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SquareMeal Review of Northcote

Gold Award

A comfortable country house hotel on the edge of the Ribble Valley, Northcote has held a Michelin star for over two decades. Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen has recently taken the reins from her mentor Nigel Haworth, and while the restaurant’s snow-white cloths and sparkling glassware still smack of traditional fine dining, the new menu is fresh and modern. Lancashire’s natural larder provides ample opportunity for seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to shine. Char-grilled asparagus was packed with flavour, served simply with creamy sheep’s curd and sharp wood-sorrel leaves, while deliciously sticky lamb breast came paired with a pillow of caramelised shallot purée. A photogenic dish of fat, sweet scarlet prawns with wild-garlic foam and beurre blanc sauce was a technically perfect rendition; we followed it with an earthy plate of succulent squab pigeon, its breast roasted on the bone and the confit leg accompanied by turnip and morels. Matched with note-perfect wines and friendly service, this is a treat of a tasting menu: light and playful, but with real confidence and skill on show. An inviting new chapter for this legendary Lancastrian heavyweight.

 

Good to know about Northcote

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
British

Location for Northcote

Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB6 8BE

01254 240555

Website

Opening Times of Northcote

Mon-Sun 7.45-9.45am 12N-2pm Sun-Thurs 7-9.30pm (Sun -9pm) Fri-Sat 6.30-10pm

Reviews of Northcote

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1 Review 
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Paul A

Disapponting
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.
Food & Drink
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