Restaurant review - The Boatyard Inn, Riley Green

The Boatyard, Riley Green
The Boatyard, Riley Green

It is not often that one is present at the birth of a new dish. More than present, actually. Largely credited, without being too boastful, with creating it, in fact.

It is not often that one is present at the birth of a new dish. More than present, actually. Largely credited, without being too boastful, with creating it, in fact.

Creating is too strong a word: bungling my order from the menu so in the end there was no alternative, would better describe the whole thing.

But nevertheless, the result was Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake with Home Roasted Nuts.

We are at the stylishly landscaped Boatyard Inn, an idyllic setting which indeed has a boatyard at the end of the car park with narrow boats for hire.

Dogs are being walked and bicycles ridden on the canal tow path opposite, and inside is equally stylish, opening out into various combinations of flagstones, carpeting, alcoves with subtle lighting, mullioned style windows or open vistas across the canal.

We settle over Wainwrights and Lancaster Bomber from Thwaites, beautifully kept, and study the slightly confusing menu.

There’s a lot in it, it’s just it’s not highlighted enough ... that’s my excuse anyway for missing what would have been an instinctive starter of ‘home roasted almonds, peanuts and cashews.’

It’s only after our friendly waiter has long disappeared with orders for ham and eggs and haddock and chips that I rush over to the bar to ask for the roasted nuts.

By now the main courses are about to be served, so would I like my nuts with the ham and eggs. Even I, capable of eating nuts with most things, can see the incompatibility there.

My ham is honey roasted and basically makes-up a plateful of chunky slices.

The chips, I’ve overcome my pet hate of the phrase “proper chips” on the menu, are indeed more like roasties ... random sized, hand-cut, soft and fluffy interiors, lightly browned crusts.

HQ has provided the ale in which the “sustainable” haddock has been battered.

It’s that smooth deep brown batter, and is concealing within a fair-sized specimen which is moist and succulent. The same chips go with it, as do peas nicely mushed.

Tartare sauce and a lemon slice are there, and on request vast amounts of mayo are whipped to our table.

But on reflection, we felt this excellent version was a tad over-priced at £11.95.

It’s now I spot the potential for a new dessert.

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake is unusual enough, but why not add those roasted nuts of the thwarted starter as a little side dish?

Kitchen chez Morris is ever willing to add roasted flaked almonds to kedgeree and salads. It could work.

There’s a slight complication as our waiter informs us chef has put the nuts away. Okay, I say, another time. No, he says, you want them, so you shall have them.

It’s a spectacular success: the cheesecake has a half chocolate on top, and the creamy interior is filled with crunched up pieces. There’s a dollop of vanilla ice cream which could hardly be better partnered than with lightly browned nuts giving off a little heat in a terracotta bowl.

Across the table a Retro Triple Decker Black Forest Gateau – moist sponge, an obvious presence of cherries and cream – also has a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, plus a small jug of pouring cream. Something I’d forgotten to ask for, it too goes well with roasted nut.

- The bill: £48.

Name: The Boatyard Inn

Address: Bolton Road, Riley Green

Contact: 01254 209841

Offers: Children’s menu, Sunday carvery, rotisserie, tapas

Wheelchair access: Yes, smooth run to main entrance with some steps up to main dining areas.