This week Yvonne and I visited The Pickled Goose, a newly opened restaurant on Garstang Road in Barton. Situated on the site formerly known as The Sparling, it has been sympathetically refurbished and revamped by brothers Michael and Christopher Rawlinson, co-owners of The Royal Oak at Riley Green.Advertisement
We received a warm welcome from the lady behind the bar before being shown to our table and given the menus
In addition to the starters, mains and desserts there was a small tapas choice that held eight interesting options, including three for vegetarians. There was also a full, smaller menu for vegans. I was tempted by the beef shin bites in mini Yorkshire pudding from the Tapas menu, but frightened away by the thought of the accompanying, unholy concept of mushroom jam.
I eventually decided on spiced lamb fritters with warm cumin mayonnaise, dried apricot and cumin seeds. Yvonne chose ham hock and Lancashire cheese terrine with smoked chicken fritters, pickles, piccalilli gel, pancetta crumb and pea shoots from the tapas menu, both for £5 each. We agreed to share them as they sounded equally tempting.
They were excellent. My fritters had diced lamb inside which wasn’t overpowered by the cumin and managed not to be greasy despite being fried.
Yvonne was into her starter before it hit the table which was a new technique. The generous portion of ham hock terrine contained just the right amount of Lancashire cheese. The smoked chicken fritters were an interesting extra treat, though I’m not sure they went as well with the piccalilli.
Yvonne clearly enjoyed the combination, telling me how much she loved piccalilli which was already obvious as I didn’t get a look in when we “shared” our starters. I didn’t say anything, just added it to my mental resentment list that I’ve been building since Christmas 1978 when she ate the Turkish Delight out of my selection box without asking.
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As we waited for our main courses I ordered a small glass of a pleasant house white, whilst Yvonne decided to get herself a real ale. The evening took a brief but appalling turn when she returned and informed me that “the Bombardier had been well pulled off”, but got back on track when I realised that Bombardier was the name of her drink.
Our main courses arrived shortly after. A hefty grilled bacon chop, pineapple, black pudding, perfectly poached eggs and fat chips at £14 for a delighted Yvonne.
Lancashire cheese and onion pie, fat chips, roasted heritage carrots, savoy cabbage, peas and HP gravy at £13 for me. I asked for the meal without garden peas as Yvonne used to serve them at almost every meal and now they just taste like parental control and Blue Peter.
Unfortunately there was no such warning about the carrot puree that was lurking behind the pie as a reminder of my inexorable march towards toothlessness. Consequently some of my cabbage went into it and had to be ruthlessly quarantined behind two fat chips lest the whole plate become contaminated.
The pie was tremendous, not bulked up with potato but filled with so much cheese and onion that just looking at it made my arteries wheeze. What I managed of the fat chips and cabbage was also good, but I was too full of pie to really enjoy them.
Yvonne carried on patiently working her way through the bacon chop like she was trying to escape from Shawshank. When she’d come out at the other side I asked her how it would go down between us if I ordered a dessert. Of course she was adamant that she was too full so I chose the bread and butter pudding with Cornish clotted cream and poached apricots. It was excellent but I only ate half of it as somebody decided they were still hungry. I can’t give a name because snitches get stitches.
I would recommend the Pickled Goose for most occasions. The atmosphere was lively without being rowdy and the service was professional without being stuffy. I did find the ceiling lights to be quite harsh, so that’s something to bear in mind if you are of a certain age and hoping to enchant someone who isn’t your mother and who doesn’t think the pub you’re in is called the Spitting Duck.
When we were ready to pay the bill we waited a while for someone to come over but eventually had to go looking for a staff member, who brought it to the table. Then we had another long wait for someone to take our payment before giving up and going to the bar to request to pay, which was quite frustrating. However, the service during the rest of the evening was spot on.
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Have you been to The Pickled Goose? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.