Lancashire Life Food editor Philippa James visits the Redwell Inn in Arkholme
PUBLISHED: 09:49 12 December 2011 | UPDATED: 20:26 20 February 2013
Food and drink writer Philippa James finds wonders in the wardrobe at a pub in Arkholme
I stumbled upon Talbots restaurant at The Redwell pub completely by chance and I am so pleased I did. Although I did feel a bit daft when a member of staff told me about The chefs smoking wardrobe and I thought it was somewhere for the staff to sneak a cigarette, and not the venues mini smoke-house.
The pub, in the tiny village of Arkholme near Kirkby Lonsdale, is only a year old, but has already been a finalist in this years Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards, and a winner in the LBTB Taste Lancashire Awards.
Its not difficult to see why they have had such success: the first time I visited I ended up having a staff dinner with the team, and have to say it was better than some restaurant meals I have eaten the goose fat roasties and the mash were awesome.
Good, honest, and wholesome food, with decent portions; we dont do art on 235a plate, said Rob Talbot, the chef patron.
He and his wife Kelly, who have young sons Lewis and Oliver, admit they owe much to Robs parents Sue and Dennis and Rob added: They have been a tremendous support. Without whom this venture wouldnt have been possible.
And Sue, who walked in as we chatted, added: We wanted to give you your dream, and something for the boys for their future. In a climate where up to 40 pubs a week are closing across the UK, this is a very brave project which deserves to succeed.
Rob has had a love of cooking since he was a child and before they took on The Redwell, he and Kelly spent three years at The Dalton Arms in Glasson Dock.
Rob said: I want to offer real food with some substance behind it, home-made 90 per cent pork sausages, with sticky onions, buttery mashed potatoes, and old-fashioned gravy, or slow-braised beef, with horseradish mash. Just the type of dishes to appeal to hungry walkers, or motorcyclists on their way to Devils Bridge.
Robs smoking wardrobe produces the most fantastic foods, including sweet-cured, smoked salmon, smoked haddock, smoked Goosnargh chicken and duck breasts, and treacle dry-cured bacon.
Rarely have I felt such buttery, moist fillets of smoked mackerel, which easily converted into a delicious pate and the couple were so impressed that they are adding my award-winning pate to the menu for the whole of December and providing it in take home tubs, too, which would be ideal as a Christmas day starter, as it freezes.
Rob and Kelly are now able to courier smoked deliveries across the country and they also plan to offer farmhouse breakfasts from late next spring. The next phase for the development of the Lune Valley Smokehouse is a purpose-built factory shop, in existing outbuildings, housing a larger smoking kiln to cope with the increasing demand for the products.
The shop would also stock hand-blended specialist oils, a wide range of smoked items, quality sausages and cured meats, along with Robs wonderful breads and the products are now available online, too, at www.redwellinn.net.
The couple hope to provide four full time jobs and to bring visitors not just to The Redwell, but into the Kirkby Lonsdale and Lune Valley area, boosting the local economy, and with coach trips linking local businesses together. The final phase is to be the addition of ten bedrooms.
The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Lancashire Life
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