Northcote Road, LANGHO, Blackburn, BB6 8BE
Northcote started life in the 1880s as a grand private manor house and still has that personal touch. Perched on the edge of the Ribble Valley near Blackburn amid views that are a verdant contradiction to those who think it's all grim up north, the old pile has steadily risen in the world thanks to the partnership of chef (now Chef-patron) Nigel Haworth and wine expert Craig Bancroft, who reinvented it as a country hotel many years ago. Now part of the swish Relais & Châteaux group, the place has a truly luxurious feel, with new guest rooms, a dedicated space for the cookery school and an updated restaurant that meets 21st-century expectations when it comes to interior design. Tables are smartly dressed and set with Riedel glassware, and staff maintain the engaging, friendly, helpful tone that makes a visit to Northcote so memorable. Lisa Goodwin-Allen's cooking has something to do with that too, as well as the commitment to Lancashire ingredients that was the foundation of Haworth's vision. Much of the produce comes from Northcote's extensive kitchen gardens, but regional game, seafood and the inimitable Lancashire cheese all play their part. Warm loin of Herdwick mutton, for example, with Jerusalem artichokes and honey and mint dressing is an opening salvo that makes the taste buds stand to attention. Main courses might star seared turbot in a picturesque medley with pickled lemon, seaweed, smoked crème fraîche and a novel take on 'chips', while meatier appetites are met by Goosnargh duckling with smoked duck ham and pulled leg meat, its richness leavened by spicy cabbage and blood orange. Dessert looks to the local terroir once more for an organic apple crumble soufflé partnered with Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire cheese ice cream. Superb cheeses come with home-made crackers and fruit and walnut loaf, and it's all supported by superb wines from a masterpiece of a wine list.
Tel: 01254 240555
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Dates closed: Food & Wine Festival
Sunday lunch available.
Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Lisa Goodwin-Allen, Aled Williams, Nigel Haworth
Number of seats: 70
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £28.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.