A wonderful winter warmer, by bus

Longlands, Tewitfield: chicken ballantine

Longlands, Tewitfield: chicken ballantine

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Jenny Simpson braves the cold for Longlands Inn at Tewitfield.

It’s been almost year since I upped sticks from the bright lights of Preston and moved to the middle of nowhere.

Longlands, Tewitfield: camembert medallions

Longlands, Tewitfield: camembert medallions

Well, a cottage in the South Lakes certainly felt like the middle of nowhere after four years living in an apartment near Preston city centre.

With just one pub in our little village, I’ve had to knock any idea of pub crawls on the head unless I fancy waiting an hour for a bus to take me to the next pillar of civilisation – namely the Longlands Inn at Tewitfield, a pleasant, four-star hotel on just the right side of the Lancashire-Cumbria border.

On a bitingly cold night in January, Mr Eating Out and myself found ourselves at said bus stop catching the last service to Longlands for a bite to eat (and leaving 
worrying about how to get home til later.)

Nestled among the rural wilds, the Longlands has the feel of a traditional country inn, with beamed ceilings and old pictures of local hunts on the walls, but the slick, 
modern décor betrays the fact it has been thoroughly 
modernised to bring the hotel up to contemporary four-star standards.

The pub is a popular draw for folk from neighbouring 
villages, particularly in the summer when the picnic benches among the hanging baskets are usually well 
occupied when the sun puts in an appearance.

Thankfully, the inside was suitably cosy for this January night, and as we order drinks, we are greeted by the friendly black Labrador.

The pub has a Coach House menu of pizzas, soups and 
salads for the more relaxed diner, but we decided to eat in the main Platos restaurant, a roomy dining area spread over two levels.

The pub prides itself on 
using locally-sourced food, describing the menu as based on English classics “with our unique touch”.

Led by my love of all things cheese, I chose the camembert medallions with spicy apricot and cranberry chutney (£6.25) as a starter, while Mr Eating Out decided the soup of the day (£4.50), a spicy parsnip number, would be suitably warming for a winter’s night.

The camembert came with a crisp salad on the side and the warm, gooey nuggets of cheese were perfectly complemented by the fruity, tart chutney, giving a lovely contrast in flavour and texture.

The earthy root vegetables of the soup were declared a success; a great warming treat for a winter’s night.

For the main course, I ordered the ballantine of chicken with cranberry and chestnut sausage stuffing with fondant potato and cauliflower puree (£14.95).

Mr Eating Out moaned that he had wanted to order the same thing but, realising that that is against the rules of this page, he panicked when the waitress arrived to take our order and, on the spur of the moment, went for fish and chips (£11.95) – not the most unique dish for a review!

I still have no idea what a ‘ballantine’ is, but the chicken arrived beautifully presented, with two diagonal slices wrapped in bacon, with a delicate filling of sausagey stuffing and just the right amount of vegetables on the side.

The chicken could have perhaps have benefited from more sauce to moisten it slightly but the streak of cauliflower puree was creamy and delicious, making me enjoy one of my least favourite vegetables.

Mr Eating Out’s haddock arrived with the chunky chips in a little punnet, making a well-versed dish as presentable as possible.

However, he was disappointed that the fish was a little soggy and professed the hearty burger and chips he had on our last visit had been a better choice.

We’ll return in the summer, no doubt, when the wait at the bus stop is a little less chilly.

Service was friendly, if a little slow for a quiet night, and the total bill with a bottle of wine and beer came to around £56.