Angels is just heavenly

SAY “halo” to heavenly Angels and encounter a gastronomic experience in paradise.

Tuesday, 15th November 2011, 10:19 am

I have been fortunate enough to visit cocktail bars at Raffles in Singapore, the Waldorf Astoria in New York and Harry’s Bar in Venice and now Angels in Ribchester and they all have one thing in common. When you walk through the door you go “Wow”.

This modern, chic, cosmopolitan restaurant in the heart of the Ribble Valley, opened four years ago by Nick and Shaun Ford, has an outstanding cocktail bar with striking furnishing you will not see anywhere else in the county. The crushed velvet, exclusively designed furniture and halo shaped hole in the wall fireplace, is only surpassed by the array of cocktails on offer.

With a glass of champagne and dainty canapés in hand, restaurant manager and sommelier Max Smith proffered the menu which held an array of delights which all sounded so tempting.

Executive head chef Simon Eastham’s menus vary from a reasonably priced two course or three course special dinner to a gourmet six course dinner with wine accompaniment, or as my husband Vic and I chose, the four course dinner, with selections from the ã la carte menu.

The spacious dining room is a more sedate experience, the décor in coffee and cream is enhanced by the pristine white tablecloths, silver tableware, and sparkling glasses while the heavenly lights, create a stylish ambience. In the alcove stands a cream grand piano, on which music is played on Friday evenings.

However, onto the food, it is exceptionally fine dining, presented in a way to create a picture on a plate, with portions not large, but certainly not small, augmented with attentive, but discrete service.

My starter of caramelised king scallops with green sauce and pancetta crisps was perfectly presented and cooked, with varying tastes of the salty pancetta and fresh green sauce. Vic chose the Portobello mushroom with goat’s cheese, red onion confit, pine nuts and basil vinaigrette which he found very satisfying especially as warm fresh bread was offered. A sorbet or choice of a wholesome spicy soup followed, which we both enjoyed.

Guinea fowl breast was my choice for main course, something completely different for me. It was tender, tasty and truly delicious with the accompanying leeks, pancetta, roast apples and cider, complementing so well. And again beautifully presented.

The wild sea bass chosen by Vic was, in his opinion, cooked to perfection, with crispy skin and tasty succulent flesh, complemented by shrimps, sweetcorn veloute, paprika and lime and with a side serving of hand-cut real chips too.

Warm black treacle tart, pistachios, blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream was my choice for dessert and was lovely to look at and lovely to taste, while blackberry cheesecake, baked in the pot with apple jelly, was Vic’s choice, and he loved it too, the creamy, fruit flavours making an “excellent finale” to the meal he said.

How often do you have coffee at the end of a meal and it lets down everything that went before, but not in this case. The coffee, freshly ground, was the icing on the cake, served with devine petit fours.

Angels is certainly an experience not to be missed for a romantic meal for two or a special celebration for family and friends or even for a boutique wedding completely bespoke to individual requirements.

Say “halo” to Angels very soon, it’s a heavenly place with pleasant, professional staff , excellent service and certainly the “wow” factor.