On a beautiful spring day we travelled to one of Lancashire Hidden treasures, The Inn at Whitewell.
The Inn is situated deep in stunning rolling Lancashire hill country in the heart of the Trough of Bowland, reputed to be a favourite of none other than HRH (Duke of Lancaster - The Queen), nestling cosily on the banks of the anglers favourite river - The Hodder, the Inn is a favourite of all who visit.
The Inn at Whitewell deservedly has a good reputation and has many awards for its food. Head Chef Jamie Cadman, now in his fourteenth year at the Inn, runs a crew of ten producing brilliant local food. His ethos is to use only the best of local ingredients, cooked simply to let the real quality shine through. Seasonal grouse from Lancashire Moor, pheasant and partridge from Dunsop shoot (Dunsop Bridge is just down the road), Bowland beef and Lonk lamb from Burholme Farm are staples on the menu and can all easily seen from the Inn’s windows. In the bar, they have carefully sourced a range of fabulous drinks from local cask-conditioned ales to organic ginger beers and soft drinks. With their in-house vintners they are able to offer an extensive and interesting range of wines, with several available by the glass.
For those keen to stay a little longer in Lancashire's Shangri la , there is The Piggeries, which is a newly finished holiday house with 3 double bedrooms. This stunning cottage is a perfect base for families or groups of friends wanting to explore the glories of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located in the grounds it offers the space and freedom of a home-from-home, but with the convenience of the Inn on your door step.
The inn is relatively easy to find if you follow the directions as recommended by the Inn, at the moment due to the recent floods there are a few roads still out of action in the area, so check before you travel if you aren't local. Parking is available outside the inn and on the adjacent riverside car park.
The Inn at Whitewell also has been featured in various TV programmes over the years including the Trip with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan.
We were warmly welcomed for the lunch service and seated in the "Orangery" but we were also given the choice of several tables in the cosy hunting lodge style bar area, which was quickly filling with diners who had been persuaded by the beautiful sunny weather to venture in to the Trough.
The lunchtime menu is less formal than the evening menu but still demonstrates care and attention to some stunning local ingredients. There were also several seasonal specials chalked up in the bar to add to the menu choices, one of which I chose as my starter. You are spoilt for choice for drinks too, I chose my usual lime and soda, but Mr LF chose a local brew from the Bowland Brewery - Hen Harrier as is befitting our location.
The Orangery overlooks the stunning Hodder Valley and the slightly more formal dining experience provided stunning light for photographing the food and also 180 degree amazing views.
I started with the Isle of Man Queenie's with cream, garlic and cheese, served with homemade bread and farmhouse butter. A beautiful dish, I love queenie's and their combination of sweet scallop meat with fresh salty flavours, nice also to see them being served in their shells.
Mr LF ordered the Prosciutto, bruschetta and rocket feta salad with a tomato sauce off the standard menu, he particularly enjoyed the rocket salad who's savoury spike complemented the sweet salty prosciutto. The tomato sauce was wonderful and tasted of warm ripe tomatoes.
On to our mains I chose the Goosnargh chicken, shallot and bacon sauce, filled potato boats, celeriac puree dish which was very tasty, the chicken moist and flavourful if being rather beige in appearance. May be the addition of a green vegetable (spinach, cabbage) would have lifted the appearance of the dish.
Mr LF's choice was the Char-grilled sirloin of beef, hand cut chips, flat mushrooms and grilled tomato, he ordered rare and it was, the generous piece of steak was well seasoned and cooked to perfection.
As is usual for us by this stage we were being to feel a little full, but given the standard of food on offer we decided to plump for desserts to end our lunchtime experience.
My rice pudding with poached plums, was stunningly simple, moist, creamy vanilla rice, offset by poached tender plums. Delicious but very filling.
Mr LF's Rhubarb and amaretti biscuit trifle, homemade butter shortbread looked amazing and disappeared quickly considering he was supposed to be full, he loved the traditional trifle style dish including the slightly jellied rhubarb and biscuit layer, rich creamy vanilla custard and crunchy crumbly shortbread.
Fully sated and a little full we settled our bill and left satisfied to drive home through more stunning Lancashire countryside. The inn is a great location for that special lunch or dinner so if you are in the area why not pay a visit.
We found the service was attentive and very efficient, everything was hot / cold and well presented for all the dishes we ate.The cloakroom facilities impeccable and fragrant in all the right ways, including Moulton Brown toiletries which are always nice.
Our meal was provided free of charge for review purposes, we were not compelled to right a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.