Sunday, 16 July 2017

Goodwins Bar and Kitchen, Chorley.

Goodwins Bar and Kitchen is part of the Greene King Group, the Chorley venue is currently one of only 4 in the country with this branding, the idea is to be provide a different offering than the other Greene King brands, Gloriously simple food with a more intimate feel and with more focus on the overall eating experience. We recently popped along for lunch at the newly open Chorley venue.

Martin the manager and the team gave us a friendly welcome on a busy  Saturday lunchtime, the venue was proving popular with family parties. Due to its location on a busy set of road abouts near a junction to the motorway, the location should also prove popular with business travellers and general passing trade. Service was very good and the food came out promptly, so no problems there.

We choose from the main menu despite it being lunchtime, the website can be found here

So for our starters. Mr LF chose the Homemade Cumberland scotch egg with dressed watercress and brown sauce. The dish  overall was tasty not standout but as described,it needed the brown sauce to accompany the sausage meat and egg combination.

I chose the Scallops on crushed peas,  a nicely presented dish, but too much pea and mint puree in my opinion, the scallops were well cooked but lacked flavour, the bacon was fine and helped to lift the dish. A little disappointing as I love a good scallop.

On to our Mains, Mr LF always goes for the pie, in this case the Goodwins steak and ale pie, British beef in Ruddles ale, normally with mash but swapped for chips on request and seasonal vegetables an a cute jug of tasty gravy.This was a tasty pie with flaky tender pastry, plenty of gravy and filling in the pie, the chips were crispy and fluffy and the perfect choice to soak up all that lovely gravy. Vegetables were fine a good selection of peas, endamame beans, sugar snap peas and chunky carrots.

I ordered the Hunters chicken with bbq sauce, streaky bacon, mature cheddar cheese and triple cooked chips. Served with onion loaf, thyme grilled tomato and dressed watercress.The dish was good, a nicely cooked tender juicy chicken breast, topped with a dark smoky bbq sauce, bacon and tangy cheese, tasty chips and the unusual onion loaf,  this was very savoury and a little different. The dressed watercress nicely irony and a good contrast to the sweeter flavours in play from the onion loaf and the bbq sauce. My only gripe on this dish was the grilled tomato, nice touch using the thyme but if you are grilling a tomato make sure its a thing of melting beauty and not one that's barely cooked.

On to desserts Mr LF ordered Basked Alaska - berries topped with cookie dough cheese cake, treacle toffee ice cream and toasted meringue. Served in a dinky pot, the dish was sweet and decadent, Mr LF  particularly enjoyed the treacle toffee ice cream part, but not sure it was toasted meringue on top, looked and tasted more like toasted marshmallow fluff. It disappeared all the same however.

My menu choice was the Elderflower posset - with summer berries and shortbread. My dessert choice was disappointing as the portion was way too large for such a rich dish, I also couldn't taste the elderflower either, the berries on the top helped but were more of a compote than berries, I would have also have liked to have seen the shortbread be larger pieces. I chatted this through with Martin and they are looking to adjust this dish in the future.

Martin the manager explained to us that their drinks menu is aimed at being more gender neutral, so no craft beers on draft here ( only Peroni or Prahva both lager style), everything else comes in a bottle, beer and cider wise. Lancashire Food doesn't have a problem with this per say but would have liked to have seen some beers and ciders that where more locally produced. Plenty of choice if wine or a cocktail is your thing, they even make lemonade and iced tea on the premises and their Gin menu has quite a few choices too.

Nice touch is that when they serve you your drinks this is accompanied with a small dish of salted popcorn.

Menu prices represent reasonable value and they have a special price lunch offer too. Sunday lunch is sure to be popular too.

You can find Goodwins Bar and Kitchen, Chorley

Preston Road

It's next door to the Hartwood Hall Hotel, which has also recently been refurbished

We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Taste Sensations at Mason's Market Cafe for Taste of Chorley Food Festival

For our last clandestine cake club we took part in the inaugural "Taste of Chorley" food festival holding our "Taste Sensations" event in the heart of Chorley.

