Northcote Manor

Rating: 91.
Rating index:
Extraordinary (96-100)
Outstanding (93-95)
Very good to excellent (89-92)
Average to good (85-88)
Below 85 - below average
More info >

Northcote Manor is a 19th century manor house located in the beautiful Ribble Valley in Lancashire. The first time I visited this luxury retreat was 6 years ago during my first tour in the UK, not that it was part of the tour by the way, although it should've been, I ended up there by accident. During the tour my husband and I stayed in Lincoln and the next stop after Lincoln would be Glasgow. On our way to Glasgow we got stuck in a terrible traffic jam on the M62 and after 2 hours we realised we would never make it to Glasgow that day, or at least not at a reasonable time. We got out our trusted Michelin guide and looked up the nearest place were we could stay. And there it was, Northcote Manor, restaurant with rooms, in Langho, near Blackburn. We phoned them and luckily they had still a room available and we ended up staying there for 2 nights. I've been wanting to stay and dine there again ever since. So when I was planning a trip to the Highlands (Inverlochy Castle) for Christmas, Northcote Manor was my first choice for our second stop during this trip.

 

UKdec2010 161

 

UKdec2010 192
UKdec2010 195

Northcote Manor is a one-starred (since 1996) restaurant with 14 rooms and has been run since the early eighties by Craig Bancroft (managing director) and Nigel Haworth (chef patron/managing director). The both became shareholders of Northcote in 1989. In 2009 they celebrated their 25 years "in business" anniversary. Craig Bancroft and Nigel Haworth are both also well-known in the UK for their television appearances. Nigel Haworth was a contestant on the BBC's  Great British Menu series in 2008 and 2009. He was a finalist in both years and in 2009 he won and cooked his legendary Lancashire Hotpot at the banquet for British soldiers. In 2010 Northcote's head chef Lisa Allen was a contestant and with her starter, wild rabbit and leek turnover, she became the first female chef to win in the final of Great British Menu.

UKdec2010 114

In 2005 Northcote started a renovation programme. The rooms were completed in 2007 and the restaurant in 2010. They've done an amazing job. The bar area and drawing room (afternoon tea is served here) remained unchanged.

 UKdec2010 178

But now on to the food. I was staying for 2 nights at this magnificent place so I had dinner twice. On the first night my husband and I both had the 7 course tasting menu. The second night we had a 3 course a la carte meal. But here goes: the 7 course tasting menu.   

Two pre-starters were served with our pre-dinner drinks. One of the pre-starters was a cauliflower croquette. Delicious and an inspired choice for this underused vegetable which is now in season. A third pre-starter was served at the table, goat's cheese cream with pickled beetroot ice cream, light and elegant, the perfect choice before a 7 course meal.

The first course was shavings of Radholme wild duckling, smoked foie gras snow, pomegranate, black pudding crumble and watercress. A lovely duck dish. With the help of the pomegranate  it was  surprisingly light - in view of the other ingredients.

UKdec2010 136

The next course was treacle salmon with ginger, chilli, coriander and spring onions. As the description on the menu said the salmon was "just cooked", leaving it very moist. I really liked that the use of a very British ingredient such as treacle in combination with the other ingredients gave the salmon  its "Eastern" touch. Salmon obviously goes really well with the other ingredients but can easily be overpowered by them. Because these ingredients were used with great subtlety, the salmon was still was the main act in this very refined dish.

UKdec2010 139

The third course was stone bass, langoustine macaroni, minestrone broth, crispy squid and Vila del Rey ham. You don't often find Stone bass, also known as wreck fish or wrakvis, on restaurant menus. Nigel Haworth told us that he was inspired to do a dish with stone bass by Nathan Outlaw. Nathan Outlaw cooked stone bass in his menu at the Northcote Obsession Festival in 2010. For me this dish was the star of the evening, absolutely fabulous,  nothing more needs to be said and since I have the habit of ordering brilliant dishes twice, I ordered it again from the a la carte menu the next day...

