Tag Archives: Thwaites

Eagle and Child – Ramsbottom

“I think I might have to move to Ramsbottom. It seems like some sort of heaven…….”

I’ve already splurged a few tomes extolling the wonderment that surrounds this fine old Lancashire town. Already blogged Baratxuri, Levanter, Hearth of the Ram, the artisan market as well as The Red Rose Diner courtesy of the East Lancs Railway that steams right through it. Now it’s the turn of the recently refurbished ‘Eagle and Child’. It doesn’t disappoint. To be fair it shouldn’t given the long list of accolades that have followed since its current imcumbents set to task.


I booked the table for a late Sunday lunch allowing us time to enjoy a leisurely stroll around nearby Summerseat and the wonderful Nuttal Park. As the time approached we eagerly sprinted up the hill from the town. The Eagle is a fine looking, simple stone building. The refurb has grafted an architectural glass box onto the back with fine views of the Irwell Valley and Peel Tower. The bright red Thwaites logo gives it a little lift….And that means it sells ‘Wainwrights’ golden ale. This is good thing.


Its smart inside too. A quality fit out, the bar area in particular is especially inviting.


We perused the Sunday lunch menu (£22.95 for two course, £25.95 for three) in its red binder along with the hi tech iPad specials board.

The Flame pulled her nose a bit, “Theres no chicken”, she observed*. As ever I was sticking pins in to decide as it was all glorious to me!


She settled on tomato soup to start. A little boring we thought, but she was very pleased with what turned out. Full of flavour, she agreed it was a fine start. Easy pick for me, the smoked haddock scotch egg with curried mayo. Terrific start. It would seem many shared my view, they were flying out with empty plates coming back.


For mains I went from the specials board. I was lured by the inclusion of hogget. A chop with a disc of braised shoulder, a potato gallette, some french peas and red wine jus (a fairly hefty £21.95). Ive never had hogget before but wow, the chop in particular was a treat. Beautifully tender with a fullsome, lamb taste. The rest was fine too. Thoroughly enjoyed. The Flame went for the vegetarian option, charred aubergine with spicy cous cous and goats cheese. Not my bag really but The Flame loved it. A decent looking dish.


For dessert I had the mille fleur, beautifully presented with a passionfruit cream. The Flame went for the rather splendid cheese board, wonderfully explained by Rosie.

Rosie (along with Glen and Alex) was clearly part of the management team here. She went on to explain their work with the incredible edible garden that is being cultivated at the back of the pub. We went to have a look and feed the chickens. It’s a great space that I’m sure will be packed on a fine summers day. She also explained about their work in training troubled youngsters to be chefs and waiting staff. It’s a fine story.


And did I mention the accolades? I almost forgot it had won Sunday roast of the year a few times, I was reminded many times why as plates of slavering lumps of tender pink beef wafted by. Ill be back for one of those…….

*And The Flame needn’t worry about the lack of chicken. Rosie said to give us a ring next time before you come. She was sure chef Alex could rustle something good up.

Eagle and Child

3 Whalley Road,

Tel: 01706 557181


The Assheton Arms – Downham, Clitheroe

“Yawn, yet another Lancashire pub chain serving local, quality food with wonderful hospitality!”

It’s early December, The Cooktwit has bagged a day off and decided to treat The Flame to a slap up lunch out in the sticks. The in car navigation system is set to The Assheton Arms, Downham Village, Clitheroe. Why here? I liked the sound of its parents! The Seafood Pub Company. Anyone with seafood in its title is going a long way in my eyes.

Great frontage, great view
Great frontage, great view

Downham Village is a pleasant, rural bolt hole a couple of miles outside foodie hub Clitheroe. Indeed it would seem you can stick a pin anywhere in the Lancashire/Ribble Valley and hit somewhere good to eat. I’ve already reported the fine virtues of The Parkers Arms and The Three Fishes, both close by.  Despite the wintry date, the weather was kind. Overcast but still and mild, great for walking but thwarted the wonderful views from the terrace as we walked in.

Once inside, two fine gentlemen greeted us warmly, almost as warmly as the roaring fire. Having ascertained our 1pm booking was all in order we biffed up a deck to a rather charming dining salon. Resplendent with muted tartan and country hues it felt like a big cuddle from a favourite, buxom aunt (obviously the one with curlers out and teeth in!). Splendid views across ‘them there hills’ were afforded from a picture window.

Table, muted tartan, picture window
Table, muted tartan, picture window

A restorative livener was sanctioned in the shape of a Thwaites Wainwrights golden Ale. An excellent start. The Flame and I settled on our naturally lit, circular table to survey the card.  And what a splendid card it was. The offerings headed by cooking method rather than courses. Smoked, Robata Grill, Clay Pot, Street Food, Boat, Snacks, Specials and Starters. It’s a lovely menu.

Bar, missed the log fire!
Bar, missed the log fire!

