Reviewed by Debbie Tasker
Having travelled from Manchester on a dark windy, rainy night and not knowing the winding country roads we were a little late arriving for our meal on Thursday night (twenty minutes to be precise) as the journey took us two hours. When we arrived there was a waitress stood near the door and I apologised for being late and said we had a table booked for 7.30 she didn’t answer or ask my name just looked at me, walked ahead and then pointed at a table! Not a good start but after this hiccup we had an extremely enjoyable evening.
The Assheton Arms is situated in Downham, Clitheroe a lovely part of the country with stunning surroundings. The decor and ambience are superb and it has a cosy feel and nice atmosphere. We were seated by the roaring fire upstairs which was great but a tad too warm as the evening went on. The seating is set so that clients aren’t on top of each other while eating which I liked as in some establishments you feel cramped up and have no intimacy. Everywhere was clean and the tables were cleared quickly and efficiently without fuss. The easy listening background music adds to the feel of the place.
Our waiter Tom was excellent his knowledge of the menu was outstanding and he was helpful and polite. Nothing was too much trouble and Tom was attentive without being obtrusive.
The Assheton Arms is an independent family owned pub and restaurant (it even has a dog friendly bar area) and although ran by the Seafood Company there are plenty of other dishes for the non-fish fans.
We were spoilt for choice when browsing the main menu, which Tom informed us had been updated that day and even more so when he told us the days specials. After some thought and guidance from Tom we opted for a tankard of scratchings with apple and mustard seed sauce to nibble on while waiting for our starters. These were delicious crunchy and tasty and the accompany sauce that tasted and I assume was homemade was perfect.
My partner chose Hot and Sour Seafood Salad with shredded veggies and I had the Baby Back Ribs with orange, rosemary and chilli for our starters. The presentation was good and both dishes delicious. My ribs fell of the bone. The seafood salad was a good mix and the dressing gave it a spicy kick.
Next I had Grilled Plaice with purple sprouting broccoli, truffle mash, clams and lemon butter from the specials menu. I have to be honest and say this dish didn’t look as good as it tasted. The fish was flopped on top of the mash and had broken up a bit, it did look slightly like it had been thrown together. Having said that it tasted divine and I enjoyed every mouthful. A good size portion and served hot. I would have this again without doubt.
My partner had Sirloin Steak with slow roasted tomatoes, field mushrooms, scrumpy battered onion rings and aspen fries. He likes his steak blue and when asked do you just want it to say hello to the pan he replied yes please! Although it came blue it was overdone a little more than he likes. The aspen fries came in their own little pot and had a crispy coating made with parmesan cheese. I really liked these and there were plenty for two so I helped myself on a few occasions! The batter on the onion rings was light and fluffy. Al (my partner) demolished his whole plate and said he couldn’t fault it (apart from not being quite as blue as he would have liked).
We were getting quite full, well OK we were stuffed by this time but when Tom brought the dessert menu we just had to make room how could we not? Everything sounds truly scrumptious and I settled on Vanilla Brulee with praline shortbreads. My partner had caramel and chocolate orange truffles. Mine was once again perfect, presented well with two yummy shortbreads next to the brulee. I am not a fan of truffles or dark chocolate so I just nibbled the end of one, it tasted very rich and was something I know chocolate lovers will adore, there are around five in the portion which is more than enough. Again Al managed to clear his plate. I left half of mine but it was not because it was at fault I was just too full.
We had a bottle of Rose wine with the meal, it was served chilled in an ice bucket and if Tom passed and saw the glasses nearly empty he would kindly fill them back up again. We also had coffee. This was hot and rich in flavour and came with a small jug of milk so you could add to your own taste.
We had a lovely evening with quality food and service, in a relaxed setting. It is a bit of the beaten track but I would visit again if I was in the area. Food is served 12-9pm Monday to Thursday and until 10pm Friday and Saturday. It wasn’t overly busy when we were there but Tom advised me that weekends get fully booked up early in the week so if you’re planning on going book your table early.
For more information, to view menus or to book a table visit www.asshetonarms.com.
The Assheton Arms, Downham, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 4BJ | 01200 441227