Blackburn is no gastronomic capital of the world, but there are some good places to eat . . .
by dkm1981 on June 24, 2013
Auberge bills itself as an English and Continental restaurant and it is located on the High Street in Rishton, a small town just outside Blackburn. It is a nice restaurant with a nice menu but the atmosphere isn't what it used to be. They seemed to have changed their target audience. Where once it used to be a nice place to go for a romantic meal, now they seem to be more focused in getting the 'older' generation in for bargain set menus.The restaurant is a former bank and so it is in quite a grand old building. The dining area is a huge open space with lots of tables in. I liked that the tables aren't too close together so you don't feel penned in. The ceilings are very high so it feels quite airy which is nice although it isn't great for romance. They have counteracted that though by creating a nice atmosphere with gentle lighting. I do think though they have gone a little over board with the frills and stuff those, it feels a little bit too chintzy nowadays.We went for the set menu which offers a choice of five starters (things like soup of the day, salmon pate and Lancashire black pudding). We both went for the garlic mushroom and spinach which was kind of like a bruschetta type thing. It was delicious and a really nice sized portion so that we didn't feel too full. For main course there are again five choices (like fish and chips, sausage and mash and cider pork casserole). I had the chicken and cracked black pepper pie served with homemade chips and my husband had the steak. it was cooked how he asked and well seasoned so he enjoyed it. My main course was tasty and was a large portion. Both dishes were well presented. For dessert I had the chocolate and mint pot, which was a lovely refreshing way to finish my meal and my husband had the strawberry cheesecake which was also very nice.The service was attentive and not stuffy, every one was helpful and friendly.We paid just under £15 for our three course meal which we thought was very good value for money. Overall I think the restaurant is a good choice because the food is very good but it isn't brilliant because the atmosphere isn't the best.
The Clog and Billycock is a pub style restaurant in Blackburn that is owned by a Michelin starred local chef. As far as I know he doesn't actually ever work in the restaurant, but he influences the menu. We went a few weeks ago to try it out and, as my title suggests, I wasn't blown away.The restaurant is in the rather pleasant Pleasington area of Blackburn. It's a little out of the way of anywhere so you'll either have to drive, which isn't a problem because they have a fairly big car park which is free o use, or get a taxi which'll not be cheap because it is pretty far out of the town. The restaurant has a laid back kind of feel to it. I thought it might be a bit pretentious, but it is quite chilled out really and has more of a country pub feel to it which I thought was nice. The service wasn't stuffy either. The staff are all quite young and fresh and every one was really friendly. The main thing i didn't like about it was the fact that you have to order and pay for your food at the till, rather than someone coming to your table and taking your order. This is something that I associate with cheap and cheerful chain restaurants which this is not, so I was disappointed. For the price we paid, I thought they could have got someone to come and take the order.Food wise, we had starters and main courses. My husband went for the free range rare breed chipolatas, which was about ten little sausages of different kinds (cumberland, spicy pork and black pudding) served with a mustard dip and I had deep fried cauliflower fritters served with curry mayonnaise. Both of the dishes were surprisingly simple; there was no garnish at all with them and they came in little earthen ware pots. The portions were quite generous. I really liked the curry mayonnaise but the fritters were a little bit greasy, my husband enjoyed his sausages.For main course I had fish and chips which was served with mushy peas. It was nice but, again, a little on the greasy side. My husband had the sirloin steak which he said was cooked to perfection and was a really nice sized portion but he thought it was a little under seasoned. For two of us we paid about £60 for the two courses. Neither of us were drinking alcohol so that price included a couple of glasses of lemonade. I think it was overpriced personally for what it was. The food was reasonable but not perfect and I was annoyed at not having table service. I would recommend it just but don't go with massive expectations.
I've been to Frankie and Benny's in Blackburn numerous times with varying degrees of success. It is like every other Frankie and Benny's in the world but it is quite novel for Blackburn that isn't really big enough to get the main chains usually.I have found that going mid week is much better than going at the weekend because it is quieter and the staff seem to be able to cope better, both in the kitchen and at front of house. The restaurant is open every day for breakfast lunch and dinner. It is located right opposite the cinema in the town centre, so it is a great place to go to before or after a film.Last time we went, we went for the mixed starter which is very reasonable at £10 as it is supposed to be for four people. it is indeed enough for for as the portion is massive. It comes on this huge plate that is jam packed with two kinds of potato skins, spicy chicken wings, garlic breaded mushrooms, garlic bread, chicken poppers, celery sticks, breads sticks and four kinds of dip. Everything was well cooked (or well deep fried I should say) and was hot. The choice was great. For main course we had burgers and pizzas. All the portions were generous sized and well presented although not with much flare. It is just standard food but they do it well enough. The atmosphere in the restaurant is nice, i kinda like the Itlaian American feel it has with old school pictures on the wall and even Italian lessons playing in the toilets. The music is funky too. The staff are fairly good although they are obviously all part timers without much passion. I imagine it is hard to have much passion when you are working in a fairly bog standard chain restaurant.The price isn't too bad especially if you go mid week and get one of their deals. In fact I would recommend going when there is a deal on because I don't think the food is that good for the full price. Full price it would be about £25 per head for a three course meal not including drinks. During the day they do deals where you get two course for £10 ish and three courses for about £12, which is much better value.Recommended for a quick bite to eat but not for a romantic meal or special occasion really.
