Last weekend we went to The Red Cat in Chorley for my husband's grandma's birthday. We wanted something a bit special, but she's not keen on travelling far, so Chorley was perfect. We've heard lots of good things on Twitter over the years, and my mum assured me it's a Lancashire Life favourite... so it must be good!
We arrived in the pouring rain to be greeted by friendly staff who took our coats and removed our dripping brollies from the theatre of conflict. We sat in the modern conservatory and perused the menus. Food is traditional Lancashire fayre but with a smart edge; terrines, black pudding, fresh seafood and a Sunday roast all caught our eyes within minutes.
Whilst we waited for our starters, we were given freshly made mini granary loaves and a shot of a wonderfully tangy tomato soup with a balsamic centre. Everyone raved about this. It was sweet with a shot of sharp flavour in the centre.
Pressed Ham Hock & Sandham’s Lancashire Cheese, homemade pickles, cherry tomatoes, grilled soda bread: This was a huge starter, but I wasn't complaining! Pretty as a picture and scrumptious to boot. I've never had a terrine with cheese running down the centre before. Inspired!
Black pudding, Lancashire cheese mash, poached egg, watercress: Very popular amongst our group. The pudding went well with the cheesy mash. The egg was a little overdone, but the rest made up for it. I'm pretty sure they are pea shoots on top though, not watercress...
Seared Scallops, garlic sautéed clams, peas, baby gem, clam velouté, celery cress: Perfectly cooked with fresh, seasonal greens.
Sunday roast: I couldn't resist a roast. Although it wasn't the most exciting verion I have ever seen, this was well executed and tasted pretty good too! Lovely soft beef cooked medium, with crispy roasties, well seasoned root mash and a perfect Yorkshire pud.
Fish of the day - Hake with shrimp and pearl barley: This was a hit with the fish lover amongst us. Crisp skin with meaty flavours and a good mixture of textures.
Chicken breast, wild mushroom risotto, truffle oil, glazed onions: A lovely light summer dish with big flavours. My husband's grandma was just upset that she couldn't eat it all.
Rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard: Amazing. That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter. The rhubarb was perfectly pink and tangy and the home made custard was to die for. It was ridiculous. One of my stand out desserts of the year so far.
Cheese: Our cheese connoisseurs picked five cheeses to share, including the local favourite, Blacksticks Blue and an unusual fruit cheese.
Banana panna cotta, toffee sauce, Chantilly cream, banana soaked in amaretto, banana & toffee ice cream: My husband isn't a dessert freak like me, but he does enjoy a nice panna cotta. This was a banana and toffee creation, and his favourite course of the evening.
We had a lovely evening. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable, and the food was to a high standard. More importantly, they made a fuss of our birthday girl and ensured she had a fabulous time.