I think this may be the third time we’ve stopped here for lunch when on the northern stretch of the M6. Like the other pubs in Nigel Haworth’s small chain of Ribble Valley Inns, there’s consistently good food, firmly rooted in British cuisine. They make great play of local north west suppliers and the menu reflects our local produce.
There’s Morecambe Bay potted shrimps. Or, I suppose, unpotted shrimps, as they are served in just warmed butter that was dunkable with the accompanying toasted muffin. The other starter featured asparagus (although it didn’t say so, I’d like to hope this was the first of the new season’s crop and not some Peruvian import) and a poached egg. A little scattering of micro salad gave a modest texture crunch.
Cheese and onion pie was damn good. A very large portion – easily 15cm across – filled with Sandhams Tasty Lancashire an onion. Crisp pastry, generous filling. Accompanied by a baked potato and a handful of more micro salad. What’s not to like?
Meanwhile, herself was getting stuck into oat crusted cod goujons (almost posh fish fingers, if you will), crushed peas, Jersey Royals and a cucumber tartare sauce. Really lovely.
We’d have liked to have had dessert but were stuffed, so just had coffee.
On a sad note, we learnt that Bob Kitching of Leagrams Dairy died last month, aged 61. He was a master cheesemaker whose work will be well known to cheese lovers in the region. Bob sold his produce throughout the north west, including at my local farmers market in Ashton under Lyne. Apparently, his daughter will take over the business which means that, hopefully, I will still be able to buy the waxed two year old Lancashire which he named Bob’s Knob (stop giggling there at the back!)