Anyone looking for a meal that is a little different and totally delicious should make their way along the A6 to the New Holly at Forton.
Quality, value and excellent service are watchwords at the New Holly and I should know – I’m a loyal customer.
Formerly a 17th Century coaching inn, the new Holly has been refurbished to a high standard by gastro pub group Bowland Inns. It’s a pleasure to relax there during the day or at night.
And when there’s a beautiful sunset it’s a particularly appealing place to dine as the last of the sun’s rays filter through the trees.
The restaurant’s dishes have been created by executive chef Michael Weston-Cole.
Michael once worked as a chef de partie at TV chef Christophe Novelli’s Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire and he has recently become a member of the ‘Masterchefs of Great Britain’ – an organisation which has only accepted 250 chefs into its ranks in its 30-year existence.
Michael said: “When I was a young chef John Benson-Smith was a Masterchef of Great Britain and he still is.
“I have worked for several top chefs now, almost all of whom were Masterchefs and it was a target in my life that one day I would be one of these elite chefs too.
It was something I wasn’t expecting for another ten to 15 years.”
On my most recent visit to the New Holly with my husband Mark, the atmosphere was laid back and welcoming as usual.
The New Holly has plenty of seating options (by the large windows, by the fire, near the bar or in quiet corners) and it can cater for much bigger groups. We chose an intimate corner as we were tired from work and wanted a peaceful evening. The staff members were attentive, friendly and explained the various options available to us.
For his starter Mark chose the Bury Black Pudding with mini potato and smoked bacon salad, soft poached egg and grain mustard.
He said the entire dish was nicely cooked and very tasty. It was stylishly presented and a good size.
I had a cheese soufflé which was as light as air and had a rich flavour. It came with a mouth-watering chutney and rocket salad.
My main course was the Fisherman’s Pie made with cod fillet, salmon and prawns in a white wine, cream and dill sauce, topped with mashed potato and creamy Lancashire cheese which came with a selection of spring vegetables. It was a hearty dish and I appreciated the use of local produce. Mark’s main course was well done sirloin steak with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes and vegetables. It was a satisfying and well presented dish and the meat was full of flavour.
Perusing the rest of the menu many other dishes stood out including: honey roast Gressingham duck served with an apricot, honey and bourbon sauce, Gruyere dauphinoise potatoes and French beans; chicken and chorizo tagliatelle with grilled peppers and confit tomatoes in a herb cream sauce and chicken supreme Kiev with Dewlay’s smoked Lancashire cheese, herb and parmesan crumb with smoked bacon and shallot cream reduction.
All of the dishes on the menu looked far superior to the sort of ‘pub grub’ served up in some venues. We weren’t hungry enough to have a sweet but they looked marvellous.
Just to give you a flavour here’s a few of them: Bakewell tart with vanilla and raspberry basket; chocolate and orange cheesecake with kumquat syrup and dark chocolate sauce; caramelised pineapple and ginger pavlova with chantilly cream and vanilla ice cream and Dewlay of Garstang chese board with celery, apple, ale chutney and a healthy measure of port.
The large selection of dishes, good wine list, creativity, attention to detail and excellent service made for a perfect evening.
Highly recommended for a chilled out evening featuring great food and a warm welcome. To book call The New Holly on 01524 793500.