Kindly hosted by Mason's Market Cafe we enjoyed a fabulous selection of cakes in a very busy cafe, our event and the wider food festival was a great success and brought lots of people out to enjoy the food, tasters, demonstrations and wider general foodie hub bub in the town.

The day was very busy for myself as I was also manning a cake and bakes stall for my WI who were also taking part to raise funds for our local Homestart group, we were joined by another local WI. It was a roaring success and we sold out (luckily for me) by 2pm ish and mad over £380 for the charity. I felt a little like I had baked for Britain !

Mason's Market Cafe is situated on the covered market and serves quality food and beverages at great prices, a great spot to pop in for a coffee whilst shopping. We were warmly welcomed by the team who also enjoyed sampling our cakes.

Our cakes for Taste Sensations were

  • Pistachio and rosewater cake
  • Sticky ginger lemon drizzle cake
  • Buckwheat banana choc chip cake (Gluten free)
  • Ginger and lemon cake
  • Cherry fudge cake
  • Zucchini and lime curd cake (Gluten free) 

Thanks to all the bakers and cake eaters and of course the team at Mason's market cafe, thanks all to Totally Locally Chorley who helped me locate a venue in a very busy town centre.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Beechs Truffles - All you need is love and Chocolate ......

All you need is Love and chocolate, a perfect sentiment and one I couldn't agree more with. So we were delighted when our friends at Beechs Chocolate sent us some of their delicious new truffles to taste test. (Tough job I know !)

Packaged in a luxurious box of 9 truffles, we taste tested the Anglesey Sea Salted Caramel and the Champagne truffles from their new truffle range.

Anglesey Sea salted caramel truffles , gorgeous thick decadent milk chocolate with a rich soft oozing caramel centre, with a distinctly salty edge, dusted with cocoa. My personal favourite and very very moreish. I was delighted to see the sea salt was from Anglesey, I am assuming Halen Mon which means "Anglesey salt". 

Luxury Champagne Truffles, rich creamy milk chocolate with a luxurious well flavoured centre, definitely champagne, then dusted with icing sugar, these were great and would make a perfect gift for someone special.

Available to order from Beech's Fine Chocolates or  through carefully selected retailers including QVC. There is also a Prosecco truffle included in the range.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Summer in the city - lunch at Turtle Bay, Preston

Turtle Bay, Preston sits in the heart of the city near to the Harris Museum and next to the iconic flag market, famous for its warm and friendly relaxed vibe, Turtle Bay is a popular spot in the city and we were recently invited along to sample their new summer menu.

Harking back to the days when the venue was a record shop ( yes I'm that old ... and yes I remember it as a record shop) part of the interior is decorated in homage to its roots, I loved this area, each Turtle bay has similar relaxed Caribbean styling to its decor, rough plasterwork, bare concrete, sheet steel and of course the colours of the Jamaican flag.


Later in the post there are more images of the fab interior, which screams summer and warm tropical breezes, which put us in a sunshine mood despite it being a typical Lancashire June day outside i.e. 14 degrees and overcast. The welcome was warm and friendly and the team eager to please.

So lets get down to the the food and drinks, the menu has been tweaked to reflect the change in season and the hopefully rising temperatures. 

Drinks - Mr LF was disappointed to discover that the Guinness West Indian Porter he so loved last time we visited was no longer on the menu, so instead he chose the Jamaican Pale Ale, brewed by The Bay especially to complement the jerk dishes at Turtle Bay. 


I chose the Elderflower cooler, a refreshing mocktail with elderflower cordial, cucumber ribbons, fresh mint and lime juice topped up with soda and lots of ice. Delicious and very summery.


On to the food, starters -  the Classic chilli beef patty for Mr LF, a crisp turmeric spiced pastry parcel, with a ground spiced beef filling and scotch bonnet chillies, served on a plank with baby gem lettuce cups of cooling house mayo.

My choice was the Jerk Pit chicken wings, three wings of chicken, spiced and marinated for 24 hours before being pit grilled,  the skin was a little flabby but  overall a tasty dish served with a choice of glaze, I plumped for pineapple. Sweet spicy and tasty, and very messy... no knifes and forks here.

