Review: Dinner for two at the Bamford Arms

As one half of a pair of fairly exhausted parents we often find it difficult to have a night out together. Every few months we make a special effort to have a date night, dress up a bit and go out somewhere, anywhere for a few hours of couple time together. With Valentine’s Day approaching we visited the Bamford Arms in Stockport for a romantic dinner for two.

We’ve been to the Bamford Arms a few times before as a family, we’ve always been impressed with the quality of the food and the child-friendly atmosphere. This time we visited at night, the restaurant was busy with couples and small groups of friends on a night out. We were shown to a cosy booth and ordered a bottle of prosecco while we looked over the menu.

The Bamford Arms is a Beefeater Grill, so steaks are the order of the day. We ordered starters, him a classic prawn cocktail and me the potato dippers with sour cream and spring onion. His prawn cocktail was a fairly big portion, lots of prawns in marie rose sauce, layered on top of lettuce and cucumber and served with slices of ciabatta. He gave it a 9/10 which is praise indeed! My potato dippers were like thin potato wedges or fat crisps with melted cheese over them and served with a sour cream and chive dip. It was a big portion but very tasty. They do sharing plates of these too which I would definitely order again, to share obviously. 

Bamford Arms

For our main course he ordered the huge 18oz porterhouse steak which comes with unlimited fries (skinny or triple cooked), half a slow roasted tomato, a grilled mushroom and salad. I’m veggie so I ordered the baked veggie enchiladas which were soft flour tortillas stuffed with lime & coriander rice and tomatoes, topped with melted cheese, red chilli, spring onion and sour cream & chive and served with  mini corn on the cob. We also rather greedily ordered sides of macaroni cheese, garlic king prawns and chunky slaw.

Bamford Arms

My enchiladas were very fresh and tasty. It’s nice to see an alternative to the standard lasagne for veggies on the menu. It was piping hot and still bubbling when it arrived at the table. It was fresh and filling, full of wholesome beans and veg, with just enough melted cheese on top, despite the cheese I suspect this is a reasonably healthy choice. 

The sides we ordered to share were huge, the macaroni was toothsome and cheesy, and I know my pasta loving son would have devoured the lot in one go. Hubs loved the garlic king prawns, you get 10 big juicy prawns in a serving for just £4.99 which was excellent value and the chunky slaw was the perfect foil for my spicy enchiladas. 

Hubs valiantly faced the 18oz porterhouse steak; priced at £20.99 it was the most expensive steak on the menu but it was a special occasion so we pushed the boat out. He asked for it to be cooked medium and for some hot piri-piri sauce on the side. The steak was perfectly cooked and huge, it was beautifully tender and he rather impressively managed to devour it all and declared it to be delicious.

Bamford Arms

We were both absolutely stuffed, but we wanted a little bit of something sweet for pudding, so after much deliberation and negotiation we chose to share the Rocky Road Sundae. This was the perfect size for sharing, lovely ice cream and chocolate sauce with chunks of chocolate brownie and topped with marshmallows and a wafer. 

Bamford Arms

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, although we were stuffed, we’d eaten and eaten well. The restaurant was cosy and the tables weren’t too close together, so you could have a good conversation without feeling like you’re sharing with everyone else. The booth was comfortable and we quickly relaxed into our evening, and importantly at our age there wasn’t loud music blaring, so you could actually hold a conversation rather than shout at each other across the table, which made a nice change.

The food is perfect for sharing, the unlimited skinny or triple cooked chips offer is fantastic, it mean’t that I could pinch a few chips off his plate without him complaining. We couldn’t fault it, and without drinks out food came to £54, which we thought was excellent value for the feast we’d just had.

For a romantic dinner with good food, great wines in a cosy and relaxed atmosphere, the Bamford Arms is well worth a visit for Valentine’s Day, and if you want to push the boat out, order the porterhouse steak. You’ll not regret it! 

Note: We were invited guests of the Bamford Arms Beefeater Grill in Stockport, all images and opinions are our own.

