Lancashire Life Reader Lunch - Egerton House Hotel, Bolton

PUBLISHED: 16:42 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 22:09 21 October 2015

Richard Ralph, Debbie White, David Shelmerdine, Jan Hampton, Tom Newton, Adele Hughes and Jon Hough

Richard Ralph, Debbie White, David Shelmerdine, Jan Hampton, Tom Newton, Adele Hughes and Jon Hough

An historic hotel near Bolton got a clear majority in the Lancashire Life awards and it's still winning votes. Roger Borrell reports Photography by Kirsty Thompson

Egerton House HotelEgerton House Hotel

While Nick and Dave canoodled their way to a coalition, Jan Hampton was quietly setting out a clear manifesto for change. ‘This is the year,’ she told guests at the latest Lancashire Life luncheon, ‘when we have fun!’
You could tell by the determined delivery this was no spin-doctor’s sound-bite and, what’s more, it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a penny.

The past 12 months have been challenging for everyone, especially those in the hospitality business. But the green shoots of recovery were now everywhere - even on the starter dish which included delicate pea fronds and young asparagus.

Jan and her team at the Egerton House Hotel near Bolton have gone through a reshuffle in recent times - her kitchen cabinet is now presided over by talented head chef Nick O’Mahoney - but the core of her team has remained loyal for the best part of a decade.

It was this teamwork which secured Jan a full term as Lancashire Life hotel of the year with a clear majority among the judges. ‘The team has been quite amazing and winning the Lancashire Life award was a great boost for everyone,’ says Jan.

The dining roomThe dining room

The hotel was once part of a chain, but Jan saw the potential as an independent and decided to buy it. With its lovely gardens and a house spanning two centuries, it has built up a large and loyal following.

Many were among the guests at our lunch, which started with those shoots accompanied by air-dried ham, parmesan and a deep fried poached egg - a great example of culinary dexterity. With it came an oak-free Aussie Chardonnay, from Forth Wines.

The main course tested the kitchen team’s range with beef cooked three ways. There was some lovely soft, pink sirloin, a hearty piece of shin
and some delicious oxtail pithiviers, beautifully-made little pies of
melting pastry.

Chef Nick, who has run rosette winning kitchens in the Lakes and the Cotswolds, aims to bring more accolades to the Egerton House with great cooking and good value. This ticked both those boxes.

Christopher and Colette HuntChristopher and Colette Hunt

Jan’s ambition to have more fun will manifest itself in the dining room, she hopes. ‘We have a tremendous reputation for staging weddings,’ she says. ‘But some people think that means we are a very formal place to have a meal. The reality is that it’s tremendously relaxed.’

With a lunchtime finale of glazed lemon tart and raspberries, Jan and her team waved us off secure in the knowledge she had our vote.

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