DINING OUT: Shard Riverside, Hambleton
Tucking into a bag of crisps and a drink after a family walk is one of those childhood pleasures etched in my memory.
So I was taken back to those blissful days as the hubby, our four-year-old son and I headed over to Shard Riverside on Bank Holiday Monday. Crossing the Shard Bridge makes for a dramatic drive to the Heritage Inn venue. Perched on the banks of the River Wyre, the hotel, bar and restaurant remains popular with walkers and cyclists.And there were plenty enjoying the view from the spacious outside terrace – where I used to enjoy my bag of crisps as a child – when we arrived for an early tea. We’d reserved a table earlier on that day through the website - an easy and straightforward way to book. After making our way through the cosy bar to the restaurant area, we were shown to a window table with a beautiful view of the river. The atmosphere in the restaurant is just as serene as the view, with background music playing at just the right volume and friendly staff keen to make you feel at ease. The decor is traditional yet modern with grey and yellow hues, tartans and calm lighting. For starters, the hubby and I chose two dishes – deep fried Goosnargh duck lolly pops in a panko crumb with a sticky, sweet plum sauce and spring onion salad (Â£6.25) and ham and pea croquettes off the specials board. Unfortunately the croquettes had sold out so we chose the deep fried Garstang Brie with a coconut crumb with nutty pesto leaves (Â£6.50). We feared we’d gone a bit overboard with the deep fried (maybe we should’ve got our walking boots on to work it off) but we needn’t have worried. The two dishes were both delicious, although the divine duck dish came out on top. Our four-year-old son had the fish and chips off the children’s menu (Â£4.75, including a side of either peas or beans). The generous portion of hand cooked chips was devoured by the little chap and he managed nearly two thirds of the huge piece of lightly battered fish. My only niggle was a few unsightly splashes of oil on the plate, which could have been easily avoided with a quick wipe. And it’d be worth having a dessert menu specifically for little ones. Onto the main courses which were delightful with every mouthful. The hubby chose the Lancashire braised beef and smoked bacon suet pudding (Â£13.95), which was served with Pilling mashed potatoes, red wine sauce, roasted carrot and beetroot. He declared it the best suet pudding he’d ever eaten and well worth the chef’s 7am start to make them.I thoroughly enjoyed my griddled tuna steak (Â£14.25), cooked rare, on a warm nicoise salad of green beans, tomatoes, red onions, potatoes and olives with a lemon and thyme stock – a treat for the taste buds!What’s special at Shard Riverside is the attention to detail on the menu; ingredients sourced locally (such as Fleetwood fish, Morecambe Bay shrimps, and Ormskirk Pork Belly) and a wide variety of dishes from tastes of Lancashire to fare inspired from afar. With drinks – a gin and tonic, a pint of Cruz Campo and a jug of water – our bill came to Â£56. Service was efficient and we’re tempted to return soon... but after a family walk next time so we can treat ourselves to a dessert.