Tag Archives: sunday lunch

Shears Yard – Leeds

“Found another gem deep in the bowels of Leeds. Im starting to really like Leeds”

Whilst on the one hand I had to take The Flame to a James Blunt concert, it did mean on the other hand In could eat and drink in Leeds again! I like Leeds. We lunched on charcuterie at ‘Friends of Ham’ whilst quaffing Hazelnut Mild! And then hit The Reliance for an after show pint and whisky. Great start to the weekend.

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Next day, a Sunday, we met up with long time chums who had setup lunch at ’Shears Yard’. Set in the old, cobbled, under developed section of the town, behind the incredible Corn exchange, we were greeted with a huge monolithic concrete arch. Some chap had skilfully chiselled the name into the plinth above. It’s a grand entrance.

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It’s no less splendid inside as you step down into this former industrial yard. Its been stripped back and spruced and fitted out with stringy lights, blonde wood tables and chairs sprinkled with the odd sage upholstery. Lights beams in from the roof lights, bringing an orange glow to the open brickwork and concrete half walls. I loved it.

Decent choice of ales, though I actually chose a can of Sputnik IPA, very pleasant too. As it was a Sunday the menu was a single sheet of A4 extolling the virtues of a Sunday lunch. It read well. A variety of locally sourced produce listed.

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We ordered up and soon our starters arrived. The Flame went for the soup of the day, which on the day was a fine, fiery red, tomato and chilli for £6. I went for the cured sea trout, smoked trout croquette, wasabi mayonnaise with cucumber and apple (£6.50). Very delicate and light, beautifully presented.

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mackerel, cured trout, risotto

Others had the ‘risotto’ of pearl barley and Jerusalem artichoke, grapes, truffle butter, artichoke crips and parmesan (£6). Looked a little messy on the plate but rather good I’m told. The real winner for me was the mackerel fillet mi cuit, smoked mackerel mousse, pickled kohlrabi, leek oil, dill and black onion seeds. Looked super and tasted sensational, wished id have ordered it. Great start.

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Mains for the male specimens in the troupe featured Sykes House farm sourced pork and beef for the trad Sunday lunch. Both £13.50, both splendid examples. The seasonal vegetables equally decent. The ladies both went for the salmon fillet with a brown butter sauce with capers and lemon, served with roast beetroot, chard and a dill yoghurt (£15). A bowl of hot, triple cooked, salted chips were used to mop up the juices.

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From a fine range of desserts I went for the front of house recommended eton mess, which was flavoured with blackberry and green tea, a blackberry compote, matcha meringue and a yoghurt sorbet (£6). As good as it was the real gem was the Jerusalem artichoke and coconut cake with coconut cream frosting and frozen apple (£6). The cake was a moistened triumph. Ive never had Jerusalem artichoke in a cake before! Superb.

The menu changes quite a bit and is seasonal. Jerusalem artichokes did well this week! I would love to get back some time to try the a la carte. It’s a fine environment to eat and testament to the fine eateries that are popping up in Leeds. Its a thumbs up from me.

Shears Yard
11-15 Wharf Street,
The Calls,
Leeds,
LS2 7EH
tel: 0113 244 4144

https://www.shearsyard.com

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The Royal Oak – Staveley, Yorkshire

“They keep pulling them out these Yorkshire folk. Another great country pub with food”

Whilst attending our annual, anniversary, celebration weekend in the fare town of Harrogate, we agreed to meet up with some chums from Leeds. After a very pleasant walk round Knaresborough (highly recommended) we were then wisked off to the hamlet of Staveley. There in lay the quaint frontage of The Royal Oak. Surrouded by trees and other foliage, even shrouded in cloud, it cut a heady dash.

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We bounced in for our two thirty appointment. Low beams accompanied the standard trappings of an old, country pub. The gentlemen part of the binge headed for a Sweetheart IPA, the ladies kept down the soft drink track. We settled into a well set table for four. The place was half full. A merry ambiance was in play. A simple, single sided Sunday menu was presented by our young waitress. £21.50 for three courses. A fine offer. The waitress announced that the soup of the day was ‘Pea, watercress and mint’, though I did enquire whether she meant Pea water, cress and mint’, a subtle difference, I think you’ll agree? My little jokette appreciated by all. I was on a roll (get on with it – Ed).

Fine simple menu
Fine simple menu

Time to chose. Two went for the pea water soup. Considered fine by the imbibers. The Flame would have liked hers hotter but otherwise all was well. The good Yorkshire lady and myself went for the intriguing ‘Whitby Crab Pot Noodle’. Forgive me if I wax on a bit here. A giant ‘humbug’ jar filled with grass along with a jug of hot brown stock duly arrived. We peered in, sniffing and viewing as we went. Gingerly we poured in the broth. The contents came alive and we tucked in. After the initial disappointment of not getting a big chunk of crab to knaw on, we both agreed that it was all rather tasty. The crab broth melted the noodles, greenery and the rest to create a fragrant and very tasty soup.

