Alan Burrows and his clan enjoy the warm hospitality at the Blue Mallard in Burscough, one of the participants in the Made in Lancashire promotion
From the moment we walked across the courtyard I knew we were in for a treat.
The lights twinkled and invited us in from a hard afternoon’s ice skating.
The comfy settees beneath the great pine virtually lulled us into a slouch.
The food at the neighbouring table was the siren’s call – I would have quite happily crashed on to the rocks for the sublime-looking fare.
Ordering was easy, partially because they indulged our weird ways.
Two starters from the children’s menu for the girl, a small portion of the ribs for the lad, a steak for the lady and for me, I’m happy to be the guinea pig, two from the specials’ board.
My locally-shot pheasant breast sat on a bed of intense kale with a beetroot and thyme risotto served under a smoking cloche (that’s a glass dome to me and you for the presentation effect) was a delight.
I also like the way it says ‘locally shot’ – it highlights the honesty of the restaurant.
The risotto was almost tangy (I don’t know why) and the meat tender and tasty.
I followed that up with a loin of hake with tagliatelle smothered in a coating sauce crammed with shrimps, brown crab meat, peas, kale cream, and Sauvignon wine.
It was so good I almost forgot to steal forkfuls of tasters from my wife’s plate.
However, our daughter didn’t. Her fingers were unpeeling king prawns, plucking rib eye steak and dipping potato wedges in the pot of Diane sauce. And while I was plotting my raid on the same dish, the lad quietly dismantled his ribs and chips.
I can’t confirm whether they were magical but I know when the young lad is sated.
We had been meant to eat the Made in Lancashire special menu, a celebration of local food and drink.
And while we missed that particular treat there’s no doubting this was the county’s produce.
The meat is supplied by West Lancs Poultry, which sources Ribble Valley lamb, Goosnargh chicken, Scottish Beef and free range pork.
The seafood is delivered from M and J Seafood and the vegetables are locally sourced through Causeway Farm Shop just up the road in Rufford.
The bread is from The Bakehouse next to the restaurant on the redeveloped Burscough Wharf.
There were little touches throughout which impressed.
The children’s food off a reasonably-priced menu (£2.50 for prawn cocktail and also for a potato and leek soup), were presented beautifully.
Their deserts, chocolate surprise (including popping candy) and the ice cream, looked wonderful and apparently tasted better.
The staff were friendly and the layout didn’t make you feel you were on a production line.
There’s even a balcony overlooking the canal and I can already imagine myself sipping a wine watching the barges come summer.
Address: Burscough Wharf,
Liverpool Rd N, Burscough, Ormskirk, Lancashire L40 5RZ