The Luxury Lancashire Hotel & Michelin Star Restaurant
I have never dined in a Michelin Star restaurant, well, up until now.
I have never really understood all the fuss surrounding these coveted stars from a tyre company – I guess you could say I’m rather unenlightened about this so-called hallmark of quality so when I was invited to dine at Northcote, a beautiful hotel and restaurant in Lancashire which has retained a Michelin Star for 23 years, I was curious to say the least.
Nestled in the rolling hills of the Ribble Valley in Langho, Northcote resides in a 19th century manor house whilst the separate Garden Lodge has a more contemporary finish.
Our room was in the Garden Lodge and enjoyed panoramic views of the grounds and surrounding countryside, as it was a beautifully sunny day, my guest and I chose to enjoy a glass of fizz on our terrace, all rather decadent.
The room itself was the epitome of style, with more swag than Kim K. The plush furnishings and jewel tones adding warmth and luxe whilst the sweeping bathroom with its free standing bath, huge wet room shower and double sink vanity suite certainly pulled out all the stops on the opulence front with fluffy robes and lashings of temple spa products to luxuriate in.
The attention to detail really cuts the mustard here, I particularly liked adorable Northcote Bear, whom I found relaxing on the bed listening to classical music on our arrival – not many hotels welcome you with music in the room but I think it’s a really nice touch, I all of a sudden felt rather refined – fleetingly of course…
We had a dinner reservation at 7.30pm and in our welcome pack was an invitation to enjoy canapes in the lounge from 7pm, so we got our glad rags on and headed for the main event. Whilst the hotel and accommodation are hugely attractive, Northcote is renowned for one thing – the food.
The hotel’s executive head chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen joined Northcote’s kitchen at the age of 20 as a chef de partie, working alongside Nigel Haworth. When Haworth made the decision to take an ambassadorial role, Allen stepped into the role executive head chef and has led the kitchen team to further success maintaining the Michelin Star, last year being the first in her own right.
Allen’s food tends to give a cheeky nod to her Lancashire roots – I have added her Vege Lancashire hotpots to my weekly menu at home, it’s cracking – and the modern British fare served up at Northcote is almost always based around locally sourced ingredients, including many from the hotel’s own kitchen garden.
We were lucky enough to dine on the six course tasting menu on our visit and I have to say, it was incredible. I plumped for the vegetarian menu whilst my guest enjoyed stand out dishes of Ox with aged sour cream, cucumber pickle and dill and Yorkshire duck with Smoked bacon, turnip and parsley.
My favourite dish (although everything was exquisite) was the roasted celeriac tortellini with Copper Maran egg and truffle butter. She had me at truffle butter to be fair, but this dish just knocked my socks off, incredibly tasty, everything about food I love, in one dish.
All of the courses were accompanied by a wine pairing and although I’m no expert, I can say that I enjoyed each one tremendously. The service throughout dinner was perfectly timed and the young team were warm and knowledgeable, giving us brief introductions to each dish and wine paring. Whilst the restaurant is relatively formal, it’s certainly not stuffy and we both felt very relaxed as the evening came to a close.
Tasting menus are often thought of (especially by my husband) as small portions – well yes, that’s why there are six courses, you could have rolled me to bed on this occasion, I was stuffed, I couldn’t even manage a bit of cheese, and I can always manage a bit of cheese…
Breakfast is a similarly refined affair with champagne on offer alongside fresh juices, fruits, breads, yoghurts and cereals. Of course being a newly converted vegetarian I swerved the fruit and ordered Mrs Kirkham’s Melting Lancashire cheese soufflé. Oh my, this was my first ever soufflé, now I don’t think I’ll ever be able to order one again as my benchmark is through the roof. It was blinking gorgeous. Honestly, I didn’t want it to end, it was like eating a cheese flavoured cloud and the best breakfast I’ve EVER had. So that’s that. Northcote has ruined breakfast for life and I didn’t want to leave. I think that there is plaudit enough to warrant a return visit.
I cannot recommend this Pride of Britain Hotel strongly enough, the warm welcome, superb accommodation, outstanding service and frankly mind blowing food combine to make Northcote an exquisite place to visit and a must for any foodie. Tell them I sent you.
Joanne Brook-Smith was hosted by Northcote, a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels collection (never more than 50 hotels, to guarantee quality and exclusivity). Located on the edge of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, the hotel is renowned for its Michelin star restaurant and features 26 individually-designed bedrooms, plus an innovative cocktail bar. An overnight stay is priced from £215 per room (two sharing), including full English breakfast. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).