UKdec2010 140

Next on was a dish of yellow beets with roast shallots, garlic, figs, balsamic and garden leaves. Beetroot is not a personal favourite of mine, but fortunately this yellow beet had a less earthy flavour. If you're British (I have never met a Brit who didn't love beetroot) you will love this dish.

On to the fifth course. Free range chicken "Indian Game", black peas, bacon, Medjool dates and game chips. This was a rich and complex dish. The full flavoured chicken was in perfect harmony with the other bold flavours and I was really pleased to see chicken appear in the tasting menu. Too rarely it does.

UKdec2010 148

The last course before dessert was a wild Sika deer in a "Bread Blanket" with Autumn truffles, roots and a salsify fritter. The beautifully cooked deer was wrapped in a very thinly rolled bread blanket - instead of pastry. Although I love Wellington style dishes, the pastry can sometimes be a bit rich. Bread "pastry" on the other hand is much lighter and it didn't  interfere with the intensely flavoured deer. I'm always impressed with  the quality of game in the UK.  Wish we had such quality in Holland. Again a very well balanced dish and as with the other dishes, an excellent choice of vegetables. The roots were divine.

UKdec2010 151

 

UKdec2010 158   
For dessert we had the cheese (served in our room).

Northcote's 7 course tasting menu is very well constructed and uses its ingredients very intelligently. Although I can't remember all the details of the tasting menu I had six years ago, my impression is that Northcote is striving for more finesse and I think they're doing a brilliant job. Not a single dish was overpowering in any way. The main ingredient is always the star of the show.

In the last few years there's been a lot of talk about local and seasonal food in restaurants. In Northcote Manor it's not just talk. Especially the creative use of seasonal vegetables in their full glory (not just a foam or a splosh) impresses. The cauliflower in the croquette, the lovely vegetables (celery and spinach) in the stone bass dish and the glorious roots in the deer dish were all wonderful. To put it in entertainment terms: all the vegetables performed their supporting roles sublimely.

Nigel Haworth and head chef Lisa Allen are certainly fortunate to be in an area with such wonderful produce and the producers should be equally thankful for having such intelligent and creative chefs in the area who so eloquently translate their wonderful produce into great food.

 http://www.northcote.com/

Wine note: Northcote Manor has an eclectic wine list and the pricing is very fair for a restaurant of this status. Lots of interesting bottles to choose from. The old world and the new both get the attention they deserve and the list features many wines between 20 and 40 pounds a bottle. Those of you who want to splash out however, will find some reassuringly expensive bottles to do so. Craig Bancroft has a personal attachment to Portugal (his parents retired there in 1983) and this is reflected in the wide choice of Portuguese wines on the list. Adam Pawlowski, the head sommelier is both knowledgeable and very helpful. Northcote is an excellent place for wine too! 


 

Northcote on Urbanspoon


Posted 02-01-2011




 
Comment:
Nice report , its definitely on my list for 2011...When my diet finishes ;-)
Posted by: Alan spedding | 02/01/2011 18:06:55


Comment:
What a lovely experience!! Did you make it to the Highlands with all that snow? Looking forward to reading more!
Posted by: Jennifer- The Adventuresome Kitchen | 12/01/2011 16:04:52


Comment:
Uhhmmmm!! Looks delicious! That was a nice place to visit and nice foods. I like your blog. Keep it up.
Posted by: marion | 05/03/2011 04:04:03


Comment:
The place look amazing! And the food seems yummy!
Posted by: Carol | 28/03/2011 21:09:48



Post a comment





Your Information

(Name and e-mail address are required. E-mail address will not be displayed with the comment.)





 
If you enter a value in this anti-spam field, the system will think your message is spam and will not send it.


