Church Lane, Mellor, BLACKBURN, BB2 7JR
This handsome coaching inn stands in an old village at the edge of Mellor Moor above Blackburn. With the beautiful Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland Area of Natural Beauty to the north, Pendle Hill nearby and the half-timbered wonder that is Samlesbury Hall just along the lanes, it's little wonder that this inn is a popular place. It's very much a village inn at the heart of the community and the skills of the kitchen have repeatedly gained two AA Rosettes in recognition of the innovative take on classic dishes. Warm up by the log fire in the well-appointed bar or relax in the oak-panelled Miller's restaurant, perhaps picking at the nibbles board - Thwaites ale Lancashire rarebit, perhaps, or Szechuan pepper chicken goujons - and pondering the attractive menu options. The selection of starters ranges from Earl Grey tea-smoked duck breast, rocket, pea shoots and berry coulis to pig's head terrine with orchard fruit chutney; or settle for one of the sharing boards. Mains reflect the strong tradition of good pub food, with a home-made steak burger, toasted brioche bun and thick cut chips, and Bowland steak, kidney and Wainwright ale pudding proving very popular options. Seared rump of Pendle lamb, crushed new potatoes, broad beans, sugar peas with shallot and butter showcases the wonderful local produce. Leave room for poached pear, seasonal berry soup and soured cream; or one of the locally produced ice creams. Walkers passing from the local footpath network can expect beers from the local Thwaites brewery, founded over 200 years ago by Daniel Thwaites, who is buried in the churchyard nearby this, one of his first pubs.