Summer menu launched at New Continental

Anyone who likes a nice meal out at a good pub will appreciate the food at the New Continental, Preston.

Good news for food lovers, they’ve launched their summer menu. Here’s the detail:

With the Continental classics meeting the seasonal glory that is summer, by the way of local producers – and turning out menu winners such as baked natural smoked haddock topped with mature cheese rarebit over Bury black pudding & dressed leaves; roasted rack of Pendle lamb on a minted mash with green beans and red wine sauce; followed by desserts such as raspberry brulee with yummy Continental-made raspberry meringue ice cream.

We may be visiting shortly for a meal, it’s got our mouths watering!

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Restaurant review: John Kay Fish & Chips, Preston

Needing something to stave off the hunger pains caused by missing breakfast, a wander through town threw up a board offering fish and chips for £2.95.

The lunchtime special belonged the John Kay’s Fish & Chip restaurant. It’s located upstairs above Scrumptious cafe on Market Place, Preston.

We took a table overlooking the flag market and in glorious sunshine it’s a great place to sit. You can see the war memorial, town hall and Harris Museum – all bathed in sunlight and the busy goings on of a Saturday afternoon.

We placed our order for two lots of fish and chips and weren’t disappointed. Chunky chips, sizzling, and a lightly battered piece of cod were consumed mightily quickly.

If you want to add mushy peas, it’s 70p and that’s the same price for a pot of tartare sauce. The portion size has obviously been scaled down a bit for the lunchtime, but it was a great lunchtime bite and on such a glorious day it’s the perfect place to relax with some good food and watch the busy afternoon shoppers fly past.

Rating: Food: 4/5, Drink: 3/5, Service: 3/5, Atmosphere/decor: 4/5, Value for money: 4.5/5

Overall: 18.5/25

Need to book? Busy in the evenings, quiet for a lunchtime bite

Phone/email: 01772 558889

Address: 36A, Market Place, Preston, Lancashire

Restaurant Review: Cafe Bar, Preston

There might be a recession going on, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat out every now and again. Before heading off for a night of cocktail filled adventures, myself and a couple of friends decided to grab a bite to eat in town. We plumped for the Cafe Bar down Winckley Street (it’s the little cobbled street that leads to Winckley Square).

You enter into a little courtyard and into the main restaurant. You’re confronted by the bar and the kitchen next to it, it’s opened up so you can see what’s going on. All looked clean to me, and a quick search on the Preston City Council website confirmed a three star rating for food safety.

We were seated at a table in the centre of the downstairs of the restaurant and we’d arrived in time for the early bird menu. You could have any of the first three starters (mushroom, bruschetta or soup) and any pizza or pasta for the main, for a credit crunch busting £8.95. It’s valid from 3 PM – 6 PM.

The place was reasonably busy considering what time it was and we orded a bottle of Argentinian red, which went down far too easily. The starters arrived in good time and we tucked in. I’d gone for the bruschetta and it was cooked right and the portion size was average. My friends had gone for the mushrooms but these were a bit overcooked and the sauce was a bit too thick.

One of my friends had ordered a spicy tomato garlic bread that came with his starter. It was massive, one of those big round garlic breads rather than slices. We tucked in with gusto.

After the starters were cleared we relaxed with our wine before the mains arrived. The gap between starters and mains was a bit short, but I was starving so my ‘Chef’s Special’ was much needed. The chef had done his best to put everything on a pizza, there was a bit of everything although he’d gone a bit heavy on the bacon. The pizza bases were just right, not too thick and not ridiculously thin either. None of that stuffed crust nonsense here.

The restaurant was starting to fill up a bit as we tucked in to our main course, and the staff were struggling to keep up with the numbers. It’s clear that staff have been cut to the bare minimum until later in the evening when the place must be bustling. One of my friends had gone for a vegetarian lasagne and was not overly impressed with it, feeling it wasn’t cooked very well. On the other side of the table, another pizza was gobbled down with ease. The pizza sizes were good, this place does good pizza – however the pasta dishes seem a bit iffy.

We finished up with a coffee each and then settled up with the bill, just over £30 and not bad considering we’d had a starter, main and coffee each, with a side order of garlic bread and shared a bottle of red wine. Good value.

Rating: Food: 3.5/5, Drink: 4/5, Service: 3.5/5, Atmosphere/decor: 3/5, Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 18/25

Need to book? Weekends are busy, they do a lunchtime offer as well that looks as though it’d be busy.

Phone/email: 01772 558989 / info@cafebarpreston.co.uk

Address: 11b Winckley Street, off Winckley Square, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2AA (map)

Restaurant review: Slice of Sicily, Penwortham

Slice of Sicily is a restaurant and deli

Slice of Sicily is a restaurant and deli

After a recommendation from Preston Blog reader @ruby_gem I decided to book a table at the Italian restaurant, Slice of Sicily in Penwortham.

