AND MR SMITH’S
In the picturesque village of Wiswell you can find one of the leading dining pubs that has forged a big reputation for fabulous food, fine wine, great beer with friendly and attentive service
Since opening its doors nearly 10 years ago after a triumphant refurbishment, the Freemasons has established itself as a serious dining pub that has attracted much attention from the general public and the hotel and catering industry, resulting in the winning of many prestigious awards.
Steven Smith and the team have meticulously adhered to the ethos of ‘evolution not revolution’, which has allowed the Freemasons to maintain quality and consistency in everything it does. The flawless customer service and development of ground-breaking cuisine is key to the team’s success, and this has been mirrored in their most recent achievements – all whilst sticking true to its pub roots.
Celebrating a year like no other, 2015 saw Freemasons re-writing history by doing what no pub has ever done previously – achieving 7/10 in the revered and respected Waitrose Good Food Guide 2015 and again in both 2016 and 2017 cementing their place as the best pub around. This is undoubtedly one of Steve’s greatest achievements to date but was made all the sweeter by also taking first place in the UK’s top 50 pubs list for two consecutive years and being ranked 41/50 (ahead of Tom Kerridge’s famous 2* restaurant The Hand and Flowers) in the Top 50 restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland. 2018 was also an award-winning year with the pub being crowned the AA Restaurant of the Year.
All that said there is nothing pretentious about this rural country inn, despite its growing list of accolades, and it is clear that the dishes served rely on the concentrated quality of the ingredients and the expert skills of the chefs, making it the perfect backdrop for every occasion – whether it’s a long, lazy Sunday lunch with family, priced at just £35 for three delicious courses, a gourmet dinner or just a good steak and a pint of beer.
There is a confidence on the menu that has enabled the Freemasons to stand out from the crowd and celebrate nature’s natural larder. Over the years, regular events have been introduced and these, as well as the sophisticated, ever-evolving menus, reflect Steve, Aga and the team’s passion for quality produce and service.
The pub retains its welcoming atmosphere and traditional roots, and the introduction of the Freemasons’ ‘Chippy Tea’, a contemporary version of the nostalgic classic, has proved outstandingly popular and is just one example of the team’s ability to make ordinary food extraordinary. The Seasonal Sunday Lunch and Early Supper menus mirror all that is good about the season, as well as regular evenings with guest chefs.
The Freemasons excels at serving seasonal ingredients with a flourish of originality, enabling customers to enjoy a truly unique dining experience. A quote from Harden’s 2018 guide serves as testament to this, ‘The pub has been unfairly overlooked by Michelin and serves some of the finest food in the Ribble Valley – it’s fine dining of a consistently high standard.’
The summer of 2019 promises to be the most exciting since the pub first opened with an incredible new kitchen complete with Mr Smith’s chef’s table for up to 12 guests, cooking masterclasses and other incredible gastronomic experiences. Steven describes the kitchen as, ‘forward thinking, experimental and revolutionary – a space to be enjoyed by everyone.’ The team’s new motto of ‘seasonal, progressive, passionate and humble’ sums up the ethos perfectly. And finally, from July 2019 the first four luxury bedrooms will be available with more on the way – these timeless rooms exude quality and will complete the full Freemasons’ package.