Tag Archives: newmoon pubs

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?

image

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 Old Sessions House – Knutsford

“Looks like all these NewMoon Pubs are worth a go”

Whilst I love going to top restaurants as much as the next man it’s not always the best option. You generally need plenty of readies, have to get ponced up and you’re limited as to where you go afterwards. I along with The Flame like nothing better than combining a nice meal out with a good walk or a day out somewhere. Sunday is a big day in our house and last week was no exception

The smart exterior! Thanks to Plog for the bottom pic
The smart exterior! Thanks to Plog for the bottom pic

A bright, crisp autumn morn set the scene before a twenty minute scoot to the food and living fair at Tatton Park in Knutsford (pronounced ‘Nats fiord’!). Knutsford is a beautiful, picturesque town set in the heart of Cheshire, it’s proper HS2 bashing territory, Range Rovers prowl the narrow streets, stealthily breezing past the boutiques, wine bars, gallery’s and swanky hairdressers.

Tatton Park

Tatton Park

Sat bristling at the head of Princess Street is ‘The Old Sessions House’. It forms one of the fleet of hostelries serving food set up by Paul Newman and Dave Mooney (NewMoon – geddit?). It’s a wonderful old building and in keeping with the brand and high quality visuals it is distinctive and inviting. Dark grey with white contrasting decals set behind a phalanx of red flowers. After our leisurely hour and a half stroll round the equally wonderful Tatton Park we were proper gasping and hunger pains were setting in.

Some interior fittings
Some interior fittings, Mooney hard at the pass

We had thoughtfully pre booked for a two thirty kick off but arrived an hour early. Thankfully an efficient chap greeted us and paved a way towards the back of the packed house and sat us at a table in the conservatory towards the rear of the dining area. He stated that Ro (short for Rochina, decked out in the black ‘TOSH’ T shirt) would be handling all our needs. It was a little warm at first but a pint of ‘Old Sessions’ (a special brewed just for them) soon cooled things down. It was good to see the mustachioed (Moon) half of the partnership handling what was starting to be a busy pass.

As it was Sunday our order was culled from the simple three courses for £14.95 side of the binge. However, it was comforting to know we could have ordered from the ‘classic’, printed, place setting menu that we have seen before at sister gaff ‘Beef and Pudding’ in Manchester (reviewed here). Well cooked, quality, local ingredients is the mainstay of the offer.

Mackerel, venison terrine, menu
Mackerel, venison terrine, menu

First up The Flame rattled in a spot of smoked mackerel with a refreshing potato salad and a sheath of fresh leaves. So we could go ‘halvey halveys’ I had the venison terrine. Both dishes, simple, well presented and super tasty. Just as you need it.

Sunday roast, beef and chicken
Sunday roast, beef and chicken

We both had a Sunday roast. The flame, half a small Cheshire chicken, me a few slabs of Cheshire beef, cooked pink as requested. Whilst full of flavour the chicken was a bit dry in parts but my beef was as good as I’ve had. Covering the trimmings it went down a treat with a good dollop of horseradish.

Cheese, atrium roof, menu, banoffee sundae
Cheese, atrium roof, menu, banoffee sundae

Mindful of the three course deal The flame finished with the cheese and biscuits whilst I fell for the banoffee sundae. Set in a small tumbler it didn’t look much, but blimey it was good. Lumps of sticky toffee pudding, caramel, bananas and cream. A perfect bit of sweetness to tingle the palate, super.

We like to seek out quality eateries and I think along with Nigel Haworth’s RVI pub chain in Lancashire, I reckon the NewMoon portfolio is building very nicely to become arguably the best set further south. Check them out. We will.

The Old Sessions House
43 Princess Street
Knutsford
WA16 6BW
01565 621 833

http://www.oldsessionshouse.co.uk

http://www.newmoonpub.co.uk

 

Beef and Pudding – Manchester

“No puddings were harmed in the making of this blog”.

I had to start with this, ever since the twitteratti declared ‘Beef and Pudding’ as the hot ticket in town images of the now infamous ‘Beef and Barbon Fell venison suet pudding’ have graced the timelines of foodies far and wide. And all for good reason, as many have declared it a splendid thing.

The post box!!
The post box!!

I know as blogs go for Beef and Pudding I’m a bit late really. It has been open for a few weeks now. The reviews have been flowing from the ether ever since. Whilst I work in Manchester, getting the planets to align sufficiently to waft the flame into the metrop and indulge in the latest of the New Moon Company pubs has proved more problematic than first envisaged.