Review: The Bamford Arms, Stockport

As a child growing up in the 1980’s we regularly dined out in style at our local Beefeater restaurant. They had a reputation for great steak and back then kids ate for just 99p, plus pudding was always a giant ice cream sundae. I have very fond memories of Beefeater restaurants, so I was looking forward to visiting the Bamford Arms in Stockport to see if the steaks were still good and the ice cream sundaes still giant!

Bamford Arms Stockport

The Bamford Arms has recently been refurbished and the interior is light and bright with lots of interesting features, it is decked out in calm neutrals and if you peek through the bar you can still see the chefs grilling in the kitchen.

We were shown to our table by Gemma, a lovely cheery waitress who gave the small boy a Mr Men activity book and crayons and a matching Mr Men menu. The activity book kept him occupied throughout the meal, something which is pretty unheard of.

We ordered our food, to start we decided to share the Whole Baked Camembert, priced at £5.59.  It is a 45g Camenbert drizzled in garlic and parsley butter, served with onion marmalade and ciabatta. It was impressive looking and delicious. The onion marmalade worked well with the cheese, my only small complaint was it only came with four pieces of ciabatta and it could’ve done with another couple of pieces, but it was an excellent start to the meal.

Bamford Arms Stockport

The main courses soon arrived. I’m a veggie so I ordered the “Veg Out Burger” (£7.99) which was a huge Quorn burger topped with Monterey Jack cheese, a chargrilled red pepper, ranch dressing and smoky tomato sauce, served with your choice of fries and some chunky coleslaw. It was an excellent burger, because it was Quorn it held together and didn’t collapse into my lap after the first bite. It was served with my choice of fries, because you could choose from plain, smokey spiced or chilli and lime spice. Gemma brought me both kinds to try as fries are unlimited (yep, eat as many fries as you can, is that a challenge?).

Bamford Arms Stockport

Hubs was hungry, so he opted for the 10oz Rib-Eye steak (£16.99), served with a tarragon bearnaise sauce (99p), chunky chips and salad. He asked for it medium and it arrived perfectly cooked. It looked beautiful and it cut like butter, I snaffled a couple of his chips and they were excellent, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. He couldn’t fault it and left a clean plate!

The boy had sausage and mash which came with its own little jug of gravy (give a northerner a jug of gravy and they’re in heaven). He happily ploughed through his meal, the sausages and gravy vanished quickly, he ate about half of his mash and peas, which is pretty good going for him. I would say that I thought the mash was a little on the salty side for little ones, we’re always being encouraged to minimise their salt intake so a little less seasoning would be good.

Bamford Arms Stockport

Although we were full we decided we *needed* to try the puddings. Hubs went for the plum tarte tatin (£5.49), I opted for the giant (hurrah) Caramel and Popcorn Sundae (£4.09) and the small boy had jelly and ice cream.

The tarte tatin was good, the pastry wasn’t as puffy and billowy as I would’ve liked, but it was tasty and had a generous amount of plums, the custard was obviously good as I had to step in to stop Hubs drinking it straight out of the jug. My Caramel and Popcorn Sundae was huge, with a quivering tower of popcorn on top. I was slightly expecting the soft whip ice cream I remember from 1983, not the vanilla seed flecked considerably posher ice cream of 2015, but I did enjoy it, especially as I worked my way down through the sundae I’d find little pockets of popcorn or sauce.

The small boy loved his jelly so much, he sat so quietly while he concentrated on scooping the wobbly jelly onto his spoon and into his mouth. It was a joy to watch.

As we went for lunch we all drank soft drinks which had free refills, so the drinks bill was pretty inexpensive. When the bill for the meal came I had to double check that it was correct, it came to just £46.64 (kids eat free every Saturday from 12-5pm) which is remarkable value for what was a really delicious and enjoyable family meal. It was so good Hubs wants to go back again next week!

Note: We were invited guests of the Bamford Arms Stockport, all images and opinions are our own.

Review: Sunday lunch at The Pig on the Hill

We are regular visitors to North Devon and we’re always looking for new places to eat while we’re down there. I’d heard that The Pig on the Hill in Westward Ho! was worth a visit, so while we were down over February half term we popped in for lunch following a happy morning pottering about on the beach. We were so impressed that we immediately booked again for Sunday lunch.

