We've got no beef with what's on offer
After a long working week, what better tonic than to escape to the Lancashire hills for an evening of good food and wine in a cosy country pub?
Steak and seafood pub The Fenwick in Claughton has an a la carte menu well worth your attention but it also hosts regular steak nights. The most recent event was just at the end of September and we popped along for a butchers.
We tore into their shells, relishing that tactile, animalistic pleasure
A rainy drive elongated by motorway road works and a diversion via unlit, meandering A-roads had us feeling rather less enthused and we arrived a bit later than we'd intended. However, as soon as we stepped through the door into the warm glow of the bustling pub to be welcomed by our consummate host Adam - who promptly furnished us with a well-needed libation - all the tribulations of our arduous journey were forgotten.
An impressive selection of slabs of locally-sourced meat were laid out for our delectation with camera-shy - he said the last time he had had his photo taken was on his wedding day - resident expert John Garforth on hand for recommendations and meaty mastery.
The aged T-bones had caused quite a stampede before we arrived and with only a few left, we couldn’t resist putting our name down on one. Our other choice was a juicy hunk of rump as we are fans of hearty, flavourful cuts. If you prefer a milder flavoured but butter-knife tender fillet, there was a beautiful piece on display along with the classic sirloin and rib eye.
A concise but impressive list of wines for varying budgets had been selected to accompany the steaks. Taking advice from the friendly and knowledgable staff, we thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of silky Chateau Capbern Gasqueton Cabernet Sauvignon from Saint-Estephe (AOC) in Bordeaux. Its full body, blackcurrant fruitiness and whispers of smoke complemented the meat beautifully.
You won’t necessarily need a starter but if you arrive famished like we did - and are as greedy - it might be hard to resist one. Our light as air tempura battered haddock goujons with home-made tartare sauce really hit the spot. A more unusual - and very spicy - chilli spiked hot and sour broth with duck and prawn wontons was light enough not to spoil the main event while firing up the tastebuds.
Our chosen steaks were substantial and full of flavour. Griddle charred on the outside with a juicy middle - we'd requested both cooked medium to suit the cut. They were served with the classic accoutrements of skinny fries, monster golden onion rings and a heap of peppery, dark green watercress. Unable to choose between the classics: Diane, peppercorn and blue cheese - we were brought generous servings of all three velvety sauces and felt thoroughly indulged by the whole affair.
The Fenwick being a steak and seafood pub, we couldn’t say no to an accompanying trio of pink tiger prawns in a buttery, garlic and chilli dressing. These were plump and meaty and we tore into their shells, relishing that tactile, animalistic pleasure.
A break from stuffing our faces gave us time for a natter and a chance to savour the wine before we shared a melting-in-the-middle, dark chocolate fondant with honeycomb with a couple of scoops of lip-bitingly naughty salted caramel ice cream.
With a busy weekend on the cards, we’d decided to drive home but settling down into the cosy chairs by the roaring fire, the last thing we wanted was to venture back out into the tempestuous night. Next time we’ll stay over in one of the Fenwick’s comfortable and stylish bedrooms and share our bottle of wine more evenly.
The next steak event at The Fenwick is on Friday 6th December from 6pm.
There is also a wine vs cider event on Friday 15th November from 6pm with a set menu matched with both wine and cider followed by a vote for which diners think worked best.
The Fenwick Arms, Lancaster Road, Claughton, Lancashire, LA2 9LA