However, before finally sitting to eat, I was able to ghost in one Friday Eve to sample the atmosphere and a corking pint of Cheshire ale. During this stop over I happened upon genial host and joint owner David Mooney (or @Gobbychef as he is known on twitter). Stout of build with a luscious top lip he reminded me of a defrocked version of the fabled, comedic, letch Jimmy Edwards (ooh he won’t like that – Ed). My reward for this chance meet was a small insight into what makes ‘Beef and Pudding’ tick.

Joint owner David Mooney, comedy teacher Jimmy Edwards, the sign!
Joint owner David Mooney, comedy teacher Jimmy Edwards, the sign!

First point was that social media had the saved the twosome (he and joint owner Paul Newman) a small fortune in marketing. Basically twitter alone had ensured the venture hit it’s stride from day one and that the budget sheets had been ripped up, as the 150-200 covers a day had smashed predictions and left the two chaps very happy.

To be fair it’s easy to see why. Ever since the menu was released prior to opening my lips have been smacking. It is a cracking menu and unlike any other. There literally is something for everyone. Even Auntie Nell (her with the bad flatulance and distaste of anything green) would have no trouble finding anything on here. Traditional British classics mix with quality local dishes all done with aplomb.

The awesome menu
The awesome menu

The interior kit out for me is a revelation. As Jimmy errr I mean David pointed out, they take pictures of what they see as a good idea and keep it holed up ready to unleash on the public in their next venture. The large metal lights over the bar being a case in point. Sadly they were beaten to the industrial scaffolding divider by Reds BBQ, which meant a quick redesign, but it was all taken in good heart. The tan coloured booths and the tiled bull motif are a particular triumph. I did ask whether they’d had the post box installed outside, but apparently that was already there. It features on everyone’s outdoor pictures!

The inside, and reflected logo in a taxi window
The inside, and reflected logo in a taxi window

But, I’m wittering on a bit here what about the grub I hear you cry. Well it was great, it met all expectations. For starters I had the ‘tempura monkfish cheeks’ (£8.95) which came with a glorious tandoori mayo and a homemade lime pickle. The flame romped in with a seared chicken, smoked bacon and avocado salad (£7.95) It was plentiful, colourful and very tasty. Even I got to try some chicken!

Monkfish cheeks, chicken salad, strawberry and vanilla fizz
Monkfish cheeks, chicken salad, strawberry and vanilla fizz

Despite the amazing menu believe it or not we both plundered our mains from the specials iPad! For mains the flame had two wonderful pieces of hake (£16.95) which came aboard green beans, new potatoes and then smothered in local brown shrimp. It was devine, perfectly cooked and hot.
I had a wondrous, trimmed rack of pink local lamb (£16.95). Bathed in a deep jus and nestled on potatoes and green beans. I love lamb and loved this. The meat needed the merest tease to lift it away from its bony frame.

Hake and lamb
Hake and lamb

And then there was the pudding! Or ‘The Pudding Plank’ (£14.95) which is what we had. This is basically as it says on the tin. It is a plank with pudding on. In a ‘frenchy’ bistro it might be known as an ‘assiette’, the plank is used to present hefty slivers of most of the standard dessert offerings. We got a cheese glazed Eccles cake, a banoffee cheesecake, a sticky toffee pudding, a chocolate tart, a chocolate brownie and star of the show a cherry bakewell pie. All this shared with a quenelle of cream and a goblet of luscious custard. It was a true sweet treat. We signed off with a decent coffee.

The Pudding Plank
The Pudding Plank

One of the objectives of ‘the beef’ explained by @gobbychef was to launch an outfit on the Manchester scene that served decent ale, decent wine, decent cocktails and great locally produced food. It seems to have carried it off. Im not a great afficianado of the grape but we had a rather agreeable gourmet Shiraz at £16.95 all after a couple of sizzling cocktails. The whole shebang came in at £107 which for an ‘urban pub’ is on the top end. That said we had the dearest items on the menu and wouldn’t normally have the cocktails so I reckon you could knock thirty or forty quid off that if you were concerned.

Wine, even the gents are nice, desert menu
Wine, even the gents are nice, desert menu

If we was to quibble we could argue about our table. As the late Michael Winner would say “he books a table not a restaurant” and ours placed by the meet and greet station at the entrance presented for the flame a constant view of the maître d’s and servers typing in the orders which she found a little distracting. Nonetheless we will definitely be back but we will be asking for one of those wonderful booths facing into the eating room where all the action is. This is a great addition to the Manchester restaurant wars. It’s great for a drink and as well as dinner serves food for breakfast, brunch and an express lunch. You can’t say fairer than that.
Beef and Pudding
0161 237 3733

info@beefandpudding.co.uk

37 Booth Street
off Fountain Street
Manchester City Centre
M2 4AA