The Cartford Inn – Little Eccleston, Poulton

“Yawn, another superb place to eat in Lancashire!”

Regular readers will know (what you have regulars? – Ed) that I have become acutely aware of the plethora of fine eateries in our very own ‘Northern Quarters’ of Lancashire. It was only a few weeks ago we sampled the wonders of Freemasons at Wiswell (see here). This fine bank holiday Monday it was a quick tour into the fair county of Fylde to witness the highly acclaimed ‘The Cartford Inn’.

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A fine morning stroll along the promenade of Lytham preceded this mid-afternoon luncheon. The Flame and I were fair ravenous by the time we crunched the steed into the riverside car park. The Cartford Inn is set by a sweeping waterway.  The ancient building seems to have grafted on a few extras. It is a sizeable hotel as well as a fully-fledged, trophy winning restaurant.

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A rather quaffable pint of ‘Giddy Kipper’ was selected for the arrival livener. The Flame settled on a fivers worth of sparkling San Pellegrino, (the standard jug of tap water being off limits on account of the parasitic breakout in these parts). We settled into our substantial, ‘school desk’ table. The décor is a strange mish mash of old and new. Sometimes vibrant sometimes subdued. Toadstools featured fairly highly in our secluded spot, along with some old, multi coloured doors! Some natty artwork dotted the walls, some of it for sale. It turns out it that it does double up as an art gallery! Next up the splendid menu, I’d already clocked some lamb on the specials.

cartford menu

I started with a splendid looking and rather grand sounding, pan seared scallops dish with a scallop soufflé, wilted rainbow chard, bisque and salmon caviar (£8.50). The scallops were just as nature intended, charred outside, moist and translucent inside. The bits and bobs all added flavour, though the soufflé was a bit tasteless. It mopped the juices up nicely though. The Flame had a starter from the day’s special menu. Smoked salmon and goats cheese tart with a tangy salad. Goats cheese not my bag, but she loved it.

Scallops, smoked salmon tart
Scallops, smoked salmon tart

After a fairly major wait our mains arrived. The young chap apologising profusely and pointing out that it had been his busiest service ever! It was a bank holiday Monday after all.

For mains The Flame had a chargrilled spatchcock Poussin marinated in garlic and thyme with triple cooked chips and a green salad (£15.00). I managed to scavenge a piece off a discarded bone! The garlic, thyme and ‘moistness’ apparent even in that morsel. For my mains I had my own celebratory ‘British Lamb Week’ dish. A rack of local Pilling Marsh lamb, cooked pink with sauté potatoes, ‘panache’ of vegetables and redcurrant and rosemary jus (£16). Quite simply, possibly the finest lamb I have ever had. The presentation may have left a little to be desired, three lumps of half trimmed rack, but boy it was good. Sweet with a gamey edge, it was cooked to perfection, the fat taking a knife as well as the meat. Utterly fabulous.

Britis Lamb Week! Lamb and poussin
Britis Lamb Week! Lamb and poussin

I had three desserts! Chocolate fondant, mascarpone brulee, and sesame seeds peanut butter. The fondant did all that the ‘Masterchef’ critics say it should. It oozed chocolate upon demolition, wonderful.  The brulee, crunch and creamy. Not too sure what the peanut seeds brought to the ensemble to be honest. They added texture I suppose, but a little strange on the palette for me.

Fondant, oozing
Fondant, oozing

With coffees the bill came to £65 for the two of us. A thoroughly enjoyable meal. Looking at the quality of the meals coming out elsewhere there is plenty to come back for. It’s an hours run for us, but once again, another good reason to venture out. If you’re nipping to Blackpool and need a bolthole to avoid the traffic home, divert to The Cartford Inn pronto…

Art and accolades
Art and accolades

The Cartford Inn,
Cartford Lane,
Little Eccleston,
Nr. Poulton Le Fylde,
Preston,PR3 0YP

Tel: 01995 670166
Email: info@thecartfordinn.co.uk

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