16-03-2016-The Ribchester Arms, Ribchester

On our many visits to Angels Ÿ?? one of our favourite local Restaurants, we have often noticed The Ribchester Arms on our way. The reasons we have noticed it are firstly we drive right past it every time, but more importantly, secondly, because the car park is always busy. Applying a limited amount of Blonde logic to this scenario has me believing that the venue itself must also therefore be busy. And, in my mind, a busy place is usually at bare minimum, an Ÿ??all rightŸ? place. Sue and I therefore decided that The Ribchester Arms deserved a visit. It was a cold, dark, Friday evening when we headed towards Blackburn Road, Ribchester, Preston PR3 3ZQ ( www.theribchesterarms.com ) and found ourselves a place to park. As previously noted, the car park was busy, and we had to right to the back corner to get what was pretty much the last space. We had booked a table for 8-30pm, but had arrived a little after 8-000pm. This wasn’t a problem, I was sure I would enjoy a drink at the Bar before our meal. We walked in, and introduced ourselves at the Bar. As predicted, it was pretty busy, with most people appearing to be sat down consuming food. There were a few people at the bar, but not many. Unexpectedly, our table was ready, even though we were early, and we were whisked straight into a dining room, just off the main pub area. This room housed many tables varying in size from tables for two, up to a central table which had a party of eight adults and several children at it ( I couldn’t count the children Ÿ?? they wouldn’t stay still long enough!) There was a mixed Patronage, from young couples through to a threesome that appeared to beŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?í.. well, past retiring age anyway! We sat down and made ourselves comfortable, having attracted a small amount of attention as we entered the room, and we were left with menus, offered drinks, and left to choose our preferred food options. The food is definitely more Ÿ??Pub FoodŸ? than Manchester posh Restaurant food, nonetheless, there was a varied choice, and we didn’t have any mither in managing to pick out something to eat. Our drinks were delivered to our table, and soon after our waitress appeared to take an order. Whilst waiting, I took the chance to have a good glance round and was pleased to note that my presence had not caused any untoward attention once we had sat down. Even the children from the central table were far too busy playing hide and seek under the table and generally being children to even notice, so no worries so far. I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to have children moving around a dining room, but we were in a local Village Pub, it was reasonably early evening, and it was Friday night. To put a different slant on the old saying, if you don’t want to come across the Romans, don’t book a table in the middle of Rome! I expect people to accept and put up with me being who and what I want to be, so why shouldn’t I put up with a few kids getting rid of what little energy they had left on a Friday evening after a week at school. I knew they would tire before I did! Sure enough by the time our food was being served, they were in the midst of saying their goodbyes, paying the bill, and going off home to bed. At which point, I am reminded why we are here Ÿ?? food. Our starter order had consisted of Chefs homemade soup for Sue Ÿ?? French Onion, and a prawn cocktail for me. Once again we have to compliment the dedication of the Chef Ÿ?? he takes the trouble to make the soup at home. I’m sure it would be easier to just make it in the kitchen at work, but hey! What do I know about making soup? They were brought to the table in good time, and judging by the two empty dishes we produced, were of a more than satisfactory standard. We had already noticed that we were getting our share of the staff. So far every stage of the meal had been dealt with by a different person Ÿ?? this quite often happens, and I suspect it’s due to the kitchen grapevine inducing curiosity amongst the ranks. Perhaps I’m being paranoid, but I’m pretty sure it’s just so that everyone can get a look. I don’t mind Ÿ?? I come across a lot of Ÿ??curiousŸ? people on my travels as Paula, but it does make me smile to myself! Once our starter dishes had been cleared, we were left to chat for a short while before yet another waiter person brought our main courses. I had chosen a grilled sea bass dish which was served with an assortment of vegetables and potatoes, whilst Sue had decided to try the pie of the day which so happened to be chicken and mushroom. This was also served with the obligatory vegetables and potatoes Ÿ?? so, on this occasion, no need for any side orders. As with the starters, the food was basic, but it was the right temperature, well presented, and was certainly tasty enough. The portions were generous, and the mix of vegetables was colourful and varied. We fell silent for a short time whilst we enjoyed our food, and it didn’t take us long before we were sliding our cutlery together on empty porcelain surfaces. Our plates were cleared (yes, you guessed it Ÿ?? another new face!), and the menus were returned so that we could torture ourselves