Restaurant Review: Northcote Manor, Blackburn

Northcote – Lancashire’s Lone Star Lunch

What better way to congratulate Jesus on rising from the dead, then sniffing out posh Sunday lunch? Northcote Manor, surrounding by sodden pastures and grey skies, is home to Lancashire’s only Michelin star and the formidable Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen.

A sense of Michelin hospitality was undermined by walking both in and out of Northcote Manor without acknowledgement, and neither my coat nor dripping umbrella was offered to be removed. Service was organised, and the smartly presented young Northcote team were cordial, but the bus conductor inspired maître d with his rapid fire: “Have you decided – what would you like – what can I get you?” was less than comforting.

Lunch not exceeding an (outstanding) Amuse Bouche was a ‘first world problem’ par excellance: the first bite had the bittersweet honour of being Northcote Manor’s highlight. Melting magenta shells fleetingly fizzled, birthing a tart, sizzling beetroot flavour, that slapped my taste buds ’round the chops in no uncertain terms.

There was no choice but to accept the Dinner Jacket Potato Soup, which was more butter than jacket. The trendy foraged herbs added freshness, although someone’s hair added the opposite.

The Beetroot was the prettiest plate I’d ever seen: vibrant hues and floral shapes, elegantly intertwined in an act of vegetarian poetry. The sweet and acidic elements energetically danced but lacked a focal point. The alien looking Duck was heavily entombed but worked affably alongside the uplifting sorrel. Real elegance was on display, with an obvious great deal of skill, care and thoughtfulness.

The Salmon proudly commanded the plate, yet unselfishly yielded to the fork’s graze. The boldly seasoned fish and convivially sweet roe double teamed the earthy mushrooms, creating a bravely balanced dish, which spoke of land and sea in matrimony. While the Japanese touch of soy, shitake and ikura (roe) worked charmingly. The thoughtfully composed Lamb was quality dead baby sheep but lacked a je ne sais quoi. It was so rare it walked passed the oven while being properly seared and heartily seasoned. The mash was superlatively silky and the scorched and pickled onions added textures and talking points. Again, the composition was a real mark of finesse.

I seldom want sandwiches for dessert – bread with the Cheeseboard wasn’t required. However, the trio of cheeses was delicious, especially a terrified looking puddle of something Brie related. Northcote Manor’s cleverly crafted Cream Egg was an enchanting nod to the season, providing deftly constructed contrasting textures, and my personal favourite flavour combination of hazelnut and white chocolate.

Northcote Manor Review Summary

Atmosphere 8/10    Cost 7/10    Quality 8/10    Service 8/10

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Beetroot Amuse Bouche

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Jacket Potato & Foraged Herb Soup

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Three Beets, Yellow, Red & Candied, Pickles Shallot Hearts, Horseradish, Herbs and Flowers

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Crunchy Goosnargh Duck, Sorrel Cream, Oxalis

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Roasted Salmon, Shitake Mushroom, Wilted Watercress, Soy

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Bowland Lamb, Crème Fraiche Potato, English Onion, Pickled, Scorched

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Three British Cheeses, House Crackers, Breads, Fireside Chutney and Fig Chutney

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn

Hazelnut Chocolate Cream Egg

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