Where To Eat In Warton And Freckleton (October 2004)
This is an archived article from 2004.
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Ordinarily, the small rural communities of Warton and Freckleton wouldn't merit much of a mention in a restaurant guide. Villages generally don't offer much in the way of sustenance beyond pub food and a takeaway (if you're lucky). And the South Fylde has been a sleepy backwater ever since Freckleton lost its status as a river port a couple of centuries back. But Warton happens to be home to British Aerospace and as a major employer the aircraft manufacturer helps sustain a clutch of local restaurants.
Pick of the bunch is Rigbys Farmhouse Restaurant which is a bastion of traditional English cooking. This is the place to go if you yearn for simple, substantive dishes such as rack of lamb, leg of pork, roast beef and fillet steak although they do offer fish dishes like halibut and fillet of salmon too. Those in search of carnivore nirvana can plump for the Farmhouse mixed grill (10oz Sirloin Steak, lamb cutlet, gammon steak, pork chop, black pudding, sausage, £15). Much of the produce comes direct from the farm next door so freshness is guaranteed. Sugarvine readers can take advantage of an exclusive special offer and enjoy a 10% discount on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.
Rigbys is tough to find but you know you're close when you hit the Birley Arms, midway between Wrea Green and Warton. This pub is owned by the Rigby family too but offers different dining options. You can opt for traditional pub grub in the main bar or try The Bistro, which caters for up to 60 people in a separate dining area. Originally opened as Shades three years ago and offering a modern European menu, the restaurant was renamed in summer 2004 and now serves more traditional fare. Families are welcome in both the pub and the restaurant area.
Freckleton was long home to Lancashire's only Portuguese restaurant, Caravela, but after many years in business the restaurant was sold and reopened as yet another Fylde Italian in early 2004. The Lorenzinis used to run their own restaurant on Lytham's Park Road (Arcobaleno as was and now the Red Fort Indian restaurant) and Lorenzos (pictured above) brings them back onto the local dining scene. Wife Sue runs the kitchen and you can expect Italian food with a difference here - plenty of pizza and pasta but a good and eclectic choice of mains including Rotoli Tosconi (Whiting fillet rolled around spinach, cheese and langoustine glazed with lobster sauce, £12.90) and Spezzatino Della Nonna (veal casserole, £10.90) with a new menu every three months. The Lorenzinis hail from the Lake Garda area of Italy and many of the dishes are what you might style Italian-Alpine, different to your standard Anglo-Italian fare. Some interesting wines too including Arneis Roero (white Barolo, £19.90) and Custoza from Verona, £13.90.
Also well worth a visit in Freckleton is the Ship . This friendly pub sits in an elevated position at the back of the village with splendid views out over towards the River Ribble. It's had its license since 1677 but reputedly dates back even further to the fourteenth century. All the food here is home-cooked and there's an extensive main menu, a snack menu and a special board that changes weekly. It's traditional pub grub but well prepared and with a big, big choice. In summer, sit in the beer garden, take in the view and wait for the odd plane to land on the British Aerospace runway.
A new venue in Warton on Lytham Road is the Mango Tree, a must for lovers of Indian food. Modern and contemporary in style, the intimate little restaurant is decked out in warm creams and yellows with exposed wooden floors. In contrast to the usual monster-size menu, the choice here is both limited and eclectic. Their Vin d aloo, for example, is not the fiery curry you would expect but a dish from Goa prepared using white wine and potatoes. Shish burgers are made from golla (lamb mince). And Atturn chicken is marinated with herbs and spices then oven baked. Vegetarians are promised 'something more exotic than mushroom korma' if you provide a little advance notice. And somewhat unusually for an Indian, there are some 65 wines to choose from. Currently, the Mango Tree is only open Thursday through Saturday but that's set to change in the near future.
Steak fans will want to give Fort San Antone a try at Warton's Great Birchwood Park. This also happens to be the largest Country & Western facility in Europe with three bars, two dance floors and a real fort on site but you don't have to dress up in your chaps and ten-gallon hat to go there. By far the biggest steakhouse in the area, it's open Friday through Sunday and has a very popular all-day carvery on Sundays from 12 to 5 for just £5.95. This includes free entrance to the complex and makes for a great day out for kids.
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