Lancashire Life Luncheon - The Cricketers, Ormskirk

Lancashire Life Luncheon at the Cricketers, Ormskirk

Lancashire Life Luncheon at the Cricketers, Ormskirk - Credit: Archant

Then try The Cricketers, a newly refurbished dining pub in Ormksirk and venue for our Lancashire Life luncheon. Philippa James reports

Head Chef, Tom Wells

Head Chef, Tom Wells - Credit: Archant

You may not hear the thwack of leather on willow at The Cricketers but we were bowled over by this newly refurbished dining pub in Ormskirk.

The venue for our Lancashire Life luncheon, in the market town’s Chapel Street, has been transformed into an airy, elegant place to eat, drink and enjoy good company. And that’s just what we did.

Although The Cricketers has been brought up to date by the same people who revived The Ship at Lathom, it has retained a traditional look at it certainly hasn’t forgotten its roots. The walls are decorated with memorabilia focusing on the history of the town, the county and, to steal Kipling’s phrase, the ‘flannelled fools’ who play cricket.

Our lunch was hosted by Ray and Sandra McKinty along with joint owners Dave and Maria Coyle and the food was crafted by head chef Tom Wells and his team.

Joint owners, Ray and Sandra McKinty

Joint owners, Ray and Sandra McKinty - Credit: Archant

I began with a light starter of pan fried mushrooms with creamy garlic and white wine sauce served on toasted ciabatta. I also tried the very delicate salmon and haddock Thai spiced fishcake, with pickled cucumber, which I could have happily had as a main course.

My guest ordered the spinach, pea and asparagus risotto for her main course, a bright green plate of food which she let me try. I’m so glad I did. The vibrancy of the freshest of summer vegetables sang out from the dish, with perfect rice, it was like eating a market garden. It was a great choice.

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I opted for the pork belly, accompanied by sage mash, which was really lovely, and fennel-studded crackling. This was so crisp that, as I pushed my fork through the shard, half of it flew across the room, much to the amusement of fellow diners. The pork was moist, tasty and extremely tender.

Another guest had the Asian salad, comprising king prawns in two guises, coconut shavings, cherry vine tomatoes, and chicory, with a mango, coriander, chili and ginger dressing. She said the dish was ‘gorgeous’. It was certainly the most abundant salad I’ve seen in some time and she struggled to finish it.

Most of us groaned when offered desserts, but we’re a valiant bunch in Lancashire. The salted caramel and chocolate ganache tart was about the most ‘chocolatey’ that I’ve ever tried, and I have to say, for a non-puds lady, it says something that I polished off my entire lemon cheesecake.

Good coffee and home-made shortbread finished off a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and not a ball bowled.

The Cricketers, 24 Chapel St, Ormskirk L39 4QF. 01695 571123