Lancashire Life Luncheon - Food at Nest, Bartle Hall

PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:52 02 May 2016

Ribble Valley Lamb Rump, Red Chard,  Salsify, Rainbow Carrot and Sweet Potato

Ribble Valley Lamb Rump, Red Chard, Salsify, Rainbow Carrot and Sweet Potato


Food at Nest, the restaurant at Bartle Hall, is gaining a enviable reputation for quality and character

Bartle Hall Hotel's Nest RestaurantBartle Hall Hotel's Nest Restaurant

Bartle Hall has a fast-growing reputation for the quality of the dishes served in its elegant restaurant, Nest, and that made it the perfect venue for the latest Lancashire Life luncheon.

An eclectic mix of guests from the worlds of food, leisure, estate agency, architecture and photographic retailing gathered at this charming country house hotel in a setting so tranquil it’s hard to believe Preston is just a couple of miles away.

The origins of the hall go back to the 1600s when a small tower on the site was known as Sammy Field House. It has been through many incarnations and changes over the centuries. Thomas Cowband, a Liverpool merchant, and his family were in residence in the early 18th century and by the 1850s it was in the possession of the well-known Kirkham mill owner, Charles Birley, who embraced the role of local squire. Some of his family motifs can still be found around the building.

In 1991 the house and 16 surrounding acres were bought by the Haworths, a family in the hospitality business. It is now in the safe hands of Andrew Haworth and his wife, Nicola, the latest generation running Bartle Hall, which is just off Lea Lane.

The family has instigated a series of attractive improvements to the hall, which has dining, banqueting, hotel and conference facilities. Traditional features mix with contemporary style in the 20 swish bedrooms and separate function rooms make it a favourite venue for weddings – especially attractive are the upmarket courtyard suites created from the old stables.

However, it was the food that had attracted us to Nest, which has wonderful views over the surrounding parkland and gardens.

Executive head chef Craig Brown has brought a distinctive culinary style which is all about the surrounding Lancashire landscape. His menus are like a culinary tour of the county, featuring the likes of Reg Johnson’s poultry, Inglewhite goat cheese and R.S. Ireland, of Bury.

Craig delights in adding twists to conventional dishes so that black pudding comes with a Lancashire cheese crumpet, a crispy duck egg and watercress while slow-braised pork belly is served with popcorn crackling, apple, celeriac and cider jus.

During our visit, guests were treated to Ribble Valley lamb rump with red chard, salsify, rainbow carrots and sweet potato. The lamb was a perfect yielding pink and the vibrancy of the accompaniments resulted in a plate of food that looked as good as it tasted. Dessert was, if anything, more spectacular. A blood orange parfait with caramel and Belcolade chocolate had a wow factor on the eye and the palate. It all demonstrated a confident kitchen team prepared to try something a little different.

With some fine cooking, beautiful surroundings and excellent service, Bartle Hall is every inch a high-class boutique hotel.

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