Dining at Amelie’s is so entertaining for foodies we had better get on with it before we run out of space at the end of this column.
Seated and deciding, our amuse bouche amuses the mouth and the mind.
A glass of warm scrumpy cider so infused that when I ask the list goes on ... cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. It’s a mulled cider.
At the side is a small frying pan with an intriguing jumble of popcorn melded together with melted toffee.
There are three of us – your regular team plus daughter and heiress making her third guest appearance of the year.
I’m still crunching when we are called: a round table-clothed table by the fire; iced water jug in place; basket of baguette chunks; choice of butters; cloth napkins placed on to laps.
Of the three rooms to my mind this is the best. It feels like a home.
Paintings with top lights, wine bottles on window sills.
We are combining early bird and a la carte, and from previous experience have starved ourselves all day.
The bread pudding starter could hardly be ignored simply because it’s here, and not at the other end of the meal.
It’s baked leek and mushroom and is a savoury competitor to its sweet relative with a delicious balsamic glaze and onion marmalade adding a not too sharp, zesty taste to the melt-in-the-mouth layered creation.
Equally enticing are blacksticks blue. I never can resist a cider marinated pear. It’s chilled and oozy, with walnuts toasted to softness, and contrasts a piece of blue veined cheese. A small glass contains the marinade liqueur.
The chicken liver pate has the fine, melting texture of the best fois gras. Three pieces of curled melba toast help with scooping up, and orange and juniper butter complete a rich start.
We have taken the vinicultural precaution of covering all bases. A bargain priced Italian Langhe Chardonney for the fish, and a ‘house red’ – left to the discretion of our knowledgeable, exceptionally friendly and endlessly efficient host.
She produces “the last bottle” of sumptuous Italian red Barbara d’Asti Annata 2007. The promise in a deep crimson colour and fragrant nose is soon confirmed.
My pie has venison, partridge, pheasant and pigeon, all tender from slow roasting in a rich wine gravy. Smoked haddock, salmon and prawns in equal quantity fight for space in the assistant’s. Both have cheese-browned creamy mash on top.
The beef course is boeuf bourguignon except the beef is British. Its braising has also been in wine, and a piped swirl of mash rises to a peak mid-plate.
I’m nibbling pickled red cabbage, and now we all have a selection of fresh roast potatoes, cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, swede and peas.
A prosaic sounding apple and rhubarb crumble is transformed into a spectacular sculpture with apple wedge, Amoretti type biscuit, fresh cream and a toffee lattice sail across the top.
The lattice also features in both an Eton mess of mixed fruit, marshmallow and fresh cream, and grappa brandy cooked bananas.
Phew, just made it.
- The bill: £82.
Address: 311 Preston Road, Coppull Moor, Chorley, PR7 5DU
Contact: 0871 7149510, 01257 792222
Details: Early bird menu: £10.50 for two courses. £13.50 for three courses. Dinner: Tues to Sat from 6.30pm. Sunday noon to 8pm
Access for disabled diners: Access by steps. Toilets upstairs