It’s a little cafe style restaurant tucked away on Priory Lane. The restaurant is housed in a conservatory style building at the back, behind the deli, that has a continental feel to it. We were shown to a small table with a good view of the kitchen.

As it was Valentine’s Day we were given a complimentary glass of prosecco each – which was nice and tasty. The place was filing up fast and we were glad we’d booked. I went for a starter of chicken in pesto sauce while my girlfriend went for mozerella sticks with a dip. The food was whisked straight out of the kitchen onto our plate, one of the advantages of sitting right next to the kitchen!

The menu isn’t massive but this is a good thing, it stops you spending an hour pondering what to have. The starters were delicious and the portion sizes adequate. However, there was no gap between the starter and the mains. We’d just put our cutlery down from our starter and our plates where whisked away and then the mains were infront of us.

I’d plumped for a tricolore pizza (cheese, mozorella, parma ham) while my girlfriend went for the tortollini funghi (mushrooms to me and you). The pizza was reasonably dry, not much melted cheese and this was made worse by the lack of drinks. We’d ordered another drinks when our mains arrived but I was two thirds of the way through my pizza when our drinks turned up. This was no fault of the staff (all two of them) who were forced to rush around for the whole night due to the place being understaffed.

My girlfriend enjoyed her very creamy tortollini and the portion size was just right, meaning she wasn’t absolutely stuffed.

We decided not to have a dessert or a coffee and a brief chat with the waiter as we were paying the bill (just under £40 for starter, mains and one side order, and two rounds of drinks) revealed they’d had a very busy week – so the credit crunch doesn’t seem to be affecting Penwortham.

Overall, a nice little restaurant, with great food, but they need to get the staffing levels sorted out to be able to offer better service.

Rating: Food: 4/5, Drink: 3/5, Service: 2/5, Atmosphere/decor: 3/5, Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 16/25

Need to book? Definitely for early(ish) on a weekend and can imagine it’s busy at lunchtimes.

Phone: 01772 750040

Address: 7 Priory Lane, Penwortham, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 0AR (map)

Takeaway service is available.

Suggestions for Valentine’s Day in Preston

Stuck for Valentine's Day ideas? Don't worry, we've got it covered

Stuck for Valentine's Day ideas? Don't worry, we've got it covered

February 14th is fast approaching and if there’s one day a year when you need to say “sod the credit crunch” this is it. For the men out there, the recession is never an excuse to cut back on ‘the most romantic day of the year’. Preston Blog has been asking its readers for their suggestions on where to go on Valentine’s Day in Preston.

First up is the Slice of Sicily, recommended via twitter by Gemma Cameron (@ruby_gem), it’s in Penwortham. They have a small dining area, as the place doubles as a cafe/deli during the day. Book now to avoid missing out on some great Italian food. Phone: 01772 750040. Show on map.

Next is a recommendation from recent interviewee, Colin Sneath of Stage 9 Marketing. I snuck the question in about Valentine’s Day to sidetrack him from talking too much marketing theory. He suggests a slap-up meal at Burlingtons in Broughton, with the steak being especially good. Phone: 01772 863424. Show on map.

If you fancy a bit of countryside for the day then another Preston Blog reader, Rick Seymour (@RickSeymour) recommends the hills behind Longridge for a quiet and romantic moment.

Chris Skoyles (@cskoyles) keeps the walking theme going for Valentine’s Day, suggesting a walk through Broadgate and down by the river and finishing up with a pint and maybe some food in the New Continental. Take a look at their menu for Valentine’s night. Phone: 01772 499425. Show on map.

If you fancy heading a little out of Preston then we’ve got somewhere worth a look. It comes recommended by our new music, film and entertainments correspondent, Kirsty Higginson (@KirstyHigginson) who suggests trying The Gibbon Bridge Hotel. It’s up towards Chipping in the Forest of Bowland. Phone: 01995 61456. Show on map.

Think we’ve missed a trick? Do you know a little gem in Preston or in the surrounding area that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day? Let us know below.

Restaurant review: Bukhara, Samlesbury

Bukhara restuarant

Bukhara restaurant

Curry houses can often be a bit hit and miss and we’ve got a good local one – but we felt it was time to venture out of our comfort zone and try somewhere else. I’d heard about a good and large curry house out towards Samlesbury, a quick google search and I’d found Bukhara.

The first thing to tell you is that it’s a no alcohol establishment. So, if you plan to enjoy a refreshing Kingfisher with a chicken korma – this is not the place for you. However, if they aren’t bothered about alcohol then they are bound to be bothered by the quality of the food.

