Not one to ever pass up the offer of a free meal (times are hard and a chief reporter’s pay isn’t exactly big bucks), when my boss asked who would like to visit Lytham for a complimentary three course dinner and drinks, naturally I jumped at the chance.
Lytham is one of my favourite places to visit, not just because it makes me feel dead posh every time I’m there – the smell of middle-class money is overpowering – but because my uncle lives in the town and it has an array of quaint cafes and restaurants, and some swanky bars to boot.
The offer of a free dinner for two was at Lytham House, a decadently beautiful restaurant/bar situated on Henry Street, just off the main square.
The restaurant holds 300 dining covers across two floors, with the upper floor adorned by a huge tree-like chandelier in the centre of the circular room, whereas the remainder of the venue has capacity for more people for late night drinks and socialising.
Deciding to make it a bit of a family affair, my boyfriend and I were joined by my uncle and auntie on the night, and when we arrived we were warmly greeted before being shown to our table on the upper floor.
It was a Sunday, and from downstairs we were treated to the soothing, mellow sounds of a live singer, something the establishment offers every Sunday between 4pm and 8pm, which provided the perfect backdrop for a relaxing experience.
First up were drinks and along with a couple of beers for the boys, and a gin for my auntie, I ordered a ridiculously expensive £12 glass of sauvignon blanc (my uncle gasped at the price, as did I in all fairness), but I thought I may as well opt for the priciest and nicest wine on the menu, considering I wasn’t paying. And I can safely say, although it wasn’t worth £12 a glass, it was by far, one of the best sauvignon blancs I’ve tasted all year.
The offer of dinner was to sample the three-course brasserie menu which Lytham House serves on a Sunday, and with a choice of five starters, eight mains and six desserts, it didn’t take us too long to decide what to have.
My eyes went straight to the duck parfait, while my boyfriend chose the soup, and my uncle had the roast carrots and whipped goats cheese – which sounded and looked interesting.
I can’t speak for their starters, but mine was divine. I love a parfait, but sometimes it can be hit and miss – there’s either too much bread and not enough parfait, or vice versa, and depending on where you go, the bread can be a rock hard, like stale toast, or the complete opposite and too soft.
It’s safe to say though that the slab of toast I received with my parfait was perfect – it was huge, and crisp – not solid so it would break my teeth, but soft enough to provide that delicate crunch.
The cranberry and orange chutney was delicious too, and should I visit again this would be my go-to-starter.
For main, I chose the cheese and onion pie. And without a shadow of a doubt, it was perhaps one of the best cheese pies I’ve had in a long time – and I LOVE a cheese pie.
The unusual shape (it was like a dome) intrigued me, and as I cut into the delicate pastry, the creamy, smooth filling oozed out.
My taste buds tingling, I popped a forkful in my mouth and it literally melted on my tongue. The accompanying thyme jam and crunchy apple salad, although a strange combination, complimented it well too.
Wanting to get the most out of the menu, my boyfriend and auntie opted for the chicken dinner, which they said was faultless – the Yorkshire puddings were massive and the presentation spot on; while my uncle chose the pork tenderloin with glazed parsnip and crackling.
Arriving pink after being tenderly slow cooked for hours, the pork satisfied his hunger and provided a tasty alternative to what he would normally choose (secretly I think he’d wanted the roast chicken), but he was a little disappointed with the presentation.
In his words, not mine, he said it looked like it had been “thrown on the plate with a bit of beige scattered around it” – but that didn’t detract from the taste, and he added that with a bit more colour and thought it would have been a lovely dish.
Dessert time came and I couldn’t resist but to opt for my ultimate favourite, the sticky toffee pudding.
There was a time when I would hunt out sticky toffee pudding wherever I went, comparing the softness, moistness and moreish-ness of the delicious dessert in each and every restaurant.
Sadly, I don’t eat out that often anymore, so I was a little disheartened when I broke into the pudding and noticed it was bit dry inside. However, the caramel sauce more than made up for the lack of moisture, and as it soaked into the pudding I literally died and went to heaven. So much so that I could’ve eaten it again, and again (I didn’t…that would just have been greedy).
With the apple crumble, vegan chocolate brownie and chocolate delice also chosen, we got a good array of samples from the dessert menu (no-one wants sorbet or ice cream anyway).
My auntie loves an apple crumble and was definitely not disappointed with her choice, which came served in a little pan shaped ramekin, while my boyfriend said his chocolate delice was like a posh chocolate gateaux, and wolfed it down.
The fact that our plates were literally scraped of all the food, and my jeans had become a little tighter, I can quite confidently say that our experience at Lytham House was enjoyable and faultless.
From start to finish the staff were pleasant and attentive, and the ambience was relaxing, inviting and cosy, with the live music definitely topping it off.
It’s easy to see why Lytham House has received hundreds and hundreds of four and five star reviews on TripAdvisor, and should I get a pay rise or win the lottery any time soon (I’d need to for another one of those glasses of wine), I will definitely be returning.
The Sunday brasserie menu is very reasonably priced and can be split into one, two or three courses.
One course is £16, two courses is £22 and three courses is £28.