Off to The Original Farmers Arms in Eccleston.
Yes, that Eccleston: home of the Titan of Tarmac, the Warrior on Wheels, the Emperor of the Elysian Fields, surely soon to be Sir Bradley Wiggins. (Sorry, I used to write headlines for a living).
These very pleasant country lanes, we muse as we approach the pub, are the ones on which the winner of the Tour de France, the ringer of the Olympian bell has steeled his iron cycling will, if I can mix my metals, honed his muscular pedal power and grown his famous lamb chops.
He may even have popped into the Original Farmers Arms for a fortifying steak.
But then, perhaps not.
If Farmer’s Famous Mixed Grill were the preferred training diet for world champion cyclists then I myself could be leading the attack on the toughest climb of the Pyrenean mountain stage.
No, not for us the discipline of a sporting god: when a waiter asks which of custard, pouring cream or ice cream I’d like on my dessert I never really see the necessity to choose.
My Tour is a chance to spot favourite wine regions and check if we have any in the rack.
Dining at The Farmers Arms is for armchair fans, not least for the generosity of its plate.
There are no fewer than eleven tiger prawns lightly sautéed in garlic and chilli oil.
There’s a wedge of lemon and a crusty roll, and the only slightly mean point is the lack of a little salad. Delicious.
Equally so is the Singapore chicken: small strips pan fried with fresh fruit and a cream coconut curry sauce, medium hot and tangy, the spices subtle, the chicken moist, the rice a cool contrast.
The amount of fruit is a bit low, but there’s lots of chicken.
As I scratch out the middle a of ‘pavalova’ on the dessert chalk board (sorry, I used to be a sub-editor for a living), a pavlova fan club meeting is taking place.
The waitress has advised that the meringue is of the chalky type, not the chewy type.
Your reviewer’s assistant is so intrigued she has to go over to the display to check this out, where an exchange of pavlova minutiae results in the dessert finally being delivered.
It’s a huge wedge of a sticky toffee variant with a deep seam of cream running through the middle and a blob of vanilla ice cream, which last turns out to be a tactical mistake as pouring cream would have been a better match given the size of the challenge.
It takes ages to tuck away, and I can only watch and admire as I’ve long since dispatched my own tasty hot summer fruit pudding ... with oodles of pouring cream.
I’d begun with a starter I’ve rarely seen anywhere else, a lovely haddock, prawn and salmon kedgeree served in a mild curry sauce.
It has a little mound of rice and a few chunks of egg, a lemon wedge and a crispy roll.
There’s a huge choice of food at the Farmers Arms, so much so that you marvel at the industriousness of the kitchen staff, as with the waiters who are exceptionally attentive, polite and quick of feet.
Scanning down the list on the various menus and specials boards I reluctantly pass up many a favourite – the grilled kangaroo rump I had last time was excellent – I opt for the rack of lamb.
Six chops have been roasted with a mustard and mint glaze.
A dish of rich gravy helps in the partial mashing up of the new potatoes, and a few carrots and cabbage strips complete the stuffing going on.
A pint each of hand-pumped bitter has smoothed things along. I raise a glass to sporting endeavour.
The assistant, for whom sport is male, testosterone driven and boring, asks: “Yes, but will it end, ever?”
The bill: £57.
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Weather for Leyland
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west