There’s no greater compliment to a chef than when a diner enjoys his dish so much, he practically picks the bowl up to lick it clean.
This was the reaction of our 10-year-old son when eating his starter of steamed mussels in a garlic and white wine sauce at the Red Rock Steakhouse. Not only did every mussel in the substantial portion get eaten with delight, he dunked his bread to mop up as much sauce as he possibly could.
So impressed was the waitress, she told us that her own children “wouldn’t eat mussels if I paid them to” and then reappeared with a spoon so he could scrape the last remnants of sauce.
We ended up at the Red Rock Steakhouse in Hesketh Bank on a Sunday afternoon almost by accident. We had planned to go to a different steakhouse we like, but realised it seemed to have closed down since our last visit and after looking at the Tastecard app, discovered Hesketh Bank had a new steakhouse.
Formerly Capricci Italian, the venue has now re-opened as a steakhouse. Having never visited it in its previous incarnation, it was a totally new experience for myself, my husband and our two children so we were able to look at it with fresh eyes.
Inside, the restaurant is stylish, classy and modern yet still has a welcoming feel. However, we were surprised to find that we were the only diners at a Sunday lunchtime.
We all decided we were hungry enough to have starters as well as mains - and that’s when our son chose the mussels (£5.95) which were such a hit.
He wasn’t the only one happy with his starter. All our choices received satisfied grunts of approval and were eaten with gusto.
I chose the salt and pepper calamari served with a lime and coriander dip and as well as being a good portion, the calamari were perfectly cooked so they were tender and not the slightest bit chewy with the perfect blend of salt and pepper.
Our daughter had the pulled pork potato skins with Hickory BBQ sauce and smoked cheese (£5.95) and she was glad to find there was plenty of pulled pork on the mealy potato skins with melted smoked cheese on top.
Hubby had the Piri Piri button mushrooms which came served in a white wine sauce with toasted bloomer bread.
This starter looked superb and he declared the sauce to be delicious as it was creamy with a spicy kick and was a perfect accompaniment to the mushrooms.
After such substantial starters, you would have thought our two 10-year-olds would have fancied a lighter option for main course. No chance.
They both opted for the chicken and rib combo (£12.95) which came served on a wooden board. There was a large chicken breast, juicy ribs and a portion of sweet potato fries along with a pot of coleslaw.
Anyone would think we didn’t feed them at home as everything went - bar the coleslaw which they’re not fond of - and they pronounced it “yummy” and asked if they could have it again. (On another day, not then and there!)
The sweet potato fries in particular were a favourite and were crisp and sweet.
For Hubby, the Red Rock Big Dirty Burger jumped out from the menu. This burger comes with pulled pork, mushrooms, onions, smoked cheese and BBQ sauce (£12.95) served with shoestring fries, coleslaw and salad garnish.
It was certainly some size, but he seemed to have no trouble managing it and said it was a great quality burger and felt all the extras that came with really added to the flavours.
My feeling was that if you’re dining at a steakhouse, you have to have a steak so I went for an 8oz ribeye (£14.95) which came with thick chunky chips and a salad garnish and I ordered a jug of smoked bacon and mushroom sauce to pour on top.
The steak was cooked exactly to my liking and preference and the chips were a savoury delight.
The sauce was flavoursome enough - although it looked nothing like I had imagined and was a dark colour rather than the creamy mushroom I had imagined.
We achieved the unattainable by filling up our children who both vehemently told us they were far too full for dessert.
Hubby and I had an idle look at the dessert menu, but were quickly told that two of the options weren’t available. As the dessert menu wasn’t very extensive in the first place, this didn’t leave a lot and only really ice-cream so we decided to have teas and coffees to finish off our meal with instead.
When it came to paying the bill, as my husband and I were able to use our Tastecards giving us two meals for the price of one, the bill with drinks came to just under £60 which we felt was very reasonable.
Even though we didn’t have any ourselves on this occasion, we noticed the place advertising cocktails which are two for the price of one on some nights.
Although we had a great meal and enjoyed the surroundings and decor of the restaurant, we did feel it was lacking in atmosphere as we were the only diners for the duration of the meal.
Let’s hope word gets out about the good food so next time the atmosphere is a bit more convivial.