Mal Morris gives Amerlie’s 10/10 - but then makes his assistant walk for her dinner
Early on a Tuesday night at Amelie’s and it’s already busy.
One of the reasons for that we already know. The food on previous visits has been excellent.
Another reason is soon obvious. We are Early Birds, and we can choose from that menu up to 7pm, three courses for £11.50.
Can that be right, your reviewer’s consultant, who can spot a bargain at 100 paces, wants to know?
It can, and as she whittles down the options to whitebait and haddock for her first two courses, I reach for the a la carte menu, all the better to inform this reportage.
As I’m looking forward to the chosen king scallops and loin of lamb our amuse bouche arrives, two mini bruchettes with grilled aubergine and ratatouille, and a little mouthful of warm prune wrapped in bacon.
I peruse the lengthy wine list. Its contents are such that should there be a wine tasting evening in the offing that will be me knocking on the front door.
The Chilean Merlot Panilonco, once selected, turns out to be unavailable, but this is perhaps a happy chance because the Doncayetano I choose from the three alternative bottles of Merlot offered proves to be the subject of much pleasant musing throughout the evening as to fruitage, balance, flavour ... the kind of thing which annoys anyone else who happens to be listening in.
My scallop starter is sensational. A slice of quality salmon, light not dense, hides a delicious base of thinly cut soft cabbage and what I think are small segments of grapefruit, all in a creamy sauce.
The lightly browned scallops are arranged around that, and another intriguing ring is a long thin slice of cucumber curled into a cup shape and enclosing a salad mix of rocket, lettuce and parsley.
The consultant’s whitebait is lightly battered. She’s prepared to accept a low level of violence, but no more, and is even more persuaded after discovering that the battering has added a light crispy surface to the firm and tasty fish.
She also has a cucumber cup, and we experiment with a choice of four dressings brought to the table in elegant bottles, before deciding that we like the one with blackberry best.
he lamb comes in medallion shapes, pink as requested, arrayed around an as yet unidentified mash of something brownish and slightly lumpy: black pudding. Home made perhaps? No, it’s from Bury, and advanced in the kitchen into something much more moist and accessible.
By now that familiar slight panic is looming. Also on my plate are small, boiled potatoes and an ensemble of mashed potato with thinly cut strips of carrot sandwiched between two crisps.
A waitress arrives with a plate of roasted potatoes, and such is your reviewer’s will power, that she spoons on several. Then our individual dishes of cauliflower, courgettes, cabbage, leek and carrots in a drizzling of oil, arrive.
The haddock must have been an impressive specimen before fate took a hand, and would perhaps have been happy to know it provided such succulence in afterlife, nicely berthed in a creamy, herby sauce. It basks nicely next to the three potato variants.
The renowned capacity of your reviewing duo is being tested, the challenge that results from generous proportions of delicious food, journalistic principles, a waste-not-want-not-upbringing, and the sworn commitment to a five mile walk tomorrow.
As on many other occasions the lightness of crème brulee is the deciding factor: sticky toffee pudding it is not.
It has a crispy caramel crust, and an adjacent arrangement of juicy orange slice, apple and strawberry atop fresh cream and a dusting of cocoa powder cleanse the palate.
The Eton mess comes in a large brandy like glass, and what a mess it is. Lots of crunchy meringue, red fruit base with grapes, lightly refreshing and, get this, “very moreish,” to quote the consultant, who’s on 10 miles tomorrow at least.
£62.all in, which includes an £18.50 bottle of wine and one Early Bird at £11.50.
Address: 311 Preston Road, Coppull Moor, Chorley, PR7 5DU.
Opening hours: Dinner: Tues to Sat from 5.30pm. Open all day Wed/Fri/Sun.
Specials: Early Bird menu £9.50 two courses, £11.50 three courses. Other set menus.
Contact: 07734297125 / 01257 792222