Tag Archives: white swan

Top Dishes of 2016

Its that time of year when all the old repeats come on the telly. All that airtime to fill, the TV bosses know its easy to just throw a few extra editions of ‘Morecambe and Wise’ (or some Peter Kay!) on and its job done. Well it’s the same with any self respecting food blogger, this is the time we can scan the laptop and dust off a few food pics and get another post in before the end of the year without leaving the house!

2016 from a food perspective has been another decent one for me. Plenty of new places opening, particularly in my adopted city of Manchester. That said, quite a few shut down too. Proving it’s still a tough gig keeping us fed. Competition, food trends and urban redevelopment just some of the bullets an honest restauranteur needs to dodge to keep afloat.

The images and references below are just a brief round up of what was great this year for me. Ive probably missed out loads, but, in no particular order, here goes…..

The Granddaughter wanted a swanky Indian to celebrate her 21st. Tattu in Manchester worked a treat. Had my first (of now quite a few) skate wings. Poor image but it is dark in there!

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We went to Florida for our hols early on in the year. On Key West I had my best meal over there ,’Stoned’ Crab claws at The Stoned Crab! with seafood and a broth. Historic. A special mention to Key Lime Pie. I had one every night for 14 days!!

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Had a memorable night alone in Newcastle. Social media led me to The Broad Chare by the Tyne. Super little ‘gastropub,’ had a simple but utterly gratifying ‘bubble and squeak’ with homemade brown sauce.

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A definite highlight the magnificent ‘mariscada’ (festival of seafood) by Ramsbottom’s very own slice of Spain ‘Baratxuri’.

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As you may know, I like a sunday roast. I’ve had some belters this year. A toss up between The White Swan at Fence with their dexter beef and The Church Green’s version (with Aiden Byrne back on the tools the day we were there). Both absolutely sensational, but I should mention totally honourable efforts by The Star Inn the City, The Yew Tree and Burnt Truffle all mere specks of beef fat behind.

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TL White Swan, TR Star Inn The City, BL Church Green, Middle R The Yew Tree, BR Burnt Truffle

Loved the short rib and peas dish at Andrew Nutters latest The Bird at Birtle.

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Our one foray into Michelin star territory this year brought us to Alimentum in Cambridge. Possibly the single best dish of the year for me the cannon of venison, stunning.

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Special mention to my streetfood heroes of the year. Working in Spinningfields, Manchester, for the first half of the year, I often frequented the streetfood pop up sensation ‘The Kitchens’. Particular favourites the chicken kharti rolls from ‘Chaat Cart,’ the pork belly bao rolls from ‘Dim Sum Su’ and the stupendous steak wraps from ‘Well Hung’ (now Beastro).

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Pulled pork bun, Well Hung wrap, Kati Roll

Having now moved further east in the city, brunch with eggs by Federal Cafe, deserve a mention. I think I’ve been through the card now. Halloumi and shrooms a particular favourite.

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If pizza’s your thing, Ive had a couple of very decent ones now at The Sand Bar, Manchester.  Last but not least you have to love and use your local restaurant. Ours is Ariete in Newton le Willows. It’s a smart Italian, and I love normally to try all the specials, but one day this year I had the basic spaghetti bolognese. Ive never looked back. Had it about five times since! You cant beat the classics…..

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The White Swan at Fence, Lancashire

“By pure coincidence I am reading Commandment 5 in his book The Ten Commandments of Food by Jay Rayner. It states “Thou Shalt Not Cut Off The Fat”. I had a glorious piece of beef with globs of golden fat at The White Swan at Fence. Its where all the flavour is!”

The White Swan has been on the list for sometime, indeed Jay Rayner himself has dined and proclaimed allegiance to this quaint little public house in the rural shadows of Pendle Hill. Its yet another glorious stab on the map for Lancashire.

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We began the hours run in glorious sunshine, but on arrival the clouds had descended. The poor light didn’t particularly help the aspect. The building appeared more brown cygnet than graceful white Swan. It is small, out of the way, and next door’s scaffolding grafted at one end added to the slightly disappointing initial impression. Venturing round the back there is some smart outdoor seating, which I’m sure would be most welcoming in better weather. That said once inside things soon picked up. Despite not many people being inside there was an immediate warmth as we were welcomed in with a beaming smile.

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A glorious, polished welcoming bar hits first. A larger, naturally lit room opens up to the right, a smaller, darker room is left through an arch. Having the pick of the tables we decided this would be the room to go for. It was tastefully festooned with local countryside accoutrements. A couple of full antlered deer had hit the walls hard from outside and candlelit pentagons ladened the cills. We settled with a pint of Timothy Taylor’s and ruminated over the bijou and well set menu. It’s a simple A5 card clipped to a board. Three starts, three mains, three afters. Simplicity itself.

As ever for me a blindfold and a pin would have sufficed. The Flame however, was struggling a bit with the limited choice. We got there though.

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Potato skins, girolles, egg & truffle, the cheese biscuits

For starters The Flame had the stuffed jacket skins with Lancashire cheese and chives (£5). I went for the Scottish girolles, runny egg and truffle sauce (£8). It came in a curvaceous bowl, the yolk was wonderfully sous vide and soon melded into the buttered girolles. I ate it with a spoon. It was absolutely sublime.

For mains The Flame went for the Lune wild salmon, girolles, lemon and lovage (£18). Beautifully cooked and presented she was a little disappointed with the portion size and lack of sides. We had an extra portion of the sunday trimmings to bolster the offer.

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Pink Dexter beef with all the trimmings

I went for the dexter beef and all the sunday trimmings (£18). Ive never had dexter beef before but it wont be the last time. Not sure Ive ever had beef as tasty as this. Cooked pink with a swathe of golden fat along one edge it was totally ‘historic’. The trimmings were just as good too. As the Masterchef greengrocer would say “smooth, hot buttery mash and beautifully seasoned”. Buttery barrelled carrots and cabbage, great yorkshires and cauliflower cheese though the ‘roastie’ was a bit over to be honest.   All in all a great sunday roast.

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The lune salmon with girolles lemon and lovage

As ever a dessert for me. Baked egg custard, bilberries and earl grey tea ice cream (£7). Never has the term ‘less is more’ been more apt to describe the genius of this delightful morsel of sweet heaven. As Mr Rayner himself quotes “no one needs dessert”, as we are always full from our savoury courses, but thankfully I persevered! It was simply stunning, I could have eaten bowls of it.

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The mammoth cheeseboard and the sublime egg custard

The Flame had two cheeses from the cheeseboard (£6), I say cheeseboard, more like a cheese table! I reckon the HSE should get involved it must have weighed a ton. Ive never seen so much cheese. But fair play, the jovial waitress described every one. We settled on a red Leicester and a sensational Killeen goats cheese Gouda. Thats going on the list as a buy!

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The bill came in at £75 with a tip. Hardly your two for a tenner gaff this! This is a real food lovers experience, Its probably fair to say if you are a bit fussy this might not be for you. As for me I’d happily eat here everyday for ever……..

white swan

300 wheatley lane road

fence

bb12 9qa

01282 611773
http://www.whiteswanatfence.co.uk