Tag Archives: seafood risotto

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

Wizard – Alderley Edge, Cheshire

“Can The Wizard still cast a magic spell?………………”

Well not this time I’m afraid. After a great start near farcical service quashed the magic. The Flame and I decided to turn back the clock and head east to once again walk the edge. It was a super bank holiday Monday, the sun was shining. The Flame made the call, “how about walking along Alderley Edge and seeing how The Wizard is, we’ve not been for years”. It was a great shout.

The Edge
The Edge

The Wizard was the place to be a few years back. Posh, Becks, Giggsy, they were all part of the scene and The Wizard was up there serving the stars with high end, pub grub and just above normal prices! It was good stuff though. It was the place we went for special occasions. The place you went to push the boat out.

Ugly dog
Ugly dog

We ventured in after a glorious to the edge and back (15 mins each way). The old place hadn’t changed. Outside the paintwork was creaking a bit. I’m sure it’ll get a lick soon. Inside, it was the same as it was the last time. Stone floors, low ceilings and heritage paint providing the backdrop for fox hunting prints and ugly pot dog ornaments. It’s quaint with a capital Q. Our sprightly young waitress swept us with gusto to our prearranged table. The reserved note telling all that they could sit here until 1.45, but woe betide you stay any longer as the Cooktwit was due in at two! A nice touch! Our table was set in the corner by the window. A super spot. The said employee, recited without stumble the three ales on offer. A Lion Brewery ale was soon in place.

Simple menu
Simple menu

We ordered up from the simple, single sheet menu. In good time our starters arrived. The Flame opted for the smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado and herb stack with a tomato salsa (£6.50). I had the flatbreads and houmous for a fiver. They were both superb. In fairness the salmon stack in particular was the finest starter I’ve tasted in a long time. Fresh, zingy and bursting with flavour. The houmous with warm bread oozing with cumin scented oil almost equally pleasing. We were on a roll. The old days flooding back.

Salmon & houmous. Glorious
Salmon & houmous. Glorious

Next up the mains. I ordered the smoked haddock, cod, king prawn and pea risotto with a crispy bit of squid (a heftyish £13.95). On first impression I had it looking a little pallid and uninspiring on the plate. A flash of superfluous greenery at the top edge providing the only colour. First taste lacked seasoning. The remote seasoning canisters (provided on each table) soon had that remedied though. From then on it was actually rather good. Plenty of fish, it was most agreeable. The Flames chicken club sandwich with chorizo and thrice cut chips (£7.95) arrived on white rather than the granary bread as ordered. It was quickly changed. The Flame rated the ensemble with a satisfying grin. I managed a chip dipped in a glorious jalapeno mayo which was delicious.

Seafood risotto, Chicken Club
Seafood risotto, Chicken Club

We then watched a table of eight have their table cleared, having dined after us. From then on we waited for what seemed an eternity to have our table cleared. We then asked for the dessert menu. We waited and then waited some more. Our waitress after prompting finally emerged admitting she had forgotten. Fair enough.

I ordered the panacotta with honeycomb and fruit (£5.95). Having watched Mr Rayner on Masterchef and noted his need for the ‘wobble’ when judging a panacotta I was ready and waiting. Mine arrived upside down in a cup! I couldn’t tell whether it wobbled or not. My substantial vintage, stainless steel spoon stood up in it though, once I had managed to penetrate the surface. It was not light and fluffy. Indeed once the first couple of spoonful’s (mixed with the fruit and textured honeycomb) had evaporated I was left with a cloying mound. A disappointing end really.

The solid pannacotta
The solid pannacotta

We asked for the bill, and then asked for it again, and again. It arrived at almost double what it should have been. Another table had been added to it. When the real bill arrived (£47) we asked to pay by credit card. We waited for the machine, and asked for it again. The service had deteriorated significantly. Watching our waitress chatting with other staff, cleaning cutlery while we waited was a touch disappointing. It dampened the experience. Spare a thought for the couple next to us though. They got their mains before their starters! And they had waited far longer than us!

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It’s a shame really, it’s a fine space set in stunning surroundings, the food was generally very good and in fairness looking at some of the Sunday roasts coming out they look a very decent bet too. Perhaps we were unlucky with the service. It didn’t seem overly busy. Maybe the staff were new, lacked experience or maybe too few of them? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

If you like living on the edge, it might be worth giving it a risk.

The Wizard
Macclesfield Road
Nether Alderley
Cheshire
SK10 4UB
Telephone 01625 584 000
Email wizard@ainscoughs.co.uk