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“Children don’t like roasts….apparently…”
Review of Parkers Arms

Parkers Arms
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$8 - US$32
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Delivery, Reservations
Description: A contemporary country inn with its fair share of history, The Parkers Arms is located just outside of Clitheroe in the prettily sleepy village of Newton in Bowland where, so we���re told ���you can hear the grass grow���. The beautifully traditional whitewashed inn, hung with colourful baskets of flowers and lined with parasol shaded outdoor tables, invites guests in with the promise of glorious regional food and a relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere ��� both of which it delivers in spades. The cuisine is rightfully British, with a few global treats of course, based on local and seasonal ingredients cooked using creativity and imagination as well as a little tradition too (and speaking of tradition we absolutely insist you try the fantastic Sunday roast here at The Parkers Arms). Pints of good local ales are joined by delicious wines from all over the globe, so whether you���re resting after a bracing dog walk or celebrating a special occasion, The Parkers Arms has not only the food but the drink to suit too. Indeed, balancing modern and classic style, informal and efficient service and relaxed and special food, The Parkers Arms appears to have created what could quite easily be the perfect local inn.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I’m a first-time reviewer on Tripadvisor and do so with the greatest of hesitancy (critiquing for critiquing’s sake has never felt entirely comfortable to me and I do understand the challenges of running a business) but after the experience we had at the Parkers Arms, I believe it’s only right to share my thoughts.

After a truly brilliant meal at The Cartford Inn, down the road in Poulton Le Fylde the other week, we followed another Jay Rayner recommendation and headed to the Parkers Arms for Easter Sunday lunch.

Despite being very pleased with the quality of food and service we received during our visit to the Parkers Arms, the lack of children's options and the costs incurred rankle.
 
When booking over a month ago, we did so on the website promise that there would be five children's main course options including a Sunday roast available, ranging in price from £6-£8. We would even learn to our surprise on the day that, with the Easter menu, the children's meals would be free if the same number of adults ordered three courses.
 
When we came to order, we discovered, however, that there were just two children’s options available: 
 
1). Sausage and mash/chips (the sausage and chips option was laughingly referred to as a second choice)
2). Pizza and chips
 
and, despite it being a Sunday (and Easter Sunday to boot), there was no roast for the children. 
 
When we enquired about a smaller roast portion for our two (seven and eight year old) children, we were told that simply wouldn't be possible. And, if the children were to have a roast, they would be charged at the full adult price (so not free). Furthermore, it wouldn't be possible to have a Yorkshire pudding with the lamb option as a special request as that was only for customers ordering the roast beef.
 
In the end, our children didn’t fancy sausages and pizza so we elected to go with the options from the Easter Sunday menu (£28 for three courses or individually-priced course options) and ordered them one cheese and potato pie and veg (£18.50) and one roast lamb (£18.50) from the main options.
 
The food was delicious - no problems there – but, when the time came to pay, we were confronted with a bill for three adults and two children (with no wine and only two puddings) of £150.
 
When we left, I felt that this was all a little bit naughty but the food had been good and it was Easter Sunday afterall. But now, having had chance to reflect, it begins to feel wrong, very wrong.
 
I say this because:
 
1). This is the first time we’ve seen just two children’s main options in a restaurant anywhere in the UK;
2). This is the first time we've ever been to a restaurant on a Sunday and there's not been a children's roast on the menu;
3). This is the first time we've not been granted a Yorkshire Pudding as a special request;
4). This is the first time we've ever had to pay £18.50 for a single course for a child anywhere in the UK (and I’m including Michelin-starred restaurants here).
 
What's more, there was no mention of any of the above at the time of booking and deposit taking, nor on their website, which leads me to believe that they’re marketing themselves as a family-friendly restaurant when clearly they’re not. It also smacks of discrimination or a misguided belief that kids simply don’t like roasts or aren’t sophisticated enough to want more than a sausage or a pizza.
 
Furthermore, if the three-course deal stands, it simply can't be right to channel children down two very narrow options; options – quality aside - that they could frankly have at school or in a café on any given day. The more I think about it, the more it feels like a con: If the children won't go for the simple options, then, bingo!, the parents have to stump up for an adult price.
 
When I raised all this with the co-owner via email a day later, she claimed that:

1). there was no five course children’s menu (“Where did you obtain this information from?” she asked. Answer: “your website”);
2). they never serve roasts to children (despite it being on their website);
3). sausages and pizza slices are “the most popular choices for most children” (really?);
4). she had queried whether we wanted to split the lamb (not true, she just said the pie was big and asked whether my daughter would cope with it. Yes was our answer);
5). on the Yorkshire Pudding point, “the traditional accompaniment with lamb is only mint sauce as far as I know” (really?)
6). the à la carte choice restrictions were due to “the large amount of traffic through the restaurant on Easter Sunday” (not true, we sat alone in the restaurant for most of our meal);
7). (for balance) that it wasn't a con;
8). I had “in fact misread the information made available” (not true).

