27-06-2015-The Fence Gate Inn, Fence, Nr. Burnley

As Sue and I continue our quest to spend the occasional Friday night exploring the Culinary delights of the surrounding area, the other Friday evening saw us heading over Pendle Hill to the Fence Gate Inn ( www.fencegate.co.uk ) which is located at Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, Burnley, BB12 9EE. The Fence Gate is a long established venue and is well known throughout the area for functions, and Weddings etc, as well as being a popular eating and drinking venue. It is owned by the same guy who owns The Eagle, at Barrow Ÿ?? another of our regular haunts. It has gained a reputation recently for being the Ÿ??place to be seenŸ? on a Friday night, so who better than Paula to put and end to that one! On our arrival, we had to get fairly well to the back of the car park to get a space, and there was a stream of taxis at the front door, both dropping and collecting fares. The signs so far were good. We entered into the Bar area, and announced our arrival to the Lady behind the desk, and agreed with her that we would sample a drink at the Bar before dining. It was very busy indeed. There is the choice of dining pub style in the Bar Lounge, or eating in the Restaurant. This meant that the area around the Bar was quite busy Ÿ?? most of the available seating was being used by diners, resulting in the drinkers squeezing in where they could. I quite often find people to be extremely well mannered when I arrive at a venue Ÿ?? they seem to stand well back and let me through! Amazing, really! Lol. Anyway, it wasn’t many seconds and I was stood right at the bar getting served with our first drinks Ÿ?? two diet cokes. Out of fairness to everyone else, we then moved away from the Bar a little, just to allow others a chance of getting served. It was busy, but well staffed, so everything seemed to be working OK. I can’t say I went unnoticed, but I wasn’t drawing any untoward attention, until…………….! Until a gang of business type chaps all dressed in suits and ties arrived in, on their way home from a day at the races. How did I know that? Easy Ÿ?? half of them told all and sundry where they had been, and the other half had little badges pinned to their lapels that even told us where they had stood! They had all had a drink. Some of them had had more than one drink I suspect. In fact, most of them had had more than one drink, but none of them expected to bump into Paula Falisia. Out of all the predictions they had made that day, not a single one of them had put money on the fact that they would end up stood in The Fence Gate next to me. Some were scared, some were fascinated, and some were down right interested. Unfortunately, the one who was most interested had coincidently had the most to drink. He was also Ÿ??knownŸ? to me in my other life. Whilst, as you are well aware, this doesn’t affect me in the slightest, I didn’t want to freak him out. He looked like he had been through enough that day, and a Waitress arriving to announce that our table was ready, has never been better timed before. Ever! I was relieved, but disappointed at the same time, but as Sue pointed out, we had come to eat, not intimidate poor innocent business men at the end of a boy’s day out. We sat at our table, and set about studying the menus we had been presented with. We also took the chance to order another drink each. The menu is typical of so many places around us and offers a wealth of choices ranging from good old fashioned Ÿ??pub grubŸ? through to something a bit more Ÿ??daring, and Ÿ??posherŸ?. It didn’t take us long to choose and as our waitress returned with the drinks, we were able to place an order for our food. Sue had decided to go with the Soup of the Day, which was French Onion Ÿ?? one of her favourites, and I was drawn towards the Smoked Salmon Ÿ?? double oak smoked, whisky washed smoked salmon with red onion, baby capers, and brown bread. And what a plateful I got! Instead of the usual folded piece of smoked salmon, I got a small dinner plate totally covered with two or three slices. It was more than a snack in itself! I was just halfway through my starter when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I played it cool, not wanting to show any particular emotion by spinning around in some form of panic. It also gave me time to check Sues face out; to see if that gave me any clues to my assailant. I knew the business men were still in the building Ÿ?? I could hear them! The smile on Sues face was enough for me to realise it wasn’t a threat, so I turned around to see her friend Julie. It was Julie’s birthday, so she had been out for dinner with her fellow John, to The Waddington Arms, and had decided to come up and catch a drink with us after our meal. Brilliant! We had a brief chat, and arranged to catch up with them soon. Now, it was time to concentrate on completing our starter course, so that we could be ready for Chef to present us with something further to sample. This was done in no time, and our empty plates were soon cleared away. Main course was soon to arrive. Sue had pondered long and hard over several choices, in the end succumbing to the offer of 35 Day, Dry, Aged, 10oz Char-grilled Sirloin Steak, served with onion rings, confit tomato, garlic portobello mushroom, and hand cut chips. Oh, and lest I forget, a portion of peppercorn sauce. I, however, had taken very little time to decide that I quite fancied Pork Belly with whole grain mustard mash, baked apple topped with a blackpudding fritter, cumin carrots & calvados sauce. We also added a side order of skinny fries and shared each others fries thus giving us a mixture of hand cut, and skinny. As with the starters, the portions were more than adequate. In fact, although we managed to send completely empty crockery back towards the kitchen, we both agreed that desserts were a no-go area. We didn’t even look at the menu! We sat and chatted a while, and then decided that we would go and find Julie and John. On our way through, we stopped at the desk, and paid our bill which was a very pleasant ô?60-00. The Lady behind the desk informed us that there two pianists entertaining in the large room behind the Bar, and asked us if we were going to spend some time having a drink and maybe listening to the music Ÿ?? think that answers the Ÿ??TV friendlyŸ? question? We said we certainly were stopping, and went in search of Jules, who was sitting to the side of the bar, with a couple of seats kept just for us! We were just in time to watch the businessmen leave, which was even more fun than watching them arrive. Some had fared quite well, but others really were worse for wear! They were all being Ÿ??men togetherŸ? helping each other out, each and every one of them believing they were quite sober. It was hilarious! We sat and chatted, and people watched. It was whilst people watching that my eyes kept returning to a couple of girls by the bar, who were obviously having the same problem with me. I don’t think it was that they found me completely irresistible, or indeed, me them. There was just something causing a rumble between us. Eventually I got the chance to go to the bar and test things out. One of the girls looked at me and said Ÿ??Paula?Ÿ? Ÿ??YesŸ? I replied, Ÿ??You live over here and we met on Canal StŸ? I don’t know how, but I had suddenly remembered. We had met about 3 years ago whilst they were on a girl’s night out, and during our conversation it had emerged that they lived sort of near where I lived. It’s a small World. Julie and John decided to leave, but Sue and I stayed a while longer, just enjoying the busy atmosphere, watching and listening to people of all types and ages. The Fence Gate certainly is a busy spot on a Friday night. Eventually, reality kicked in, and Sue and I decided we should head for home and prepare ourselves for the day to follow. We left the Fence Gate around midnight, just as busy as when we found it. All I have to do now is answer the three questions: Is the Fence Gate TV friendly? We’ve answered it establishment wise up above. With regard to the customers, I had no problems and had a laugh with several people. Value for money? I think we’ve answered that one above as well! Go again? Bet we do! PS can’t comment on the facilities, as neither of us used them!