The Fairhaven’s revival last month, after it was closed for almost three years, prompted a collective sigh of relief across much of south Fylde.
A rush of eager customers followed, keen to relive memories of many a pleasant evening spent in convivial surroundings.
New owners Robert Benson and Gina Mancini have invested a six-figure sum in the property and have been eager to make the most of the massive potential of the hostelry’s prime location on the main road between Lytham and St Annes.
It’s also just a few strides away from the delights of Fairhaven Lake and the pub’s outdoor seating area is an especially attractive draw for summer drinkers and diners,
We have many fond memories of The Fairhaven in its earlier incarnation, the scene of many a happy family meal as well as being the very welcome destination for a drink outdoors to break the coastal walk between St Annes and Lytham.
We always enjoyed the food and really missed it during a closure period which seemed to stretch interminably from September 2016 and left many fearing it might never reopen.
But Robert and Gina came to the rescue and it has been well worth the wait.
The building has been given a smart new look without being any of the long-familiar features being lost.
The outdoor seating area is well organised and welcoming rather than the rather haphazard arrangement of tables on the car park perimeter which was previously in place, while the dining room which overlooks that area has been retained and appears even more spacious than it did before.
Food is also served in the bar area overlooking the front of the building but it was to the dining room and particularly a very comfortable booth table that we headed on arrival to sample what the new regime had to offer for the first time.
To start, the three of us opted to share a portion of nachos, described on the menu as ‘plain’, meaning without the chicken or chilli topping also available, but anything but in terms of presentation or portion size when it arrived.
It was a gargantuan plateful of corn chips, generously topped with delicious cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños, great value at £8.95, and which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
For mains, there were nachos on the plate again as I chose the home-made chilli con carne (£11.95), available with rice, chips or both, as well as the corn chips and a sour cream dip.
I opted for the rice accompaniment and was well satisfied.
My wife was eager to try the cheese and onion pie and was similarly happy with her choice.
At £10.95, it was a good value serving, featuring a generous portion of pie packed with creamy cheese filling, very fat chips which to me looked more like potato wedges and a portion of baked beans.
It was also served with coleslaw but Mrs D found that a little incongruous for her taste and contented herself with the beans.
Our teenage daughter, a non-meat eater like her mum, opted for a falafel burger (£8.95) with shoestring fries, served on a board with a portion of mint yoghurt dip and onion rings and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
As soon as we saw the size of that nachos portion, we knew there would be no chance of us having room for dessert but there is a range at £4.95 each.
From the very warm welcome, including the reassurance of having our order read back to us before payment, service throughout was friendly and efficient.
There were regular checkbacks and we were left with the impression that the staff genuinely cared that we had a good time, which is an all-too-rare experience generally these days.
With soft drinks, our bill came to £46.70 - perhaps a little more than we might normally pay for a midweek meal out but quality fresh food in a great setting which we felt exuded a touch of class added up to excellent value for money.