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The Dining Room, Rawtenstall, Lancs


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The Dining Room is slightly set back on the busy Burnley Road, in the middle of Rawtenstall and is owned by the chef Andrew Robinshaw. He has an interesting CV witha stint at Ramsay’s Petrus and then working in France before returning to the vicinity of his hometown- Rochdale - to set up his own place. The restaurant interior has been stylishly renovated, with rich cream walls, modern art on the walls and those ubiquitous, comfortable, high-backed leather chairs one sees so often now. I was very tempted by the a la carte dish of Ballontine of Foie Gras, served with a Gewurztraminer jelly and toasted brioche. Unfortunately, that wasn’t available, but no matter - given that the excellent looking lunch menu contained a couple of the carte dishes we also fancied; we both opted for the set lunch option.

We were very pleasantly surprised to be given a choice of freshly baked walnut bread and onion bread. Both of us went for the latter - which was delicious. Very moreish . An excellent start which boded well for the rest of the meal. I opted for Duck Boudin, served with Aubergine Caviar and Red Onion glaze. Very nicely presented, three thin slices of boudin which had little shards of moist duck imbedded within. This sat on a pile of delicious aubergine caviar. around which was small pool of a red onion glaze. All three elements worked very well, the savoury boudin, being balanced by the almost creamy aubergine, and aided with a hint of sweetness from the onion glaze.

Rosie decided on the Ravioli of Smoked Haddock, with Fennel a la Grecque and a Granny Smith Butter sauce. A very thin layer of pasta encased moist, flavoursome, but delicately smoked haddock, which worked very well with the fennel. We both wondered whether the fennel and smoked haddock - being two robust ingredients - could work together on the plate but the result was faultless. There was no hint of harshness from the fennel with subtle flavourings from the vinegar, coriander seeds taking precedence but not overpowering the aniseed flavour of the fenel. The sweet , buttery sauce completed the dish by counteracting the smokiness of the fish.

I opted for Fillet of Pork with, Fondant potato, Slow Cooked Red Cabbage and Rich Madeira Sauce, for my main course. Every element was spot on. Tender pieces of pork, cooked just to the point of shying away from being too pink. A rich buttery fondant potato came with some unannounced green beans perched on top. The cabbage was a welcome addition as it was not overtly tart, as so often happens with an over enthusiastic use of vinegar. The sauce too, was incredibly rich and wisely served as small pool as one didn’t need too much of it; the depth of flavour within it though was superb. I was bloody happy by this stage.

Rosie had the Pan Fried Fillet Of Red Bream, Turned New Potatoes, Braised Savoy Cabbage and a Sauternes sauce. This was a really well put together dish, the fish was astonishngly well cooked. The thick layer of skin had been crisped to perfection since it was completely golden- not a hint of overcooked burnt tinges anywhere- yet the fish remained moist, flaking away into pearls of flesh with ease. Lord knows what "turned potatoes" are, but the Sauternes sauce, which was actually foamed over the fish, was spot on again.

I ended with a so called Chocolate Terrine, Shortbread Fingers and Hazelnut Praline. Little pieces of praline sat horizontally on either side of the two central components. A mound of luscious vanilla ice cream and the star of the show an intricately detailed, rectangle of rich intense ganache-like chocolate, which was encased on either side by two buttery shortbread biscuits. A superb final course for me. Rosie went for a text book warm raspberry soufflé. I saw three delivered in total, two to the table of Yummy Mummys next to us and all of the had risen both beautifully and uniformly. I commented that the price of the same dessert alone at The Waterside Inn, was seven pounds more than all of the three courses we had enjoyed above. £14.95 for three courses including coffee (or Earl Grey in our case). This was sensational value for the calibre of cooking on offer.

With one aperitif, a bottle of Hildon, a scrumptious bottle of Gewurztraminer ‘Herrenweg’ Alsace A.C, Cave de Turckheim, (France), 2002, and a glass of Elysium Black Muscat- the total bill was £60. Service was very good, though he seemed a bit brusque at first; but he warmed up as we progressed along. My incessant questions probably didn’t help. :biggrin: I have no real criticisms to offer, but would suggest that the a la carte menus would be better served by having a more formal cover. I know it’s a bloody minor detail, but I get the feeling this place is on the ascendancy, and tiny details will matter. Pedantry over, a few more choices of wine by the glass would be very welcome too. Especially for those opting for the tasting menu and wanting wines to partner each course.

By complete coincidence as I write this, the missus has just turned over to watch “Who do you think you are?” on Beeb 2. The subject of which is the actress Jane Horrocks, visiting her hometown of Rawtenstall. She would do well to pay them a visit when she is next up visiting her family, as would you if you live in anywhere nearby. One to watch me thinks.


Edited : As I forgot to mention her main course dish.

Edited by Bapi (log)
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With one aperitif, a bottle of Hildon, a scrumptious bottle of  Gewurztraminer ‘Herrenweg’ Alsace A.C, Cave de Turckheim, (France), 2002, and a glass of Elysium Black Muscat- the total bill was £60.


Sixty quid for 2? You jammy northern b'stards! Is it close enough to be a regular? In fact, sod that, does the chef fancy moving to west london?

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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  • 2 weeks later...

Going home to Southport for Mothers day etc, so think we will be trying it out, if I can persuade my mother that its a bargain!! (She still thinks 2 for 1 are a good bet!!)


http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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  • 2 months later...

Bapi - you're a splendid man for bringing this little gem to our attention!

Went for lunch on Saturday with sister and nephew - and had a very very good meal for very very little dosh!

Details off the top of my head:

Bread - choice of walnut or cheese - fresh from the oven. The walnut one I had was very good - good crust and not over nutty.

Starters - between us we tried the cider cured salmon with pickled fennel - very good and light, but the best starter on the table was the chicken liver parfait which was wonderfully rich and flavoursome. I had to stop myself from nicking more off her plate!

Mains - covered all three choices between us - so that was sea bream, rump of lamb and pork (with madeira sauce?) - all with veg and potatoes (dauphinoise with the pork for example). The pork and lamb were good, thought the dauphinouse were a little so-so in comparison, but the sea bream was exemplary as per Bapi's comments upthread. The crispest skin I have ever tried - but the fillet remained moist and tender - how does he do that?!?! but for me - (and I can't believe I am going to type this) - the carrots with my pork were AMAZING! I don't know what he did to them - but they were delicious - sweet but still some deep earthy note to them as well. I only had three - and wished that I could have ordered a separate bowl of them!!

Puddings were not really required - but when has that stopped us? So two portons of sticky toffee pudding and one chocolate fonant please - all of which seemed to be accompanied by white chocolate ice-cream - which was very very good.

Water, coffee, and a couple of drinks - and with service - the three of us paid less than £65. If you're anywhere near this place, and you haven't been yet - go now! and if you've already been, then you're probably going again!

Me? well, we were reminded of the £35 7 course tasting menu so sister and I need to coordinate diaries - all this food - so little time!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Yin, haven't been on-line recently so missed this.

Glad you enjoyed it so much. We haven't yet been back, partly because they didn't have the courtesy to respond to an e-mail I sent them, but we do intend to quite soon. Will let you know when and perhaps we can meet up. :smile:

And yes. I am splendid. :biggrin:

Edited by Bapi (log)
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