6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancashire Life Luncheon - Assheton Arms, Downham

PUBLISHED: 13:03 31 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:35 19 January 2016

Lancashire Life Luncheon - Assheton Arms, Downham

Lancashire Life Luncheon - Assheton Arms, Downham

At just 27, Joycelyn Neve has already achieved two major ambitions - and one was to host a Lancashire Life luncheon

Assheton ArmsAssheton Arms

As a youngster, Joycelyn Neve went to several Lancashire Life luncheons with her father, Chris, head of the famous Fleetwood fishing family, and mother Jane. As they sat enjoying their meals, they were unaware their girl had quietly started to cook up an ambition of her own.

Chris explained that those lunches convinced Joycelyn she wanted to run her own dining establishment. Not only that, she wanted to host her own Lancashire Life lunch.

She can now put a tick next to both following an outstanding lunch at her new establishment, the Assheton Arms in Downham. ‘This wasn’t just a function for me – this was a Lancashire Life lunch and that’s a landmark in my career,’ she said.

For someone just 27, she already has several landmarks. Her first venture, the Oyster & Otter at Feniscowles, near Blackburn, has steadily built up a reputation for the quality of the food produced by executive chef Anthony Shirley and his team.

The inn dates back to the 1760sThe inn dates back to the 1760s

Just before Christmas, Joycelyn pipped a TV chef to secure the Assheton Arms, a famous old inn on nodding terms with Pendle Hill. They kept the pub going until the time came to start a substantial but sympathetic renovation to this Grade II listed pub. The result is quite exceptional, combining great taste with country charm and a menu strongly influenced by her father’s passion for fresh fish.

Joycelyn didn’t want to turn the place upside down. ‘We are a relatively young team and I was anxious people would be happy with what we were doing,’ she said. ‘I didn’t want customers to come in and think “what are they doing to our pub?”’

The simple answer is that they’ve improved it no end. The kitchen is now five times bigger, the decorations and furniture compliment a pub of this vintage and a large side section has been transformed from a disused storage area into a swish dining room.

‘In its heyday that area used to be a dance hall and some people can remember it when it had a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling,’ says Joycelyn.

Jonathan Parkinson with Jacqueline Hughes Lundy and Philipppa James.Jonathan Parkinson with Jacqueline Hughes Lundy and Philipppa James.

Judging by this lunch, the heyday has just begun. Anthony and the team conjured up a fine set of little seafood plates as a deliciously different starter. There was a seafood salad, scrumpy battered langoustines, tiny poppadoms with crab and smoked haddock and Lancashire cheese croquettes.

Topping that would have been hard but with the help of Chris Neve’s eye for an excellent piece of fish, guests were treated to a sumptuous plate of halibut with celeriac mash. A brown shrimp butter and hazelnut dressing was superb.  

The finale was an elderflower and prosecco jelly with the sort of wobble rarely seen outside a Carry On film.

Joycelyn summed up it up perfectly. ‘You’ll find no pretentious foam, dots or swipes on our plates – just honest, high-quality food cooked and presented the way it should be.’ With a philosophy like that, it’s hard to see them going wrong.

Related articles

0 comments

More from Food & Drink

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The steaks are high at the Red Pump Inn in Bashall Eaves. Mairead Mahon reports

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Meet the sponsors and suppliers helping to ensure this year’s event will be top class.

Read more
Monday, September 18, 2017

Classic dishes cooked with flair are on the menu at Stanley’s Bar & Grill at Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel

Read more
Liverpool
Friday, September 15, 2017

Available from Tuesday 28th November – Thursday 21st December – Served Monday to Friday.

Read more

Ad Feature: Samlesbury Hall

Friday, September 15, 2017

At Samlesbury Hall, they believe the better things in life are those closest to home and with this in mind, insist on only the finest ingredients sourced from their own kitchen gardens and neighbouring Lancashire producers.

Read more
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

With stunning views over Windermere, the Hydro Hotel has been lovingly restored by its new owners

Read more
Lancashire Life Luncheon Bowness
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rebekka O’Grady meets people in Liverpool who are passionate about making their hometown the best it can be.

Read more
Liverpool
Friday, September 8, 2017

Meet the chef bringing new meaning to the term slow food – and that’s just the snails. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants Lancashire Food
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Raw milk may be en vogue these days. But Lytham’s oldest farming family have been producing raw milk for more than a century. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Lytham
Friday, September 1, 2017

Jay Rayner, the restaurant critic, broadcaster and musician with a pathological hatred of food served on slates, talks to Roger Borrell about Lancashire’s big food conference.

Read more
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Digest this mini-review in 60 seconds

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
Friday, August 18, 2017

Striking oil in Standish hasn’t been easy for John and Clare Wignall. But it has given them a golden opportunity, as Emma Mayoh discovered.

Read more
Friday, August 11, 2017

Farms have found many ways to diversify but the Singletons of Brindle have taken to drink, as Anna Izza discovers

Read more
Gin
Friday, August 4, 2017

James Warburton and his team have taken an old mill and turned it into something special. It was the venue for our latest Lancashire Life luncheon.

Read more
Lancashire Life Luncheon Clitheroe
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search