Restaurant review - Foxholes, Leyland

Foxholes restaurant, Runshaw College - trio of beetroot
Foxholes restaurant, Runshaw College - trio of beetroot

I used to think that Foxholes restaurant based at Runshaw College was somewhat of a hidden gem.

But after trying to book a table a couple of months before the summer holidays earlier this year and being told that it was fully booked for the rest of the academic year, I realised that the word was out.

And it’s no surprise, because with top service, amazing food and ridiculously low prices, it’s certainly worth a visit.

My expectations were high after having to wait for months for a table, and I’ve been a few times over the last couple of years to the special theme nights, including a incredible Harry Potter evening, and have always been impressed.

On this occasion, my fellow diner and I were visiting on a regular Tuesday evening when the a-la-carte menu is on offer.

We began the night with a cocktail and beer from the bar before we were taken to our table in the contemporary yet homely restaurant.

We were spoilt for choice and had to spend a good deal of time trying to co-ordinate our orders so we could try the maximum amount of different foods available.

I opted for smoked salmon and scallop with a fishy arancini (rice ball with bread crumbs), which was something I’ve never had before, and was steaming hot and delicious.

The scallop was cooked beautifully and the salmon was slightly cooked so that it too was hot, and had good flavour.

Jack’s starter was a feast for the eyes - a trio of beetroot with goat’s cheese and walnut and almond brittle.

The brittle was sweet and crunchy and was an usual accompaniment to the slices and chunks of beetroot in my opinion, but was tasty nonetheless.

The cheese was creamy and the salad and sauce added further taste and texture.

The pork shoulder, belly and crackling caught my eye for the main course, but in the end I went for the loin of lamb wrapped in parma ham and a ‘crispy crumb’, served with a mini Lancashire hotpot and veg.

All of the lamb was succulent and juicy, especially the chunks in the hotpot, which had a rich runny gravy - perfect to dip other parts of the meal in to!

A fancy baby tomato stuffed with leek and a creamy sauce, and a small pile of potato with onion added to the ‘wow’ factor.

I especially enjoyed the ‘crispy crumb’ coating which tasted like pie pastry.

Jack was equally pleased with his slow cooked blade of beef, which fell off the proverbial bone and melted in the mouth.

It was served with a steamed steak pudding, where the meat was succulent, but could have done with more gravy, and a large roasted potato which was fluffy and hot all the way through.

We don’t normally indulge in dessert – and admittedly we were pretty full – but at only £14.95 for three courses, we couldn’t resist.

At some places where the food is of a similarly high standard as Foxholes, you can pay that much for one course.

The reason for the low cost, I assume, is that the staff are all students who are training in cooking and hospitality, and whilst some waiting staff appeared slightly nervous, the service was faultless.

There’s even a wine expert who talks through your food choices and discusses your wine preferences before making her recommendations – a nice touch adding to a fine dining experience.

For pudding, I had a ‘hand-crafted’ black forest gateaux, and Jack went for the ‘custard feast’, including a mini cheesecake and bread and butter pudding, which we enjoyed.

- The bill, with six drinks, came to around £50.