Northcote 333

Northcote Road, Langho , Blackburn, BB6 8BE

1 reviews

84 British Lancashire

  • Northcote Restaurant Blackburn
  • Northcote Restaurant Blackburn

SquareMeal Review of Northcote

Hall of FameSynonymous with confidence, genuine warmth and top-ticket hospitality, Nigel Haworth’s Michelin-starred flagship is a bastion of unbridled generosity, complete with a cookery school, terraced tables and a stylishly reconfigured dining room, where guests enjoy wave upon wave of inventive seasonal food. Haworth himself is a champion of all things Lancastrian and his cooking has always shown proper respect for the calendar, while adding a sophisticated gloss to the region’s big-boned culinary traditions. The result is top-drawer stuff, ably interpreted by head chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen. We can’t get enough of the Herdwick lamb with sour onions, nasturtium and whey reduction (a new Northcote classic), but there is much more to enjoy here: podded peas with homemade Jersey curd and rose oil; John Dory with clams, Bramley apple and bacon; free-range Yorkshire duck with barley and beer; new season’s cherry soufflé with sheep’s milk and cherry ripple. Artisan North Country cheeses are kept in peak condition, the drool-inducing wine list is a fastidious in every detail, and you can sleep content in one of the gorgeous bedrooms. 

Wine List Of The Year Finalist

The residents of Blackburn are not especially renowned for being stingy, so it must be sheer good-heartedness that led the team at Northcote to work on such generous mark-ups for its wines. The list is split up traditionally (ie geographically), but it’s well done. There’s plenty of information for those who want it, coupled with a clear layout for those who don’t. France, of course, is well served. But it’s gratifying to see countries such as Portugal and South Africa getting plenty of recognition here, too.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 7.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 10 June 2015

One of the first things we noticed when having our aperitifs in the bar was an indicator of the kind of unschooled service we would not expect in a Relais et Chateaux establishment and which was unfortunately repeated in one form or another throughout the evening and at breakfast the following morning. Our fizz was inexpertly poured, resulting in drips down the outside of my wife's glass. No attempt was made to remove them. Although the wine flight looked reasonable, my eye was caught by one of the binends in the wine list, a Chapoutier Condrieu which would go very nicely with four of the first five dishes, we opted for that and a glass of Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir for the lamb. Much to our surprise when we were shown to our table we saw that the wine had been decanted, without any reference to us as to our preference. It was clear that, having a "pre-starter" and the first course to come before starting on the Condrieu, and then a further three courses to be covered, the wine risked reaching an inappropriate temperature, so, to the evident and uncalled for disapproval of the wine waiter, we asked for the decanter to be put on ice. The so-called pre-starter was cleverly designed to tickle the tastebuds and please the eye with its good local goat's cheese mousse, pickled beetroot and beet ice cream topped wirh red-veined sorrel. Then came some lovely seared Angus beef with sensational roasted marrowbone, salsify done three ways, pickled, deep-fried and puréed, and trendy microherbs for extra tones of taste and colour. It was a generous portion for a starter, which worried us about our capacity for the rest of the menu. Domes filled with smoke are a bit passé, but the dehydrated mushrooms, duck liver parfait, morels and deliciously pungent shijimi made us forget the unnecessary theatrics very quickly. Decent crab followed with the interesting support of scallop roe in a cigar, fennel crisp, edible charcoal, dehydrated horseradish and pickled fennel, which actually added up to a dish that didn't really seem to know where it was going. The next course was also quite complicated but it worked better - sheep's milk ricotta with a gazpacho-style garlic and bread soup accompanied by acidulated tomatoes covering the whole range of tastes from sweet to sharp, tomato jelly, Tabasco pickled cucumber which remained remarkably mild, and the ubiquitous micro-herbs which seem to be a sine qua non for restaurants these days. For us char-grilling does no favours to halibut, a fish that needs no tinkering, and the Hollandaise sauce was then almost guaranteed to neutralise the taste of the fish, which was also served with trendy scorched little gem and sliced asparagus. The lamb cutlet that came next was rather better than some but suffered slightly from underseasoning, something that did not apply to the excellent lamb belly, and the Hispi cabbage was good; however, we did have doubts about the bitter turnip and the undercooked spring onion among the spring veg as well as the lamb crackling. The dessert struck us as having lost its way slightly with the dominant basil cream needing careful combining with the mango and blueberries, and the dish was only saved by the super coconut choc ice. Overall, perhaps a bit more focus on the macro and less on the micro would be of benefit. Typically, neither of the two Northcote "names" were in the kitchen for completely different reasons, but, with the provisos mentioned above, senior sous-chef Kirk Haworth did fill the gap competently.

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