With elegant interiors and a modern British menu with French influences, the award-winning Cartford Inn has become a firm favourite, writes Tedd Walmsley. Photography: Paul Melling
The timing of my latest trip to The Cartford Inn was perfect – the whole team was cockahoop as they had just found out that they had broken into the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs. We have only three pubs from Lancashire in this prestigious list and their inclusion is a fitting tribute to the incredible team dynamic at the inn.
The award will no doubt be seen to be richly deserved and shared by everyone from chefs to the front of house and the myriad of people who support them throughout the year. In some part the continued success at the inn comes from the ongoing investment by owners Patrick and Julie Beaume.
Since my last visit they have invested heavily in a brand new kitchen creating a state-of-the art environment and providing the best tools for the job along with the perfect platform for the creative and talented chefs, led by head chef Chris Bury. The excitement and enthusiasm they exude can be no coincidence given the team are loyal and longstanding and share the vision and passion of Patrick and Julie.
As we sat down for coffee I also noted that Julie’s creative eye had resulted in more refurbishment of one of my favourite areas to eat – by the roaring fire. Cosy, warm and inviting, this is a firm favourite on cold winter days, more intimate than the main restaurant areas and an ideal place to eat with friends. Patrick also told me about some of his next projects including a unique private dining experience in the cellar – but more of that in a future article!
One of the areas less familiar to me is the private dining facility in the River House where there was a corporate event taking place on the day of my visit. The inn has a great relationship with local businesses – the room can be booked for between 16 and 30 people and is the perfect backdrop for either business-related events or personal occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. As you can imagine the old barn has been renovated to an incredibly high standard and the results are an intimate and private, secluded space.
One of the great attractions of The Cartford Inn is its range of accommodation options – the 15 individually designed rooms have always represented great value for money alongside an award-winning breakfast. The recent addition of two new luxury studio cabins has taken this to a whole new level.
Our primary reason for visiting of course is the food and there really is something for everyone. Lancashire is an area steeped in food culture and the inn is surrounded by fabulous producers – fish from Fleetwood docks and meat and game sourced from local farmers alongside the whole larder of seasonal vegetables on their doorstep.
Innovations to the menu and constantly changing specials complement the classics – there would be rebellion if the calamari or French onion soup weren’t available! The proprietary French influence allows diners to enjoy dishes such as snails, oysters and fruits de mer alongside more traditional Lancashire delicacies including Morcambe Bay shrimps and a black pudding donut. So, with Easter approaching and the promise of warmer spring days and more daylight hours, take a trip to the Cartford Inn – you’ll receive the warmest of welcomes.
The Cartford Inn
Little Eccleston, Poulton-le-Fylde
Preston PR3 0YP