over the great dessert debate. I must admit, I had previously decided that I probably wouldn’t have a dessert. I was feeling a little bulky; as we do from time to time, and thought maybe I should give it a miss. Sue however, quickly pointed her finger at the menu, enthusing over the thought of having a dish of Eton Mess placed in front of her. That was fine, and I had no problem in sitting with her whilst she enjoyed it. Sue however, then decided that if I wasn’t bothering, she wouldn’t bother. I insisted that she did, pointing out it wasn’t a problem, but she put the wounded dog look on, explaining it just wouldn’t be right her having one without me. This was very unfair. It was moral blackmail at its very lowest! I knew exactly what she was doing, but, I was powerless to react. It was either not have a dessert and live with the fact that I had deprived Sue of hers, or change my mind and have one to make her feel better. I know where my bread is buttered, and it didn’t take much working out for me to realise that the best thing I could do was order a dessert with Sue. I managed to find a healthy looking option of Fruit Cocktail and ordered it, but deep down I knew I had been stuffed! In fairness, she enjoyed her Mess, so I suppose somewhere along the line I will reap the rewards in one way or another. Once we had finished our food, the table was cleared, and we were offered coffee. We declined, and Sue suggested that seeing as we hadn’t had chance of a drink at the Bar on our arrival, we could have one before we left. Now she was talking my kind of language. Over the course of the evening, the place had gradually emptied, and I hadn’t had much chance of making an impact on Ribchester. Maybe, now was my chance? We were soon stood at the Bar, but things were not necessarily well! We appeared to be the last of the Diners left. We also appeared to be the last two Ÿ??femalesŸ? left. There was however quite a large group of local males. Quite a large group of local males who didn’t know how to react to the two Ÿ??girlsŸ? now standing at the Bar. It soon became us and them. Ÿ??UsŸ? were standing towards the left hand end of the Bar ordering our drinks, and Ÿ??themŸ? were stood as far away as possible at the right hand end of the Bar. Our drinks came, and I swapped notes with Sue. She was in agreement. We were the odd ones out! In more ways than one! By this time I had managed to weigh the opposition up. There were twenty two of them, ages ranging from early twenties through to retirement, mainly local farming stock. They were huddled in groups, all discussing who, or indeed what, was at the other end of the Bar. The only consolation at this moment was that I felt more comfortable than they looked. In fairness, I did actually, still feel comfortable. I was aware I was the topic of conversation, but I was also aware that I was in control. Sue and I had as much of the bar as they did Ÿ?? and there were twenty two of them. We stood our ground, drank our drinks, looked at them as often as we could without being offensive, and generally let them know that we weren’t scared. I decided to order a second drink Ÿ?? as much to make a stand as anything else, and was quite surprised when one of the guys broke ranks and walked along the bar to where we were stood. He introduced himself, and asked if we had been dining. We said we had, and enlarged on the conversation by telling him what we had eaten and how much we had enjoyed it. He explained that he was the chef from another local pub, and had come for a drink after he had finished his shift. He had only recently returned from Thailand and was introducing some different dishes on his menu. He suggested we should try the place he worked at next time we fancied a meal. During the course of this conversation, another gentleman Ÿ?? obviously a friend of his came along and joined in with us, happy to have a chat, and within ten minutes or so, the Ÿ??usŸ? and Ÿ??themŸ? had become pretty much Ÿ??usŸ?. We were surrounded by men, all chatting away, eager to know Ÿ??what the score wasŸ?. I thanked the first guy for coming over, and he laughed Ÿ?? as he put it, once you’ve worked in Thailand you’ve seen it all. It turned out that he and his mate had Ÿ??won a betŸ? for coming over, but his reasoning didn’t matter Ÿ??he had done it and it had broken enough Ice to keep Canal Street going all year. Sue and I ended up having a third drink Ÿ?? paid for by others, before we paid our bill and said a cheery goodbye to our twenty two new friends. SoŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?íŸ?í. The all-important three questions: Is The Ribchester Arms TV friendly? It turned out to be, but in fairness, it’s maybe not for the faint hearted. In its defence, despite the obvious curiosity from the staff, the venue itself treated us perfectly. As, indeed, did the Clientele. Eventually! Lol Value for Money? The food and two drinks each was ô?60-00including a tip. No worries on that front. Would I go again? I would go back again, yes. In reality, I doubt we will rush back in the immediate future, but only because we tend to keep trying new places, and only return to very very special ones. This was good, but I can’t include it on my very very special list.