Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Clog and Billycock, Pleasington

The Clog and Billycock
This one's complicated. Bit of background for you - humour me. About six years ago we went to Northcote for the first time. It was our first Michelin star and gave us the fine dining bug. Around that time we found out that Nigel Haworth had a pub in Mitton called the Three Fishes. We went and were blown away. We took our friends Wayne and Vicki, and the deal was done. We were the biggest fanboys ever. 

Then... Ribble Valley Inns opened the Clog and Billycock. This was much closer to home in the small town of Pleasington. Only half an hour away, this became our weekly stomping ground. We were there in the opening week to show our support, and saw a few familiar faces from the Fishes too. We eventually knew the staff by name, there were amazing weekly specials and you never had a bad meal. We took our families and friends from work, and recommended it to anyone who would listen. We went to all four of their pubs, just to sample the different menus.

Something changed. Familiar faces left, specials stayed a bit longer and we even had issues with the food. The Clog lost its magic. We went a few times and it was ok. Friends would go and say it was nice, but there was no sparkle like before.

Then came the rumour that they had returned to form. We heard it from a few reliable sources, so decided it was time to go back. We picked a dreary afternoon, and with hopes high, off we trot. We got there at 12pm and were greeted by Craig - a familiar face of old! We sat in our usual spot in the Chimney Room, and gazed at the new menu. Our waitress Cathryn introduced herself, and took our order promptly. Old favourites remain, the piri piri oddities had gone and there were new desserts!
The Clog and Billycock
We decided to get some nibbles to start. Paddy had the wild garlic and new potato soup from the specials, I had the legendary chipolatas and we shared the bread platter, which now comes with oil, vinegar and a small pot of black pea humous. The bread platter was brilliant. Soft bread, and that humous was fantastic. I just wish the wholemeal bread still had raisins in it...

The chipolatas are a mix of spicy pork, black pudding and cumberland, and come served with mustard mayonaise. We have a bit of a love affair with these. Served with crispy skins, they are some of the best sausages around. We even had them as nibbles before our wedding reception at Northcote. The soup was fresh with a subtle garlic flavour - very summery (despite the thunder outside).
The Clog and Billycock - Nibbles
Paddy picked another special for his main - the slow roast shoulder of Lonk lamb, with roast and mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, mint jelly and roast gravy. This was brilliant. Seasonal and well executed.
The Clog and Billycock - Lamb
My favourite dish was always the burger, served on a muffin with Lancashire cheese and bacon. It comes with onion rings, chips cooked in beef dripping, homemade mustard mayonaise, piccalilly and ketchup. I picked this to gauge whether the return to form was as promised. It was just as I remembered.
The Clog and Billycock - Burger
Desserts were always the Clog's strongest course. I have happy memories of jam roly poly with custard and knickerbocker glories from summer specials. Although the 'glory' was there, I opted for a rhubarb bakewell tart with ice cream and Paddy had the apple pie with custard. 
The Clog and Billycock - Rhubarb Bakewell
This bakewell is a stunning example of the dish! I'm having this again. The apple pie was slightly overdone on the edges, but still tasted nice.
The Clog and Billycock - Apple Pie
Last time we went, we were devastated to see no mini Eccles cake with our coffee. It was there! A beautiful sugar crust and still warm from the oven.
The Clog and Billycock - Mini Eccles Cake
I still don't think the Clog is as good as it used to be - but it could be. Perhaps part of the 'healing process' is seeing consistency over our next few visits and variety in the specials menu once again. Saying that, if you go now you can expect some fabulous food. I am comparing this meal to what I have experienced in the past, and if you have never known it, you will never miss it.

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  1. We haven't been to the Clog in aaaaaaages. I just felt that it was a bit expensive for what it was. We need to give it a try again sometime.

  2. We had the same experience as yourself, used to be a regular haunt and then it went down hill, hopefully its returning to form may be because its good lots of competition locally now so its had to up its game

    1. I think it has more competition everywhere. When it opened there was nothing like it over our neck of the woods. There are loads now!


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