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The Lord Nelson

Manchester chef Rob Owen Brown has resurfaced, in an out of the way pub in Radcliffe. Mancon went on location to see how things are shaping up…

Published on January 26th 2007.

The Lord Nelson

In the Morningside district of Edinburgh there’s a pub called The Canny Man’s, which is on of the strangest, most contradictory places you’ll ever visit. The interior is dark, dank and chintzy, the staff are surly - the landlord being famed for turning away perfectly decent custom for no apparent reason – yet the customer car park is full of Porsches and Mercedes, and they serve as much champagne as they do beer.

In the Stoneclough area of Radcliffe, there’s a pub called the Lord Nelson, which is also a strange, contradictory place. It’s dingy, bringing to mind a Beefeater restaurant in need of a refurbishment, the staff are indifferent and clearly would prefer to be at home watching Big Brother, and there’s no toilet roll in the loos. Yet the food… ah, the food…

The Lord Nelson is, strangely, where Manchester celebrity chef Rob Owen Brown has resurfaced after disappearing from The Bridge (not off the bridge though, thankfully) earlier this year. He has revolutionised the menu, and has turned this unremarkable, out of the way pub into a destination restaurant for the North West’s foodies.

Our party of three, despite having reserved, were first of all shown to a draughty table immediately in front of the door. When we asked for another, we were led by the haughty maitre d’ to a table next to the kitchen, where we were left to our own devices for at least fifteen minutes before anybody asked us what we would like to drink. ‘Er, could we possibly see the wine list?’ Another five minutes. You get the picture.

The menu is exciting – think Sam’s Chophouse – with hearty English fayre brought up to date with interesting methods and accompaniments. The prices for mains are slightly higher than Rob Owen Brown used to charge at the Bridge, and rightly so.

But there is still a selection of traditional favourites such as Lancashire Hotpot and Steak and ale pie, which are priced slightly lower than the more adventurous plates on the main menu. Too low if you ask me.

Eventually we ordered the wine, a 2004 McGuigan Black Label Shiraz (£14.95) – a full bodied, berry-licious red, perfect for a wintry night in deepest Lancashire.

And when the bored looking waitress deigned to take our order, I chose the Crispy Black Pudding Potato Cake topped with a soft poached egg, tarragon and butter sauce (£4.00).

Yes, this was every bit as amazing as it sounds. Gemma had the smooth Duck Liver Pate (£4.50), - an exceptionally generous portion of pate served with toast and sweet berry chutney – while Kelly opted for the Wild Mushrooms in garlic sauce, served on a toasted oven bottom muffin (£4.00). We were all in love. We wanted to steal Rob Owen Brown. Even the shabby service was forgiven.

Mains were just as impressive. Gemma’s pan fried Scotch Fillet Steak (£12.95) was as thick as two short planks and a hell of a lot tastier, served with a grilled tomato, mushrooms and lightly battered onion rings. The star of this dish however was Rob Owen Brown’s famous fat chips – stacked lovingly next to the steak in all their golden, crispy glory.

Kelly had the rich slow braised Shoulder of Lamb stuffed with garlic and thyme, and dauphinaise potato (£8.50). My main (honey roast butternut squash, swede, celeriac, carrot and feta) was slightly disappointing however – the natural flavours of the vegetables for me not being enough to hold the dish together, and the meal tasting slightly bland and dry. I’m definitely a sauce girl.

Desserts were for the most part spot on, except for the Rice Pudding which was so dry that it was solid. The Eccles cake and the Chocolate Brownie however, were enough to corrupt even the strictest weight watcher. See the picture if you don’t believe me.

The Lord Nelson is on the up. Hopefully the staff will become a little more welcoming to non-locals as more and more food lovers turn up to try Rob Owen Brown’s exciting menu. But to be honest, the drab surroundings and apathetic service create a great talking point as you tuck into some seriously good grub. And at the Lord Nelson, it’s all about the grub.

Jayne Robinson

The Lord Nelson
Kearsley Hall Road
01204 579302

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SKJanuary 26th 2007.

the food is excellent and the service was immaculate on my visit. the whole flavour of the visit can be summed with the words politeness, enjoyment, happiness and quality. a very delightful night.

FiJanuary 26th 2007.

Hear ROB has re-surfaced even further out of the way - Whitehall Hotel in Darwen I believe. Oh well, he lasted a good six months in Radcliffe did he not? Fly-by-night springs to mind

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