Tag Archives: RVI

Town Green Brasserie – Aughton, Ormskirk

“Looks like this Seafood Pub Company have got things going in the right direction”

That’s three out of six we’ve done now. Assheton Arms, Farmers Arms and now the Town Green Brasserie. I don’t think I’m being too disingenuous to suggest that the Town Green Brasserie is slightly the less salubrious of the three so far. After all ‘brasserie’ is defined as ‘a small restaurant serving beer and wine as well as food; usually cheap’. It’s smaller than the others with less outdoor space. Not that that stopped the locals slurping outside until the last remnants of the evening sun ebbed away.

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It’s the newest though. Open six weeks. The decor as you would imagine is pristine, green, wood and more wood. Seating is basic, no lounging here, hence the brasserie tag? It’s the usual quality menu though. The Flame and I were well impressed with the fayre on offer.

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After the gentle breeze out to the sticks (the Cooktwit driving) a local, lonely Burscough brew pale ale had us settled and choosing from the premium card. Seafood features. So it was pretty much seafood that we went for. Whilst we stuck to the menu there was a great selection of specials too. The grilled mackerel, plaice and new potatoes, enthusiastically and expertly explained by our young waitress.

Starters up first. We both went ‘terriney’ and ‘hocky’, me devilled crab, with salmon and shrimps (£6.50) the flame traditional ham with cheeses and chutney (£5.50). They were both presented in a similar fashion, plate, clam shell jar. Both looked good, both tasted very good. My crab had a little kick, the flames ham featured big chunks of the stuff.

Starters, devilled crab and ham hock
Starters, devilled crab and ham hock

Mains rocked up. The flame won this one. Storming piece of hake on a slurry of peas, smoked bacon and onions, (£13.50). The hake was beautifully roasted! She loved it. I went for ‘posh’ scampi, made up of monkfish and king prawn (£18.50) dusted in a dark, crispy coat. If I was being picky it looked a bit boring, but to be fair it was what it said it was going to be so I can’t really argue. There was some big chunks of fish buried in there. The king prawns particularly hunky and flavoursome. Great chips too.

Scampi and hake
Scampi and hake

As usual I went for a dessert whilst the flame sat back and quaffed a light red wine and a coffee. I went for the passion fruit and strawberry mess with little coconut meringues (£5.95). Lovely end to the meal. I know it’s easy but I love a good mess and this hit the spot.

I love a good mess
I love a good mess

All in we were at £35 a head. Pretty standard nowadays. We really like what The Seafood Pub Company are doing. We’ve set our mission to do them all. We’ve a few to go. If they all keep up this standard they really are a credit and an asset to their creators and local community alike. A true delight and a worthy alternative to the Nigel Haworths RVI chain that operate in these parts too. Lancashire has some fantastic places to eat. Long may it continue…
Town Green Brasserie,
Aughton,
Ormskirk,
Lancashire,
L39 6SE
Phone: 01695 420 883
Email: info@towngreenbrasserie.co.uk
http://www.seafoodpubcompany.com

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 Nags Head at Haughton

“Another quality addition to Nigel Haworth’s Ribble Valley Pub Chain”

I’ve always had a soft spot for the RVI pubs. Ever since The flame treated me to an overnight sesh at Northcote Manor we have kept a keen eye on developments of the Northcote offshoots. There are five now. From “The Three Fishes”, reviewed previously here to “The Bull at Broughton”. The original four are dotted up North in the bowels of Lancashire (although one strays close to Yorkshire!). The Nags Head at Haughton is the first excursion into deepest Cheshire. And blimey it is an excursion as well. It was labelled as Tarpoley, but it seems a fair few more miles before you hit Haughton. Mind you it’s a handsome sight as the sat nav informs you that you have finally made it.

Quintessential Country Pub
Quintessential Country Pub

This is what the term “quintessential rural country pub” was invented for. A soft timbered, red tiled dwelling surrounded by greenery and gravel. A vast outdoor seating area dominates to the right as you enter. The weather was a little mixed when The Flame and I rocked up. I could imagine on a barmy summers eve the garden could be a thriving village with its own name! It was a wet Sunday Lunch when we turned in. We had booked a table for two at two on the efficient website. It’s only been open a few months, I reckon the place was half full, but by the time we left it had swelled considerably. A good sign.

Spot The Dead parrot! Nice plumage.

Spot The Dead parrot! Nice plumage.

It’s fairly clear some serious wedge has left the wallet of the RVI encumbents. A substantial, mock tudor hangar has been grafted on to the original modest dwelling. Some of the timbers looked real! The decor and fittings are all top notch. The colour scheme and material selection is exactly how you would never do it at home, but somehow it works. A complete mismatch of materials, colours and patterns, fused by the dominance of petrol blue and cream. I even think there was a dead parrot on one of the fabrics. It had nice plumage anyway. The tables and chairs are smart, contemporary, comfortable and well sized for the job in hand.

More Interior design

More Interior design

So what about the grub. Well as I say it was a Sunday lunch menu, printed neatly black on white. I’ve don’t recall a bad course at an RVI. The closest I’ve been was probably here for my starter. Pigeon, black pudding Kiev, with pickled carrot and a few other bits and pieces. The expectant ooze of buttery garlic failed to materialise. I was left with a rather dry fork of gamey flesh. It was marginally moistened and enhanced when matched with a morsel of soused carrot. It was fairly good but no where near as good as The Flames’ chargrilled sardines on sourdough toast and a rafagado sauce. Thankfully the flame quickly realised this was a significant portion and slapped a quarter of the feast on to my plate. Blimey this was good, real quality. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Sardines, the brew, drinks, pigeon kiev

Sardines, the brew, drinks, pigeon kiev

For mains the flame again came up trumps. A staggering goosnargh chicken leg and ham pie with peas, beans and lettuce. Served with an element of drama it came with the leg bone protruding through the top. It looked superb and when opened up it looked even better. Plenty of salty ham, clung together with a hint of tarragon cream. It was delish. The flame complained of a soggy bottom but I told her to carry on with the exercises, I’m sure it will tighten up (she meant the pie! – Ed). Again such was the portion size that I managed a few fork fulls. A truly handsome plate of food.

Amazing chicken ham pie, a decent hake and chips

Amazing chicken ham pie, a decent hake and chips

I played too safe. Battered Hake and real dripping cooked chips, homemade tartare sauce and crushed garden peas. Beautifully cooked and presented it tasted great as expected, but I must admit I had an envious glance at the next table who had the Sunday roast. Some corking slabs of aged Angus rump. That really did look well. They even took a photo of it. How sad is that? I’ll be back for some of that.

Handsome bar, fancy toilet tiles!

Handsome bar, fancy toilet tiles!

For research purposes I had a chocolate sundae, largely to try the ice cream from Ginger Comforts. It was rather splendid and finished off a fine meal.

Chocolate Sundae, menu, gun table

Chocolate Sundae, menu, gun table

So there you have it. Nigel and the Ribble Valley Inn chain have moved south and into Cheshire. The Sunday lunch cost £21 for the three courses. A couple of quid over some I suppose but getting your ingredients from local artisans such as the Cheshire Smokehouse don’t come cheap. Let’s hope it’s the first of a few more. It’s a bit of a trek for some but I think it’s worth it. Recommended.

Beautiful

The Nag’s Head

Long Lane,

Haughton Moss,

Near Tarporley,

Cheshire,

CW6 9RN

Telephone:

01829 260265

http://www.nagsheadhaughton.co.uk