Tag Archives: Assheton arms

The Farmers Arms – Great Eccleston (Nr Preston)

“That’s two out of two so far for The Seafoodpub Company”

Spring has started to bring some rather natty days of late. It prompted a rash offer to The Flame. “How about a meal at The Farmers Arms in Eccleston?”, “yes ok, I’ll drive while it’s only fifteen minutes away”. Result, I thought and so I booked a spot for seven o clock on a fine Saturday eve. With the clock ticking past six, whilst slipping on some of my finest threads I happened to test the route for PR3 0YE. “Ye gods it’s over an hour away, it’s near Blackpool” I shrieked. Cue the “well I’m not driving there”. A quick call of explanation confirmed that our evening feed was being held in ‘Great Eccleston’ and that our table would be held. Off we set on our trek to the Fylde heartland. A pleasant scoot to be fair. Great Eccleston sits towards the end of some curvy, pot holed tarmac in the midst of some super terrain.

Welcoming!
Welcoming!

Dusk had settled in by the time we arrived. The Farmers, gently lit, looked warm and inviting from the now freezing car park. Our very warm welcome was amplified even further as we were invited to take our delightful table for two by the roaring wood burner. The Flame was well chuffed. The room, one of several dotted about the place, including an upstairs bit, was tastefully decked out. Interesting lighting set over rustic tables, bathed in Farrow and Ball. It’s fairly standard stuff in the world of upmarket ‘gastropubs’, which is where I pitch The Farmers and its stable mate The Assheton Arms (Previously reviewed here). No doubt the remaining four offer similar surroundings?

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A half (half?! – Ed) of the ubiquitous Thwaites Wainwright was set up to quench the thirst. We surveyed the card and imaged the ‘black boarded’ specials. It’s a storming menu. Shoals of fish dominate, but that’s fine by me!

That said The Flame picked out the southern fried chicken to start (£5.95). It came with a restrained garnish (a spring onion and a radish) and a creamy dip. I can vouch that the super, spicy coat encased a tender moist hunk of beautifully cooked hen. Good start. I had the devilled crab, salmon and brown shrimp (£6.50). It came in the good old ‘kilner’ jar with a mini ‘hovis’ and some salad. The devilled tanginess combined with the pleasing texture ensured a perfect start. Top stuff.

Southern fried chicken, devilled crab,
Southern fried chicken, devilled crab,

Mains next. The Flame opting for her favourite fish pie (£12.50). A good effort. A little short of her all-time favourite as served up at The Church Green, but very good all the same. It seemed a little dry to me, but chocked full of fish, including the odd scallop. I went for a special ‘Swordfish with creamed wild garlic on a potato rosti’. If I was being churlish I could argue it was a little steep at £19.50 but it was worth it. Wouldn’t normally have swordfish but this came beautifully cooked with a touch of ‘blush’ in the middle, just as a like it. The rosti was plentiful and mopped the mild garlic cream sauce up to a tee.

Swordfish and fish pie
Swordfish and fish pie

I love meringue, so it was an easy choice for afters. The trio of Pavlovas caught the eye (£6.50). As soon as lemon curd got mentioned as well it was a done deal. Though ginger cheesecake had me intrigued. The cheeky little ‘pavs’ looked a bit sparse on the huge oval plate but they went down a treat. The Flame went safe and had the very decent cheese board (£6.50). A Lancashire bomb piece being of particular note.

Pavlovas and cheese
Pavlovas and cheese

Coffees to finish, we then parted £74 lighter with a hairy trek to the M6 to come. It was thoroughly enjoyed. The food, ambience and the staff all first rate. We’ll be back on a Sunday afternoon I reckon. Some lovely walks close by. Like the Newmoon Co pubs and the Ribble Valley Inns I reckon The Seafood Pub Company have got it about right. Great food in smart surroundings without the ‘chain’, ‘boil in a bag’ feel. Check them out.

The Farmers Arms,
Halsalls Square,
Great Eccleston,
Lancashire PR3 0YE

Phone: 01995 672 018
Email: info@greatecclestonpub.co.uk

http://seafoodpubcompany.com/farmers-arms/

 

The Assheton Arms – Downham, Clitheroe

“Yawn, yet another Lancashire pub chain serving local, quality food with wonderful hospitality!”

