After Skyfall, nightfall...
In other words we’d emerged from the cinema into the darkness of an autumnal early evening after watching the new James Bond movie, and all that fighting and blowing things up had made us rather hungry, as indeed did all those huge buckets of popcorn everyone else seemed to be munching.
Like 007, we were prepared, having done an internet search earlier in the day to see if an old favourite at Blackrod, south of Chorley, was still in operation.
What we discovered was that Gallaghers, in a rural spot known as Little Scotland - though with no ambitions to declare independence as far as I know - had shut some time ago.
In its place is Suzanna’s, named after the woman who took it over with her family about 14 months ago and instituted a refurb which has resulted in a modern pub venue of some sophistication. We didn’t actually get a look at the attached 80-cover restaurant but it looks equally impressive from the photos.
Sitting on one of the black leather settles around the pub perimeter, we were impressed by a menu which runs the gamut from familiar bar meals, through pasta and risotto options to more adventurous fare like chicken stuffed with black pudding and smoked applewood cheddar; and Feather Steak, slow-braised in red wine with shallots and root veg.
Not only were we in plenty of time for drinks at happy hour prices – locally brewed Flat Cap cask at £2 per pint for example – we also qualified for the midweek offer of two courses from the bar meal section for £14 plus the option of adding a couple of glasses of house wine and rounding it up to £20. Sorted.
The chunks of honey-glazed ham with free range eggs beckoned in a rather loud voice, but I am conditioned on dark and chilly evenings not to forsake home-made steak pudding.
I would not have minded some kidney in the mix but it’s not to everyone’s taste and, besides, this version of the classic was nigh on perfect. I cannot recall chunks of steak quite so tender, or the combination of soft suet and rich onion gravy being so appealing. While substantial, it wasn’t a giant of a thing, meaning that I wouldn’t be feeling like I’d swallowed a brick for the rest of the evening. It was just right, as were the chips and the obligatory mushy peas.
Mrs Eating Out chose the fish pie. This had peas and baby spinach adding colour and texture to salmon, cod and prawns in a creamy sauce topped with mash. Another classic done well.
There’s a trained pastry chef here which means all the desserts are home-made, as indeed is the ice cream.
When you’re spoiled for choice the answer is to share an assiette, which gives you decent-size samples of the lot – ice cream, carrot-cake, peach and raspberry brulee, lemon tart, chocolate fudge cake and sticky toffee pudding (£10 for two).
What was I saying about that brick?
This was a quality pub meal which, with two pints, two wines and a soft drink still only just breached £35.
Suzanna’s a winner on this evidence.
Suzanna’s, Little Scotland, Blackrod, BL6 5LW. Tel: 01942 832639