Mains now, Jammin Lamb burger, a pit grilled lamb and mutton burger, served on a sweet pineapple glazed bun with crispy baby gem lettuce, sliced tomato, fresh mint and onion salad, herb mayo accompanied with spicy fries and Caribbean slaw. Juicy lamby and tasty, but  it wasn't very spicy.

My choice was the Avocado, butternut squash and mango salad, I chose pit grilled garlic and chilli prawns to up the protein content of my dish, I was slightly disappointed (only 4 prawns but they were whoppers) and not very spicy but well cooked. The salad made me smile with crispy gem lettuce, sugar snap peas, beets and juicy avocado and mango, coconut shavings and a citrus lime dressing, very summery and colourful.


Dessert time, well it would rude not to, Mr LF loved the sound of the Cayman upside down rum cake, this is Turtle bays equivalent of sticky toffee pudding, warm vanilla rum cake, with rum caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. 


I liked the sound of the Spiced Rum and chocolate pot with coconut ice cream, Richly spiced decadent chocolate mousse served with refreshing coconut ice cream, the portion was very large and not very glamorously presented but it tasted very very good, just a little large portion wise given the richness of the pudding. I loved the enamel dishes used , they just look so rustic


Here are more interior shots for you to enjoy


So That's all Folks ! until next time


Turtle Bay Preston,
Crystal House,
Birley Street, 

We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Gusto, Lytham St Annes - Spring Menu Launch evening

We were recently kindly invited to Gusto in Lytham for the blogger launch of their spring menu, on a decidedly unspring like evening we experienced a lovely dinner of gorgeous Italian food.

Gusto is situated on Dicconson Terrace in the  heart of the town and is in a tastefully converted period property, the decor and ambiance is a relaxed Milanese in style. The restaurant has a lovely bar area were you can enjoy a drink or cocktail before your meal and loads of cosy dining areas all of which are tastefully furnished, The soundtrack is laid back jazz and helps create a warm relaxed environment to enjoy the food and company. We particularly liked the eclectic mix of black and white photography throughout the restaurant.

We experienced the restaurant on a reasonably busy Tuesday evening and would imagine that at weekends you would be best booking to secure the table of your choice.

A lovely wood fired pizza oven was visible in the open kitchen from our table.

As this was a review evening a special menu had been prepared. 

To start the evening a delicious sharing platter - The Grande Board was placed on the table to share.

Featuring creamy goats cheese, smoked provolone and dolcelatte, humus, rocket, nocellara and black olives, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto, salami sopressa , coppa and rosemary focaccia on an olive olive wood serving platter. A great to start to our evening, may only suggestion of an improvement would be to ditch the hummus and replace with some grassy extra virgin olive oil and some sweet and deep balsamic vinegar, to dip you focaccia in.

Our chosen starters were Gusto Dough petals with Garlic butter, enjoyed by Mr LF and novel twist on the standard garlic bread, my calamari was lovely, light crispy, tasty and not in the least bit chewy and accompanied by a tangy lemon mayonnaise. Our accompanying Garganega Pinot grigio a perfect balance to our choices.

Next up where our mains, a crispy pan fried sea bass for Mr LF, served on a bed of creamed spinach and as a side some crispy rosemary and garlic potatoes Mr LF really enjoyed his fish cooked to perfection and plenty of it, for me Baked Aubergine Milanese, served with rocket salad and a spicy tomato sauce, warning portion size was huge, two great slices of aubergine, soft and creamy aubergine in a crispy breadcrumb, and topped with cheese and slices of tomato. The rocket salad could may be have done with a little balsamic just to cut the cheese in the dish. Very enjoyable but the portion size beat me.

Our Dessert choices were a lovely light yet moist and creamy Tiramisu and a creamy wobbly traditional panna cotta served with balsamic strawberries.

A lovely meal in fine company, Gusto is a small select chain of restaurants who's aim is to make everyday exquisite.

They have a great a la carte menu which you can view here and they have a great value lunch , dinner  and Sunday set menus too. Plus they also have "create your own pizza" for the kiddies (complete with chefs hat).

The website is here, they are also active on Instagram, twitter and facebook too.

We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.

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