Jonathan Schofield seems uncharacteristically lost for words to describe this 'nice' restaurant
WE met Breda Murphy. Pleasant, amiable, affable and a thousand other adjectives that speak of warmth. And niceness. 'Muy simpatica' as the Spanish might say.
Her restaurant was pleasant, amiable, affable and a thousand other adjectives that speak of warmth. And niceness…etc.
A filling dish in its way but seemed very much home cooking rather than chef-prepared
In some respects, the main point of distinction with Breda Murphy’s restaurant is the building hosting it. It sits in a very normal-looking detached house built, next to Whalley Station, that appears to have been built for a comfortably-off Lancashire family. You feel you should knock on the door and be carrying a bottle of M&S red and a box of Celebrations.
The place reminded me of the Moss Nook restaurant, which for around a million years sat a stone’s throw from Manchester Airport and fancied itself something rotten. This also occupied a former suburban house and had main courses under silver domes that were lifted flamboyantly to reveal the grub beneath. Dah-dah.
Breda Murphy’s is much more down to earth with none of that fandango. This is reflected inside where the over-riding sensation is one of paleness. Pale walls, pale laminate flooring, safe, with animal artworks costing an awful lot of money, if you want to take one of those home after your coffee. I would have preferred darker furnishings to set the food off and add drama, but if nothing else, the place is spick and span. Neat.
The menu is massive, fifty dishes maybe, comprised of British and Irish food. Breda is Irish, herself. So she is. A starter of ‘traditional Irish potato Boxty pancake topped with Clonakilty black pudding and crispy streaky bacon served with a cream mustard sauce' was £6.95 and was lovely. The main black pudding difference with a Lancashire black pudding is that the Irish one on this plate was “spicier”. I didn’t get this, but the potato pancake worked well with the other elements and the creamy mustard sauce.
The £6.50 roasted cauliflower croquettes came with pickled mushrooms and charred chicory. It was a little bland but the chicory helped. The fennel quiche of the day (£11.50) was suitably floaty and light, showing subtlety in the prep and cooking.
Cod (£20) came with samphire and nicely timed al dente spuds plus a decent (if a little dull) sauce. A filling dish in its way but seemed very much home cooking rather than chef-prepared.
The Bailey’s bead and butter pudding at £5.75 was better, rich, luscious, and like the quiche, subtle yet substantial. Indeed this and the boxy pancake dish were easily the best parts of the meal.
There’s a sweet Manchester link with this part of Lancashire and the suburb of Whalley Range. It was banker and property magnate Samuel Brooks, born in the Lancashire village, who settled in a boggy area of south west Manchester in the first half of the nineteenth century and transformed it, bringing with him Whalley’s name – although Mancs pronounce it differently, of course, as Wolley.
Back to Breda Murphy’s. The host village is worth a visit in its own right. It’s a handsome, smart place with an impressive ruined priory. If you go, then Breda Murphy’s is your best bet for lunch - or dinner if arriving later. It has an engaging old-fashioned air reflected in both the décor and the menu.
Breda Murphy Restaurant, 41 Station Rd, Whalley, Clitheroe BB7 9RH
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All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
cauliflower 6, boxy pancakes 7, quiche 6, cod 6, bread & butter pud 7
Friendly and jolly
Very suburban, safe, nice