Hidden away in the rolling Fylde countryside close to the picturesque village of Wrea Green, you’ll find The Birley Arms Hotel and Gastro Pub. Now under new ownership, it’s been given a new lease of life with the arrival of chef-patron Felix Santoni as one of the business partners. Felix needs no introduction to Fylde diners having headed up the kitchens in two of Lytham’s most popular restaurants over the last decade, Chicory and more recently Spago.
The pub’s modern and spacious interior gives few clues to the pub’s history. It was the site of a bloody skirmish during the English Civil War and right up until recent times it was known by locals as The Red Heart; reputedly a Roundhead soldier cut out the heart of his Royalist opponent and with the dead man’s dagger pinned it above the door of the pub. Thankfully, the only blood you’re likely to come across these days is if you like your Steak Chateaubriand rare.
The food is modern British country-style cuisine with a French twist. Starters include Homemade Lakeland venison pie on wilted spinach with a cranberry red wine jus, Scallop and chorizo skewers served with pesto dip and chickpea humus salad and Baked ratatouille with Sandham’s cheese gratin and rustic bread. Mains range from the Chateaubriand (one of three sharing platters for two on the menu, along with the Seafood and Country platters) to pub classics like Fish pie and Steak & ale pie and more elaborate dishes such as Pork Belly surf & turf and Reg Johnson’s honey almond duck. There are also burgers, salads, sandwiches and wraps and a choice of five desserts including the de rigueur Sticky toffee pudding.
The Birley Arms is also a good bet for a quick business lunch. With a 45-minute turnaround you can choose from 15 main courses for just £6.95 and if you have a little longer to tarry include a tapas or dessert for £10.95 (or even a tapas and a dessert for £14.95). The tapas selection covers 14 dishes which are ideal as an appetiser, side dish or just to accompany a drink at the bar. And if you’re a seafood fan then you’re very much on the same wavelength as Felix with main course options including Smoked haddock risotto, Seafood risotto, Poached salmon with vegetables new potatoes and Hollandaise sauce, Moules Mariniere and Seafood linguine with mussels, clams, squid, Tiger prawns, scallops, cherry tomato, chilli, fresh herbs and white wine sauce.
It’s a roomy venue with a conservatory and al fresco dining as well as the main restaurant and there’s table service so no pesky trips to the bar to place your order. The Birley Arms Hotel and Gastro Pub has 16 smart ensuite bedrooms too so if you’re looking to stay close to Blackpool but avoid the bright lights then this might well be the place for you.