[Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire] Highwayman

We’ve visited the Highwayman several times in the past, when it was in the ownership of Michelin starred restaurant, Northcote. But, on our last visit in 2017, it seemed no longer “gastro” and, indeed, the food was somewhat disappointing – almost as though they had lost interest in it. And that may well have been the case as, shortly after, Northcote sold its mini-chain of pubs to the usually reliable Brunning & Price group of which I’m a big fan, eating regularly at one of their Cheshire pubs.

For one of us, there was a game suet pudding. A thickish suet pastry, but not overly so, encasing a mix of pheasant, venison and rabbit. Alongside there was good non-sloppy mashed spuds, steamed mixed greens and roasted carrot and parsnip – pretty much dealing with the “five a day” on one plate. It was as good as you’re going to find in a pub. Also pretty good was a classic traditional turkey plate - white and brown meat, pig in blanket, stuffing, roast spuds, red cabbage and mashed carrot. Both plates had really good gravy.

Only one of us wanted dessert. Sticky toffee pudding seemed appropriate as we were only miles away from the place of its invention. And it was a good version – light, yet rich, with a toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. What’s not to like?