Blackburn is home to an inordinate amount of Indian restaurants for some reason that I am not quite sure of. If you ask anyone from Blackburn, they will tell you which is the best and everyone's answer will be different. Many of them will say the Shajan though. I wouldn't but I thought I'd try it because of all the rave reviews that people I know give it. The restaurant is located on the outskirts of Blackburn near to Preston. The location is really easy to get and there is a huge car park surrounding the restaurant. It's not cheap to get there in a taxi though, so you might want to get yourself a designated driver; a taxi from the centre of town will cost you about £20.The first impressions of the restaurant are good, there is a nice big bar area with a lot of comfortable seating to enjoy a chill out before or after your meal. The decor of the restaurant is lovely and classy. It has clearly been well designed and thought out to give the best presentation possible. Everything is shiny and new looking even though the restaurant has been there for over 20 years. The menu includes all of the things you would expect to see in an Indian restaurant, but what I loved most about the menu where the chefs specials that included a wide choice of things you wouldn't expect to see. We went for poppadoms to start which were lovely and crisp and warm, so they were clearly freshly cooked. They were accompanied by a nice selection of pickles and chutneys, some of them tastier than others! For main course we decided to go for one of the specials and then a chicken tikka masala as the safe option just in case we didn't like the special. The special was sea bass pan fried in olive oil, garlic and herbs served on a special sauce. It was well cooked and the sauce was very tasty but both thought it lacked that bit of punch we were hoping for. The tikka masala was again very tasty but it could have done with being a little bit spicier. We had an absolutely huge garlic naan that was a little greasy but cooked to perfection.Price wise, it isn't cheap compared to other restaurants in these parts, but it isn't overly expensive either. The starters are about £3, main courses between £8 and £12 and side dishes between £2 and £4. We had a bottle of wine and a couple of drinks with our food and paid about £50 in total. Although the food wasn't fantastic, it was nice enough and the service and ambience is excellent so I'd say it's just about worth it. Recommended.
Despite having lived in Blackburn for most of my life, I had never heard of Yu and You Chinese restaurant until it appeared on Gordon Ramsey's Best Restaurant programme in the UK, in which it won best restaurant in the Chinese category. After advertising like that, it seemed rude not to pay a visit.It is located on Longsight Rd which is really easy to get to although a taxi from the town centre will set you back about £20 each way, so you are probably better making use of the plenty of parking that they have. The restaurant itself is pretty funky. It's quite dark inside, which i thought gave it a really cool and romantic atmosphere. Blackburn isn't a big town and so there aren't a lot of people, which made me very surprised at how busy the restaurant was on a normal Tuesday night. I'd recommend booking. It was actually really nice for it to be so busy because usually when you go out on a Tuesday night in Blackburn, there is just you and the waiter, not so here. The fact that it was so busy though was obviously expected though because there was so many staff that it wasn't a problem. The staff were all really nice too.The food was good. We went for a banquet menu which gave us starter, main course and dessert from a selection. For starter we had spring rolls and locally sauced BBQ spare ribs. The ribs were beautifully tender and the sauce lovely and tangy. The portion size of both of the starters were generous but not too much that we weren't hungry for our main courses. We had Tai po crispy chilli chicken and sweet and sour pork both served with egg fried rice. The dishes were both delicious, generous sized portions and well presented. The thing I loved most about the food though was the fact that the desserts were quite interesting which is unusual for a Chinese restaurant. We had their famous sweet strawberry samosas served with ice cream, which were absolutely divine and a perfect way to finish our meal.The price was expensive and what let the meal down slightly for me. We paid almost £100 for the three courses and a bottle of wine, which is very expensive for a restaurant in a small town like Blackburn. I couldn't help thinking that whilst it was nice, it wasn't worth more than double what you'd pay for an equivalent meal in any other Chinese restaurant in the area.Overall I'd recommend the restaurant but more for special occasions rather than a normal mid week meal.
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