The first establishment in Blog Preston’s series of reviews of eateries offering outdoor dining is the landmark Ye Olde Hob Inn in Bamber Bridge.Advertisement
You can tell by the spelling that it’s genuinely ancient because writers in those days used more Es than a crowd at an E-Zee Possee gig.
There are plenty of picnic benches at the front of the premises and a beer garden in the back, making it an ideal place for a pint in the sun. However it was a little parky out so my parents Yvonne and Dry Tony and I were shown to a table inside by a cheerful member of staff.
The decor is mostly in keeping with the 400-year-old building, although the addition of several huge TV screens dotted around the restaurant is asking for a visit from a witch finder.
The menu contains hearty options such as Lancashire hotpot and fish pie, but I chose sausage and mash with onion gravy at £12.50. It was a generous mound of mashed potato and mushy peas with a good-quality Cumberland sausage curled up on top and a jug of onion gravy on the side. A classic combination to which the chef did justice.
Yvonne continued our family’s search for a good cheese and onion pie and at Ye Olde Hob Inn she finally got one for £10.50. So many are slyly bulked up with mashed potato, which is unforgivable if it’s also served with chips or mash, forcing the unwary customer to be non-consensually double potatoed.
If there was any in this sturdy slab of pie it was indiscernible, the overwhelming taste being of tangy cheese and onion, just as it should be. Top marks for that, though a few need to be shaved off for the chips which instead of being crispy were slightly wrinkly, dry and floppy. Possibly as a consequence of being olde.
Depending on individual opinions about whether gravy belongs with cheese there was also an added bonus/insult of a little jug of gravy on the plate.
My father Dry Tony surprised everyone, including himself, by ordering the £10.95 Moving Mountains vegan burger with chilli jam.
It was accompanied by chips, a scoop of coleslaw, a side salad and two light, crunchy onion rings. Unfortunately Dry Tony likes to take the burger out of its bun and judge it while it’s naked and thrown off-balance. He was unimpressed, so I swapped my sausage and mash for his vegan burger.
It wasn’t wonderful when I ate a piece on its own, although a plain beef pattie isn’t necessarily a taste sensation either. When I rebuilt it from the ruins left by its previous owner the chilli jam, onion rings, lettuce and tomatoes perked it right up and made it almost indistinguishable from a meat burger. A slice of cheese for a vegetarian option would also have worked well.
Read more: Review: The Plungington restaurant that beats the meat
We finished off the meal with fudge brownies for my father and me, and a slice of carrot cake for Yvonne, all priced at £5.50. Yvonne enjoyed her cake, which was liberally spiced with cinnamon, and the warm brownies were excellent.
The bill came to £55.75, including £5.30 for drinks. The online menu requires updating as the food total cost was £9.65 more than stated on the website, which is a significant difference. However, the current prices are still reasonable for the work that goes into the food, the quality of the ingredients and the excellent service.
We weren’t asked how our meals were so didn’t get the opportunity to mention the chips, but if we had I’m sure they’d have been replaced as the staff were friendly and professional and the chef clearly cares about the quality of the food being sent out.
Ye Olde Hob Inn has a great deal to offer as a traditional pub with a beer garden, friendly staff and a menu that sticks mainly to robust Lancashire dishes. It’s an unpretentious local that is an asset to the area, and well worth a visit.
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Are you olde and wrinkled like Karen and Ye Olde Hob Inn? Start telling us about it in the comments below and then immediately digress into an epic side story about your horrible neighbours’ overgrown Leylandii