The RVI venture is part of the wider Northcote group of companies, which also includes the Michelin Starred Northcote Manor in Langho, and the group is co-owned by the two Lancastrians. Nigel Howarth is the chef behind the food and is now known nationally for his appearance and success on BBC 2's Great British Menu. His Lancashire hotpot was the winning main course in the last series and is probably the dish for which he is now best renowned and indeed typifies what he is all about - British classics perfectly executed with a modern twist.
For mains it was a difficult choice, I was torn between one of the mutton dishes and the English rose veal escalope with capers, nut brown butter and Pearce’s organic fried egg. In the end we both went for mutton, a largely ignored and underrated meat in Britain these days it is nice to see it making an appearance on restaurant menus. I had the Herdwick mutton pudding with caper and parsley mash and black peas. It was a revelation, a delicate suet crust packed with tasty meat and kidney, the caper mash offsetting any greasiness from the rich mutton.
Dave’s mutton hotpot with picked red cabbage met with his expectations, which were exceedingly high given the man’s reputation for what is his signature dish.Pudding was a toss up between Burnt English custard with stewed Tomlinson’s Yorkshire rhubarb and a Bramley apple pie with carnation milk and custard and a slice of Wensleydale cheese, made to serve 2. We went for the apple pie and were assured by the staff that we wouldn’t be disappointed - we weren’t. Not too sweet, the thin golden pastry crust was packed with tart apples and served with a lovely custard, speckled with vanilla. The carnation milk added a touch of sweet creamy nostalgia, I haven't had this since I was a child when I ate it with tinned peaches!
Service was the way it should be throughout - efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. At around £42 for a 3 course meal it was an absolute snip and I was well impressed with accomplished way everything was done here.
If I am honest, for me there is actually a slight "footballers' wives" kind of vibe that transcends all of the RVI pubs. It is characterised by the white Audi & BMW 4x4's with tinted windows that hog the car parks and the well-heeled clientele, typically wearing designer clothes, sunglasses and the wives carrying Gucci handbags. This combined with the elaborately worded menus and impeccable surroundings mean that maybe it is all just a bit too perfect. I guess if that is the only criticism I can level at them then I really am just being ridiculous. They are clearly doing something right here and it certainly won’t stop me going back for more!
There is an overriding sense of quality here that transcends the everyday British pub. It makes you wonder why more pubs cannot achieve the standards set by the RVI team but one thing is for sure, this is one Lancastrian that can hold his head up high over the border.
Broughton, Skipton, BD23 3AE