Frankie finds Poseidon's Paradise
If you’re still stuck in that winter-state of mind, I have the very place for you.
In a setting so gloriously perfect for spring, it’ll shake you out of your snow boots and straight into a field of daffodils (quite literally if you’re sat navigation decides to lose signal...like mine).
Taking a break from Manchester, I unearthed the quaintest cafe-come-kitchen with a menu that promised classic hearty offerings with a dash of quirky creativity to make for a taste bud-tingling time.
Eager to try, I hopped to it and was there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!
My hunt for the perfect spring luncheon took me on a journey covering never-ending green fields, winding roads and babbling brooks, until it brought me to the cosily tucked away Garden Kitchen, in the heart of Clitheroe.
Booking in advanced is essential to avoid a hefty wait or potentially being turned away, people travel far and wide for this idyllic eatery and I assure you, for good reason.
We were seated in the prime location where both cake display and homemade produce for purchase could be eyed with limited neck strain.
Although we had pre-ordered The Plantsman’s Lunch and Easter Afternoon Tea, no sooner had we settled ourselves in for a feed were we told that they had unfortunately ran out of Plantsman’s.
Whilst I felt this defeated the object of pre-ordering, we didn’t allow this minor setback dampen our appetites and ordered the Seafood Platter in its place whilst trying desperately not to think of the homemade scotch egg we would be missing out on.
An order of piping hot, chipped potatoes presented charmingly in a flower pot past by our table; I allowed my eyes to do the talking as they grew to the size of saucers as I looked from the chips to our server who was similarly fluent in the language of food envy and added a side to our order.
Orders placed, we happily relaxed into our experience as we took in the cosy, country, family feels the restaurant evoked from its warm rustic decor and friendly albeit slightly stressed servers.
Our feast arrived in a glorified manner. Silky layers of smoked salmon, potted cockles, Atlantic Coldwater prawns, poached salmon and anchovy and tomato bruschetta were accompanied by a dressed salad and baguettes, creating what I can only describe as a platter of dreams.
Fickle as ever, we soon forgot the promised Plantsman’s and its contents in favour of the impressive seafood selection which had taken over our table.
We eyed our treasure feeling like we had truly scored a jackpot of Poseidon proportions.
Every morsel from the fresh smoked salmon, to the salty bite of anchovy with crunch of crostini, the squidgy prawns and the sharp, tastes of vinegar from the Dijon mustard dressing and cockles was perfectly balanced and a marriage of refreshing, zesty flavours.
We felt well and truly spoilt.
The chips were exactly how I imagined them to be; crispy yet fluffy batons of delight. Need I say more?
The true catch of the day however was the large portion of battered lemon haddock balancing on a delicious jenga tower of yet more lumberjack chips, held in a centralised mug on the platter.
Still piping hot from the fryer, the delicately crisp batter held no trace of grease, only a light, savoury crunch contrasting ever so wonderfully with the soft and mild mouthfuls of haddock.
An absolute must-order if you go, I can only promise a fresh, satisfying seafood feast complete with miniature milk churns holding pure white butter to spread on your breads.
Next up, adorning an adorable miniature sized picnic bench was our Easter Afternoon Tea Picnic.
With a mixture of sweet and savoury offerings, any potential room left in our tummies was soon to be occupied by the teeny titbits waiting on the bench.
Whilst we were unimpressed by the lack of flavour and canapé size of the sandwiches, we couldn’t fault the delicious flaky pastry and meaty bite of the pork and Lancashire cheese sausage roll along with the cute cup of homemade juicy tomato and basil soup.
As keen weekend bakers, my co-diner and I were impressed with their homemade Battenberg and innovative Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding. The Easter Chick Biscuit was a particular favourite of mine; melt-in-the-mouth soft shortbread baked to sugary perfection with yellow sugarpaste to finish – a real flavour flashback and a perfect childhood treat.
The chocolate egg scone and double chocolate egg cupcake added a softly sweet injection of delicious cocoa with layers and swirls of super smooth chocolate frosting on both; two creations which tipped just over the edge of indulgence without being too sickly.
Overall, The Garden Kitchen really has a great thing going, combining classic dishes with its novelty Afternoon Tea (which contents varies to compliment the seasons) it sets the foundations for a marvellous afternoon of food fancies and frolics.
Whilst you may be travelling outside your comfort zone to get to this tucked away treat, I can promise you a deliciously cosy experience most certainly worth the miles - just don’t forget to book!
Posted: Thursday 7th April 2016
ID: 11404 - 1651