Food review - Bistro, Bar & Grill, Holmes Mill, Clitheroe

The stylish interior of the Bistro, Bar & Grill at Holmes Mill

The stylish interior of the Bistro, Bar & Grill at Holmes Mill - Credit: Emma Mayoh

The Bistro, Bar & Grill at Clitheroe is impressive in almost every respect

Food nirvana just so happens to be in Clitheroe. For anyone who loves to search out the best artisan foods from Lancashire, Bowland Food Hall at James’ Places popular dining destination Holmes Mill, is exactly where you want to be. The spacious and vast food hall, with shelves groaning with everything from Bob’s Knobs cheese from Chipping’s Leagram’s Organic Dairy to a line-up of Lancashire gins it would take months to work through, there is little wonder it has become such a beloved place.  

Arriving on a sunny Sunday, it was unsurprisingly busy. People were milling around, feasting on tasty morsels at their tables, sipping on beers from the ever-growing list of local brewers in the Beer Hall and tucking into ice creams of every flavour. We were heading to the Bistro, Bar & Grill on the ground floor of the mill’s Spinning Block Hotel.  

This gorgeous space feels like a taste of the 1920s: Philippe Starck-esque Ghost chairs, twinkling chandeliers and a glorious golden vaulted ceiling make a promise of treats to come. And the menu offers plenty of interesting dishes, such as small plates of lobster wontons and crab rarebit, pork, lamb and chicken on the grill and classics including porchetta fillet, tuna niçoise and rack of lamb. As you would expect from a place that celebrates local food so much, the menus contain dishes all cooked using some of the best ingredients from Lancashire’s extensive larder. It should work, it should more than work. And mostly it does. 

The pork T-bone (a smidge under £18), cooked for 12 hours, served with portobello mushroom, blistered tomato, rocket slaw and chunky chips large enough to feed our entire table for a week was the dish of the day on our table. My spatchcock chicken (£21) cooked in a Korean gochujang sauce was full of interesting flavours and delivered a hearty punch to the palate – one for those who love spice. 

But for all the beauty of the surroundings and the creativity in the kitchens, on each my three visits, I have been underwhelmed by the service. 

The stylish interior of the Bistro, Bar & Grill at Holmes Mill

The stylish interior of the Bistro, Bar & Grill at Holmes Mill - Credit: Emma Mayoh

On this occasion, one of the young diners on our table was sent the wrong meal – no big bother, these things happen. What irked me was the server was hoping we didn’t notice. When we asked why it wasn’t what we ordered, we were told they’d run out of that dish. Thankfully, the pork dish ordered elsewhere on the table was large enough to feed two so, again, not a bother. But to not tell us in and to just deliver another choice, seemed a little, well, off. Only when we received the bill at the end, did we spot the cost had been removed from our bill. Much appreciated but, again, odd not to deliver that information ahead of time. 

Most Read

Desserts looked good – with choices from treacle and pickled ginger tart to chocolate mousse with kirsch cherries. But given the abundance of choice in the food hall, we decided to buy from there, to enjoy later with a lovely dinner made up from the food hall’s deli and a pear and almond frangipane. 

There is lots to be impressed about at Holmes Mill – and I urge you to try it. There is so much that is so very good about the Bistro, Bar and Grill that I know I’ll go again. All the right elements are there, this is a place that could shine and I’m willing them to get it right. I’m not ready to give up on it just yet. And nor should you.