Mal Morris decided to take a trip down Memory Lane by heading to The Original Farmers Arms
I left the choice of the latest treat down to your reviewer’s consultant, and she’s decided on a trip down Memory Lane.
But as the old memory isn’t quite as accurate as the new one, we’ve had to resort to Google Maps to find a location for The Original Farmers Arms more precise than ‘somewhere near Euxton’.
We zoom in from our satellite vantage point. “Look. There’s a road there which is Dawber’s Lane ... is that Memory Lane?” I offer, in a genuine spirit of helpfulness. “It could be both.”
And indeed it proves to be both because it all comes flooding back, give or take a few awkward stops in the middle of junctions (we don’t have sat nav), until we pull up at a surprisingly packed car park in Eccleston.
The pub is buzzing and it’s still early doors: warm, cosy, people already tucking in, the waft of food, waitresses circulating.
There’s been an ulterior motive behind this choice, as it turns out.
Apparently, years back the pavlovas here were legendary. So you could imagine the barely contained pleasure when the desserts display, tantalisingly placed directly opposite the front door as we walk in, reveals a choice of not one, but three pavlovas. But that’s for later.
Seated and equipped with two pints of Flowers bitter, we survey the menu and I’m surprised, I’d almost say shocked, by some of the choices on offer. Kedgeree, for example. This happens to be one of my specialities at home, so I have to try that, and it is excellent.
I squeeze a big chunk of lemon over a mound of rice in which nestle shrimp, chopped egg, mushrooms and little pieces of haddock and salmon, all fresh and tasty: plus, and this I’d never done but will from now on, it’s accompanied by a mild curry which, when you make the Indian link, makes absolute sense.
The Brie in the deep fried breaded wedges served up for your Flashback correspondent is hot, runny and tasty, but the crunchy crust of crumbs is too thick and masks the taste of the Brie.
The cranberry sauce in a little pot and the salad garnish are good.
Next up on the menu of surprises is ostrich. Now, there’s no point hiding your head in the sand on these occasions, so I go for it, only to be told the ostrich is off.
OK then, skip the ostrich, I’ll have the kangaroo. What did I tell you?
This is on, and two small steaks arrive, nicely browned on the outside, pink interior, blood on the plate. Perfect. A peppery and mushroom sauce is in a metal pourer, and they combine to make a meaty, delicious flavour. I was half expecting something tough and tenacious ... it’s Australian after all. But I tell you mate, it’s a beaut, and tender.
The correspondent’s two fillets of sea bass are piping hot, fleshy, tender and succulent. They come with four juicy tiger prawns, all served on a nicely judged amount of garlic flavoured chilli and olive oil
All are served up on impressive white crockery, and with generous individual helpings of our choice of new potatoes, carrots and green beans.
My hot fruit pudding is another mild surprise, a warm, flat slice of moist and dense fruit cake which goes happily with a dollop of ice cream.
And so on to the main event ... sticky toffee pudding pavlova, a mind numbing combination.
Sadly, our evening of nostalgia ends on a disappointing note. It’s a wedge shaped mousse with the thinnest veneer of meringue at the edge and base, and a few tiny nuggets of toffee and possibly bits of nut. It’s OK, but we conclude it isn’t from the Golden Age of pavlovas. We’re pretty sure it isn’t even the ordered dessert.
It’s the correspondent’s night, but guess who picks up the £59 bill. Some things never change.
Name: The Original Farmers Arms
Address: Towngate, Eccleston, Chorley.
Telephone: 01257 451594
Details: Open all day, seven days a week.
Oopening hours: 12 noon to 12pm. Set menus and a la carte.