Tag Archives: jerk chicken

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.


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.


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’.

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. 


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.

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.


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’?


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,
Tel: 01200 401035

Turtle Bay – Manchester

“This is one for a big group to have some fun”

Cast your mind back. England unlucky against Italy, so all is well as we get fired up to slaughter the much unfancied Uruguay in World Cup 2014. The Cooktwit has plotted an intricate web of beer, food and mayhem on the way to any Manchester hostelry that possesses a big telly. However, there is an hour to kill. Planets have aligned and so it is an unusual troupe that joind the Cooktwit on this merry stroll. Little bruv and his learned fledglings join the fray.

Outside, the welcome
Outside, the welcome

Sophistication is not top of the list. Cheap, quick, hip and happening is where we need to be. Turtle Bay in Manchester homes into view. What do you think of here? A quick nod and were in.
Turtle Bay is a Caribbean experience that has recently set up shop on Oxford Road next to The Paramount Wetherspoons. Not the most glamorous part of town. And given the chaotic roadworks that blight that part of town it didn’t look too inviting from the outside. But fair play to ’em it’s great inside. A mixture of high and low tables, booths, shacks, coloured crates and hip graphics combine with a groovy soundtrack, neon signs and metallic chic. It really is a jolly place to enter. The spirits were on the up. England couldn’t fail after this.

The inside, vibrant and colourful
The inside, vibrant and colourful

Holly our bespectacled, pink hostess took us to our high table for four and explained how the whole chebang operates, Chelsea took over when the the action really started. We quickly racked up some sickly sweet cocktails which were half price until 7pm. The youngsters, despite the funny hat and wearing an England shirt, declared the opening events to be most encouraging. The only gripe was that there was no telly so we could carry on watching the match from here!
It’s a great menu, lots of different intriguing dishes. Subtitled Cutters, Lunch N Light, One Pots & Jerk Pit BBQ there’s something for everyone. I settled on a burger from the jerk pit section. You can watch the jerk pit in action, flames licking round the slabs of meat. The ‘Jerk Pit burger’ which means it came (as well as all the other standard accoutrements) with a slap of jerk pulled pork. It was accompanied with some slow and sweet potato fries all for £9.85. If I’m honest it wasn’t the best burger I’ve had. A bit too much fire had licked its flanks for me, me preferring a moist pink bit in the middle a la Gorilla, Solita and others I’ve had in the town. It had a great charred, BBQ taste though and the pulled pork gave it a nice kick. The fries hadn’t seen a frier for quite some time though as they were cold.

Goat curry, the jerk out and the burger
Goat curry, the jerk out and the burger

Others in the posse had the goat curry and the fish curry. These both came in a big white metal dish with a lid. Nice touch really, gave it a bit of drama. Sadly I didn’t get a taste of them as they wolfed it down without a murmur. All gave it the thumbs up though. Looked a good portion, plenty of goat in the goatie effort and some decent squid knocking about in the fishy one.
Given that the main reason for being out was the football with a few scoops I didn’t get chance to sample a desert. Will give em a go next time.

Funky graphics
Funky graphics

All in all a pretty decent effort for a ‘chainy’ type restaurant. Apparently there is a few more Turtle Bays down South and one in Nottingham. I think I’d give some more of the ‘jerky’ stuff a try, probably the chicken. I’d recommend a try with a few mates after work, just the job.
As you know England lost again 2-1, Suarez biting two goals. Some good beer in the Lass ‘o’ Gourrie though, so it wasn’t all bad!

Turtle Bay
33-35 Oxford Steet
Manchester M1 4WB
0161 236 4101