and this lunch was no exception. I just hope that, one day, he’ll open one in North Cheshire and then I can become a regular.

My partner is a sucker for a cheese soufflé and here it’s made with Leagrams organic Lancashire. Now that’s a cheese we buy at the farmers market at Ashton under Lyne and it’s a belter. So, of course, it worked really well cooked as Lancashires tend to. Topped with some roasted cherry tomatoes, this was almost as good a starter as you want to come across.

Almost as good. Almost. I was getting stuck into a very manly portion of BBQ ribs (rare breed Middle White pork, no less). Exceptionally meaty, they were impossible to eat delicately and I needed a good wash before the main course. And, to put a north west spin on something seemingly American, a little dish of devilled black peas accompanied. Great stuff.

And to make sure I kept up to speed with clogging my arteries, I followed up with cheese and onion pie. Good pastry. Substantial filling of Leagrams “tasty” Lancashire and their lovely curd cheese. A baked potato on the side. And a tomato & onion salad which, truth be told, didnt’t work too well. Luckily, I’d also ordered some buttered cabbage – that worked well!

Herself was being much more restrained with a beef salad. Good tasty beef, nicely rare. A tossed salad, some new potatoes and a horseradish cream. Excellent.

John Hartley

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  • 7 months later...

We had a reservation with friends for The Hastings in Lytham on Saturday night. It was shut. A couple passing by said it was closed on Friday too. A shame as we had been meaning to go for some time.


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I was there just before Xmas and it was rammed, but I guess you'd expect that at the time of year.

T'was very good too. Had a fantastic Bowland Limousin rump steak.

If it's gone this would be very sad. With the exception of The Cartford Inn there's very little else of this calibre on the Fylde.

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It's a shame that the Fylde Coast can't sustain even a modest eatery like this.

I wonder if it was lack of demand or a sudden withdrawal of liquidity that sank it.

Everyone today said it was always busy or perhaps as the old joke goes 'so busy nobody went there anymore'.

The only other place people speak warmly of in these parts is Twelve in Thornton. But I've only been once many years ago.

“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.

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We stopped for lunch on our way back from the Lakes.

At eight quid, a starter of Morecambe Bay shrimps has to be bloody good. Well, it was. But not necessarily eight quid’s worth. They’re served warm in butter – which makes you think the kitchen has taken some standard potted shrimps and warmed them through. It’s not a bad idea, you know. They come served with a toasted muffin.

The other starter came from the seasonal specials menu and was, effectively cheese on toast. A toasted, buttered, crumpet, topped with sliced beetroot and a thick covering a melted day old Lancashire cheese curd from Leagrams. Now, I’m a fan of Leagram’s cheese and Bob Kitchen sells his wares at my local farmers market. And, if ever you get a chance to get your hands on Bob’s Knob you should grab it with both hands. It’s his three year old Lancashire and it’s rather brill (he does a five year one as well, which even he says is a bit too mature).

Both mains came from the specials list. Braised brisket was a thick, generous slice and damn tasty. It came with some roasted root veg (which could have done with 5 minutes more roasting), very good gravy and chips (swapped for the advertised mash). Chicken, leek and ham pie is pretty much a classic dish and, here, there was absolutely nothing unclassic about it. Another generous portion, well filled with the advertised ingredients, bound with a good thick creamy sauce. Chips are also served. Proper chips, mind – none of your fries and none of your fat chips.

Good lunch all round.

John Hartley

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