Sunday, 30 June 2013

Three Fishes at Mitton, re-launch event.

It must be 3 or 4 years since we last visited the Three Fishes at Mitton near Whalley, the first "gastropub" in Lancashire and the flagship venue for the Ribble Valley Inn chain which is the creation of the legendary local chef Nigel Haworth and wine expert Craig Bancroft.

                                            THE THREE FISHES

The ethos behind the pub is using fresh local seasonal ingredients in accessible regional menus where you can relax and experience great food and drink in a country pub environment. A lots changed in the food scene in Lancashire over the last 10 years or so and some would say that the Ribble Valley Inn's (there are now 4 pubs in the group) haven't kept up and are not at the pinnacle now of local food, so the talented team have sort to address this by the re-launch of the Three Fishes.

So on an unseasonable summer evening splashing through puddles we made our way to Mitton to see what had changed. Our invitation tempted us with the description of refreshing and contemporary but still a beautiful country inn, discover the new dishes embracing the local seasonal produce.

The location of the Three Fishes is nestled in heart of beautiful rolling Lancashire countryside and the exterior is attractive and neat and surrounded by cottage garden style landscaping, I  must admit I hate going to pubs where no attention has been paid to the surroundings, so, that's the first tick in the box.

We were welcomed inside and shown to our table in the "stable" area and presented with the evenings menu to browse. We had arrived a little early so we could take a few interior pictures, but were soon joined by the rest of the invited guests.

Attractive new artworks adorne the walls from talented artists Rosie Blake, Sarah Maycock and Kerry Hyndman and also my particular favourite was the Beacon Fell - home of Lancashire cheese place mat which I think would make a great gift product.

The interior now features natural oak finishes, matched with calming greys, creams and highlights of red, to warm the interior making an attractive eating and drinking space.

Photographs of local Food Heroes and producers still feature on the walls, some now being in colour as well as black and white. Another feature we especially enjoyed was the free WIFI, often when you are deep in the Lancashire countryside and inside a stone built pub it is normally nigh on impossible to have a decent mobile phone signal, but that's easily addressed by the WIFI. So you could hold a business meeting confident you would still be in touch with the office. For those of you interested the loo's have also been re done too and very attractive they are too, nice smellies also (RVI could may be consider working will a local soap supplier though), I particularly liked the clock face mirror and the new Dyson airblade hand dryer. Another tick in the right box.

Right, on to the food and drink, regular readers will know neither myself or Mr Lancashire Food are massive drinkers preferring to enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer with food. So rather than plump for a bottle from the extensive carefully chosen wine list, Mr Lancashire Food opted for a pint of good old Thwaites (local brewery) Wainwright and myself for a Mawson's Dandelion and Burdock (designated driver).

Our canapes on the evening were a selection from the Nibbles menu with accompanying sauces, Nigel's Free range breed chipolatas, Cumberland and spicy pork and black pudding with mustard mayonnaise, bacon pastry swirls with homemade brown sauce (good but not as good as my homemade, Nigel I'll sell you the recipe !) and our favourite and now almost legendary Ashcroft's cauliflower fritter with curry mayonnaise. A delicious start to the evening.

We must apologise for the quality of the food pictures and not up to our usual standards as the lighting was a little poor in our area of the pub, this added to the cosy intimate mood for dining but not for the photographs.

Our choices from the dishes to begin were

King oyster garlic mushrooms, poached Pike Hill Farm free range hen's egg, homemade bread. Not the prettiest of dishes but pronounced very tasty by Mr Lancashire Food, his only criticism why serve the bread with butter when you already have all that lovely garlicky oil and may be a little more bread for dipping purposes.

My choice was that retro classic Prawn cocktail, deep ocean prawns, soft boiled free range egg, gem lettuce and classic cocktail dressing. This was very good and the prawns actually had flavour which can sometimes be lacking in many prawn dishes, I especially enjoyed the samphire garnish, the only downside of the dish was I found it a little difficult to eat due to the dinky sideways glass dish and the long shafts of spring onion,  I ended up using my fingers, I had ample homemade bread to go with my dish.

Onto our mains, I chose the Blackberry farm rare breed 100% pork sausages, new potato salad, crispy onions, garden leaves and mild English mustard. Not the first combination that springs to mind but I suppose its a twist on sausage and mash with onion gravy but for summer, so I was intrigued to try it. The potato salad made a nice change and had just the right amount of freshly snipped chives in it to cut the richness of the dish, the crispy onions provided a good contrast to the sausages and the mustard quite pokey considering it was a mild version.

Mr Lancashire Food opted for Steak Diane, Angus Sirloin medallion, cultivated mushroom sauce, shallots, French mustard, brandy cream, fine cut chips. On ordering Mr LF was informed this would be served medium (he normally prefers he steak a little more rare) but he went with flow and still enjoyed his steak, fine cut chips look great but as with most men I think he would have preferred real chips, they disappeared all the same however. I tasted the sauce and it was lovely, deep, rich and very tasty.

Ooh dessert time, what to have ? after much deliberation and fighting off the urge to plump for the local cheese board, Mr LF decided on the Black Forest Cheesecake (another twist on a retro classic), I knew he wouldn't be able to resist it as he loves chocolate. Macerated black cherries, kirsch, Valrhona chocolate layers and chocolate ice cream. Gone in moments and I didn't get to taste it !

I went for the homely Summer Fruit Crumble, a classic. The best summer fruits and apples served with clotted cream. Warming and delicious  plump juicy apples, strawberries, plums under a crumbly crust served with a large pot of very naughty rich clotted cream.

We finished our meal with coffees, the staff easily coping with my request for decaff  but they forgot our baby homemade eccles cakes, I probably wouldn't have been able to fit it anyway.

We had a lovely evening and experienced some great local food and drink in beautiful surroundings, also taking opportunity to catch up with other foodie friends in the process. My only disappointment on the night was Nigel Howarth didn't put in appearance as I was looking forward to chatting about local food with him, may be I'll catch up with him another day.

Thanks to Ribble Valley Inns for the kind invitation and the complimentary meal for two on the evening. I was not paid for this post or requested to undertake a review and the views expressed are my own or Mr LF's.

1 comment:

Yummy said...

A good place to spend day :)
Anyway, please visit me back at My Blog

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