This is the best restaurant our writer Rachel McAlley has visited so far in 2019! Bold statement I hear you say, but if you have visited Freemasons at Wiswell then you will know it’s not a bold statement at all, it’s absolutely bang on.
#TeamCoco are always looking for the best of the best and we definitely think we have found it in Freemasons at Wiswell, which is situated in the heart of the Ribble Valley in the North West of England.
Head Chef Steven Smith is serious when it comes to food, not only does his restaurant sit within the top 50 in The Good Food Guide, and within the top 50 gastro pubs in the UK, but it is also a ‘Rising Michelin Star’ restaurant, and with numerous awards under his belt from around the Lancashire locality and beyond is there any wonder I said it was the best restaurant I have visited so far this year?
It was a lovely warm sunny evening and my best friend was meeting me at the restaurant for dinner, which is located down a quaint pebbled street in the village of Wiswell in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
From the second we arrived the service was exceptional, from the welcome greeting to the description of the menu and the delivery of the food, we couldn’t have asked for anything more form the team at Freemasons at Wiswell.
After taking our order we were presented with a selection of snacks, each of which arrived once the previous snack had been devoured. The snacks at Freemasons included cheese hot dogs, salmon bites, and veg filled tarts, plus homemade bread and salted whipped butter, all elements were melt-in-the-mouth delish.
Our starters included seafood gratin (£14.95), and rabbit pie (£17.95). I chose the seafood gratin, which was an overflowing seashell filled with salmon, cod and king prawns served in scallop cream with a Lancashire cheese crust and sea vegetables – pure perfection. My bestie’s rabbit pie was baked in brioche with a sauce of chargrilled asparagus and seaweed, with a rather large piece of lobster on top. She offered me her opinion saying, “I’ve died and gone to heaven with this dish.”
Main courses were difficult to decide, too much outstanding choice so we sneaked a few peeks around the restaurant to see what everyone was enjoying, and everyone was enjoying every single dish, so the onus was on us! We went for the simple chicken (£27.95), and the sirloin (£34). Now, the simple chicken was anything but simple; Goosnargh chicken studded with black garlic and served with hen of the woods mushroom, Yakitori livers on toast and sauce albufera. This dish was standout spectacular and every morsel was eaten with noises of comfort and love.
The sirloin was in fact 60-day aged Hereford beef, cooked to perfection and served with duck fat chips, onion rings and peppercorn sauce. A huge steak with divine accompaniments.
We also ordered side dishes of buttered Jersey Royals (£4.95), leek fondue and hazelnuts (£4.95), and cauliflower cheese (£4.95). The cauli cheese was made with seven different types of cheese, and it was the most luxurious side dish ever.
Not that we needed dessert after such a rich and indulgent meal, but when in Rome! The menu had four sweet desserts and a cheese option, we chose the Amalfi lemon (£9.95) and the vanilla slice (£14.95).
The Amalfi lemon meringue pie was served with blueberries and Douglas fir pine, and the vanilla slice was made with homemade puff pastry, vanilla cream, peach, raspberry and Champagne. Both were excellent, and the standout one was the lemon meringue pie due to the beautifully bitter and tart lemons.
Thanks must go to Steven Smith and his team at Freemasons at Wiswell for inviting House of Coco Magazine to experience his outstanding food.
Freemasons also offer private dining, Mr Smith’s kitchen table or kitchen bench, where you can watch everything being prepared before it is served, and country inn rooms for an overnight stay.
Visit www.freemasonsatwiswell.co.uk for more info.