Lancashire Life Reader Lunch - Red Pump, Bashall Eaves

PUBLISHED: 19:32 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013

Lancashire Life readers sample the relaxed atmosphere of a pub which has retained its charm while serving top quality food

There was a time when 'pub grub' was something to be avoided unless you wanted a pie with your pint. These days, the pub can be the inn place to be if you want a quality meal at reasonable prices.

While Lancashire still has more than its fair share of fine dining destinations, the gastro-pub has really come into its own. It's a horrible hybrid of a word, but it neatly describes the way Lancashire's hostelries have adapted to survive and there are no finer examples than the Red Pump in Bashall Eaves.

While some establishments are no longer recognisable as pubs, the Pump has managed that happy married which means you wouldn't feel uncomfortable just popping in to sample the excellent ales - their condition is one of the landlord's not-so-secret obsessions.

Lancashire Life was delighted to host its latest reader luncheon at this venue which uses the phrase 'Three miles from Clitheroe...a million miles from hectic' to describe its relaxed atmosphere.

Martina and Jonathan Myerscough gave up successful careers to follow a dream of running a country pub. Friends thought they'd lost their marbles but this lively couple have turned what had become an ailing, run-down boozer into a star of the Ribble Valley Food Trail.

It's in a stunning location surrounded by wonderful views and inside Martina and Jonathan have created a comfortable, modern establishment with sophisticated bedroom designs for people who don't want to drive home. At the same time, much of the character of this 18th century building has been retained.

Not so long ago, it featured in the Lancashire Life Food and Wine Awards and in the last couple of years its reputation has spread afar. It was named as one of the nation's top 50 pubs in the Daily Telegraph and it matched up to critic Alastair Sawday's exacting standards to be included in his 'Special Places' guide.

Bosses are only as good as the team they create and in the Red Pump kitchen there is a talented squad led by head chef Ash Rehman and his passion for local seasonal food and especially game is on full show at this time of the year. (They have their own Game Fest from November 11 to 15).

The guns hadn't quite started blazing in time for our lunch, but it was still a glorious affair starting with exquisite canaps and a flowery Trulli Pinot Grigio Brut. Our starter was a delicate pate made with trout from up the road at Dunsop, given some extra zing with an avocado and basil mousse. A fragrant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect accompaniment.

Our main was the often unloved shin beef from Pendle, which had been slowly braised to the point of stickiness. It really should be on more menus. It came with a caramelised onion mash and a red wine reduction. The Ropiteau Cotes du Beaune Village was an elegant accompaniment.

Pudding was an intense chocolate tart with bitter orange sauce, ice cream and a Nederburg dessert wine.

The Red Pump is a million miles from hectic and nowhere near ordinary.

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