The White Cross, Lancaster

Since my last blog post things have changed dramatically for me! I’ve moved into a house with Sara in Lancaster, I’ve got rid of the shock of bright blue hair and left my job answering phones for TalkTalk Business and I’m now working for a great company in Lancaster! It’s really great to be welcomed into the fold at my new workplace and within days of working there I’d already been on a staff night out bowling (and there I became known as Supreme Leader of The Zero Club, based on my uncanny ability to bowl naught but gutter balls!) After working for TalkTalk for a year and a half there had never been team nights out, so everything’s coming up Millhouse!

Of course, one of the daunting things for a fan of food moving to a new area is having to find new places to eat, thankfully I’d already discovered Full House Noodle Bar and Nami Sushi. Not only that, just the other day I was walking around town and smelled a familiar smell… it was shawarma, but not just any old shawarma… I could smell the distinct smell of Go Shawarma, one of my favourite quick eats in Preston, it turns out that they originated in Lancaster! So now I have that to rely on for a lunchtime treat!

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Of course, the best thing about living in Lancaster is getting to spend more time with Sara, and it’s great when I finish work at the same time as she finishes uni, we meet up in town and she suggests we go out for dinner. We roamed about looking at a few places, none of them really tickling our pickle, then I remembered that earlier in the day at work, The White Cross was mentioned as having good food, and after having passed it on the walk to work every day I’d been wanting to pay it a visit.

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We sat in the airy conservatory area of the canal side, converted cotton mill warehouse to make the most of the fading light!

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Sara started with the soup of the day, a Parsnip and Cumin soup with locally made seeded bread, which was light as a cloud, with a very generous pat of butter (why are so many places so tight with the butter? I love butter!) This was the sort of soup you want to greet you on the coldest day of the year, perfect to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

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I chose the Garlic King Prawns with Crouton and Microherbs from the specials menu, this was a decent plate of food, plump king prawns with a nice hint of char, although the slightly warm lettuce leaf felt a little out of place.

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We both went for the same main of North Sea Hake with Morecambe Bay Brown Shrimp Butter, Samphire, Baby Fondant Potatoes and Rainbow Chard.

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Initially the presentation of this dish did impress me, for a pub this is good plating, however given a bit of thought I would have liked a more organic plating, with less stacks, ingredients tumbling over each other and nothing hiding. I’m a big fan of potted shrimps, the punchy and pungent flavour of seafood, so anything with them is going to go down well to me. The rainbow chard was perfectly wilted and the samphire gave a salty crunch. Sadly the baby fondant potatoes were something of a misfire. Using waxy new potatoes doesn’t allow the stock and butter to permeate through the potato and they were a touch crunchy on the outside. The hake however was cooked just right, meaty flakes of the fish fell away at the mere threat of being poked with the fork.

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Once again, we both had the same choice when it came to dessert, a Chocolate Pot with Caramelised Pineapple and Cinnamon Shortbread.

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I was initially a little disappointed by this, as many food critics, writers and greedy guts (I fall under the last of those job titles!) have pointed out before me, the dessert should be a high note to the meal. I was, perhaps naively, expecting to see chunks of fresh pineapple, rolled in sugar and then charred on the outside in a dry pan or perhaps with a lick of flame from a blow torch, a touch of hot and cold working together  This just tasted like tinned pineapple chunks, with a bit of caramel flavoured syrup added to the mix, there was no caramelisation that I could discern. On the plus sides, the dessert was rich and decadent, though because of this I did struggle to finish, and the excellent cinnamon shortbread was the perfect level of crumbly. Not sure why they felt the need to dust the entire board with icing sugar, however.

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All in all, it’s a very decent pub serving good food, and it’s one of the three pubs closest to my new home. Sure, I’ve been to better places but I cannot complain too much, as anything is better than what I used to have to call my local!

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