Harden's survey result
“Situated in a tiny village” in the Ribble Valley, this is a “delightful old pub” and Steve Smith’s cuisine has established it as one of Lancashire’s top dining destinations (bearing comparison with Northcote down the road). “The juxtaposition of some classical ideas (sauce grand veneur with game, for example), modern techniques and a hint of the Orient” produces some truly “excellent” dishes (although quite a few fans fear that “over complication” can be an issue: “the amount of sauces and colours on the plate can be OTT”). “Interesting wine list” too. Service is mostly “friendly and helpful” but can be “patchy” (“sometimes they’re good; sometimes they’re pleasant, but below par”).
“Unfairly overlooked by Michelin”, this gourmet village pub continues to produce “some of the finest food in the Ribble Valley” and some locals “are convinced that this place has made Northcote up its game”. “Steve Smith’s cooking has a modern idiom, but draws on classics and there’s a heartiness to many dishes that is both unexpected given its contemporary style, but also keeps it rooted in the building’s heritage as a pub”. All in all “it’s fine dining of a consistently high standard”. But are prices creeping up? In particular “the wine list takes no prisoners (but fortunately there are some good beers too)”.
“Steve Smith continues to lead the vanguard of haute gastronomy in the Ribble Valley”, at this nationally notable and “attractive pub”, “in a tiny village alley” – “a brilliant gourmet destination high on the moors of East Lancashire”, which local cognoscenti feel “knocks Northcote into second place”. While the style is “unpretentious, with wooden tables”, this is “a class act all round”: “service is exemplary with a sommelier on hand”, and the dishes are “well thought out”, “skilfully executed” and highly “memorable”.
“Northcote’s only serious competitor in the area!” – Steve Smith’s “hard-to-find gastropub, tucked-away in a rural village”, gives its grander local rival a good run for its money, with “skilful and complex” local and seasonal cooking that’s “full of flair” (“and its pub guise even means there’s good ales on draught too”). One or two reporters were “disappointed after all the rave reviews”, but they seem like the exception that proves the rule.
8 Vicarage Fold Clitheroe, Wiswell, BB7 9DF
|Wednesday||9 am-10 pm|
|Thursday||9 am-10 pm|
|Friday||9 am-10 pm|
|Saturday||9 am-10 pm|
|Sunday||9 am-9 pm|