Lancashire Life Luncheon - The Derby Arms, Thornley

Chris Neve's smoked salmon with scampi fritters, charred cucumber and brown shrimp mayo

Chris Neve's smoked salmon with scampi fritters, charred cucumber and brown shrimp mayo - Credit: Archant

A delicious light lunch delighted guests at one of Lancashire’s top dining inns.

Main Restaurant

Main Restaurant - Credit: Archant

When Joycelyn Neve was growing up she attended a Lancashire Life luncheon with her parents and from that day on she wanted to host one of her own. It’s an ambition she has realised over and over again. In fact, Joycelyn, whose Seafood Pub Company has become one of the north’s culinary success stories, must hold the record for Lancashire Life lunches. Her first was at the Assheton Arms in Downham, next came the Fenwick at Claughton followed by the Town Green Brasserie in Aughton and the Derby Arms, on the outskirts of Longridge. Each venue – there are now seven with more on the way – is different but with a core of chic decor combined with traditional pub charm, great service and outstanding food and drink.

We returned to the Derby Arms for the most recent Lancashire Life lunch. Appropriately, for a company run by a dynamic female entreprenuer, this was a lunch with an ‘Inspiring Women’ theme. Clients and supporters of Lancashire Life and the Seafood Pub Company came from across the county to visit this glorious old country inn at Thornley.

Joycelyn’s dad, Chris, probably the county’s best-known supplier of fresh fish, delivered to The Derby Arms for years. For generations, it was a favourite dining inn but, like many country pubs, it closed and was empty for about a year. Joycelyn always had a soft spot for the place and knew it had potential. She and the Seafood Pub Company spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to create an impressive and, in places, quirky dining pub with plush, contemporary bedrooms.

Guests at our lunch saw for themselves the standard of food on offer. A plate of delicious smoked salmon came with delicately cooked scampi fritters and charred cucumber, all sharpened with a brown shrimp mayonnaise. The main course was ideal for a sunny spring day – satay chicken skewers with Singapore fried rice, peanut and mint dressing.

It’s food of this calibre which has earned the company a hatful of awards, including several prizes at the Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards, as well as a legion of returning customers w

The Derby Arms, Chipping Road, Thornley, Longridge, PR3 2NB. 01772 782370.