The next venue to get a visit from Blog Preston as part of our series of reviews on dog-friendly establishments is Hurst Grange Coffee House and Cafe in Penwortham.Advertisement
The cafe is in the renovated Coach House in Hurst Grange Park and offers a homemade menu as well as sausages and homemade dog treats for furry companions. My mother Yvonne and I took my two dogs Archie and Georgie to have a sniff around.
As it was on a Sunday at 2pm the cafe was at full capacity, but thankfully we’d booked a table. There was a small courtyard that was also full, but we sat in the main room as it was a tad chilly that day.
Read more: Penwortham’s new Hurst Grange Cafe now open for business
The menu had some interesting options making it hard to reach a decision, but eventually we went for the Cuban panini with Mojo pork shoulder, ham, cheese, dill pickle and yellow mustard, and the slow roasted lamb shoulder flatbread with feta, rocket, tzatziki, hummus and pomegranate. They were both priced at £7.95, and we took the option of adding a small bowl of soup for an extra £2.50.
I’d heard that the Coach House was expensive and £7.95 for a sandwich seems a little on the pricey side, but when our food arrived it was obvious that the cost was more than justified.
The soft flatbread was heaped with toppings and accompanied by a pot of homemade coleslaw and a small pile of dressed leaves. The mix of sweet pomegranate, sharp feta and tangy tzatziki worked wonderfully with lamb, as the Greeks sussed out a billion years ago while we in the UK were still eating turnips done three ways.
The panini was a slice of the Big Apple, packed with filling and flavour with the added bonus of it being delivered to my table in a South Ribble cafe, instead of having it thrown at my head as I hover anxiously at the back of a deli in New York City after taking several elbows to the face from gigantic locals because of their terrifying Hunger Games style queuing system.
Don’t let the ham, pork and mild cheese lull you into a false sense of security, because whilst you’re focusing on those comfortable ingredients a dill pickle and some mustard will leap out of an alleyway and try to kick your teeth in.
Refuse to be intimidated and remember that the UK invented piccalilli, which is to their gherkin what rugby is to American football. As their pickle doesn’t make the eater involuntarily scrunch at least one eye closed, we win whatever unnecessary competition I just made up.
As I wasn’t pre-psyched up for piccalilli, the level of pickle and mustard in the panini was just right, complementing the meat rather than disguising it.
The dinky bowl of French onion soup had a parmesan-topped crouton in it proportionally big enough for Titanic’s Rose and Jack to fit on, but no doubt Rose would still have hogged it to herself. My mother Yvonne would have done the same with the crouton but I grabbed the bowl, split the crouton and ate half of the soup while she was distracted by the well-behaved dog belonging to the couple seated next to us. Good girl, Bella!
It was one of the best onion soups I’ve had; the sweetness of the onion marmalade combined with the peppery stock was a perfect combination for the sunny yet chilly day and made me want to put on a bobble hat and watch my beautiful Red Setter play amongst the autumn leaves gently falling in the park.
I didn’t do any of that of course because I don’t have a beautiful Red Setter, I have two screamy Chihuahuas who prefer to compete over who can find the biggest stink to roll in, and there was only one piece of chocolate cake left and I needed it. It turned out to be a decent size slice of light sponge with a mild chocolatey taste, which was enjoyable with a fresh coffee.
The highlight of our afternoon was the imaginative homemade savoury food combined with the beautiful setting, polite and professional staff and a room full of happy dogs and owners. Hurst Grange Coffee House and Cafe is an excellent example of what a well-run independent hospitality venue can offer, and we’ll definitely be visiting again.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
Have you been brutalised by some Piccalilli? Call PickledInjuryLawyers4You, and let us know what they said.