The Freemasons, Steven Smith’s elegant Lancashire gastropub, is on a roll. As well as being named the UK’s Best Food Pub at the annual Great British Pub Awards last year, it’s climbed two spaces higher on the Top 50 list.
Food at the Freemasons is all about contrast – experimental meeting traditional. Smith fuses locally-sourced ingredients and love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours.
It could so easily go wrong in the hands of a lesser chef, but Smiths pulls it off with professionalism and gusto, creating a delicious roster of treats.
Menu highlights include foie gras with beer vinegar, blackberry and smoked eel; roast loin and kofta of Nidderdale lamb with BBQ gem lettuce, miso aubergine, mint and yoghurt; as well as butter-poached native lobster tail with crispy claw wontons, wild blueberry, coastal herbs and black pepper sauce.
Desserts include rice pudding baked with vanilla, blackberry, sake and buttermilk ice cream; Amalfi lemon meringue pie; and dark chocolate with banana, black sesame and yuzu.
But don’t be fooled or intimidated by the yuzu butter sauce, seaweed potatoes and the likes of. The Freemasons is all but a pub, with Smith and his team (including his wife Aga, the award-winning Front of House Manager) entrenching themselves in the local community.
They host summer barbecues, regular “chippy teas” and more delectable tasting evenings than you can shake a duck fat chip smothered in caviar at.