It’s a new year, and a new decade, and our team of restaurant reviewers have got a whole list of eateries to get out to and enjoy. But what are the favourites of the last year? Here’s our top places to eat from 2019.
Capri, a fine restaurant, serves up a lovely evening meal and has now earned itself quite a reputation in the brunching stakes.
Their brunch is at the heart of their daily menu and it is not disappointing. With something to suit all tastes all-day breakfast, smashed avocado and poached eggs to pancakes there is something to suit all tastes.
Not only is the choice excellent, it all looks amazing and arguably very good for you too.
Most dishes range between £5 and £9 and for quality and quantity, this is definitely value for money – given the setting and ambience of the restaurant. Brunch is available from 9am to 5pm.
With the waterfront just a short distance away, it’s a great excuse for a gentle walk to finish your visit.
Billy Bob’s Parlour, Bolton Abbey, near Skipton
Topping my tastebuds for 2019 has to be Billy Bob’s near Skipton.
Located just across the border into Yorkshire, if you’ve got children to entertain the all-American ice cream parlour, diner and play area could tick off a full day.
Popping up out of nowhere, it’s set in beautiful rolling countryside and consists of the diner, an outdoor wooden play area and two huge barns that have been filled with straw bales for the kids to play amongst.
Inside, the diner it’s a riot of colour and packed with all manner of Americana with gas pumps, cola merchandise, shiny jukeboxes and even a replica of a yellow school bus complete with dining tables.
On the menu, alongside sundaes, sodas and shakes there’s freshly made waffles and pancakes which you can pile high with all kinds of toppings, while on the savoury side there’s burgers hot dogs, salads and bagels to choose from, and they can all be done ‘your way’.
Billy Bob’s offers fantastic value with eye watering portions and across the generations appeal - the kids love the play areas, teenagers love the style and even if the grandparents are on holiday duty, they will love the music.
My ultimate restaurant of the year has to be Eden, which is tucked just off the main road through Burscough.
Eden opened just this summer and so I’m giving it a High Five for reaching such high standards in such a short space of time.
Eden offers diners a tapas-style selection with sections covering meat, veg and fish and sides. The mix and match choice is yours, depending on your appetite, but be warned: Eden has one of those menus where every option is calling your name.
We selected a starter of shrimp crostini and lemon butter (tiny morsels of shy shrimps huddled together on a citrussy blanket) and olives with basil oil so we could nibble while we prevaricated.
From the fish section, calamari with lemon pepper, tempura vegetables and Japanese soy mayonnaise was a light yet delicious dream. A black pudding scotch egg with chorizo crumb and wholegrain mustard sauce made a powerful statement.
A delicious portion of spicy sticky chicken thighs showcased melting chicken; and the Asian slaw and rice noodles nestling underneath weren’t shy in their delivery of a spicy kick.
King Scallops appeared on a bed of pancetta, honey and cauliflower puree; and pork belly was a mini-meal, with sage and onion potatoes, heritage carrots and apple sauce. They were just some of the culinary highlights, together with friendly service, menu advice, and a welcoming, warming restaurant. I’ll be back in 2020.
In September I headed to Cosmopolitan in Chorley town centre on a rare midweek day off, with a complete blank canvas regarding what to expect.
Hidden away down a small side street, the restaurant is modern and welcoming with a fantastic cocktail menu and contemporary Mediterranean meals to choose from.
We opted for their Sunday to Friday fixed price menu, where you can get three courses for £17.95.
With starters of salt and pepper calamari and pork and chorizo meatballs, followed by mains of flaked teriyaki salmon and rosemary chicken and chorizo tagliatelle, the value was superb and something you would be happy with paying full price for outside of the offer menu times.
Husband and wife owners Recep and Vanda Tankut ended 2019 as a winner of the 2020 Good Food Awards; something that has been 10 years in the making for the couple of 26 years.
A well deserved honour for the both of them to shout about throughout the new year.
The Lounge Bar and Restuarant, Longton
It was with some trepidation that in October, we took a trip to The Lounge Bar and Restaurant near Longton.
The restaurant had formerly been a favourite (Langs of Longton) and so we were concerned that it might disappoint.
We needn’t have worried.
Yes, the decor and indeed the menu, have changed. But both are in the hands of experts who served us up a three-course treat.
I’d recommend the wild mushroom risotto starter – the stock was tremendous – the kind of flavour you just can’t create at home unless you slave over the stove for about three days.
The main courses - shoulder of lamb and fillet steak were exquisite. Perfectly cooked and tasty to boot. And then there was an amazing sticky toffee pudding...
And the best thing is there is an early bird menu from 5-9pm Wednesday to Friday and 5-6pm on Saturdays at two courses for £17.95, which is exceptional value for this kind of quality.
We’ve already been back for more!
Royal Oak, Riley Green
The Royal Oak was one of my favourite pubs back in the late 80s.
More than 30 years on it has become one of my favourite dining places – and certainly the stand-out venue for me of Eating Out 2019.
Run by brothers Michael and Chris Rawlinson – who recently opened the Pickled Goose at Barton – the Royal Oak has taken its pub food to a new level, particularly since the country inn underwent a complete renovation in 2018.
As with most successful restaurants, the secret is using the best ingredients on the menu, like a beef and ale pie made from Swaledale rare breed beef and Tarn How Brewery beer.
Since our visit in August we have been back for a second helping – and enjoyed an equally impressive meal at the Pickled Goose. Both highly recommended.