Monday 5 August 2013

The Farmers Arms, Bolton

The Farmer's Arms, Bolton
We heard about The Farmer's Arms from my friend Shaun at FoodGeek. He had raved about the food when it first opened, so we decided to take a little trip. The Farmer's Arms is run by local chef Jon Jones, previously of Solita and Home Sweet Home fame. All three are amongst my favourites, so I was sure we couldn't go wrong. However, I was reserving judgement as this is Bolton after all, and there is a world of difference between here and the glittering lights of Manchester.

As always, we went with open minds and empty bellies, and took my husband's grandma along with us. The Farmer's Arms has only been open for six weeks, but Jon is already busy moulding the menu. This is a family pub which serves food. It's not a gastro pub, or a smart bistro, it's a traditional pub serving decent homemade meals at affordable prices. The Sunday roast is excellent value at £8 for one course, £10 for two or £13 for three, and no starters cost more than £5 on the standard menu.

Sauces are made from scratch, the pies, cakes, bread and puds are all homemade on site, and the staff wax lyrical about the food. It's a far cry from a polished bankrolled gastropub, instead concentrating on getting the simple things right.

Garlic bread with cheese: We were a little delicate from the night before, so opted to share a garlic bread with cheese whilst we waited for our mains. It was crisp with a generous amount of cheese; delightful, especially when you've been craving it since 2am.
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Garlic bread with cheese
Roast beef: Thin cut pieces of topside are topped with roast potatoes, beautifully buttery mash, crisp roasties, a big Yorkshire and mixed vegetables. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Beef roast
Mixed grill: My husband had a mixed grill, but shook it up a little. He omitted the onion rings, mushroom and tomato in favour of mixed vegetables and a side of chips. It includes sausage, gammon, black pudding and steak. A notable highlight was that cumberland sausage!
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Mixed grill
Fish n chips: Audrey loves a good fish and chips, and decided on this the second she saw it on the menu. It had a nice crispy batter and came with home made chips and mushy peas. Her only complaint was that she couldn't finish it all.
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Fish n chips
Oreo cheesecake: Our lovely waitress was so enthusiastic about this, that my husband was brought back from the brink of saying no to a dessert. She had tried some the night before, and absolutely raved about the texture. She was dead right. It's light, yet creamy and tasty.
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Oreo cheesecake
Sticky toffee pudding: It was chucking it down outside, so that instantly engaged my 'pudding' mode. I wanted something sweet with custard. This was perfect. Light sponge crammed with flavour, topped with toffee sauce and home made vanilla custard. It is supposed to come with ice cream, but it had to be custard. It was raining.
The Farmer's Arms, Bolton - Sticky toffee pudding
The Farmer's Arms reminds me of the wonderful pub lunches of yesteryear. The Black Bull on a Sunday afternoon, or the Hen and Chicks on my lunch break from work. I'm excited to see how the Farmer's Arms develops over the next few months, and we're definitely going back to sample the lunch menu. I have my eye on a pie...

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