The Cartford Inn Little Eccleston, Lancashire, PR3 0YP
Mastering the menu
The kitchen’s output reflects Lancashire’s five-star food credentials and shows off the best the county (and the wider region) has to offer in dishes that impress with their combination of rustic appeal and dash of refinement. You’ll spot a Gallic influence here and there, too, which is down to Patrick’s French heritage. Nibbles are served at the handsome bar (the sea salt and cracked pepper calamari is a winner), with the à la carte menu offered throughout the pub – sit where you like, but the stunning River Lounge with its views over the fells is hard to beat. Respect of the seasons is not just lip service at the Cartford Inn, with the daily specials board adding to the mix and the treasured local supply chain ensuring a flow of top-notch produce into the kitchen. Kick off with warm pigeon breast and blackberry salad with candied beets, or a genteel scallop mousseline cannelloni, and move onto Pilling pulled marsh lamb in caul fat with sweet potato mash or a bouillabaisse made with seafood from nearby Fleetwood. The Cartford cassoulet is packed with chorizo, ham hock and smoked pork belly – a rib-sticking beauty, perfect after a walk on the hills on a chilly day. The grill offers up steaks served with classic accompaniments, and there’s all the comfort of fish and chips or moules frites. At lunchtime, sandwiches, French-style omelette and toasties come into play, and, on Sundays, tuck into roast dinners by the fire or, if it’s warm enough, outside on the terrace.
On the menu
Curried scallops, smoked haddock & celeriac puree, black pudding cracker, apple, pea shoots, crispy pancetta
Crab Caesar salad
TOTI deli meat platter
Duck breast, barley Puy lentil & beetroot risotto, wild garlic & pea puree, roast shallots, white onion sauce
Oxtail, beef skirt and real ale suet pudding
Moules & frites
Coconut & pineapple marmalade Bakewell tart, clotted cream
The à la carte menu is served on Sundays, plus there’s always a roast of the day.
The sheltered patio out back is ideal for alfresco dining in the warmer months, with the full-service à la carte menu up for grabs. And don’t miss TOTI, the excellent new delicatessan housed in a converted outbuilding, where you peruse and buy some amazing local produce and foodie gifts to take home, or buy some delicious picnic ingredients to take with you on your riverside walk.
Time to Eat
Lunch: 12 noon – 2pm (closed Monday lunch)
Dinner: 5.30pm – 9pm (10pm Friday & Saturday)
Sunday: 12 noon – 8.30pm
Local, local, local
Wines & spirits – D. Byrne & Co, Clitheroe (www.dbyrne-finewines.co.uk)
Real ales – Hawkshead Brewery (www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk)
Moorhouse’s Brewery, Burnley (www.moorhouses.co.uk)
Meat – Honeywell’s Farm Shop, Woodplumpton (www.honeywellfarmshop.com)
Cheese – Dewlay, Garstang (www.dewlay.com)
Coffee & tea – J. Atkinson & Co. Lancaster (www.thecoffeehopper.com)
Fish – Midland Fish Co., Fleetwood (www.midlandfish.co.uk)
Poultry – Johnson & Swarbrick, Goosnargh (www.jandsgoosnargh.co.uk)
Bread – Pebby’s Bakers, Great Eccleston
Behind the bar
The gloriously named Giddy Kipper is specially brewed for the pub by a local brewery and is available at the pumps alongside Hawkshead’s Lakeland Gold and Pride of Pendle from Moorhouse’s Brewery. Wine comes from D. Byrne & Co in Clitheroe (one of the oldest wine shops in the country) and the list embraces both Old and New Worlds. Expect a cracking cup of coffee from the gleaming and hissing state-of-the-art Italian espresso machine, prepared in the ‘coffee corner’ by a member of staff with barista training; coffee comes from J. Atkinson & Co, a long-established and atmospheric shop in Lancaster.
Homemade bread crackers and rustic dips
Sea salt & cracked pepper calamari
Mini casserole of venison sausage
Time at the bar