After a short absence Simon’s Suppers is back and what a fantastic place to start, the Coach and Horses at Bolton-by-Bowland
The picturesque village of Bolton-by-Bowland is a short hop from the town of Clitheroe and easily accessible from the A59 through the countryside and hamlet of Sawley.
The Coach and Horses is, from the exterior, a very pretty country pub like many others, but this one has been lovingly restored into a tour de force of hospitality, with an on-site brewery, the Four Mice, thrown in. Boasting a welcoming traditional bar, immaculate and quite stunning restaurant and seven equally superb bedrooms, what more could you ask for if planning a stay in the Ribble Valley?
Unfortunately, we were only able to enjoy the restaurant and bar on our visit. After a very relaxing aperitif we were shown to a lovely table and given time to peruse a menu that exceeded all our expectations. From delicate nibbles and traditional pub dishes to very imaginative classics, the chefs obviously take great advantage of the local produce available to them when creating a great menu.
However, as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating! We devoured a few of the tasty nibbles – my favourite was the cauliflower fritters, but the rest of the table outvoted me with the lamb koftas, served with yoghurt and mint. They all were delicious! To accompany dinner, we enjoyed a lovely Albarino with lots of fruit and acidity.
For starters Judith chose superb sea-fresh steamed mussels in a chilli, mint and ginger jus with crusty dipping bread. Nicola had pan seared scallops perfectly cooked, tender and sweet with a Pedro Ximenez sauce – they were excellent!
Ken opted for fishcake, homemade with the freshest ingredients, slightly larger than expected but very good indeed. For me it had to be devilled kidneys! Served in a rich and unctuous creamy and spicy sauce, they were tremendous, an absolute winner!
A word of advice now, don’t get too greedy early on as we were already feeling quite full!
Judith has a soft spot for cheese and onion pie, home-made with chips and mushy peas, so she was very happy. Nicola is an ardent fish lover so the beautiful fillet of pan-fried sea bass with wilted spinach and capers, shallot and chicken jus was light and delicious – just what she wanted.
Ken is very fond of food his mum used to make, so steak and ale pie topped with rich flaky pastry was everything he hoped for, rich, tasty and delicious.
I went completely off piste, as I have only recently relished fish. Off the daily menu, I decided to try Provençale fish stew, traditionally served with masses of fresh fish and seafood accompanied by aioli, rouille and a crouton. I have to say that I would visit again just to experience this magnificent dish – it was superb!
Desserts were really going to be a bridge too far, but we compromised and shared a chocolate fondant alongside a caramelized lemon tart, both equally delicious – a superb finale to a very enjoyable experience complemented by friendly efficient staff and lovely surroundings – a great welcome back!
Coach and Horses
Bolton-by-Bowland BB7 4NW