Sweetheart and pea water soup
Sweetheart and pea water soup
The Whitby crab pot noodle
The Whitby crab pot noodle

For mains we mainly went for the ox cheek and mushroom pie. A proper pie too, sides and a bottom. It came with a wodge of hot, buttery mash, a beef dripping carrot and a slew of deep, rich jus. We all agreed this was seriously good. Plenty of shredded cheek in a super rich gravy. It was a delight. It was accompanied by a big dish of greens, heritage carrots and a big dish of chips. All hot and ready. Great feed.

Ox cheek and mushroom pie
Ox cheek and mushroom pie

As ever, not to let you down The Cooktwit plumbed for a dessert. The ‘nearly famous’ lemon posset. Once again the giant humbug jar came into play. The advantage here is that it is a deceptibly large vessel and so the portion was generous to say the least. And given the quality was up there too, lemony, meringue and fruity I can safely say the afters was a minor triumph. The Flame ventured into the fray with a standard but nonetheless highly creditable bramley apple crumble. Our Yorkshire contingent settled on a chocolate truffle, banana, honeycomb and chocolate sorbet. Well presented on a huge glass plate, the good lady loved it. Sadly I didn’t much of a look in!

Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble
Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble

In conclusion we all enjoyed a thoroughly splendid Sunday luncheon. The Royal Oak Staveley goes on to the list as somewhere to go to again if ever we’re in the area. Recommended.
The Royal Oak,
Main Street,
Staveley,
Knaresborough,
North Yorkshire HG5 9LD.
01423 340267
info@royaloakstaveley.co.uk

http://www.theroyaloakstaveley.co.uk

Freemasons of Wiswell – Lancashire

“I reckon you can fall out of bed and hit your head on an AA rosette in the Ribble valley!”

It is clear there is a plethora of fine eateries in this golden seam of rural Lancashire. The Flame and I chalked another Northern gem off the list last Sunday. This time ‘Freemasons at Wiswell’ to add to ‘The Parkers Arms’, ‘Assheton Arms’, ‘The Three Fishes’ and probably a few others. And once again, as with the others, it is well worth the hours drive.

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It was a chance tickle on the old ‘tinterweb’ to see where we could go for lunch when I saw Wiswell on the map. It clicked a few cogs and within seconds the ‘Opentable’ electronic platform confirmed we had indeed bagged a lunch time spot at the Freemasons. The steed sped North, an hour later the young lady in the dashboard led us up a narrow track past the fine, understated, terraced exterior.

We pushed through the cacophony of prizes on the windows. Ribands, rosettes, stars, cups they were all there. We knew we were entering somewhere rather grand. We were warmly welcomed and gently ushered to our upper floor table. A quick glance at the bar confirmed my first beverage would be manufactured by Propsect Brewery, a fine purveyor of light beers.

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Our table for two could have sat six. We had plenty of space and time to admire the plush, substantial décor. Pure countrtyside. Tweeds mixed with game, hunting, and racing images backed by crisp yellow ‘paintage’. This is a quality interior. This is where you bring your favourite Gran for a fine birthday feast! Great stuff.

First up, the breads. I concur with many that the quality of bread (and the butter for that matter) sets the tone. What a tone this sets. A platoon of warm, homemade delights festooned a steely slate. Quinelles of butter sprigged with salt lent a hand nearby. The combinations were tremendous. I could have carried on and just lived off this.

The bread, butter, the chips
The bread, butter, the chips

We ordered from the £25 per head, set three course lunch. It’s a sparing but nonetheless triumphant offer. The Flame went for the cod loin, set on charred and pickled melon which was set in a large bowl. The waitress then swamped the said ingredients in a warm pool of iberico ham flavoured broth. The Flame wasn’t initially convinced but soon warmed to the idea. I managed half a fork full of translucent cod, washed in ham. Wonderful. I had heritage tomatoes with English mozzarella salad. Except it wasn’t just that. It also arrived in a huge earthenware bowl. The tomatoes diced, the ice cold mozzarella set as a cream. It was more like a desert. It was crackingly good. A particular revelation being the warm ‘tomato essence’. Coming the day after watching Kenny Atkinson (House of Tides) prepare ‘tomato water’ the day before on Saturday kitchen it was a particular delight.

Cod, heritage tomatoes
Cod, heritage tomatoes

Main courses swept in. The Flame a huge pot of fish pie topped with vegetables and dotted with mash. Still a touch short of her all time favourite at The Church Green, but splendid all the same. She also had to test out the chip competition. A couple of weeks back we had lauded the triple cooked versions by Hawksmoor. These duck fat efforts were equally, if not more tremendous. Perfect cylinders of soft, golden potato. A true delight and an absolute must when you come.

