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Review: The Sparrowhawk, Fence
2:50pm Friday 12th August 2011 in Latest restaurant reviews
Address: Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, BB12 9QG. Phone number: 01282 603 034.
The Bolton News review by Andrew Greaves from August 11, 2011.
Fence is a village nestled above Burnley and Pendle in the foothills of the Pennines and, until recently, blessed with top-drawer eateries.
The choice is now more limited, but The Sparrowhawk, with its 17th Century charm and fine dining approach, is still as strong as ever.
A quick browse of the menu left me in a bit of a quandary, it was difficult to narrow it down to a single choice.
It is never a good idea to make a choice without a glass of something in the hand and Eagle Creek rosé, a delicious crisp white zinfandel from the vineyards of California, did the trick.
I plumped for the black pudding and potato galette for starter, while my partner chose the crispy duck salad (both £5.95).
Mine was a sizeable slice of galette, thin crisp potatoes layered with black pudding, completed with a mini scotch egg, a rasher of locally produced pancetta and a tangy piccalilli juice.
My girlfriend’s starter would have probably done as a nice summer lunch main, such was its size.
With plenty of moist, warm duck pieces, a nice amount of hoisin dressing and tasty, fresh salad leaves, it was light but with enough substance to do the trick.
Two thumbs up for the first courses then.
For mains, I had pretty much decided before we had arrived that I was going to have a lamb dish, purely because it is on the banned list in our house because her indoors doesn’t really like it.
Jeff Melling’s roasted lamb rump with crushed new potatoes and fresh Niçoise salsa (£14.95) jumped off the menu at me straight away.
I wasn’t asked how I would like my lamb cooked, but any worries that it would be over-cooked were eased as soon as it arrived.
It was lovely and pink — the only way to have lamb — and full of flavour, while the crushed new potatoes on which it sat had a perfect consistency.
The novel take on the Niçoise salad was something I had never seen before, but it really showcased the skill and talent of the kitchen staff.
Kim went for the salmon from the specials menu, which came with tarragon crushed potatoes, in a cream and prawn sauce with green beans (£15.95).
The salmon was cooked perfectly, a crunchy skin but soft in the middle, the sauce was beautiful and the prawns scattered over the dish were full of flavour.
We were glad of a little rest and a chance for me to try a pint or two of ale while Kim finished the rosé.
As you would expect from a pub which has the Cask Marque, the beers are kept in fantastic condition and my pint(s) of Prospect from Wigan went down all too well.
Having let the food settle, and purely for the purposes of providing a balanced and comprehensive review, we summoned our waitress and asked for the dessert menu.
It was a no-brainer for me — cinder toffee ice cream (£3.95) — while Kim decided to finish off the night with a vanilla panna cotta with honey glazed roasted peaches and crunchy honeycomb (£5.25).
My ice cream, home churned according to the menu, was delicious, creamy and sweet without being sickly while Kim’s panna cotta was smooth and melt-in-the-mouth, the peaches were coated in a sweet, sticky exterior with a hint of tartness inside, the honeycomb added a great bit of crunchy contrast.
Another drink at the bar brought to an end a superb night.
Lancashire Telegraph review by Jemma Humphreys from September 25, 2010.
For those who appreciate a rustic English menu in charming surroundings, The Sparrowhawk is a real treat.
It’s location gives it some of the area’s best views and inside it has the homely and comfortable feel of a typical country pub.
But with a touch of pizazz.
You can visit just for a drink but it would be a shame to miss out on the feasts they rustle up in the kitchen.
However, it’s advisable to book, particularly on weekends, or for the early bird midweek menu, served until 6.30pm.
On a recent visit I opted for the beer battered haddock and hand-cut chips, with mushy peas which, at £11.75, is one of the more reasonably-priced main courses.
The fish was fresh and fluffy and the chips cooked to perfection.
Other options include roast rump of lamb, which would set you back £14.95, and you’ll pay £17.50 for a rib eye steak, which is far from cheap.
But, as steak lovers know, it is meant to be the best-tasting cut.
And it’s one to sample on my next visit.
The menu adds a couple of pounds on to what you’d expect to pay for pub grub, but the food is far from average, so it’s worth the extra.
We succumbed to the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch and custard for £5.25 after being tempted by an order for a neighbouring table.
We weren’t disappointed — it was among the best we’ve tasted.
While the prices at The Sparrowhawk mean it isn’t the sort of restaurant to eat at every week, the delicious food, friendly service and cosy surroundings make it top of the list for a treat.
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