TOM EARNSHAW takes a trip to Holmes Mill in Clitheroe to sample its 1823 Spinning Block Bistro, Bar & Grill...
Things are moving pretty fast in the Earnshaw household right now.
We’ve been planning our wedding for almost 18 months and now, all of a sudden, it is less than six weeks away and everything seems very real.
Eyes were widened even more so at our final meeting with the wedding planner on the Saturday just gone.
To mark the countdown to the big day, we headed to nearby Clitheroe for a bite to eat and a couple of drinks to toast to, well, ourselves!
We stopped off at Bowland Brewery a month ago for the first time, and instantly fell in love with the place.
While we were there we noticed it had a separate restaurant and hotel next door, the 1823 Spinning Block.
So after a pint of my favourite from the brewery’s collection, Boxer Blonde, we headed to the 1823 Spinning Block Bistro, Bar & Grill.
First impressions when walking to the restaurant were that this had a lot of character and history. It’s a feeling that travels through the whole of Holmes Mill, where the brewery and restaurant are based.
Its own website writes that since being established in 1823, “Holmes Mill has grown from a humble spinning block to the beating heart of Clitheroe’s cultural and culinary scene”.
The interior of the bistro was grand. Tall ceilings and large light fittings, with a grand piano in the centre of the room. Very, very nice.
We were shown to our seat by a member of the hospitality team who brought water to the table; which is always a nice touch.
With it being mid-afternoon we were eating from the lunch and early evening menu, which offers one course for £12.50; two for £15.50; and three for £19.50.
Since we were celebrating, we indulged and had three each.
I opted for the pâté de campagne for starters; a coarse, rustic pâté with pistachios, fermented grapes, and sourdough toast.
It was delicious. It was more of a terrine as you couldn’t spread it, but it had a nice texture combined with the pistachios. There was plenty of grapes and they had a pleasantly sharp taste.
My fiancée Rebecca opted for salt marsh lamb shawarma skewers with yoghurt and mint.
I had a small taste and they were well salted and very flavoursome. There was somewhat of a green eyed monster in me after this; I’ll definitely call shotgun on them next time we visit!
After a reasonable break our mains came.
I chose the coq au vin jaune; slow-cooked chicken leg with white wine sauce, smoked bacon, morel mushrooms, dijon mustard, and pomme puree.
I was going to order a side of chunky chips (£3) but the waitress kindly offered to swap them for the pomme puree, which went down well.
She could easily have just added a few extra pounds to the bill but didn’t. Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way.
The chicken was succulent, the bacon crisp, and the sauce strong in flavour.
I’d never had morel mushrooms before. I didn’t dislike them, but the flavour is reasonably strong. Something to note if you like subtlety in your accompaniments. The chips were great.
Rebecca enjoyed the Spinning Block steak burger – prime beef patty, club sauce, grilled onions, and dill pickle in a brioche bun, with fries on the side.
The burger was slightly dry but still with a good flavour. I noted that the club sauce was very good when having my compulsory taste of the dish.
On to the desserts. Rebecca had already eyed the Bowland Food Hall sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. It’s the dessert at our wedding, so she was very much getting into the spirit of things.
It had a nice flavour, but I noticed it had been left on the restaurant serving hatch for a little while, so I wasn’t surprised when it came and the hot pudding had melted the ice cream. Not a nightmare situation by any means, but it would have been nice to have had it frozen.
I opted for the dark chocolate mousse with griottine cherries and honeycomb, which was delicious and very rich. The cherries added a sweet lift to the palate and the honeycomb broke away easily, not sticking to your teeth. With it being so rich I couldn’t finish it. It’s definitely one for the chocolate lovers.
With drinks, the bill came to £51.40, which I’m not sure anyone can complain at.
It was a lovely meal out in a fantastic setting with my favourite person.