Giles Coren won’t go to Haslingden

What a  bobbins week on the work front.  I won’t bore you with the un-pleasantries, but it has been full of busy, late nights, frustration and missed deadlines.  So after opening with the customary moan, let us move on to better things.

A few weeks ago, I somehow got wind of something called a Taste Card.  I think it was from the Martin Lewis email, but I can’t remember to be honest.  Anywho, there was a three-month free trial, and it entitled the holder to half price food in lots of restaurants.  Those of you who know me, even in the slightest, would know that this combo would be a winner with me, so I signed up.

The card came last week, and it was timed quite nicely as with Valentine’s approaching, on Saturday we wanted to go out for a meal.  Not wanting to break the romantic mood by seeming cheap…er than usual, I mentioned the Taste Card concept to Louise with trepidation.  Louise believes that if you pay the maximum amount possible for something, it guarantees it to be the best it can possibly be.  So me saying I can get us half price food for our Valentine’s jaunt was a risky strategy.

Sykeside Country House Hotel
Well, it *looks* OK....

Still, as all our wealth for the next twenty years is sunk into our new bedroom, it was recognised that any saving would be welcome, and I began to scour the Taste Card website and iPhone app to see which restaurants we could go to.  A lot of them don’t “do” the scheme on a Saturday so our choices were a little limited, and we ended up choosing, well I did, a place in Haslingden.  This is about half an hour from us, and The Ridings restaurant was situated in the Sykeside Country House Hotel, which all sounded very promising.

With a table booked for 7.30, Louise started to get ready just that five minutes too late to avoid me pacing the hall looking at my watch getting stressed, as my aversion to being late kicked in.  Leaving a house full of teenagers behind us we set off through the likes of Ramsbottom and Stubbins, which are not unlike the lands in Lord of the Rings really, and amazingly, no doubt due to my impressive Mondeo manoeuvres, we arrived in the car park at 7.30 on the nail.

The car park looked fairly empty, and at this point I was a little worried I must admit.  The place itself is a stunning old mill owner’s house, with lovely old decor, and impressively, once was home to William Roache from Corrie!  I don’t think he owned the mill though.

We are welcomed into the bar, and we order a drink and take a seat in a comfy couch near the fire.  As we look over the menus we are presented with some horses douvres by an amazingly polite young waitress.  So far so good.


View from a couch

We are soon ushered through to our table, and the real fun begins.  The food arrives.  Wow!

To start I ordered the Gateaux of black pudding served with crushed potatoes and leeks, drizzled with a light grain mustard sauce.


The German for gateaux is kirschtorte!!

I know it looks like a dessert but I think this is the idea, hence the name.  It is black pudding top and bottom, with mash in the middle, topped off with a poached egg done to perfection.  The mustard sauce is just superb too.  Silence descended as we tucked in.

Louise?  Oh, yes she ate too.  She ordered the Mushroom and Gruyere Tartlette.


Louise's starter
and I'm Filo fine....

This too was declared wonderful.

At this point I’m just relieved that my choice looks to be going OK.

Our main course were equally delightful, but alas, our enthusiasm meant no photos were taken.  For the record we had…

Me – A chicken breast served on a black pudding potato cake.

Louise – Some deep-fried goat’s cheese thing.

This was served with lovely veg, including some deep-fried cauliflower.  Marvellous.

Just to make sure two courses were not a fluke I volunteered to test out the desserts, and went for the profiteroles.


Louise didn't want a dessert, but still tasted mine....

Just wonderful, so no, the first two courses were not a fluke.

Add to all this lovely food, the fantastic service and we had a great time.  So much so that as we retired to the bar for another drink, I felt almost guilty using the Taste Card as what we had just eaten was worth every penny at full price.  However, with the Taste Card discount, all of that cost us £38, including three glasses of wine, a beer and a diet coke!!

We rolled home very satisfied, vowing to return very soon.

So apologies for the food review style of this week’s post, but we were blown away with the place, and for those local enough to try it, you must!  For those not local, then the least you should do is get to the Taste Card website and sign up the free trial, if it is still on, or just get one.

We haven’t eaten much today to be honest, mainly as we had a long lie in, and since then we’ve been busy, me finishing off the wooden floor with my Dad.  Well, to be honest I was handing him stuff whilst he did it, and Louise has been doing the big shop, and is now ironing.  Rebecca has been busy though, and our reward for yet another weekend with a house like a youth hostel is a cheesecake made by her own fair hand for after tea.  She is also as I type chopping stuff for our Shepherd’s Pie.  Poor Shepherd!

I look forward to a better week at work, and a very yummy tea!!

Louise needs an early night I think as she looks a little peaky to me.


Louise Paul
No dear you look lovely

Till the next time…….

One thought on “Giles Coren won’t go to Haslingden

  1. wow that maincourse really does look like a dessert.. not sure my tummy/brain would know how to feel about it!
    The profiteroles look mighty impressive though!

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