As expected seafood and fish gets a heady billing, but there’s plenty for everyone here on this highly eclectic menu. Flavours and influences seem to come from all over the world. Caribbean Cod Cakes, Piri piri swordfish, Chicken with lemongrass, Goan King Prawn Curry all mixed in with local favourites.

The Flame decided on the fishy side for starts and main. The aforementioned Caribbean cod cakes (£4.95) arrived to start simply placed on a slate with a fiery jerk sauce. Very nice though a little dry she thought. Brought to life by the hot, thick, smoky spread.

I ventured in the ‘The little smoke room’ for my starters. I had the potted smoked duck, Scotch quail egg, pickles, salad cream, toast (£7.95). It all arrived attached to its very own, specially honed log.  The log having slots and routered ledges to accommodate the pots and slices of feed. Could have done with a couple more of the quails eggs! The salad cream was runny but utterly ‘delish’. The potted duck and pickles nice enough. A great start, things were going well.

The well huned log, cod cakes
The well huned log, cod cakes

Mains next. The Flame was touched to try the piri piri swordfish (£15.50). An unusual choice for her. She was tricked into the spicy coating and intrigued by the crispy chick peas. It came with a herb and citrus  quinoa salad and  smoked peppers. A heady combination I think you’ll agree? It looked a picture and tasted super as well. I managed a morsel. The crispy chick peas adding a crunchy texture.

I was seduced by one of the days special. A steaming bowl of mixed fish stew (£16). Chomping swabs of sea bass, salmon, scallops lovingly squelched in a lobster bisque, topped with mussels and a crostini with aioli. Just hit the spot for me. As I say I love my seafood!

Fish Stew, Piri piri swordfish.
Fish Stew, Piri piri swordfish.

For research purposes I again was compelled to try a dessert. And boy what a dessert. Peaches and cream custard tart with toasted meringue and raspberry syrup (£5.95).  Served slightly warm it was heaven on  a plate. Needless to say I wolfed the lot.

Peach tart with meringue!
Peach tart with meringue!

The Seafood Pub Company is gradually adding country pubs to its portfolio. It has six in all so far. If they are all as good as this it means we’ve got plenty of places to go at for a nice drive out. Ill be giving them a go. So should you.



The Assheton Arms Downham, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 4BJ
Phone: 01200 441 227
Email: info@asshetonarms.com



Old Wellington – Manchester

I think it’s fair to say we don’t usually consider the humble, city centre pub as a place to enjoy some fine evening grub. A couple of pints after work, meeting the mates to watch footy yes, but eat? Here in Manchester it’s the restaurants, bistros and trendy bars that seem to get the plaudits for a good feed.

I managed to coax my dad into the city to sample the odd jar of real ale. The aged relative had proved difficult to prise from his Monday nights in the local ‘conny’ club famed for its cheap beer. I, along with my young brethren set about plotting a sensible trek that would ply the major with quality ale rounding off with some decent nosebag. The Rising Sun and Sam’s Chop House set the ball rolling, they very thoughtfully provided the early evening alcoholic restoratives as prescribed. A JW Lees ‘Manchester Pale Ale’ and a Sharps ‘Doombar’ being the choice.
The old man looking slightly bronzed in Sams Chop House
The old man looking slightly bronzed in Sams Chop House
However, ever mindful of getting the old chap back home, tucked in bed without a hitch I reckoned a final throw at ‘The Old Wellington’ on the way to Victoria Rail station would round things off with aplomb. The Old Wellington in Manchester is within a short stroll of Manchester Cathedral and Exchange Square.  It has had an interesting past to say the least. There cant be many hostelrys of 1600 vintage that have been moved 100m from its original site some 400 years later!
From the outside Its has a real ‘olde worldey’ ‘choclate box’ appeal. It wouldn’t look out of place in leafy Kent or Cheshire. Inside the theme continues, wonky beams, wonky floors, ill fitting windows its all here, but given a polished sheen by owners Nicholsons.
A traditional old pub
A traditional old pub
First things first, we were able to supplant the septuagenarian into a comfy chair with a Thwaites ‘Nutty Black’. His first pint of mild of the night. A Thwaites ‘Wainwright’ (one if my favourites) wetted my pipes. The Old Wellington’s dining section is housed on the first and second floor. We nestled into a first floor slot. A short perusal of the traditional pub fayre menu soon had us choosing a hearty pre train gorge.
The menu
The menu
The provider of my very being went straight for the gammon, double egg and chips (£8.50). Basic stuff I admit but it got the thumbs up. Couldn’t fault the quantity or quality. I had the Iberian Black Pig and Apple burger (£10.50). This came on a wooden batten with some skin on chips. It was very good and certainly hit the spot. The young bruv had Venison Sausage and mash for £9.50 which were very tasty though he felt the sausages were a little overcooked. We didn’t have time for sweet but we all came away suggesting we’d come again. You never know we might bring my mum next time!
Gammon, Iberian Black Pig Burger
Gammon, Iberian Black Pig Burger
So spare a thought for the humble pub, they are still here and worth a good seeing to.
Old Wellington
4 Cathedral Gates,
M3 1SW
0161 839 5179