It’s early December, The Cooktwit has bagged a day off and decided to treat The Flame to a slap up lunch out in the sticks. The in car navigation system is set to The Assheton Arms, Downham Village, Clitheroe. Why here? I liked the sound of its parents! The Seafood Pub Company. Anyone with seafood in its title is going a long way in my eyes.

Great frontage, great view
Great frontage, great view

Downham Village is a pleasant, rural bolt hole a couple of miles outside foodie hub Clitheroe. Indeed it would seem you can stick a pin anywhere in the Lancashire/Ribble Valley and hit somewhere good to eat. I’ve already reported the fine virtues of The Parkers Arms and The Three Fishes, both close by.  Despite the wintry date, the weather was kind. Overcast but still and mild, great for walking but thwarted the wonderful views from the terrace as we walked in.

Once inside, two fine gentlemen greeted us warmly, almost as warmly as the roaring fire. Having ascertained our 1pm booking was all in order we biffed up a deck to a rather charming dining salon. Resplendent with muted tartan and country hues it felt like a big cuddle from a favourite, buxom aunt (obviously the one with curlers out and teeth in!). Splendid views across ‘them there hills’ were afforded from a picture window.

Table, muted tartan, picture window
Table, muted tartan, picture window

A restorative livener was sanctioned in the shape of a Thwaites Wainwrights golden Ale. An excellent start. The Flame and I settled on our naturally lit, circular table to survey the card.  And what a splendid card it was. The offerings headed by cooking method rather than courses. Smoked, Robata Grill, Clay Pot, Street Food, Boat, Snacks, Specials and Starters. It’s a lovely menu.

Bar, missed the log fire!
Bar, missed the log fire!

As expected seafood and fish gets a heady billing, but there’s plenty for everyone here on this highly eclectic menu. Flavours and influences seem to come from all over the world. Caribbean Cod Cakes, Piri piri swordfish, Chicken with lemongrass, Goan King Prawn Curry all mixed in with local favourites.

The Flame decided on the fishy side for starts and main. The aforementioned Caribbean cod cakes (£4.95) arrived to start simply placed on a slate with a fiery jerk sauce. Very nice though a little dry she thought. Brought to life by the hot, thick, smoky spread.

I ventured in the ‘The little smoke room’ for my starters. I had the potted smoked duck, Scotch quail egg, pickles, salad cream, toast (£7.95). It all arrived attached to its very own, specially honed log.  The log having slots and routered ledges to accommodate the pots and slices of feed. Could have done with a couple more of the quails eggs! The salad cream was runny but utterly ‘delish’. The potted duck and pickles nice enough. A great start, things were going well.

The well huned log, cod cakes
The well huned log, cod cakes

Mains next. The Flame was touched to try the piri piri swordfish (£15.50). An unusual choice for her. She was tricked into the spicy coating and intrigued by the crispy chick peas. It came with a herb and citrus  quinoa salad and  smoked peppers. A heady combination I think you’ll agree? It looked a picture and tasted super as well. I managed a morsel. The crispy chick peas adding a crunchy texture.

I was seduced by one of the days special. A steaming bowl of mixed fish stew (£16). Chomping swabs of sea bass, salmon, scallops lovingly squelched in a lobster bisque, topped with mussels and a crostini with aioli. Just hit the spot for me. As I say I love my seafood!

Fish Stew, Piri piri swordfish.
Fish Stew, Piri piri swordfish.

For research purposes I again was compelled to try a dessert. And boy what a dessert. Peaches and cream custard tart with toasted meringue and raspberry syrup (£5.95).  Served slightly warm it was heaven on  a plate. Needless to say I wolfed the lot.

Peach tart with meringue!
Peach tart with meringue!

The Seafood Pub Company is gradually adding country pubs to its portfolio. It has six in all so far. If they are all as good as this it means we’ve got plenty of places to go at for a nice drive out. Ill be giving them a go. So should you.

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The Assheton Arms Downham, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 4BJ
Phone: 01200 441 227
Email: info@asshetonarms.com

http://www.seafoodpubcompany.com