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I had arguably the finest Sunday roast Ive ever had. The beef cooked to the prescribed vermillion  allied to a suite of beautifully cooked and remarkably tasty vegetables. A perfect Sunday roast for me. Thoroughly agreeable.

Sweet time. Two simple desserts. The flame a deep chocolate mousse with passion fruit ice cream, while I had ‘Alpine Strawberry’, a disc of mashed berries with creamy cream and vanilla ice cream. Both thoroughly delightful. A very decent coffee ended it all.

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We paid the £65 bill and marvelled to each other at the quality of what we had just eaten. We left already formulating plans to return for a special occasion and to go from the normal menu. The accolades are fully deserved, this is indeed a very special place. I’m afraid it’s another recommend from us.

Freemasons at Wiswell
8 Vicarage Fold
Wiswell
Clitheroe
Lancashire
BB7 9DF

t: 01254 822218
e: enquiries@freemasonswiswell.co.uk

The Plough Inn – Croft (nr Warrington)

STOP PRESS- I think this has shut down now 23/10/17

“Sorry everyone but I’ve found another great place to eat”

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The Plough Inn at Croft, like many pubs of late has had its ups and downs. Many years ago I recall it being a fairly standard local pub. Frequented often by its local rural crowd, it did what many pubs of the time did; serve half decent ale and a decent pie and chips when called upon. As we know many pubs, particularly rural ones, have either gone to the wall or effectively become restaurants or ‘gastropubs’. I have already ventured to and regaled about many fine specimens throughout the North West. See list below!* This latest one has the distinct advantage of being walkable from my home town of Newton-le-Willows. It’s a good walk mind, about four and half miles, so it’s a summer stroll or a winters Sunday. But boy on this evidence it’s worth it and its going on the list.

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The Plough has succumbed on and off to periods of neglect, however it seems a hefty dose of love and affection has been awarded to its period frame. A splash of paint on the outside has freshened its gills, a lick inside has set its heart alight. It still needs a bit doing inside I fancy to fully compete with the esteemed list below, but without doubt the raw materials are all present and correct. Timber beams, an open fire, dark wooden fittings. It will do nicely.

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The sun was streaming through on this Sunday binge, the place almost empty. The Flame flitted between several tables before selecting a suitable spot. A Deuchars IPA, one of three real ales, soon had me purring. The comprehensive menu soon added to my contentment. In fact there were two menus. The standard Sunday offering and the Sunday lunch. I selected from the Sunday lunch at £17.95 for three courses.

The Flame started with what one would consider to be a fairly unadventurous choice. The soup of the day (£4.95). However, even it was presented with a good level of panache. Tomato and basil arrived on its own podium of timber and featured a decent swoosh of cream, herbs and breaded elements. It tasted good as well. I had the ‘Ham hock terrine’. This was as good as a starter as I’ve had in a long time. The terrine was housed in a tubular ‘kilner’ jar. The hock itself was coarse, meaty and splendidly choice in flavour. The accompaniments of homemade piccalilli, toasted bread, salad and various drops of dressing and shoots all added to the general appeal. Excellent stuff.

Soup & ham hock terrine
Soup & ham hock terrine

As it was a Sunday, my mains took on the familiar look of a traditional roast. Would have preferred a pink, topside but the slow cooked brisket went a good way towards making up the deficit. There was lots of it too. Combined with the standard, well-cooked accoutrements it was most agreeable. The Flame piped in with a chicken and leek pie (£9.95). Arriving in its own skillet on a board it looked a picture, particularly alongside its pot of crisp, hot, salted and skin on potato wedges. They alone were a triumph. The pie was chunked full of chicken, writhing in a rich sea of herby, leeky goodness. Good stuff.

Chicken & leek pie, Brisket roast
Chicken & leek pie, Brisket roast

As ever, for research purposes, I had to test out a dessert. And crikey, in trooped a memorable effort. Apple and granola crumble with custard. Arriving in its own earthenware pot, set on a slate it came with a riot of coulis, kumquats and a boat of hot, vanillary loveliness. Truly special.

Apple & granola crumble
Apple & granola crumble

By the time I was dousing the dessert down with the final slurp of IPA the place had filled up. It would seem you would have to book for a mid-afternoon slot on a Sunday. I wouldn’t hang about, when word gets around this could become a serious stopping point. Cheshire has another belter to go at.

*Parker Arms, Nags Head, Assheton Arms, Hearth of the Ram, The Old Sessions, The Church Green, The Three Fishes to name but a few!

The Plough Inn,
Heath Lane, Croft, Warrington, Cheshire WA3 7DS
01925 766001

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