Restaurant review: Hearty pub classics put Ram Inn back on the map

When news broke in October that the Ram Inn would soon be under new management, it was met with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.
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Review: Food to die for in the glorious setting of Pendle Hill

One of the oldest pubs in Burnley, it would be fair to say that in recent times its reputation has suffered somewhat of a dip. The last meal I ate there, a good four years ago, was a startlingly bland roast dinner that had me yearning for the microwavable variety I was 'treated' to in my youth. So it was, with a mixture of trepidation and excitement I ventured back to the old coaching house in Cliviger to see if this was indeed the dawning of a new, exciting era or yet another false dawn.

The Ram's beer garden, with its sprawling views of Cliviger gorge, is a summertime post work/walk pint haven. In the clutches of winter, it's the cosy, warm interior that takes centre stage.

Homemade cheese and onion pieHomemade cheese and onion pie
Homemade cheese and onion pie
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For those who enjoy a smattering of history with their food, a large welcome board chronicles how the pub was built in the late 17th century, eventually taking on the Ram Inn name sometime between 1851 and 1869. For those more interested in just the food, a breakfast carvery is served on Saturdays and Sundays from between 8am and 11-30am, while a traditional carvery is available from noon until 8pm.

As my partner and I visited on a weekday night, neither of those options were on the table, but there was still plenty of choice from a menu packed with hearty pub classics.

To start, I opted for the halloumi fries while Danielle (the partner) plumped for soup of the day; tomato and basil. The halloumi fries were delicious; crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and accompanied by the sweetest of chili jams. The soup, complete with warm crusty bread roll, was a perfect winter warmer; thick, creamy and filling.

For our mains, I chose the lamb cutlets served on a bed of colcannon mashed potatoes, with mint gravy and seasonal vegetables. The lamb was cooked beautifully; tender and juicy and dripping in flavour. The only downside being it was all over far too soon; the buttery mound of mash comfortably outlasting the succulent pieces of meat. Danielle's slice of homemade cheese and onion pie was generous to say the least. I was only permitted a single bite, but that forkful was enough for me to know it'll be up for consideration next time.

The Ram Inn, Burnley Road, ClivigerThe Ram Inn, Burnley Road, Cliviger
The Ram Inn, Burnley Road, Cliviger
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There was just about enough room for a melt-in-your-mouth sticky toffee pudding, and a warm (could have been slightly warmer) apple pie with custard. A fitting, and filling, end to a fine three-course meal.

Anytime a restaurant opens, or an old one is taken over, I'm, personally, willing to give the new regime time to iron out any wrinkles. The fact this didn't enter my mind once while we there speaks for itself. The next time we visit – and that will be sooner rather than later – there will be no trepidation, just excitement.