The Clog & Billycock is a stylishly presented country gastropub, with well thought out colour patterns of the non-offensive John Lewis variety. Originally the Bay Horse, the pub’s name was changed in 1973 in honour of its former characterful Landlord, Alfred Pomfret who always wore clogs and a billycock behind the bar. I was worried a billycock was some kind of fetish item, and relieved it turned out to be a bowler hat. There were lots of interesting details, quirky touches and links to the local area and produce. I loved the focus on tasteful design, in tune with its environment and purpose. To anyone familiar with Nigel Haworth, this will come as no surprise.
The Clog & Billycock Drinks Menu was pleasingly diverse, with a range of quality gin at reasonable prices. The Botanist Gin – my personal favourite – was deceptively complex and fragrant. Similarly, wine by the glass was perfectly quaffable and not outrageously expensive. Interestingly, The Clog & Billycock was the only gastropub I know offering wine from a 70ml measure. Despite the very good wine and spirits list, judging the clientele, I suspect the real ale was more popular – fair enough.
The Rump Steak Salad starter was beautifully presented and full of colour. The meat itself was perfectly rare, although a little chewy, while the dressing was incredibly aromatic. The local Seafood Platter was scrumptious, but at £17.50 not cheap considering the lack of preparation required; although, the quality was evident to anyone with a mouth. The Lancaster Beech & Juniper Smoked Salmon was as fresh as possible, pairing sensationally with horseradish cream. The Potted Flookborough Shrimps were buttery deliciousness, while the Smoked Mackerel Pate combined with it’s best mate beetroot was nothing short of divine. The Roast Pork was generously proportioned, arriving on a reassuringly hot plate. Not mind blowing, but comforting and meaty. The Salmon Wellington was both light and wholesome, with perfectly cooked vegetables and crispy pastry. The hearty apple sauce and silky gravy suggested proper country cooking was going on. Finally, The Clog & Billycock’s Spotted Dick (no giggling) was pacifying but far from electric.
The Clog & Billycock floor manager zipped about created a welcoming atmosphere. She turned a negative, the wrong desert arriving, into a positive by replacing it promptly in good humour. There were no less than four mistakes with the bill, impressive for only two diners, but none that were unresolvable. It was difficult at times to attract attention – servers looked in every direction but mine. That said, everything arrived perfectly promptly and in an organised fashion.
The Clog & Billycock in the appropriately named village of Pleasington provided a lower priced alternative to the luxurious local Northcote, but with the same Northern hospitality.
Clog & Billycock Restaurant
Atmosphere 9 Cost 6 Quality 8 Service 7