<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER 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 Arms Assheton 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 1760s The 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


More from Food & Drink

Mon, 13:05

Take a look at some of the finest hampers available in the county.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

There is no challenge too small for cake maker Molly Robbins, writes Mairead Mahon

Read more
Sunday, November 12, 2017

It’s the home of the UK’s longest running vegetable box scheme and is showing no signs of slowing down. Mairead Mahon reports

Read more
Lancashire Food
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Beat the Autumn chills with Soup and a Sandwich for just £7 all throughout November.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Throughout November The Top Lock will be serving up some delicious Vegan dishes for you to try!

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Curry Club at The Top Lock - All throughout November!

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Cheese & Wine Offer at The Butlers Arms, Pleasington - November 2017.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

After the success of our Curry Week in October we were asked to bring it back...

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

The beautiful woodland John Collinson’s hens explore on Longridge Fell is what makes Bowland Forest Eggs taste so good. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Lancashire Food Bowland
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The inaugural Taste Lancashire conference united the county’s food industry

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Saddleworth actor is relishing a new career as a restaurateur, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tom Parker and the team at The White Swan are taking flight, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

You don’t have to go to Michelin starred venues for a fine dining experience. Foxholes Restaurant at Runshaw College is coming up rosettes, as Mairead Mahon discovered

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Harvey Nichols doesn’t just do fashion darling, it does fab food too, as Janet Reeder discovers

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
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

Property Search