A taste of the east has sailed into an historic Fylde coast pub - and I’m not talking about meat pies from Burnley.
The Ship in Freckleton is offering Korean crispy chicken, alongside other more traditional staple pub dishes. I’m not an expert but I’ve had my fair share of Korean chicken and I was eager to try it out.
We went on Monday, to take advantage of an offer of two courses for £12 and three courses for £15, with the selection of dishes changing every week.
We were shown to our table by the friendly and efficient server and our order was soon taken.
Firstly the starters. The hummus we ordered came sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, which added a slight sweetness. This worked perfectly well for me as hummus can be a bit overpowering and musty after the second spoonful.
It came served with garlic flatbread, which had been perfectly cooked/reheated.
I would have preferred the bread to have been cut into slightly smaller pieces. There was a lot of melted butter on the bread - which meant breaking it was messy for the hands... and the lap.
Also, the generous amount of hummus compared to the amount of bread meant spreading it on very thickly.
All in all though the dish was tasty, and well prepared.
So on to the Korean chicken. It was a decent effort, but they didn’t get it quite right...
It certainly looked authentic - deep red in colour and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
What about the taste?
I’ve had quite a bit of KFC (Korean fried chicken) in my time ... in Korea. Over there, some of it is covered in sauce and some of it is served just in batter.
For me the spiciness of the sauce was spot on (though perhaps not spicy enough for many Koreans, who in general, like their food spicy). The sauce in Freckleton was not as sweet as in Korea and it was too perfectly smooth (like it had come out of a bottle?) - but on the whole it was fine.
What was wrong and could not be forgiven was the texture of the batter. Here it was way too thin, uncrispy, and too weak. In Korea it requires an effort to pull it off the meat and chew. The batter here seemed to be of the fish and chip variety - and flimsy at that. Maybe they should try using a different flour. In Korea KFC is mostly eaten as a bar snack with beer. If the Ship can get it right, their customers will love it.
It is worth mentioning at this point that the pub was pleasingly full for a Monday night, with most of the tables either occupied or reserved. This may help explain why the wait for the main course was on the long side - long enough for me to enjoy a leisurely stroll round the garden, look at the river/estuary and still get bored staring at the table.
Anyway, the food did arrive. Starting with the little people, my younger daughter tucked straight into the cheese burger, chips and salad from the children’s menu. The burger was pleasant, from the small morsel I was afforded and it was a nice change to have mature cheddar rather than generic burger cheese, but I have to say I’m getting bored of brioche buns on burgers - they don’t taste better and are currently used at many pubs/restaurants on the Fylde.
Speaking of which, my elder daughter ordered the Ship double cheeseburger - which also came served with a brioche bun. Oh well, overall the burger itself was again delicious and, considering its size, was impressively finished off.
Praise too for the chips, which with just a bit a seasoning and ‘slaw’, were delicious.
Again I successfully steered my wife away from the steaks - this time towards the scampi. They tasted fine and were pleasantly large - but after the Korean chicken we (I) perhaps ordered too much food with batter in it. Next time steaks are back on!
I ordered the ‘award winning’ Cumberland sausages. This was almost a perfect dish. The champ mash was tasty but the broccoli and onion gravy were wonderful. The sausages were also flavoursome but, much like the Korean chicken, I would have preferred a crispier outside.
With four soft drinks the bill came to just under £52.
8 out of 10