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The Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancs

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I must be some sort of masochist. I agreed to take the family, including two respective mothers-in-law to The Three Fishes during Christmas week. Having been told that we couldn’t reserve a table, but that they were child friendly, we decided to risk the forty minute drive and got there just before 1pm. The place was absolutely packed to the rafters, despite being huge inside with numerous rooms to dine in. No bookings are taken as I wrote, but you pop your name down on a blackboard and wait for a table to become available. Very glad we did so as soon as we walked in as they did not take anymore food orders after us, despite at least another ten groups pitching up after us.

The Three Fishes is quickly becoming a well renowned pub in the area and is owned by the Craig Bancroft and the Chef Nigel Haworth- who also own the Michelin starred Northcote Manor near Blackburn. I greatly admired the ideology behind this pub, as the back of the menu shows where everything on the menu is sourced, both locally and from a little further a field. Even down to Sarsaparilla from Oldham!

The menu is split into dishes to begin, House Specialties which sounded like the best ever Ploughman- like selection of meats with piccalilli and home baked bread. Then onto Main courses and Grills. I went for the Stuffed Deep Fried Trotters, Ascroft’s Golden Beet salad, Honey and Grain Mustard dressing. A generous portion of trotters served with really delicious golden beet and an excellent dressing. Spot on for £5.90. Rosie went for the Warm Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Blade Mace Butter, Toasted Muffin. A variation on the classic potted shrimp dish. Unfortunately, we both thought that the mace butter was far too overpowering. It totally overpowered the sweet flesh of the shrimps. A shame as this would have been a great dish if not for that.

Mains were for me from the Grill section-an Aged Ten Ounce Sirloin of Ribble Valley Beef (Matured for 5 weeks) Real Chips, Onion rings and a Herbed Tomato. Nice fat layer added flavour to the well cooked, rare beef- very flavoursome but a bit cold in places. The Onion rings were a bit too greasy, but the chips were superb. Crunchy and cooked in something that ones assumes, isn’t too good for you. That was £15 and my Mother-in-law- went for the 5oz Fillet which was really rather small, but she enjoyed it nevertheless. If you have a hearty appetite – do not go for this version. The missus went for Three Fishes Fish Pie, with Fleetwood fish with mash and topped with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese. Rich, creamy and very comforting. My Mother went for Battered Deep Fried Haddock, Marrowfat Peas and Real Chips. Nicely cooked fresh, flaky fish, I just don’t get Marrowfat peas though.

To finish, a Sticky Ginger Pudding and a Chocolate and Orange Pudding with Clotted cream- both brought top marks from the respective mothers.

Overall impression- it’s a busy place with about 120 covers I believe, and although the no bookings policy seems to work in general. I thought the young team struggled slightly on the day. For example, as a Three Fishes virgin, once seated at about 2pm, no-one told us that we then needed to go back to till station to place my order. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it and I will certainly go back as I have my eye on Farmer Sharp’s Slow Cooked Shoulder of Herdwick Mutton, Roasted Vegetables, Barley Dumplings and Gravy.

I mentioned elsewhere that Northcote Manor is running a Festival of Food and Wine from 23rd January till 29th January. Here is the line up:

23rd Claude Bosi -Hibiscus

24th David Thompson- Nahm

25th Fergus Henderson- St John

26th Heston Blumenthal and Andoni Luis Aduriz- Fat Duck and Mugaritz

27th Marx Hix – Le Caprice and The Ivy

28th Bruce Poole –Chez Bruce

29th Nigel Howarth and Phillip Howard- Northcote Manor and The Square

Christmas is cancelled in our household at the end of this year. I am saving up for this event in 2007.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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I must be some sort of masochist. I agreed to take the family, including two respective mothers-in-law

The first time I read this, I thought it said prospective.


Tempting as that is - I am not sure Rosie would quite stand for me taking on a few more wives. And indeed if one were too, that would therefore mean you would have to contend with more than one mother-in-law. No thanks :shock::biggrin:

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It's worth mentioning that the guest evenings at Northcote for this year's festival are fully booked up now...

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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