The Pig on the Hill is a pub and restaurant just off the A39 near Westward Ho!, it has a clean, modern look with the odd quirky touch. It has a well stocked bar, a decent wine list and a menu which boasts so few food miles most of the things on it could walk to the kitchen themselves. There’s plenty of parking, an outdoor play area for kids and a selection of farm animals milling around an enclosed paddock. It is pretty idyllic, more so in the sunshine I imagine.

We arrived for Sunday lunch and as we’d been warned when we (thankfully) booked, it was heaving. As we were driving home to Manchester straight after we decided not to have a starter and just dive straight in and have a roast. Despite being a vegetarian I do enjoy a veggie roast dinner, if I’m honest I was disappointed that a veggie roast wasn’t available. There were a couple of veggie options (an open vegetable lasagne or arrancini with mushrooms and blue cheese) so feeling a little disappointed I chose the lasagne.

The boys went for the local ale and treacle braised brisket (£9.95) and the baby roast brisket (£5.95) all served with duck fat potatoes, seasonal veg, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. My open lasagne contained chantenay carrots, red onion, wild mushrooms, apple-wood smoked cheddar, served with a green salad and garlic bread (£13.25).

The Pig on the Hill

The roast dinners arrived quickly, the plates dominated by huge, puffy Yorkshire puddings, being northern we are often disappointed by flaccid southern Yorkshires, but these were beauties. Husband declared the duck fat potatoes to be almost as good as mine, which is praise indeed. The generous portion of beef brisket was soft, tender and yielding, just how brisket should be. There was plenty on the plate and both the boys were very satisfied with their meal, declaring it the best roast dinner they’d eaten in a restaurant.

The vegetables were perfect, decent sized portions of cauliflower cheese, braised red cabbage, broccoli and perfectly seasoned carrot and swede mash. I managed to try a little of each before they were gobbled up by my two hungry boys and they were all excellent.

As for my lasagne, I’m happy to say my initial disappointment quickly evaporated once I tucked in. It was an excellent lasagne, with all the vegetables perfectly cooked and flavoursome. Served with a well dressed  green salad which served to cut through the dense richness of the lasagne. It was a huge, greedy portion of pasta which I didn’t manage to finish, preferring to leave a little room for pudding instead.

When we’d stopped by for lunch earlier in the week we couldn’t resist trying a pudding. I’d had the seasonal crumble which was perfectly poached pink rhubarb and apple, a pud which though simple completely blew me away. With a recent record of perfection etched in our memory, pudding-wise The Pig on the Hill had its own big shoes to fill.

Husband opted for the “Piggy Mess” which was layers of meringue, seasonal fruits, brownie and lemon curd (£6.45) and I once again went for the seasonal crumble served with custard (£5.95).

The Pig on the Hill

This time the seasonal crumble was rhubarb and pear, which despite not looking as prettily pink as I’d hoped, was almost, almost as good as the first time. Generously topped with a ridge of warm, toasted rubbley crumble and served with a little jug of piping hot vanilla flecked custard, it was pretty close to pudding perfection for me.

Husband ended up sharing his “Piggy Mess” with the boy. I managed to snaffle a little of the meringue, which was crisp on the outside, but with a satisfying chew on the inside. Each spoonful contained different surprises, chunks of hidden brownie or popping candy on the lemon curd. For me there was a little too much happening on the plate, but the boys loved it.

With lunch over, we paid the bill and hopped in the car for the long (very long) drive back to Manchester. As we visit Westward Ho! and North Devon on a regular basis, we’ll definitely be popping back to The Pig on the Hill next time we’re down there. Their menu changes all the time and the Sunday lunches are different each week. We were incredibly impressed with The Pig on the Hill, it’s not often you stumble across a restaurant of that quality, especially one down a windy road, seemingly in the middle of not a lot. We’ll be back!The Pig on the HillNote: We were not invited by or asked to review The Pig on the Hill, we paid our bill in full (which included several soft drinks and excellent coffee), which came to a grand total of £46.75.