In response, I said I disagreed with her views (per the above), stood by mine, and shared the children’s menu from the Parkers Arms’ website with her as evidence of our expectations. I have yet to hear back further.

To sum up, we had so been looking forward to the lunch but all the goodwill (of the food, service and Rayner review) has been totally coloured by a feeling of being taken for a ride. 

We've had many successful lunches in the surrounding area over the years (with all of them offering wide children’s offerings, including, notably, The Cartford Arms) but I can't think of a more disappointing one as the one we had over the weekend. Needless to say, we won’t return.

As a postscript, on the way home, we dropped in on the similarly well-reviewed, The Fence Gate near Padiham. The pub and restaurant were absolutely packed at 5.30pm. I snuck a look at the children’s menu: four starters, six mains (including ‘roast with Yorkshire pudding’) and one desert. Three courses....£8.95….

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2  Thank RibbleViews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10 - 14 of 492 reviews

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Trough of Bowland is exceptionally beautiful, quite and peaceful. The drive there, from any direction, is sublime, quite,lovely and peaceful.
The Parkers Arms is unusual.It looks and feels like a pub, but the food is equal to an excellent restaurant. It and the Freemasons Arms in Wiswell are lovely un-spoilt pubs serving top restaurant food with a twist.
The Twist? The food, is the twist, as it is different from standard pub food! Nothing looks or tastes as if it came out of a microwave for one, then the menu itself is full of delicious combinations and unusual ingredients, many items, like game, are from the locality.
The interior is still standard good pub wooden furniture, but it is clean, warm and friendly, Parking is easy and the drive there is wonderful green and pleasant land!!

The menu is NOT standard pub. I don't think any of it has been near a microwave for instance! It all tastes like excellent home cooked food, but dishes one would never have thought of or been able to cook. It is a surprise and a delight and very difficult to choose as the range (although not ridiculously extensive), is wide, and many of the ingredients are very local. It has a long list of Professional Commendations. Menus are very much of the season, but all served and prepared with a twist. And most of the menu is not only sourced locally, but all prepared in house, with some very unusual dishes with a special twist.Bread, cakes, jams ice cream, chutneys and wonder pies and pastries. And it changes every day. Dietary needs are catered for.

Prices are exceptionally low,and there is a small but decent wine list, and a cocktail can be conjured up.

There is always local meat and game, and possibly fish on the menu. Dishes you haven't come across before, especially the dessert menu. Prices are exceptionally good., e.g. Easter 3 course menu £28, and children under 10 eat complimentary.

Booking is easily done on line, and the welcome is friendly and casual.

This delightful pub with rooms, is set in a most beautiful area, a friendly welcome a no fuss but fabulous meal, worth a trip whenever you are in the vicinity, or could make a trip, you would not regret it!!
I would recommend any of the mains, especially of course local game., and the desserts are unusual and super.

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1  Thank frances989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The host is a strange mixture of prickly desperation and overbearing overfamiliarity. The food was just ok, especially given that it was the fairly limited Mother's Day set menu. The crab starter was fine but not enough pikelets. The lamb main course was let down by the small overcooked slices of lamb . . . the sauce and vegetables deserved better. The fish was also limited in size and vegetables - I'm unclear why a gastro pub has to skimp on carbs, especially if it really is a top 50 Gastro pub. The gluten-free dessert was bland but the chocolate dessert was tasty and nicely garnished. The pub has some good wine and beer but the food did not compare with cheaper and less fussy pub food much closer to home. It's overpriced and the atmosphere is spoiled by the loud host.

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7  Thank Spolitti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2018

We had a lovely drink and some nibbles and then a great dinner at the Parkers Arms, during the snowy weather at the end of Feb.

The team are lovely and welcoming and keep excellent Bowland brewery beer on hand pull.

The food is incredible quality and it is easy to see why they have recently been voted number 8 in the UK's top gastropubs.

We will return again and again, and were sad not to eat there on our second night but we had to leave the village early because of the weather.

A great country pub, that is well worth the ride out to, with stunning scenery and they just do everything right.

Thanks again Parkers Arms!

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4  Thank Geoggy08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2018

Recently visited the Parkers as a family of 5. Great as ever! Love the new look inside and the colour scheme really complements the features of the pub.

Ben, AJ & Kathy were very welcoming as always. Never too busy to have a quick chat and made a fuss of the kids. This is why we keep on returning!

Food was excellent. Mushroom parfait was just yummy (my favourite) followed by a delicious hotpot (and extra chips!)

This is my one go to place that never disappoints. I will always recommend Parkers and its no wonder you are now number 8 in the top 50 gastro pubs! Well done team, fantastic achievement. Keep it up!

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3  Thank LEC86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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