I live for the sunshine and so when we are shown to a table in the conservatory overlooking Lytham square I couldn’t have felt any more thrilled. There’s a chill in the air outside, but as I feel the glow of the sun against my skin through the glass I feel like I’ve been whisked off to the Mediterranean.
For a Saturday teatime it’s moderately busy - our table was booked for 5pm but we arrived a little early, which wasn’t a problem. Families polished off their desserts in nearby booths, while outdoor tables start to fill with twenty-somethings dressed for evening cocktails. Seating ranged from high bar-style diners, to cosy booths and table with bucket chairs. The atmosphere hints at a trendy clientele and the low buzz of tropical house music really helps to set the mood.
The former RBS building at the corner of Clifton Street dates back to the 1700s when it was the Williams Deacon Bank. It opened as a tavern in 2017 and has kept some of the old traditional features in the bar area.
The waiting staff seem to have made themselves scarce around the time we wanted to order, so as I contemplated going up to order drinks at the bar it was irritating to see the group of ladies at the next table instantly get served - the waiter then asked if we were ready to order, but only after I caught his attention.
But it was all worth the wait, and I was happily enjoying the sunshine when our meals arrived.
I ordered roasted monkfish, toasted shallot, british asparagus and lemon butter, while my partner, Brian, ordered the farmhouse trio - which consisted of a 4oz fillet of beef, half duck breast, lamb cutlet, fondant potato and vegetable medley in a port jus.
I’d been told that the monkfish is a slimey deep-sea fish with a huge mouth full of fangs that looks like a creature from a horror film. Once marketed as 'fake scampi’, today it’s a delicacy. It was artfully presented and I almost felt guilty in pulling it apart. It was cooked beautifully - light and fluffy with a firm, meaty texture. The citrus of the lemon butter enhanced the flavour and the salad potatoes were absolutely delicious.
Brian started with the vegetables; crunchy sugar snap peas, green beans and succulent carrots all with a subtle hint of spice.
The half fillet of duck was succulent and with a sweet, gamey taste that just melted in the mouth. The lamb cutlet was just as satisfying, and the fillet of beef was approvingly devoured. The port jus really made the three cuts of meat burst with flavour, without overpowering the dish. Everything on the plate was top quality, and expertly cooked.
One course with a drink for two people came to £74, so definitely a special occasion rather than everyday dining. But the menu also had plenty of cheaper options including salads and pub classics.
Overall an outstanding dining experience that has set the bar high for future visits. Delicious food and summer vibes mean we are already planning a return visit.