Tag Archives: clitheroe

Bowland Brewery Beer Hall – Holmes Mill, Clitheroe

“If you like eating off the piston of a steam engine surrounded by beer this is the place for you!”

It’s a Friday and The Cooktwit has taken the day off work and has vowed to accrue some brownie points with The Flame on account of a forthcoming gentlemen’s trip to Portugal. I venture that a scoot to the Trough of Bowland is in order. We head north in wild anticipation. We slip gently through the lovely old town of Clitheroe, ‘hang on’ I proclaim, Im sure there’s an old mill being done up round here with a brewery attached! Lets stop briefly and check it out.

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We stumble upon a sign for The Bowland Brewery Beer Hall. A heavily scaffolded old pile called Holmes Mill is soon upon us. It’s a former textile mill thats being transformed into a hotel, leisure and food complex. We venture in. Much of the outside stonework is buffed and painted. Contemporary signage points the way. We venture past a shop selling Bowland bottled beers and a well stocked ‘Gelateria’, we then enter the ‘Beer Hall’. Its nothing short of breath taking.

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Inside, a huge oval bar, the size of a race track dominates, a platoon of uniformed bartenders gather us in. I didn’t count them but its claimed at least 24 cask ales are on tap. I looked on in awe. To the rear, via a huge glass wall, the huge Bowland Brewery beer tanks glisten. To the left more sections, the ‘chimney room’ and the ‘engine room’.

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The Engine room

In my excitement I suggest we hole up here for lunch. The Flame surprisingly agrees. We settle into ‘The Engine Room’. Not a quaint little moniker for a corner snug. This really is THE ENGINE ROOM. We settle on one of the high tables for two that are arranged around the huge mill engine that makes up the centre piece of the space. It, along with the room has been lovingly spruced up to replicate its Victorian industrial past. Huge comfy chairs are dotted round. Clearly someone has laid out some serious wedge here. Its a quality makeover. 

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So what about the food? Well, its basic stuff really, beer food. The menu is a huge A3 card, beers on the back, food to the front. Theres no jus, foams or micro herbs on here. Its chips or fries with pies, puds, nibbles, burgers and other British pub classics. They even have chicken in the basket (which I nearly had). We pressed on and ordered. I settled in with a Bowland Brewery ‘Buster’ IPA and a big smile on my face. We drunk in the wonderful ambience.

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Jerk Chicken, Brisket Burger, Scotch Egg

I started with a scotch egg, encased in black pudding (£5.95). It came warm on a tin plate and a slick of brown sauce with a watercress salad. No oozing yolk from the egg, but armed with the brown sauce it was all rather good. A totally satisfying start.

For mains I went from the ‘Buns’ section and had the pulled beef brisket with beerhouse gravy and horseradish (£10.95). Served in a tin again on a brioche bun the brisket was copious, hot and tasty, the tang of horseradish adding its usual bite. The fries, hot and salty, but enhanced to almost historic when dipped in the fabulous beerhouse gravy. It was again very good.

The Flame had Jamaican jerk spiced chicken pieces with salad, coleslaw and chips (£12.95). Several hunks of boneless chicken thigh meat drenched in a warm spicy goo. The Flame absolutely loved it (despite being served in a tin). The morsel I had was super moist and tasty.

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Sadly and somewhat bizarrely? They didn’t have a sweet menu. A nod one presumes to the fact that this is a beer hall after all. Sweets generally don’t go with beer in my experience. I suppose you could have had an ice cream from the ‘Gelateria’?

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We settled up for thirty-eight of your english pounds. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time here. It reminded me of eating at the National Rail Museum in York or on St Pancras station. The surroundings are truly spectacular. Trying to be objective, would we have enjoyed the food as much in a more mundane setting? Possibly not, but if you are looking for a little adventure and somewhere completely different to eat and drink I’d definitely give the Bowland Brewery Beer Hall a go. They deserve it, they’ve certainly put their money where their mouth is. And anyway, I nipped up to Booths after and got an eton mess slice. Who needs a sweet anyway?

Bowland Brewery Beer Hall
Holmes Mill
Greenacre Street,
Clitheroe
BB7 1EB
Tel: 01200 401035
http://www.holmesmill.co.uk

Waddington Arms – Waddington, Clitheroe

“Hmm that’s another fine place you’ve got me into”

Lancashire once again throws up another place to drive out to. Truth be known Ive been passed The Waddington Arms a few times on the way to north west foodie favourite, The Parkers Arms (reviewed here). We regularly meet up with a couple from Leeds and often meet halfway. This time I suggested The Waddington Arms in (guess where)? Waddington as a decent meeting point.

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All the accoutrements of a fine Sunday lunch were in place. Sleepy idyllic village, check, good country walks, check, fine country pubs to stop off at, check. However, the sleepy village bit wasn’t quite as sleepy as anticipated. Being fathers day and the annual Waddington duck race it was far from sleepy. Indeed the place was cordoned off and suitably rammed with revellers intent on losing their mortgage on the dubious fate of a numbered plastic duck! Thankfully I had booked a table, and it was with a suitably smug swagger that we entered this fine establishment and took our place in the rather grand dining room. Set to one side of the heaving traditional stone floored bar, the space held host to several enormous, antique dining tables. Im sure one could seat twelve easy, indeed ours could have sat eight. We sat in huge comfy carvers and glanced out into the duck waving throng through heavy tartan drapes.

A couple of Harrier pale ales had the gentlemen in the crew purring nicely. We surveyed the enormous, cream and blue menu card. Along with a chalked specials board it covered all the British classics and a few other bits too. The card promised the best of the local produce.

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Black pudding, fish cakes, duck spring rolls

Starting off I was left slightly disappointed really. My confit duck spring rolls on a pineapple and a chilli chutney base were pleasant enough, but a poor second to the wonderfully peppery, chunky vegetable soup, the sensational black pudding, poached egg, haddock, bacon on a crumpet and the sublime fish cakes enlisted by the others.

I was much more enraptured with my main. A rather super fillet of sea bream atop an uncious seafood risotto, bursting with meaty mussels and flavour. Others had a creditable fish and chips and a rather good steak and ale pie with all the trimmings.

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Fish and chips, seafood risotto and sea bream, steak and ale pie

I ventured, as always for a sweet end. A cuboid of bread and butter pudding, slicked in cream for me. Would have preferred a grand, messy dollop courtesy of a shovel from a huge earthenware bowl, but hey it tasted fine.

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The finish line and merriment, bread and butter pudding

I should mention that after Donald (duck number 343) had romped home down the fast running village stream the heavens decided to disgorge its torrent. Waddington Arms being the centre of all the action became the natural refuge for the bedraggled hordes. Our previously civilised dining area became the place where tortured parents rested their weary and increasingly bored youngsters. We took the light hearted commotion in our stride. It went to show really just what community spirit is all about. Clearly Waddington Arms know their place in it, right at the centre. It’s a super place and I’m sure with kinder elements and a less frenzied pace it is a definite thumbs up and one to get to again.

Waddington Arms
Waddington

Clitheroe

Lancashire

BB7 3HP

01200 423262

http://www.waddingtonarms.co.uk

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