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Lancashire Life Luncheon - Millstone at Mellor

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 May 2017

Poached and roasted rump of Pendle lamb with hot pot potatoes, roasted baby carrots, cauliflower puree, rosemary and mint jus

Poached and roasted rump of Pendle lamb with hot pot potatoes, roasted baby carrots, cauliflower puree, rosemary and mint jus

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The new and improved Millstone at Mellor impressed guests at the latest Lancashire Life lunch, reports Rebekka O’Grady.

Nina Bowker (deputy manager), Jessica Rooney, Natasha Walker, Jamie-Lea Alty and general manager, Tim ParkerNina Bowker (deputy manager), Jessica Rooney, Natasha Walker, Jamie-Lea Alty and general manager, Tim Parker

It’s a culinary destination that’s long been held in high esteem and now it’s even better. Twice winner of a Lancashire Life Food and Drink award, proud holder of two AA rosettes and one of only 28 five-star AA Inns in the UK, the Millstone at Mellor has a track record that would fill any diner with anticipation. I’m pleased to say, it certainly didn’t disappoint when it hosted the latest Lancashire Life luncheon.

Many will associate the name Anson Bolton with the village inn. The chef/patron and wife Sarah were at the helm for more than a decade until they took on new challenges in 2015. Now there is a new team steering this historic dining pub towards another phase of success. However, there is also continuity especially in the kitchen. Miguel Armas, who worked with Anson for many years, maintains the drive for culinary excellence while Tim Parker is managing this revived Ribble Valley favourite.

They have quite a story to tell thanks to a £234,000 renovation by owners, Thwaites. They have managed to create an upmarket contemporary dining inn while retaining the feel of a traditional country pub. It’s where fine dining meets fish and chips but you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable just having a drink.‘The feedback since opening has been fantastic,’ said Tim. ‘Especially the real fire – you would not believe the comments we have had on that. People love it.’

Despite the considerable work done, the whole project was completed within a month. The informal dining areas have been refurbished, with the reception altered and a party table for large groups installed. The bar has also been opened up and sweeps round, giving a lot more space.

Millstone at Mellor interiorMillstone at Mellor interior

‘The Harvest Room has also had an update, which can now be a private dining area or a meeting space with a concealed media hub. There is also scope in the financial year to refurbish the 23 bedrooms and residents’ lounge,’ added Tim.

It’s not just the venue that’s had an image overhaul. The menu too has been updated, with a new a la carte offering running alongside a rotating ‘In Season’ menu, where Miguel can enjoy free rein with more creative, seasonal dishes, showcasing just what the region has to offer.

For the team, it’s important to utilise a high percentage of local ingredients, including meat from Penny’s of Accrington and Johnson and Swarbrick’s Goosnargh duck – which happened to be our first course on the menu.

Served with plum and spiced bramley apple chutney and toasted sourdough, the confit and potted Goosnargh duck was ridiculously moreish. The moist, flavoursome duck combined with the salty butter on sourdough and tang of chutney was heavenly.

A murmur of glee from my table was heard when the main course of poached and roasted rump of Pendle lamb, accompanied by fresh vegetables and a rosemary and mint jus, was served. The succulent lamb, cooked medium, was beautifully tender, and the novel idea of layering the thinly sliced hot pot potatoes with black pudding was well received.

Poached rhubarb with panna cotta, orange and ginger cream and pistachio granola was a refreshingly light dessert to follow our indulgent meat courses. It was tart yet sweet, cutting through the creaminess of the panna cotta and the zing of the orange was zesty finish.

If this lunch was anything to go by, the Millstone is a tremendous example of how to build on success.

From the menu:

To start

Confit and potted Goosnargh duck with plum and spiced bramley apple chutney and toasted sourdough

To follow

Poached and roasted rump of Pendle lamb, with hot pot potatoes, roasted baby carrots, cauliflower puree, rosemary and mint jus

To finish

Poached rhubarb with panna cotta, orange and ginger cream and pistachio granola

Details: Millstone at Mellor, Church Lane, Mellor, Blackburn, BB2 7JR

Tel: 01254813333, www.thwaites.co.uk/millstone-at-mellor

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