Our visit to Parkers Arms starts with a stunningly beautiful drive from Cumbria to a small village called Newton-In-Bowland in Lancashire. The views are breathtaking. An ordinary looking pub on the outside it may be, but inside, next to the open fire, it’s cosy and quaint. We feel at home.
Service is as warm and the surrounds. Two young chaps, efficient and switched-on, and AJ behind the bar, who is the epitome of a pub landlord, ensure you are well looked after.
It’s a menu where you want to over-order. And at £28 for 3 courses, it’s cracking value. We start with crispy potato skins, the ones that TGI Fridays never quite managed to perfect, and curry spiced pork scratchings (£3.50 each), washed down with a local Ale and a decent Negroni.
Hogget breast ribs are my dream dish. Those ribs are pure fat. They’ve been braised for 42 hours then grilled over charcoal so it’s all crisp, crisp, crisp. The flavour is huge.
Granny Smith cured mackerel is a daintier thing. There’s Newton horeseradish (loads of these ingredients are sourced locally) which provides fire while an apple and fennel salad brings freshness.
Head chef Stosie, who works in that kitchen pretty much alone, is a pastry queen. A Newton game pasty is made using pork fat which results in soft, melt-away pastry. It’s special.
From the mains, a minted hogget pie (in hogget fat pastry) and a Bowland beef and ale pie (in beef fat pastry) is yet more proof of this. The sauces elevate the pies to even greater heights. There’s depth of flavour like nothing else.
16oz Bowland beef chop is a quality piece of beef. Proper pub grub too, with triple cooked chips, watercress and a peppercorn sauce. The smokey charcoal grill is an excellent choice for cooking this kind of meat.
AJ points to the field opposite when serving the roasted herb butter stuffed ballotine of pheasant breast. “Shot in that field over there”. This is the true meaning of ‘locally sourced’. Served with your traditional Sunday roast trimmings, it’s a lovely thing to eat.
Dessert of caraemlised apple tart showcases yet more marvellous pastry. It’s also vegan friendly, FYI. The pastry is chewy and sticky, crumbly and flakey.
A 70% dark Valrhona chocolate pudding has an oozing, liquid centre which floods the plate with its chocolatey innards. HEAVEN. Warm spiced gingerbread pudding with boozy cream is a cuddle on a plate. I could have a nap next to that open fire.
You may have guessed I rather enjoyed Parkers Arms. It would be hard not to. The whole offering is generous, from the service to the cooking. They want you to have a nice time, and that comes across from the minute you step inside.
Would we go back? Yes