[Mitton, Lancashire] Three Fishes

In the beginning, there was Northcote with its Michelin starred chef, Nigel Haworth, at the helm. Then Northcote expanded to set up a mini chain of dining pubs, Ribble Valley Inns, including the Three Fishes. And very good they were too, significantly featuring local products and takes on regional dishes. Then in a change of business direction, the pubs were sold off or closed. Now, Nigel has reopened the Three Fishes on his own account. Although the room still looks quite pubby, the fixed four course menu is anything but. This is definitely aspirational cooking – although not quite Northcote standards. And at a bargain price of £50 at lunch, so not Northcote prices either.

Bread came quickly. But it was the only thing during lunch that did come quickly. It was getting on for 40 minutes before starters arrived. We were well into the finger tapping stage. Whatever the issue was, it was in the kitchen – the front of house crew were absolutely on the ball – efficient, engaging, etc. OK, whinge over and back to that bread. Soft as you like cheese rolls and a fab sourdough with a really crispy crust. There’s butter made from whey to thickly slather over the bread.

The starter was a cracker. Hopefully it wasn’t just that we were now hungry. A fillet of hake, perfectly cooked to the just flaking stage, and topped with some pieces of crispy squid. There’s a little pile of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut by any other name), and a scattering of foraged mushrooms. It’s all brought together by a butter sauce, enhanced with a little caviar (did I mention that this is aspirational cooking).

Roasted Jerusalem artichoke was probably the best course. The artichoke roasted so that there was a crispy outside with the inside soft and sticky. There’s an artichoke cream acting as the sauce, and an artichoke “crumb” for a bit of crispness. It was downright lovely. Our server said they grew wild in her garden and, as she didn’t know what to do with them, she fed them to her cows.

The meat course features our regional Herdwick lamb which, to my mind, is the tastiest you’ll come across. It probably gets its flavour from all the exercise it gets running up and down Lake District fells. There’s perfectly pink loin, a little bit of liver and a crispy bonbon of long cooked breast. For the “five a day”, there’s buttery soft turnip and griddled pak choi, still crisp for contrast. It’s really good.

Dessert was one of the best we’ve eaten recently. A slice of honey roast pear, delicious and quite firm chocolate mousse and salted caramel ice cream. What’s not to like.

We finished with good espresso. It comes with a chocolate truffle each. And a mini Eccles cake, where the fruit has been soaked in tea and lime juice. Great finish – they’ve only been open a couple of weeks so are forgiven for the food delays.


I absolutely adore Jerusalem artichokes. This dish sounded divine.

It was - even though,as ever with them, it made us farty.

:joy: :joy: :joy: