Sunday, 4 March 2012

Parkers Arms - Newton in Bowland

For many months I have followed Stosi Madi of The Parkers Arms on twitter, a passionate advocate of local food. Today finally saw our first visit to the fine establishment nestled in the nook of the rolling moorland countryside of the stunning Forest of Bowland.  Just 10 minutes drive from Clitheroe but a world away, this is pub/restaurant with rooms and is everything a country pub should be, warm, welcoming with fabulous local food, lovingly prepared. On pulling up on the carpark what first strikes you is the silence, well lack of intrusive noise anyhow, all we could hear were sheep bleeting and birds singing.

We were warmly and genuinely welcomed by front of house AJ , the fire already lit in the grate and the bar warm and cosy. We had booked but where given a choice of tables and chose to sit in the window so we could watch the  panorama of the glorious hillside outside.

Mr B ordered from a fine selection of local ales from Bowland Brewery - "Sawley Tempted" as I was driving I choose one of their soft drinks, I note they had a fine selection of mawsons traditional drinks to refresh any passing traveller, this being on the scenic route to the Ribblehead viaduct.

Whilst we perused the menu and the daily defined specials we chatted with the lovely friendly staff, the whole menu is focused on local seasonal produce, beautifully prepared to emphasise its best points and is just the right length, enough choice but not too much that you get bamboozled or doubt on the freshness of the produce.

Our choices made and we were pleased to be joined by other diners as the establishment started to fill up for lunch. Our first hints of the delights in store was the arrival of our first appetiser - crunchy roasted potato skins with tomato relish, delicious crunchy skins sprinkled with sea salt and served with a sweet smooth tomato puree, sweetened by being roasted. Delicious.

Next a tasting plate of local ( and when I say local I mean local a mile or so up the road) Dunsop bridge trout with horseradish and homemade country bread, the trout has been treated gently and was beautifully tender , the creamed horseradish just spiky enough to cut any oiliness from the fish. Then the puffy fluffy lancashire cheese souffles arrived, soft, yeilding and cheesy ( in the best way), also featuring local eggs again from the chickens at a local farm.

Next my Black pudding, egg, crispy potatoes and homemade chutney were delivered, perfectly roasted black pudding was complimented with a dippy egg and homemade chutney, a delight for the taste buds, the crispy potatoes perfectly complimented with the herb oil drizzle. My dining partner had selected the Spiced venison loin, pickled damsons and  homemade bread, I snuck a little taster of the venison which was tender and well balanced with the pickled local damsons.

By this stage we were getting a little full, AJ told to relax our mains would be with us soon, after a suitable polite pause( so grateful) ( whilst watching the other delights emerging from the kitchen) our mains were delivered, Hot-water crust pork and rabbit pasty, roasted roots, kale and thrice cooked chunky chips for my dining partner and Sole, sea vegetables, saute potatoes and lemon butter sauce for me.

WOW , all the food was beautifully presented and the portions exactly the right size, my sole was tender , cooked on the bone just how I like it , the sauce buttery lemon but not over powering , matched well by the sea vegetables which provided a nice salty edge to the dish, the potatoes were equally delicious and well matched to the rest of the plate. The cute pasty was packed with filling, moist and juicy all encased in a golden pastry crust, the chips triple cooked were a revelation and very much lived up to the recommendation of AJ, but I am sure the alternative of creamy mash would be just a good. The little dish of roasted roots and kale was great accompaniment to the pasty which needed the robust "roast dinner" flavours to meet the challenge of standing up to the slighty gamey pasty.
By this stage we were full, Mr B even leaving a couple of the chips,  however  the dessert menu looked equally scrumptious all made on the premises including the elusive local "wet nelly" !

All in all this lunch is up there with my best dining experiences and we will definately be visiting again, the food is very reasonably priced for the quality and the fact that this is real Lancashire Food and the word local really means local , I can only recommend you visit yourself very soon  for stunning food and the stunning landscape.

I'd like to apologise for the lack of photos too, the food was so good it disappeared to quickly to get many snaps. They are open Tuesday to Sunday and have a special very seasonal very local special menu on weekdays that is sourced from within either 10 or 20 miles of the pub and they serve a traditional Sunday lunch on Sunday's. I'd also to point out that the Parkers Arms did not ask me to write a feature on my blog and that I paid for my lunch. Stosi did know I was visiting as I had booked a table, at the time of my visit lots of other diners were also enjoying the same food and ambiance.

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