The fabulous Freemasons Arms, in the Lancashire village of Wiswell, is a real jewel in the crown of the beautiful Ribble Valley

The reason for the great success of the Freemasons is easy to work out once you have been and sampled the amazing food that chef patron Steve Smith and his team produce.

The food at the Freemasons is continually evolving with Steve and head chef Matt Smith working tirelessly to use the great ingredients available to them to delight and tantalise the customers.

The trend around at the moment finds us with too many places doing the same thing, but with the fabulous menus and great service from front of house manager Aga and hostess Becci, Freemasons’ guests receive an unrivalled dining experience.

The Freemasons really is bucking that trend, and it is affordable too! The menus available are varied and perfectly designed to allow diners to go the ‘full Monty’ with the seven indulgent courses of the Tasting Menu or the Seasonal Menu, where you can have the chefs’ latest creations – it is superb value as is the traditional Sunday lunch!

I recently had the pleasure, with some friends, to enjoy a long leisurely and slightly boozy Freemasons’ lunch, which left us all really very content. We were very impressed by the food and also the great value and comprehensive wine list.

Our starters included a soup of chargrilled leek and smoked haddock, which was simple and delightful, served with bread rolls, granary and a brioche, cooked with lamb fat – they had to be the best ever!

Chicken livers, the humblest of ingredients, were elevated to a level that was almost unbelievable, served Yakitori style (a Japanese soy based sauce) on a crispy toast with a superb mushroom puree. This was cooking of the highest standard.

Two of the guests had a main course of suckling pig, slow cooked cheek, crispy belly, sweet potato and Granny Smith apples, served with a moreish XO sauce. This dish was polished off with gusto and lots of appreciative greedy comments were uttered!

The staple fish of the British Isles cod seems to be back and a very simple roast loin of this great fish was elevated by a Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut puree, chorizo and a sauce Nero, which added another dimension to a lovely plate of food.

Judith’s choice of oxtail baked in a brioche pie with a beer sauce served with amazing mashed potatoes, was just simple, delicious food, nothing fancy just good wholesome fare.

We were waning a little by now, but the temptation of Steve’s classic deconstructed Amalfi lemon meringue was too great. This dish really must stay on the menu forever!

Home baked rice pudding with vanilla and orange really is nothing like granny used to make – it is a culinary delight served with Yorkshire rhubarb jam creating a really tremendous balance of flavours.

We finished off our meal and desserts with a little gem of a pudding wine from Tasmania, Tamar Ridge Riesling. Indulgent perhaps, but we had eaten great food and drunk some lovely wines. The whole experience at the Freemasons is one you should not miss, forget the awards and look at why they have them. It is a beautiful place, friendly with delightful service, and above all, superb food and wine.

Freemasons at Wiswell
8 Vicarage Fold
Wiswell, Nr Clitheroe
Lancashire BB7 9DF
01254 822218
facebook/The Freemasons
twitter@wiswell chef

Steven Smith Chef & Managing Director
01254 822218 ext 2 / 07794 408887



Tedd Walmsley

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