INGRID KENT writes...as a resident of Caton, The Ship has long been one of my favourite local hostelries.
This historic inn has always had a warm atmosphere and in the last few months it has undergone a renaissance.
Bowland Village Inns has taken it on and transformed it into a stylish and relaxed venue.
The building has retained some of its original features and the recent refurbishment has a cool and contemporary feel.
I went there for an evening meal with my husband Mark who is notoriously hard to please.
It was a week night so we’d taken our chances and hadn’t booked but this was a risky tactic.
The Ship is becoming increasingly popular so it is definitely advisable to book in advance.
A total of £30,000 has been spent on improving the kitchen - and it shows.
The food is delicious, well-presented and there is plenty of variety. The portions are also on the generous side. New head chef, Gareth Parker, has created a menu featuring British classics.
Locally sourced produce is used and there is a wide range of wines and beers.
The company runs a number of other businesses including The New Holly near Forton and The Plough at Galgate.
We settled down near the roaring open fire and perused the menu. The friendly staff brought Mark a pint of lager and I had a Sauvignon blanc.
For a starter Mark chose the Bury black pudding and I had the caramelised onion and Camembert souffle.
Mark’s dish was accompanied by a mini potato and smoked bacon salad, a soft poached egg and grain mustard cream. He loved the subtle blend of flavours and textures.
The Camembert souffle, which came with sweet tomato chutney and onion and watercress salad, was simply delicious. I’m a sucker for a souffle and it hit the mark.
For his main course Mark opted for the Classic char grilled chicken Caesar salad and I had fisherman’s pie.
The Caesar salad was enormous and full of mouth-watering ingredients.
My fisherman’s pie was served with fresh seasonal vegetables. The pie was sizeable and full of beautifully cooked fish.
We were so full that we couldn’t fit in dessert.
However, the desert menu - which included lemon posset, Dewlay of Garstang cheese board, sticky toffee pudding, strawberry creme brulee and other delights - looked wonderful.
We’ve been back several times since then - a sure sign that the new Ship is a winner.
If you’re looking for a chilled-out and elegant place for a meal, this is it.