Restaurant review - Bertram's Restaurant, Burnley
PUBLISHED: 14:06 07 March 2018
The creative team at Bertram's have found a winning recipe as Mairead Mahon discovers
‘I can’t stand people who don’t take food seriously’ said Oscar Wilde. He would be very fond of the team that run Bertram’s, a stylish adult only restaurant located within Crow Wood at Burnley.
Surrounded by 100 acres of countryside with views towards Pendle Hill, the drive is illuminated and an outdoor lift takes the diner right into the heart of the restaurant. It all declares that something special is about to happen and it is – after all, they hold two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence.
There is a distinct cosmopolitan brasserie atmosphere at Bertram’s – a mixture of modern and retro – with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a courtyard of coloured fountains, colours which are subtly echoed in the interior lighting. There is a selection of seating from intimate tables for two to buttoned leather banquette arrangements for larger groups. The tableware gleams and is complemented by white cube lighting and proper linen napkins. Not a paper serviette in sight.
Coats whisked away by attentive staff, the first thing to do is peruse the drinks menu. The bar, with its gleaming mirrors, adds a chic note and has one of the best gin selections around. However, staying with the classic retro theme, we sipped French Martinis from the comprehensive cocktail list. They left us neither shaken nor stirred but relaxed and with appetites sharpened – just as well!
The waiters have a good knowledge of the extensive but not overwhelming menu and answer all questions cheerfully. As Bertram’s flavoured bread is baked on the premises, we went for a taster board starter, which contained several examples, as well as oils, olives and hummus.
The bread was so good that my dining companion extended the experience by choosing garlic mushrooms on toast, served with a soft poached egg and a delicate truffle oil which enhanced rather than overpowered the dish. I chose Blacksticks Blue Cheese melts, with fig and hazelnut textures and all underlined with the sharp sensation of raspberry vinaigrette; cleverly contrasting with the softness of the other components to make a delicious whole.
Bertram’s, run by head chef Spencer Burge, sources the finest local ingredients where possible. They particularly pride themselves on the grass-fed beef reared on the Lancashire plains and then dry aged until it is exactly ready, so it seemed only right to try it. My companion obliged by ordering the fillet steak, cooked medium rare. It came with a pepper sauce which, like many of the dishes, can be made to a gluten free recipe on request and was served with French beans and with an accompaniment from the ‘accessories’ menu. He chose the new potatoes, simply because they were served with a Café de Paris butter – in part, in homage to our cosmopolitan surroundings – and also because this complex butter doesn’t often make an appearance on menus. Steak knives were provided but there was no need as an ordinary knife could, and did, slice it.
There is a reasonable variety of vegetarian dishes on the menu. I was tempted by the Thai vegetable risotto but, in the end, my inner carnivore broke out and I selected the honey roast duck breast, which had a delicate sweetness and was served with creamed cabbage, smoked bacon and triple cooked chips served in a mini silver pail.
Desserts are all home made and range from light strawberry and basil crème brulee to the substantial sticky toffee pudding: the choice is a free one, hampered only by conscience and waistband. One of us indulged in Lancashire apple tart with Lancashire cheese, all lifted to another level with the addition of rhubarb textures. The other, with pricking conscience and tightening waistband, chose the pretty blush fruit salad with refreshing apple and elderflower sorbet.
Like Oscar Wilde, Bertram’s takes its food seriously but – and this is something he would also approve of – they serve it with style. w
Bertram’s Restaurant, Crow Wood, Royle Lane, Off Holme Road, Burnley, BB12 0RT. 01282 471930. bertramsrestaurant.com