These are the three Lancashire pubs named in the list of the UK's top ten 'gastropubs'
Three Lancashire pubs have been named in a list of the county's top 50 gastropubs.
The Freemasons at Wiswell in Clitheroe, The Parkers Arms, in Newton-le-Bowland and the White Swan in Fence made the top 10 of the “Estrella Damm” Top 50 Gastropub Awards.
The awards are voted for by top foodies and hospitality experts.
Lancashire leads the way, with three entries in the top ten.
Here's what the judge had to say about the top ten pubs:
The Freemasons at Wiswell
It is named as the third best gastropub, a spot it has held for several years.
Judges describe the Clitheroe pub as "elegant" and offering "outstanding dishes" and praised head chef Steve Smith.
They added: "As well as serving many outstanding dishes, Smith has launched an accommodation offering and his own spin on a chef’s table following a big refurb and revamp of the business, which was completed in 2019.
"Food at the Freemasons is all about contrast – experimental meeting traditional. Smith fuses locally sourced ingredients and his love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours.
"In the hands of a lesser chef it could so easily go wrong but Smith pulls it off with professionalism and gusto, creating a delicious roster of treats.
"Menu highlights have included foie gras with beer vinegar, blackberry and smoked eel; roast loin and kofta of Nidderdale lamb with BBQ gem lettuce, miso aubergine, mint and yoghurt; as well as butter-poached native lobster tail with crispy claw wontons, wild blueberry, coastal herbs and black pepper sauce.
"Desserts have included rice pudding baked with vanilla, blackberry, sake and buttermilk ice cream; Amalfi lemon meringue pie; and dark chocolate with banana, black sesame and yuzu."
The Parkers Arms
In seventh place, the Parkers Arms has leapt up the rankings in recent years, climbing 35 places from 48th to 13th and now to seventh.
Judges say that is a "testament to chef-patron Stosie Madi and her business partner Kathy Smith’s dedication to making their pub one of the best in the country".
They added: "The pub’s isolated location works in its favour, commanding stunning views out of rolling hills whether you visit in summer or winter.
"Madi and Smith took on the Parkers Arms in 2007 and have amassed an equally adoring local and national following, with gourmands travelling on occasion the length and breadth of the country to sample Madi’s cooking.
"Menu highlights include pheasant escalope in sourdough and Kirkham’s crumb with cranberry relish; Newton venison with local bramble and unpasteurised cheese; and Lancashire hogget hotpot with damson pickled red cabbage."
The White Swan
Sitting in ninth place in the rating, the White Swan is hailed as a local pub serving local food.
Chef Tom Parker is described by the judges as a "mischievous genius".
They added: "We’ve been the to the gastropub several times and fell in love with dishes including the tomato consommé with gnocchi – a supercharged bowl of savoury summer goodness.
Though the White Swan will never be able to say exactly what is on its menu until you arrive, previous dishes have included: lobster soup, salmon, fennel and tarragon; Whitewell partridge, roast celeriac, smoked bacon and onion; and Valrhona chocolate soufflé in a hot chocolate sauce.
How much will a three-course meal like that set me back, we hear you ask? Be prepared for a pleasant shock. Two courses cost £20 and three £25 (not including a rare additional charge for some more expensive courses, of course)."