REVIEW: The Ram Inn, Cliviger

Ram Inn, 'Cliviger, Burnley. 'Photographer - Neil O'Connor.

Ram Inn, 'Cliviger, Burnley. 'Photographer - Neil O'Connor.

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It’s been a while since I was a regular at The Ram Inn, Cliviger.

It’s not that I fell out with the Burnley Road establishment, more that a plethora of great eateries have sprung up across the Burnley area that are all vying for trade.

Ram Inn, 'Cliviger. 'Photographer - Neil O'Connor.

Ram Inn, 'Cliviger. 'Photographer - Neil O'Connor.

A well-publicised, £165,000 makeover at the picture-postcard village pub was enough to tempt me back through the doors and it was certainly worth of effort on a dank, Lancashire Friday night.

The refurb money’s been well spent: wooden floors, an eclectic mix of upholstery in diverse seating areas, candlelight and real fires tick all the right boxes if you’re looking to chill out after the working week.

And the Ram certainly appeared to be attracting a diverse clientele, from couples enjoying a bottle of wine, friends catching up and locals who had called in for a bite to eat on the way home, not to mention two very happy parties.

The menu at The Ram has had its own makeover, too, and you’d be struggling not to find something to your taste, whether it’s the mussels in a creamy garlic sauce, chicken jalfrezi or traditional mixed grill, sandwiches (including a fish finger ciabatta) or something to share, like the nachos, served with melting mozzarella, Cheddar, jalapeños, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

My husband and I dived straight into the main courses: the Chicken Supreme (£10.65) was recommended and Harry plumped for it, ahead of the old-favourite Hunter’s Chicken or Chicken Milanese. He polished off the chicken breast, filled with goat’s cheese, spinach and basil, wrapped in bacon, sautéed and served on a bed of courgette, asparagus and green beans in a spicy tomato sauce in double quick time.

A great feature of the Ram’s new menu is a section containing dishes of under 500 calories for those who are watching their weight (in my case). The Aubergine Bake (£7.45) sounded good and didn’t disappoint, a generous amount of aubergine, layered with a creamy and smokey tomato sauces - it certainly didn’t skimp on taste for 410 cals. It was served with a super food salad which almost stole the show (that’s saying a lot for someone who’s not a salas fan!), with beans, avocado and pomegranate seeds jostling for room alongside your more traditional salad suspects.

Being good for the main course meant there was room for a pudding, as replete in calories as the aubergine was sparing: warm. five layer chocolate cake (£4.95), served with a scoop of ice cream. There’s always the danger of ‘over-heating’ chocolate cake, in my opinion, leaving you with a cloying, sticky mess of sauce but mine appeared as described, ‘warm’ with the sauce oozing and ice-cream gently melting.

Harry loves his cheesecake and so the Irish cream and amaretti offering (£5.25) on the menu was a no-brainer - I’d love to be able to let you know about the combination of flavours and subtle hints in the dish. Unfortunately, it was so good, my husband had polished it off and was eyeing my final spoonfuls of chocolate cake before I had time to gather my thoughts and come out of my choclate reverie. He confirmed it was as good as it looked (which was very good!).

The service was speedy and friendly, confident, engaging staff knew their jobs well and it is clear, the manager, Andy, runs a tight ship on a busy Friday night. The inviting bar was never deep in impatient customers which was something of a surprise as the offering is so large, choosing may be a time-consuming matter - I’m heading back this summer for the ‘skinny’ cocktails!

I’m already planning a return visit - to enjoy a lazy summer’s lunch on the new outside dining area, watching the sun set over Cliviger Gorge.