Guide

The best restaurants… in the middle of nowhere

There’s a good reason some of the very best restaurants are in the middle of nowhere; because they have to work harder to get you there. It usually also means that you’re closer to where the food came from (you know, fields ‘n’ that), which tends to mean you’re eating the best of that product much sooner after it became destined for your plate. All good things. And sometimes it’s just nice to drive somewhere far off and not get pissed. Sometimes.

 

 

 

  • 4 Book Now Yorkshire

    The Moorcock

    Modern British

    An astonishing arrival on the Northern culinary scene. This unassuming pub serves foraged and regional ingredients in thrilling configurations, catching the eye of national food critics and diners alike. The menu could include crispy fish skin and tarts of foraged berries, wood-roasted goat, leeks with new season garlic and pickled plums, homemade black pudding, roasted beeswax ice cream and cascades of herbs and leaves that go way beyond plate dressing.

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  • 11 Book Now Lancashire

    The White Swan at Fence

    British

    Some folk in the village stlll refer to it as “The Mucky Duck’ and you can still order a pint of Timothy Taylor’s at its very pubby bar but over the past three years the Swan has established itself as a destination fine dining spot thanks to 20something chef Tom Parker. From up the road in Burnley, at 16 he begged a start at Michelin-starred Northcote, becoming a protégé of Lisa Allen and scooping a Young Chef of the Year award. That prodigious talent is evident throughout the short menus here, which change daily on the back of produce turning up on his doorstep.

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  • Book Now Cumbria

    The Samling

    Modern British

    Delightful lodge and fine dining restaurant oozing exclusivity. A favourite of Hollywood celebs (like Tom Cruise), it’s easy to see why this charming, collection of restored farm cottages is thriving; recent additions include restaurant and kitchen complex alongside the main house complete with glass-fronted dining room overlooking Lake Windermere.

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  • 2 Book Now Lancashire

    Moor Hall

    Modern British

    Mark Birchall, ex-head chef at L’Enclume is chef-patron of this outstanding two Michelin star, 5 AA Rosette restaurant with rooms. The large, Grade II-listed manor house in this flat and lush part of the country dates back to the 14th century and its located in acres of ground that takes in a country garden, lake, kitchen gardens and a whole lot more. Birchall’s backers and co-owners, the Bells, haven’t scrimped on the investment – and their head chef is a safe bet. Having trained at the three star El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (twice voted the best restaurant in the world), he went on to win the Roux scholarship in 2011. The Roca brothers have had a big impact on Mark Birchall and Moor Hall is benefiting from the experience.

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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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  • 13 Book Now Cumbria

    The Forest Side

    Modern British

    Another Rogan protégé comes into his own. This Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel, owned by Lakes hotelier Andrew Wildsmith, is built around the cooking of former L’Enclume forager, Kevin Tickle. The menu is, undoubtedly, “inspired by the Cumbrian landscape”, but there’s plenty more going on here, with aspects of Scandi and Californian chic creeping into the tasting and lunch menus. While adventurous meat eaters are very well catered for, vegetarians are certainly not left out. In fact, ‘garden shenanigans’ are a theme as lovage, anise hyssop, woodruff, lemon verbena all typically feature along with wild garlic capers, elderflower and coastal greens.

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  • 10 Book Now Lancashire

    The Freemasons at Wiswell

    British

    Cooking goes from strength to strength at this adventurous food pub. Roaring fires, cast-iron fireplaces and pictures of fantastically proportioned livestock lend a cosy vibe to the renovated cottages which make up what’s often been described as the original gastropub. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a static operation. Steven Smith’s menu sees powerful flavours handled with ease. Expect something really special.

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  • 21 Book Now Lancashire

    Northcote

    Modern British

    This elegant dining room is where chef-patron, Nigel Haworth, earned his stripes as an instigator of contemporary British fine dining. Today, Michelin star chef and one of BBC2’s Great British Menu winners, Lisa Allen, heads up the kitchen. Expect a roving, regional smorgasbord, tempered with classic techniques and contemporary flavours. Things have changed on the looks front and following a huge cash injection, the surroundings are light and sumptuous, which is part of the allure – not least to Michelin inspectors. There’s a private dining room sponsored by Louis Roederer and the cellar, complete with some exceptional New World options, is fit for the pickiest of tasters. Bottles are hand-picked by Northcote co-founder and expert sommelier, Craig Bancroft.

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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 Derbyshire

    Fischers Baslow Hall

    Modern British

    Fine Michelin-starred dining with local foraged aspects in homely, romantic surrounds. Using the fruits of the region when everyone else was importing from abroad, Fischers stuck to its guns and now does it arguably better than anyone else in Derbyshire. The refreshingly brief menu lists key ingredients, riffing on a kitchen garden theme. Lettuces and herbs are plucked from the kitchen gardens and there’s an old-fashioned wine list to match the standards at the pass, as well as a bespoke wine room. Décor is chintzy (in a good way) with contemporary wallpaper and polished trimmings. This Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in a Grade II listed Derbyshire Manor House is a destination restaurant. Extras include lunch deal, foraging courses and a chance to visit the 12 bee hives that reside in the hotel’s grounds.

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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

    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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