Having heard good things about The Green Man At Inglewhite, my parents Yvonne and Dry Tony, my friend Pauline and I decided to have a drive out for lunch to give it a try.
When I called to book, I was asked if we had any dietary requirements, and if we were bringing a dog. I briefly considered taking my dog Archie, but I’d guess that the dogs that frequent The Green Man are the wholesome Labrador types who sit quietly, gazing lovingly at their owners. Not a Chihuahua who waits under a table like a trapdoor spider ready to hurl himself, screeching, at any passing foot that might venture too near the table. He’s not protecting me, he’s protecting his/my food that may or may not drop on the floor. Sort of a Schrodinger’s sausage type thing.
We were greeted as soon as we arrived by a friendly young man who seated us at a table in the window, gave us the menus and took our drink order. The decor was cosy and welcoming with a fire burning in a side area.
I was happy to see that all the menus were spotless, as it tends to be a good indicator of the overall cleanliness and care of a restaurant. I’m always stumped at how menus that are handed out and then collected before any food is served manage to get covered in the same sticky stuff. What is it? Is there some kind of jam-handed, menu smearing house goblin that creeps into restaurants at night and fondles the menus? Whatever the culprit is, it hasn’t gained access to The Green Man, unless of course it’s me and I just haven’t realised.
As we waited for our food, we all became aware that the restaurant was cold and none of us had felt the need to remove our coats. We mentioned it to the waiter and he apologised and moved us to a table near a fire, but unfortunately that had died down and wasn’t putting out much heat so we were still cold.
There followed a wait of 45 minutes for our meals, so we were getting quite hungry. However, there are a number of signs around the restaurant informing diners that all the food is freshly prepared and takes about 40 minutes to arrive, which makes sense, as a good pie can’t be rushed and there isn’t a microwave on the premises. Not a bad thing, but something to be aware of if you are hoping for a quick meal. For us the wait would have been less noticeable if we had ordered starters, and if we had been warm and cosy.
Our meals arrived, and all of them looked excellent. Yvonne had a cheese and onion pie with chips and vegetables, which was served with a little jug of gravy. Staggeringly, she managed not to stick her fork in it before I took a photo, so there was no restructuring needed, though as soon as I’d snapped one she was all over it like… well, like an elderly northern woman on a pie. The chunky chips were homemade and the pie was a perfect golden brown. Yvonne would have preferred a stronger cheese but enjoyed it nevertheless. There were also a couple of roast parsnips masquerading as giant chips, which is good news if you like parsnips and devastating if you don’t, and have saved the big chips for last.
Dry Tony had a steak pie with gravy, chips and mushy peas, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and commented that there was plenty of steak without any fat or gristle. Pauline was given a huge fish pie that didn’t skimp on fish, served with mushy peas and homemade chips, all of which she said were excellent. The fish pie on its own was big enough for two people with vegetables, but Pauline remembers World War II food rationing and having to finish what’s on her plate, so refused to be beaten by it. There’s also the possibility that the chilliness had sent her into hibernation mode.
I had chosen the Christmas burger from the specials menu, which was a homemade turkey burger with pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and chips. What swung it for me was that it also came with a side of tempura coated, deep-fried brussel sprouts and a cranberry gravy in which to dip them. The chef at The Green Man clearly knows that a good gravy is the life-blood of a Lancashire restaurant.
The sprouts were my favourite part of the meal, proving that the Scots are right, literally everything is better battered and deep-fried. My only criticism was that the pigs in blankets had been overcooked so made an interesting clonking noise when I tapped them on the plate, but as I hadn’t yet tried them when we were asked if our food was okay, the staff didn’t have the opportunity to remedy it.
The fire eventually picked up and started warming the room. We were tempted to have a dessert but were running out of time so asked for the bill. Each main course was £13.95, which wasn’t cheap, but reasonable for homemade food. I also had a small glass of house white which was pleasant and dry, and not exorbitant at £3.
When we were getting the bill we were asked again if everything was alright with our meals. I mentioned the clonky sausage and that we found the restaurant uncomfortably cold, and the manager came over to apologise. She said that they were having trouble with the radiators, and that she would knock two of our main courses off the menu. As all of our food was excellent apart from the overcooked pig in a blanket, I felt that went above and beyond what I would expect from a restaurant to fix a problem, especially as it hadn’t been raised when we were asked. For that I’d give the staff and management a gold star.
The Green Man gets almost everything right, and if the premises had been warmer our lunch would have been perfect. I would definitely visit again when the radiators are fixed, or sooner if the staff can keep the fires roaring.
Battered deep-fried sprouts with dipping gravy: a stroke of genius or a spiralling descent into anarchy and madness? Let us know in the comments below