Restaurant review - Malthouse Farm, Whittle-le-Woods

Malthouse Farm, Whittle-le-Woods.
Malthouse Farm, Whittle-le-Woods.

We know of the so-called North/South divide. When everything in The South, especially the South East, is gloriously sunlit and when everything north of Watford Gap is grim and everyone is forced, because of the unrelenting rain, to wear a flat cap.

Well, I can bring you news today which will place another little nugget on our side of the scale.

I say another, because secretly the famous ‘grimness’ we suffer in The North is a myth we prefer to maintain otherwise they’d all be driving up the M6.

But as regards this one lifestyle choice I had no idea that we are actually living in an age of plenty up here ... plenty of gravy, that is.

Yes, gravy ... that essential lubricant without which no self-respecting Northerner can sit down to his, or her, meat and two veg without splashing all over the plate.

This state of well-being came to light quite by chance when selecting our main courses at the Malthouse Farm.

There, under the section on ‘The Roast’ where the words ... “You’re in for a treat if you like gravy as you can have as much as you like.” (If you like gravy? Priceless.)

Apparently, this Northern generosity is unheard of in The South, where they are stingy to the point of meanness with the gravy in the first place, and never offer extra.

We have this on good authority from our guest reviewer, who has dined extensively across our capital city, has often sat scouring the papers while tucking into a Sunday lunch lamentably short on lubrication.

So it simply has to be roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and turkey breast and Yorkshire, plus veg, and in the fullness of time we can test out the extra gravy promise and sure enough it arrives in two white jugs to much delight.

The turkey, this time of good honest southern origin – Norfolk – is succulent and moist even without the gravy. The thinly sliced beef is likewise, though a little surgical skill is required with the serrated knife to surmount a hint of sinew.

The veg – cauliflower, carrots with goose fat roasted potatoes – are fresh and firm. I have gone for roasted rump of lamb. Four large pieces are superbly cooked and flavoursome.

Their setting, in amongst salad leaves, small tomatoes, feta cheese, fine beans and sweet potatoes, is a slightly startling combination which is less startling with every mouthful.

We have already tucked away delightful starters. The bubble and squeak – winner of last year’s Starter of the Year Award – is a smooth combo of b&s, a creamy cheese sauce and an egg with frothed white.

Three king scallops are seared top and bottom and juicy in between, and my whitebait firm and evenly bread-crumbed.

Further scrutiny of the desserts menu reveals yet more Northern one-upmanship. All we have to do is ask and we can have as much cream and custard as we like.

The cheesecake, of baked lemon, is a hefty wedge which belies its tangy refreshing effect on the palate. Whipped cream, sliced strawberries and raspberry coulis also help towards that.

A small jug on a saucer carries a crème brulee with a crunchy glazed sugar top. Strawberries and shortbread are good for dipping.

The bill for three, with bitter and lager drinks, is £88.


Name: Malt House Farm

Address: Moss Lane, Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancashire

Contact: 01257 754 993

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am to 11pm. Sunday Noon to 10pm

Wheelchair access: Yes