Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Parkers Arms New Years Eve Celebrations, Newton in Bowland

Parkers Arms
We first visited the Parkers Arms in September, and immediately booked for New Year's Eve. Situated in the beautiful Ribble Valley, its idyllic location and superb quality food make it one of my favourite places to visit. This year we fancied getting away from it all for a couple of days, so packed up and drove through the picturesque trough of Bowland to be greeted by the delightful AJ and roaring fires.
Parkers Arms
Walking into the Parkers Arms is like being welcomed into the home of an old friend. Local folk are stood chatting at the bar, and dogs lay dozing by fires as their owners enjoy home cooked, hearty food. There's no loud music, just the gentle chitter chatter of people having a good time. 

As we were about an hour from home, we decided to stay the night in one of their pretty little rooms overlooking the green outside. Just behind the tree lies a babbling brook and a walkers paradise. AJ showed us to our room, did a quick run through of how everything works and advised that our afternoon tea was ready whenever we were. He was back a few minutes later with a gift of beer for my husband, as it was also his birthday. 
Parkers Arms - Rooms
After settling in, we went downstairs to find a table set and ready, and the fire crackling away. Two other couples were enjoying the same relaxed dining room; a lady and gent from Chorley who had stumbled across the Parkers whilst walking, and Sally and Chris, whom we would meet later that evening. 

Afternoon tea was no ordinary affair. Starting on the bottom we had ham and cheese, and crab finger sandwiches, warm glazed banana bread and savoury tomato scones. The middle layer consisted of soft fruit scones with butter, crème chantilly and homemade strawberry jam, then perched on top was an array of small cakes; eccles cakes, Christmas cake, small fudgy squares and mincemeat tartlets. This was accompanied by two large pots of tea. I cannot fault a single thing. It was the perfect antidote to the chilly weather outside! 

This was the sort of treat I imagine Mrs Weasley would conjure up after Harry, Ron and Hermione had spent the morning cleaning 12 Grimmauld Place. Incidentally, there were no boggarts in our room, and the only heads on the walls were those of pheasants and foxes, not house elves. 
Parkers Arms - Afternoon Tea
After a little rest back in our room (and the wonderful discovery of one of those dating channels where folk text in...), we headed back downstairs for the main event. Paddy enjoyed the local cask ales from Bowland Brewery (notably a nice amber ale, of which he had many), and soon after our first course arrived.

Canapés - Goosnargh duck liver parfait, rice crackers with soused cucumber and fennel, Lancashire cheese straws and tomato ragout: Delicious. The highlight was that tangy tomato ragout which I scraped from the pot...
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu

Bread - Parkers' Molasses bread and Caron Lodge salted butter:
These little rolls were really something to behold. Dark in colour and sprinkled with seeds, they encompassed winter in bread form. Still warm from the oven, the butter melted with ease and the molasses gave the dough an almost cake-like quality.

Starter - pheasant breast, sweet onion puree, soused celeriac, raw chestnuts: Stand out dish of the evening. In fact, one of my stand out dishes of 2013! Neither of us left a single scrap on our plates, and mopped up remaining juices with our bread.
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Fish - Cod, queenie scallops, seaweed butter, sea lettuce: My husband waxed lyrical about this fish dish from start to finish. 
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Pasta - Parkers' baked potato gnocchi, bacon, Inglewhite goats' cheese: Knowing I'm not a fan of fish, Stosie made me a different dish! Now that's amazing service. My printed menu was even changed to include this course instead of the cod. This was comfort food of the highest order, salty bacon with crisp gnocchi. Amazing.
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Main - Venison loin, sauce Bordelaise, wild girolles, bone marrow fritters, Anna potatoes, seasonal greens: Gee whizz. Although we were flagging by this point (see above pictures for reason why...), we both made one hell of an effort to polish this off. The potatoes were crisp on the outside with a slight chewiness where required, and soft underneath. That venison was world class. No doubt from the field opposite again too...
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Dessert - Iced Valrhona chocolate orange parfait, orange curd, orange jelly, orange tuille: A jaffa cake for the discerning diner. A smooth chocolate parfait, lifted with the tang of the oranges. 
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Cheese plate - local cheese, homemade crackers, fruit and chutney: The perfect end to a perfect meal. 
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
Petit fours - Spiced orange and apple marshmallows, Valrhona moelleux: A we sipped champagne at the stroke of midnight, we tucked into these delicate little cakes to round off the evening. 
Parkers Arms - NYE Menu
As well as the food, highlights of our evening included chatting to supper club fans Sally and Chris on the table next to us, the couple who were so drunk that they danced into the Christmas tree, and breathing life back into the taxidermy birds...
Parkers Arms - Birds...
Off their heads
After a wonderful night's sleep we trotted down for a home cooked full English. AJ had shrewdly taken our breakfast order the night before... Homemade preserves, Parkers' country toast and orange juice awaited us, with tea and coffee following shortly after that. 
Parkers Arms - Breakfast
The full English was truly spectacular; crisp bacon, a fat juicy sausage, runny eggs, black pudding, grilled tomato and breakfast potatoes with a small side of dressed watercress. Delightful. 
Parkers Arms - Breakfast
We had an absolute ball at the Parkers Arms New Year celebrations. AJ, Stosie and the rest of the team spoilt us rotten. It's lovely to see a place where it's more than just a business, it's a labour of love. None of the hospitality shown is fake; AJ welcomes you in with open arms and is so enthusiastic about the produce that I fear one day he may burst. Stosie is running a tight ship in the kitchen, and sending out some of the best food we have tasted all year - and we've been to a lot of restaurants home and abroad!
Parkers Arms - Happy New Year!
We can't wait to go back when the weather is a little warmer, so we can go and explore some of the beautiful countryside at the same time. Plus, I think I owe them a cake...

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1 comment:

  1. Happy new year, looks like you had a fantastic time at Parkers Arms. Your food pictures as always look gorgeous xx


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