Guide

Nine pies worth heading out of the city for

British Pie Week 2020 is rolling to a close and our minds are moving away from the convenient lunchtime or after work pies of the city and wandering to the hills and suburbs with a long weekend lunch – and perhaps a windswept preprandial stroll – in mind.

The, er, humble pie has never really been fashionable but with the hardy trend for sharing and small plates in so many recently opened restaurants still rampant, you have to work a bit harder to snuffle out a good un. But don’t worry, as ever, we’ve done the graft for you.

Whether it’s a hefty steak, mushroom and ale pudding at The Bird at Birtle, a mustard-laced Lancashire bomber cheese and onion at The Eagle and Child or a lightly smoky fish pie flecked with red prawns at The Oystercatcher, not to mention regularly rotating seasonal specials from celebrated purveyors of pastry like Stosie Madi at The Parker’s Arms or Rob Owen Brown at The Hinchcliffe, there’s a pie here with your name on it.

  • Book Now Manchester

    Bird At Birtle

    British

    “Local chef’ Andrew Nutters’ near perfect gastropub .

    The big first-floor window at the rear of Andrew Nutter’s pub operation frames the moors – and this pub, a sister to Nutters’ restaurant proper – is an ode of sorts to its’ impressive, rural location, the menu as handsome as the view. Dishes are principally British and Lancastrian recipes, artfully delivered. Sticky slow-cooked Dingly Dell pork belly, a traditional prawn cocktail with artisanal sourdough or tempura Bury black pudding with Lancashire cheese; Nutter doesn’t shy from retro classics, and this menu makes you wonder why we don’t see more of them. Mains, meanwhile, give you what you want; there’s a short rib Birtle Burger, beer-battered cod, oak-smoked haddock with rarebit, home made bangers and gourmet peri peri chicken as well as dry-aged English steaks and an outstanding steak and kidney pudding. Expect more crowdpleasers in the dessert department; peach melba knickerbocker glory and creme brulee, for example while wines cover both showstoppers and schlurpers with seveal bottles drawn from Nutters’ impressive cellar. If you like the sound of this, see also Nutters Restaurant entry. “

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  • 26 Book Now Lancashire

    The Cartford Inn

    British

    This historic coaching house serves adventurous British pub food in poetic configurations. Cooking is by mushroom forager and head chef, Chris Bury, whose CV includes the Fat Duck and Claridges, while award-winning suppliers include local wine merchants, D Byrne and Gornall’s dairy, near Preston. The interior, some of which dates back to the 1800s, is packed with wood panels and idiosyncratic artworks while the wider complex takes in glass-clad extensions, an al fresco terrace, and cool, eco-style cabins, integrated into the landscape. A place to get away from it all for a day, or a night – and enjoy some of the best food in the region at the same time.

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  • Book Now Cheshire

    The Church Green

    British

    Aiden Byrne’s countryside pub where excellent meat comes as standard. Rump of texel lamb, for example, and a huge, British wing rib, (clocking in at 32oz) are typical dishes at the local legend’s acclaimed gastropub. Byrne’s CV is nothing short of stellar: he was awarded a Michelin star, aged just 22, for his menu at Adlards Restaurant in Norfolk. The Church Green is a homely kind of operation, run by Byrne and his wife Sarah, and offers a rare chance to eat this famous chef’s food in relaxed surrounds. A winning bet.

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  • Book Now Lancashire

    Eagle and Child

    British

    Award-winning pub grub in the hills above Manchester This excellent pub is famous for Sunday lunches and gourmet pub food. Under the auspices of Glen Hackett, the décor is comfortable and pubby, with a major draw being the beer garden that was jointly created with local food growing initiative, Incredible Edible Ramsbottom. Hackett has a background in youth work, so much of his project here (and at other offshoots such as Heaton Park café and Fusiliers Museum in Bury) has training opportunities for young offenders and those who might otherwise find it hard to get on their feet. A feel-good, eat good kind of place.

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  • Book Now Lancashire

    The Hearth of the Ram

    British

    Extraordinary pub food reinventing classic local flavours. Enjoy confident cooking in a historic, 200-year-old pub on the cusp of the countryside. Marketing is a little like the Drunken Duck; comfort and service are pushed to the fore while fine, French techniques meet local flavours on a seductive menu. The owners are Scots, Euan and Dena Watkins, with more than 20 years’ experience in the trade. The wine list is small but spot on, and whisky stands out.

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  • Book Now Yorkshire

    The Hinchcliffe Arms

    British

    Full-on British food delivered with flair and imagination. Putting the goodness of earth, river and sea on a plate, head chef and game expert Robert Owen Brown possesses both skill and character to turn locally caught creatures into the kind of hearty dishes you’ll really want to eat. Former head chef at The Bridge, ROB was an early adopters of the Manchester Egg (a Scotch Egg variant with black pudding wrapped around a pickled egg). Expect equally flavour-packed cooking here – crispy black pudding potato cake with tarragon sauce, for example, or hickory-smoked corn-fed chicken salad with parsnip crisps, alongside mains which celebrate traditional British cuisine. Whole roast grouse with game chips, and bread sauce, Cornish octopus with homemade saffron mayo, loin of local lamb or pheasant breast are typical. Desserts such as bread and butter pudding, ROB’s signature Vimto trifle, and selection of chocolate mousses, top off a hearty feast – and there’s a solid wine list too. Beers are supplied by Mancunian brewers JW Lees, little surprise give the impact that Owen Brown has made in the city. And the setting is perfect too; a real country pub, dating back to 1850 with open fires. What more could you want?

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Oystercatcher

    European

    “Doing lots of little things right” is a definition of perfection – and this simple seafood restaurant in Chorlton is just that. The kitchen’s Essa grill is masterfully handled by co-owner (and former Lead Station chef) Recep Canliisik, who churns out char-grilled whole squid and seabream, Thai-spiced monkfish tail and possibly the best calamari in the UK.

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  • 15 Book Now Lancashire

    Parker’s Arms

    European

    Homely pub, serving and baking extraordinary, modern European food. This tastefully renovated pub and restaurant has everything the worldly gourmand could desire, with none of the faff and pretension that usually comes with that title. Wines and beers are plucked from the world’s finest makers while food is served in the clean lines of the restaurant and woody bar. A wonderful place to come and recharge the batteries, in one of the country’s overlooked corners.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    The White Hart at Lydgate

    Modern British

    Rustic dining pub with excellent reputation and wine list. Located seven hundred feet above sea level, where Saddleworth Moor starts, the restaurant is located in an impressive former coaching house, and it’s a place for all; a composite experience including a restaurant and brasserie with two AA rosettes, pub, function areas and a boutique hotel. There are many cosy seating areas: low ceilings, beams, exposed stone walls and big fireplaces. Head chef Mike Shaw’s cooking, meanwhile, is all about local ingredients cooked with flair. Cheese is a strength with French and British options, while dessert could include duck egg custard tart, a passionfruit cheesecake, coconut yoghurt with chocolate and eucalyptus, or a pear tart tatin with liquorice ice cream.

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