Monday, 24 October 2011

Friends With Benefits: The Rufford Arms

My sister enjoying her Thai chicken with rice
I've been umming and ahhing over whether or not to post a review of this place, as I know some of the kitchen staff. But, since dining there the other week, I can't stop thinking about the meal as it was one of the best I've had in a long time. On the way to the restaurant, I said to my sister that I wouldn't be blogging about it unless it was a fantastic meal, and it was so here I am. I've also checked other online reviews and they are in agreement, so feel free to check those too before relying solely on my recommendations.

The Rufford Arms is a modern hotel set in rural Lancashire countryside. However, I'd say the restaurant is the focal point, and not merely an add on for business types and working lunches, as you often get with these handily located hotels.

We visited on a rainy Thursday evening at around 6pm and were seated straight away. It was rather quiet in the dining area and as some of the tables are quite close together we did feel a little as thought you could hear other people's conversations which I find a little uncomfortable. Yet as the night went on and the restaurant busied up, the atmosphere improved and we felt a lot more relaxed.

To start, I ordered the Goosnargh duck confit with lentils. The duck was cooked perfectly; slightly pink and juicy but not at all greasy with its tasty crisp skin. The lentils were curried and had a wonderful deep earthy taste that didn't overwhelm the duck meat. It was just the right amount and I ate every single scrap of this excellent starter.

I chose the hake fillet for my main course and was delighted with the generous fleshy cut of fresh fish I was presented with. It sat on a bed of fettecine pasta in creamy white wine sauce. The sauce was rich but not sickly or too filling and it offset the light fish beautifully. The mussels and prawns were just the right subtle addition to finish off this well put together dish.

The waiting staff were really friendly and seemed to have a genuine interest and love for the food; asking questions and listening to our opinions. They were chatty and polite and not in the least bit overbearing. I felt they really earned their tips.

The menu changes often, and when we visited they were offering 25% off their a la carte menu, meaning our bill was reduced to £37 which was fantastic value for the soft drinks and two top quality starters and mains we had eaten. They use locally sourced products and seem passionate about what they do. I can't wait to return and try more of their exciting dishes, and I'd definitley recommend you do too.

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