Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire.

I'd only been awake for an hour and already I was bored. What could break the monotony of a dull grey Sunday with nothing to do? I know, how about a drive out into the country? We'd not been to a country pub in ages. I had one in mind. The Parkers Arms has had such good reviews on-line by fellow blogger Hungry Hoss who I believe was tipped off by the Andrew Stevenson blog. You see that's how word of mouth happens now on-line, there is no way I'd have found this place otherwise.
We drove up from Manchester, it only takes about an hour.

We arrived just as our amiable host for the afternoon AJ was opening up. What a character he is; gregarious and chatty, he really took care of us. We decided to go outside as there was a bit of sun coming through the clouds. Inside is exactly how I want my country pub to be, dog friendly, (we took ours) and smart enough without being too 'posh'.

We started off with some nibbles of crunchy roast potato skins and home made pork scratchings and dips.

 They knew we were bloggers, so sent out loads of extras which we gratefully received! It was also good to taste a few dishes we may not have ordered, I'm so glad we did as they were amongst some of the best food we ate there.
The next one was a superb Home Cured Wild Salmon dish, and it was at this point that we knew we weren't at any old rural pub. With dill, fennel and a hint of horseradish, against the crunch of the perfectly crisp cracker, it was technically way above anything I've eaten before in a pub. (And we've been to some good ones.)

The next little plate was just stunning as well! It may well be the best Venison I've ever eaten. So tender and delicate.

A.J pointed to the hills to where the animal came from. Terroir is really important to Stosie, chef of The Parkers Arms everything is sourced locally from small suppliers including the excellent beer I was drinking; Sawley Tempted from Bowland in Clitheroe, a very decent session ale. They won't take on big brewers here, why should they? It's all about supporting the small supplier who gives you a better quality product anyway.
Next Mushroom Parfait, oh my god, this is so good! So creamy but with a tiny hint of heat (not sure what from,) I've rarely eaten anything so fine outside of a Michelin star high end restaurant. But this is not aspiring to be 'fancy', it's just simply the best ingredients that can be found locally (luckily in this case some of the best in the country,) made by someone who really knows how to cook!

The devil is always in the detail. The bread for instance again is totally superb, and better than many high end restaurants we've been to. (Home made again of course.) 

We relished the Bury black pudding sausage rolls as well!

As it was Sunday we had the traditional beef dinner. The meat was flavoursome although slightly chewy in parts. Taken as a whole I think that it was actually better than local favourite Parlour (and its award winning Sunday dinner,) with beautifully done veg and a large perfectly crispy Yorkshire Pudding. 

 The pie was very rich and flavourful, but we were struggling now!

The chips were simply as perfect as chips can be.

Puddings were a triumph as well. We actually ordered Stosie's award winning Wet Nellie, this was Mrs Bacon's idea of a perfect pudding, rich and fruity like half way between a sticky toffee pudding and a Christmas pudding.

 I prefer something lighter, they sent out a complimentary gorgeous Gooseberry dish. The presentation is again way above what you'd expect in a pub. Most importantly the flavour really hits the spot. It's a really good dessert this, I love the tartness of the gooseberry.

I'm not sure about the relevance of pointing out if the chef is female or not, but if you're going to, in my opinion you need to add Stosie Madi to Lisa Allen of Northcote Manor (we went last year before the blog) and Mary-Ellen McTague of Aumbry as the best in our region.
It was such a buzz coming somewhere like this, I knew it was going to be good but not quite as good as it actually was, I just want to tell all my friends about it, and I'm telling you now, just go!  You're not likely to eat in many pubs as good as this I can tell you that.

Price: Excellent value. Only £46.60 for 2 with drinks.
(Admittedly with some freebies thrown in.)
Service: Great and friendly, their young waitress deserves a mention, she was excellent.
Atmosphere: Informal country pub.
Food: Simply the best pub we've eaten in.
Star dish: Mr Bacon's choice: Mushroom Parfait.

Mrs Bacon's choice: Venison.
Score: 8/10. 


Tune: Let's go away for a while - The Beach Boys.

* Would you like your restaurant & food photographed? 
  Just email me: bacononthebeech@gmail.com

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