22 Lancashire restaurants recover from Covid crisis to be applauded for their great food in new AA Guide

More than 20 Lancashire eateries have emerged from the depths of the Covid crisis to be honoured in the new AA Restaurant Guide.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 12:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 12:40 pm

After over a year in which the hospitality trade had to reinvent itself to survive, 22 venues in the county have been awarded hard-earned AA Rosettes for 2022.

Four of those given the coveted accolades are newcomers to the list which features more than 1,700 of the top restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

The Coach and Horses at Clitheroe, the Wagon and Horses in Lancaster, Wilfred's in Burnley and the Fence Gate Brasserie near Nelson all make their debuts after impressing the judges with the quality of their food.

Moor Hall at Aughton near Ormskirk is one of only a handful of restaurants in the UK to be awarded five AA Rosettes.

And the AA awards panel praised the strength of Northern cooking, saying: "When it comes to exceptional food, the North definitely holds its own."

The county also has four restaurants in the "Notable Wine Lists" category for those venues with exceptional cellars.

Announcing the awards this year an AA spokesperson paid tribute to the resilience of the food industry for the way it coped with long periods of closure due to the coronavirus emergency.

"The closure of much of the hospitality industry during the pandemic has meant our inspectors have had a very limited window in which to visit and assess.

Moor Hall head chef Mark Birchall hails from Adlington near Chorley.

"The absence of the 2021 guide was the first time for over 50 years that we didn't publish a guide containing the latest restaurants with Rosettes.

"When writing the previous edition of the guide in 2019 we could not have dreamed of the tumult our industry was to face in the following two years.

"So for 2022 let's not predict anything and instead raise a glass to an industry that has adapted and emerged from one of its greatest ever challenges."

Restaurants are rated from one to five Rosettes and top of the list in Lancashire this year is Moor Hall at Aughton near Ormskirk which is one of only a handful of eateries in the UK to be granted all five.

Multi-award winner Northcote at Langho has four Rosettes in the new AA Guide.

The restaurant, on Prescot Road, already has a long list of accolades to its name, with two Michelin Stars and voted best restaurant in the UK at the National Restaurant Awards. Its head chef Mark Birchall was born in Adlington.

Multi-award winner Northcote at Langho has four Rosettes, as has Hipping Hall at Cowan Bridge near Carnforth.

The Freemasons Arms at Wiswell near Whalley and The Barn at Moor Hall each have three Rosettes.

The list also includes The Millstone at Mellor, Bartle Hall Hotel near Preston, the Cartford Inn at Great Eccleston, the Parkers Arms at Newton-in-Bowland, Ribby Hall Village Spa Hotel at Wrea Green and its neighbour The Villa.

Hipping Hall head chef Oli Martin trying out new dishes in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

The four Lancashire restaurants In the Notable Wine list category are Hipping Hall, Northcote, Moor Hall and the Freemasons.

The AA says only around 10 per cent of restaurants in the UK are considered worthy of Rosettes and the awards are purely down to the quality of food served to inspectors during incognito visits.

The AA Restaurant Guide has been honouring the best of British cooking since 1956 and 2021 was the only year it was not published. The Guide is available online or in bookshops priced £16.99 RRP.