Lancashire Life Luncheon - Claude's of Churchtown
PUBLISHED: 10:26 31 May 2011 | UPDATED: 22:04 21 October 2015
Churchtown has a real sense of community and at its heart is a flourishing restaurant. Roger Borrell reports Photography by John Cocks
Ask any modern chef about locally sourced food and the chances are they will talk a glass eye to sleep. But how many can boast the cabbage they’ve just served was brought in by a lady from down the street whose husband had grown it in his back garden?
Take a bow Mrs Angela Knowles and the green-fingered Mr Knowles. When she’s passing Claude’s in Churchtown she often pops in with the latest batch of freshly-picked greens and owners Louise and Eddie James are delighted put the veg straight on the menu.
It doesn’t come much more local or any fresher than that, as guests at
the latest Lancashire Life luncheon will confirm.
Churchtown is a delightful, quirky sort of place and if you’ve never visited this historic suburb of Southport, then put it on your ‘must do’ list.
Apart from the Botanic Gardens and many fine old buildings, many of them thatched, the quaint main street is home to several interesting, independent retailers - all part of what is clearly a conservation area.
One of the most popular is Claude’s, on Botanic Road. On the ground floor, this black and white building boasts a bakery producing and selling delicious, home made cakes and bread and the upstairs is a charming, intimate restaurant.
Claude’s is listed as Grade II and is clearly several centuries old. In the 1970s it became known for the excellence of its products when a Frenchman called Claude Verité opened up a patisserie with a café above.
After almost 30 successful years, Claude moved on and eight years
ago it was taken over by Louise and Eddie, a young couple who had met while working in the hotel business. Eventually, they decided they wanted
to run a place of their own and found Claude’s. They now manage to do this while bringing up their two children.
‘We wanted to keep his name above the door,’ said Eddie, who runs the kitchen. Louise, who looks after the front of house, added: ‘He still pops
in every now and then and keeps an eye on us.’
He would be pleased to know the standards he set are certainly being maintained. Eddie’s bread-making skills were clearly demonstrated when a selection of moreish canapes came around accompanied by a Laurent Breban Brut 2009 from Dominic O’Connell, of C&O Wines, of Timperley in Cheshire.
The starter was an inventive sausage packed with the flavour of salmon, hake and smoked trout on a bed of creamy leeks. A white rioja in
the form of Larchago Blanco was a very good match.
The main course was an old favourite - slow roast belly pork - but a hoi sin sauce gave it a new twist. A Chilean Aves del Sur Carmenere was a robust partner for this great piece of meat.
Dessert came in the form of poached pieces of rhubarb with crushed meringue and cream and, like the greens, the lovely last morsels came from up the road where friend Kathie Grimes runs the Chocolate Shop.
Claude would be pleased.
Claude’s, 98 Botanic Road, Southport, Lancashire. PR9 7NE. 01704 228 334