 

Search




 
Soon on ElizabethOnFood
Hertog Jan in Bruges (3 Michelin stars)
 
De Kromme Watergang, Netherlands (2 Michelin stars)
 
Midsummer House, Cambridge (2 Michelin stars)
 
 
Video Picks
 
Restaurant Frantzén
"Customized"
Watch video
 
Schloss Berg ***
Christian Bau's Schloss Berg in Germany
Watch video
 
Atelier Crenn
A day at 2-star Atelier Crenn in San Francisco
Watch video
MORE VIDEOS
 
Most Popular
Sea Grill in Brussels - 2 Michelin stars
Read more
 
Comme Chez Soi in Brussels - 2 Michelin stars
Read more
 
Azurmendi in Larrabetzu, Spain - 3 Michelin stars
Read more
 
Michelin
Michelin guide Main Cities of Europe 2014
Read more
 
Nordic Michelin starred chefs on Twitter
Read more
 
Michelin guide France 2014
Read more
MORE
 

 

 
My Restaurants
London


Launceston Place (2014)
Restaurant Story (2013)
Brasserie Chavot (2013)
Berners Tavern (2013)
Lima (2013)
Social Eating House (2013)
Trishna (2013)
l'Autre Pied (2013)
Bubbledogs Kitchen Table (2013)
Dabbous (2013)
Hedone (2012)
Bo London (2013)
Hibiscus (2011/2013)
SHOW MORE >
My Restaurants
UK


The Fat Duck (05/11/12/13)
The Curlew, Bodiam (2013)
Nathan Outlaw (2011/2013)
Paul Ainsworth at No 6 (2011/2013)
Gidleigh Park (2008/2011/2013)
Midsummer House (2012)
The Sportsman (2012)
Tuddenham Mill (2012)
Sat Bains restaurant (2012)
The Royal Oak (2011/2012)
Alimentum (2012)
Rocksalt (2012/2013)
The Hand & Flowers (2010/2011)
SHOW MORE >
My Restaurants
Netherlands


Librije's Zusje, Amsterdam (2014)
De Librije (07/09/10/11/12/13/14)
Bord'eau, Amsterdam (12/13/14)
Ciel Bleu, Amsterdam (2011/2014)
Chapeau!, Bloemendaal (2013)
Daalder, Amsterdam (2014)
&samhoud places (2012/2013)
Ron Gastrobar (2013)
Bridges, Amsterdam (2013)
Le Petit Bistro, Amsterdam (2014)
De Treeswijkhoeve (2013)
Perceel, Capelle a/d IJssel (2012/2013)
De Leest, Vaassen (2008/2012)
SHOW MORE >
My Restaurants
Germany


Uberfahrt, Rottach-Egern (2013)
Schloss Berg (2010/2013)
La Belle Epoque (2013)
Villa Merton, Frankfurt (2013)
Reinstoff (2013)
Tim Raue, Berlin (2013)
Waldhotel Sonnora (03/09/13)
Aqua (2013)
Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, Berlin (2013)
Vendome (2007/2010/2013)
Essigbratlein, Nuremberg (2013)
Haerlin, Hamburg (2013)
Sullberg Seven Seas, Hamburg (2013)
SHOW MORE >
My Restaurants
Other


DiverXO, Spain (2014)
Azurmendi, Spain (2014)
Osteria Francescana, Italy (2013)
Frantzen, Stockholm (2012/2014)
Le Calandre (2013)
Silvio Nickol, Vienna (2014)
Steirereck, Vienna (2014)
Dom Beisl, Vienna (2014)
Matbaren, Stockholm (2014)
Ekstedt, Stockholm (2014)
In De Wulf (2013)
Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland (2013)
De Jonkman, Brugge (2013)
SHOW MORE >
My Restaurants
France


Michel Guerard, Eugenie-les-Bains (2014)
l'Arpege (2013)
Le Pre Catelan (2013)
Jean-Francois Piege, Paris (2013)
Le Clos du Cedre, Beaune (2013)
Le Cote Saint Jacques, Joigny (2013)
l'Atelier Robuchon, St Germain (2013)
Guy Savoy (2013)
Astrance (2013)
Le Sergent Recruteur (2013)
Le Cote St Jacques, Joigny (2013)
Brasserie Thoumieux, Paris (2013)
Pierre Gagnaire (2012)
SHOW MORE >

©2014 Elizabeth On Food