A Night At The Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland

The Parkers Arms is one of my favourite places I’ve visited, and recently they had a cancellation of three rooms from a group booking. This is bad for a place like this, but Stosie tweeted about this, and that they were offering a 3 course meal, bed and breakfast for 2 people at £100 to help fill this vacancy. My friends Mary and Rob informed me of this, and being my girlfriend Sara’s birthday weekend, we decided to push the boat out and take them up on this offer. We were in a good mood as it was, I’d just cooked Sara a birthday meal of Carbonnade of Venison, and a birthday cake that was a chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache, candied bacon, Krispy Kreme donuts and Reeses Pieces. So we were on a sugar rush and had eaten a delicious (even if I do say so myself) venison stew. We were in a happy place.

The following morning we got on the train to Burnley Central train station, possibly the most grim train station that ever did exist, for Mary and Rob to whisk us away to The Parkers Arms.

When we arrived AJ was out walking the dogs so we settled down at a table for a brew whilst we waited to be shown to our light and airy rooms.

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The rooms were gorgeous, nicely decorated, with a super comfy bed. A well stocked hospitality tray with ground coffee and a French press, something I’ve never seen in a hotel before, I’m not a coffee drinker, but that’s a lovely touch, perhaps a teapot in the future, so us tea drinkers can enjoy more than one cup at a time would be nice? The best thing for me was the jar with some home made biscuits, which beats a packet of individually wrapped custard cremes any day of the week. One other little thing, a small bin near the hospitality tray could be a good idea, too, I had to run to the bathroom with a teabag on a teaspoon.

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AJ apologised for the view, and that they will try and get rid of all the green and sort out a high rise block to obstruct the view as soon as possible. Nice to know that they have plans for the future. We were left to get settled, and once settled Sara fancied a nap, so Rob, Mary and I went downstairs for a pint of the Bowland Brewery’s Hen Harrier whilst I read recipes from my newest cookbook, “The Heinz Book Of Baked Bean Recipes”, which features a Baked Bean Cheesecake. Yes. I will be making this soon.

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After a couple of ales, we returned to our rooms to relax before the filling our faces.

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We were sat next to one of the cozy fires, lovely stuff. After a quick glance at the specials board, we all knew what we were ordering. A waitress took our orders and we had a good chat whilst we waited. Stosie then sent out some #TweetTreats.

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Pork scratchings with delicious Parkers Piccalilli, rice crackers with raita, crispy potato and chicken skins, and some dips. Lovely stuff all round, I love using chicken skins to make chicken crackling. A great way for a restaurant to use scraps that would possibly go to waste.

Our starters then arrived, Mary and I ordered the brown shrimps with crumpets, Sara the corned beef with beer and molasses bread and Rob the Bombay spiced potato pasty.

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However when starters arrived, three plates of shrimps came to the table, but on seeing how delicious the shrimps on crumpets looked, Rob decided to stick with what had been brought to the table, and I can’t blame him really. There was nothing bad about this, the delicately spiced butter and then the pickled fennel (I think) adding some sharpness. I may have ended up scraping the butter off the cleared plate with my fork. Maybe. Sara’s corned beef was a delicious and super healthy affair, corned beef swimming in warm butter (butter is glorious stuff) with that delicious beer and molasses bread, a mild Horseradish cream and pickles. Utterly gorgeous stuff.

Empty plates all round, the table was cleared and we prepared ourselves for mains.

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Sara had the roast haddock on creamed potatoes with lemon butter, the same dish she had last time and loved. I’m pleased to say that she loved it just as much this time, and even let me have a taste of the mash, which was properly velvety.

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Mary, Rob and I had the 5 day confit beef short rib with BBQ black peas and triple cooked chips. On my first ever visit to the Parkers Arms, I wasn’t blown away by the chips, but I’ve never been a big fan of chips, however I had to stop myself eating these perfectly crunchy crispy chips. The only downside was that mine and Mary’s food arrived on cold plates, and because of this our beef and black peas were lukewarm, which really was a shame, because the beef was meltingly tender and I bet would have tasted fantastic if it was warmer. Rob didn’t have this problem, though, the lucky devil.

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For pudding, both Sara and I went for the lemon posset with rhubarb. Remember when I went to Northcote thinking I didn’t like plums, and then I tried them and liked them. And when I went to Rogan and Co thinking I didn’t hate apples and I didn’t hate them (though I wasn’t super convinced), at Rogan and Co I tried some of Sara’s rhubarb dessert and didn’t hate it, so I figured why not try rhubarb at the Parkers Arms. It’s safe to say I am now a convert, and I will be trying to recreate this recipe for Mother’s Day on Sunday. I don’t really remember how exactly it tasted, because I practically inhaled it, it was just that damn good. Seriously, fucking amazing.

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Mary and Rob went for the fabulous Parkers Arms cheese board, with a great selection of cheeses, bread, fruit cake and wafer thin and completely delicious crackers. Yes, delicious crackers, I just said that. But it’s totally true.

We stayed at the table for an hour after finishing our meal, enjoying the quiet ambiance and letting our food settle before retiring to bed for the night.

I’m not a morning person, I don’t like them at 8am, or 9am. I was sadly woken up at 5.45am-ish by dogs barking outside our room every 5 minutes or so for a couple of minutes at a time wanting to go out for walkies. Eventually around 6.30 they were taken out for a walk and the barking stopped, however by this point I was wide awake and waiting for breakfast.

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At 9.30 we headed down for our breakfast, and the fire was already going. A lovely welcome sight on a morning. Tables were set with orange juice, sugar cubes and milk for brews. I love orange juice in the morning, and it’s nice to actually get a generous glass of it, most hotels manage to find the smallest glass that isn’t actually a shot glass to fill with orange juice.

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Brews were brought out, tea and coffee was applied to faces and everyone was beginning to feel a bit more human, then AJ came out with our breakfasts.

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The Parkers Arms full English has 2 rashers of bacon, a sausage, black pudding (hiding underneath the egg on the left), 2 eggs, a mushroom (underneath the tomato) and a tomato. Everything on this plate is locally sourced (don’t know about the tomato at this time of the year, can we grow them in the UK in winter/spring?), and that quality really shows. I don’t like black pudding as a rule, but I decided to give it a go and I actually quite enjoyed it here. I’ve never been a sausage fan, and though I could taste it was a top quality one it wasn’t for me, thankfully there were others at the table more than willing to help finish it. The bacon was a real winner for me though, wow, up there with some of the best I’ve tried (first best is FW Burrow & Son in Silverdale, and second is Maskill’s in Hebden Bridge. I love bacon. Mmmm, bacon bacon bacon bacon BACON)

After breakfast we returned to our rooms to pack our bags, and bid the Parkers Arms a fond farewell… so, when is the next visit?

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