“It’s a bantam,” declared your reviewer’s assistant reviewer with what sounded suspiciously like knowledge on the subject.
It turns out, after I’d probed for a bit more info about Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons or Leghorns, that the appreciation is all about proportion rather than breed.
Still, our rotisserie quarter chickens are indeed on the small size, very possibly bantam I have to concede, and as we pick away at the leg, section of breast and wing they prove to be so moist and tasty that I’m afraid it becomes an all-hands, no-holds barred assault.
Fortunately, there is no one near enough in our cosy, subtly lit, comfortable corner of the Hoghton Arms to witness this unsightly spectacle. One of many such corners I should point out – the place specialises in cosy little dining enclaves.
We had settled on rotisserie chicken after an intense scouring of a menu which is as cosmopolitan as you could wish, spanning the US … I imagine a “Yee Ha” burger hails from there, Korea, Thailand, India, wherever jalapenos come from, and Blighty of course.
Once the species is chosen, there’s the matter of a whole, half or quarter? Quarters come in at £6.25 (wholes at £13.95) and with an intensely rich and tasty garlic and parsley mushroom sauce in my case, and an equally successful Thai sweet chilli sauce for our poultry consultant on the other, it represents real value.
Roasties, for some reason, don’t make an appearance on the menu but the new potatoes then opted for are the real thing … fresh, firm and well flavoured.
The consultant has gone for what are described as skin on fries.
And even when I suggest that these look like chips and taste like chips so there is a reasonable chance that they are chips, she is prepared to defend the description on the grounds that they are not the “floppy” type offered by some establishments but the genuine ‘article.’
She has a bowl of good homemade ‘slaw’ too. I won’t go into the ensuing discussion about that.
Armed with Thwaites and Jennings, we began our evening with successful starters: very crunchy, breaded mushrooms with a garlic mayo; and three cheese red onion tart, both with green salad.
The tart – crispy pastry, rich flavoured filling – is delicious, first and foremost, even though a uniform cheese flavour dominates a whole host of listed ingredients - red onion chutney, smoked Applewood sauce, Somerset brie and Red Leicester.
The mention of white chocolate is enough to clinch the deal for your reviewer’s dessert, a red velvet cheesecake. It so towers off the plate that for safety’s sake I have to lay it down sideways.
Fresh cream is soon oozing down the layers – chocolate red sponge, melting white chocolate, a dark chocolate biscuit base, and chocolate curls.
The word ‘donut’ has intrigued the expert on the subject with sticky toffee ‘donut’ pudding.
The pudding itself is a thin layer, moist and tasty.
The four mini donuts on top are, however, dry, a crisis not helped by the fact that the amount of toffee sauce when combined with the requested blob of ice cream doesn’t provide enough moisture.
It should have been the jug of warm custard.
The bill came to £38.
Name: Hoghton Arms
Address: Blackburn Road, Withnell, Chorley
Contact: 01254 201083
Hours: 11.30am to 11pm.
Access for disabled diners: Good