We arrived and it was busy. We had to wait for a little while in the reception area (if you can call it that, the building used to be a Little Chef and they haven’t done much work on the entrance since then). We were taken to our table and given a bit of time to decide what to have. We were starving so decided to go for a starter and a main.

For drinks we ordered the sweet lassi. I had lassi a lot when I was in India for two months, and my girlfriend had never tried it (or if she had, she didn’t remember!). It’s a lovely mix of yoghurt, sugar and a bit of fruit. It was delicious and very refreshing – dare I say it, better than a pint of lager. However, I warn you now, lassi is very filling – so one jug is definitely enough, don’t order a second as we did!

For starters I went for the chicken samosa and my girlfriend went for the vegetable rolls. They portions were small but very well presented. It was yummy, and despite looking like a small portion the quality of the produce meant they were filling!

We moved onto the mains. I’d gone for a Noor Mahal Chicken Biryani with a garlic naan. The girlfriend had gone for Malai Kofta (cottage cheese balls mixed with herbs and spices). You get to pick what spiciness you want your meal and we’d both gone for medium. This was just about right, maybe a little too hot for our pallets but definitely needed a little bit of a kick rather than the mild.

The whole meal came to £34, so without a second jug of sweet lassi, you can get a great curry for two people for £30.

Rating: Food: 3.5/5, Drink: 4/5, Service: 3/5, Atmosphere/decor: 4/5, Value for money: 5/5

Overall: 19.5/25

Need to book? Was busy on a weekend, so definitely book. There was a big queue when we left at around 8.

Phone:  01772 877 710

Address:  Preston New Rd, Samlesbury, Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0UP (map)

Takeaway service is available.

Website

Restaurant review: The Sparling, Barton

decor in the sparling, barton, preston

decor in the sparling, barton, preston

My dad was up for a visit and after a hard day’s work he wanted something to eat. We set off up the A6 in search of some decent grub, and we came to The Sparling in Barton – about 10 minutes drive from Preston.

First impressions were good. The place is fancy inside, soft furnishings, lots of angles and modern decor. It’s not what I expected it to be like.

We were seated and immediately eyed up the set menu. Two courses for £7.95 – that’s credit crunch beating stuff. It’s only starter and main for the two courses, you have to pay extra for a desert. I went for the cup-a-soup of the day and a pepper steak. My dad went for the cheese brisquetes and also plumped for the peppered steak. My girlfriend went for the cheese briquetes as well and the macaroni.  I went for a San Miguel to wash it all down, while a glass of Spanish red (250 ml) was £4.95 for the old man and the missus enjoyed a glass of the house red (priced around £2.95).

Our decisions were made carefully on the set menu as the waitress reported that they were out of a few things (including orange juice!) and we understood as it was reasonably busy for a Tuesday night.

The starters arrived quickly and the cup-a-soup was fantastic. It was carrot and cale, delicious. With a steaming hot baguette to go dunking with. Dad’s cheesy brisquetes (cheesy bites to you and me) were reportedly delicious. The portions were just right, small enough to be ‘fancy-ish’ but not so large you had no room for the main course.

Due to the busy nature of the place for a Tuesday it took a while for the main courses to arrive. The portions weren’t as big as I was hoping for, but the quality of the ingredients shone through. The steak was lovely, with a peppery source drizzled all over. There were no chips unfortunately, so it was mashed potato insteasd and some great fresh veg. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, I was suitably full but with enough room for a desert. The girlfriend was happy with her macaroni (yum! was the sentiment) and Dad had a similar experience with his pepper steak.

Desert was moderately price, Dad and I went for the two scoops of locally producer ice cream. I had banoffi and vanilla bean and it was delicious. The girlfriend went for a knickerbocker glory. Now, I hadn’t seen one of these in years! It was special. Although the fruit got stuck at the bottom and she’d been given a large spoon which couldn’t reach down that far.

We recoiled after our desert and then settled up the bill. A cracking £49 for three, not bad! A brief chat with the head waitress revealed that the South African owner was putting a lot of money into the place and they’ve just started an advertising campaign locally (not that we’d seen it). A second restaurant, called The Sparling, has also been opened in Lytham, which I think we will check out in the summer.

If you’re in need of some top notch food, for good prices, the Sparling is a top contender.

Rating: Food: 4/5, Drink: 3/5, Service: 3.5/5, Atmosphere/decor: 4.5/5, Value for money: 4.5/5

Overall: 19.5/25

Need to book? Not on week days, but weekends will definitely be busy.

Phone:  01772 863 789

Address: 807 Garstang Road, Barton, Preston, PR3 (map)

Website