19 Sep 2011
Freemasons at Wiswell is a new entry in the 2012 edition of the Good Food Guide.
Only one other restaurant was rated higher in Lancashire – Michelin-star holder Northcote.
The guide stated: “Steven Smith is at the helm of Freemasons, a gussied-up country inn with lofty gastronomic aspirations and an unwritten mood of classy informality. ‘Waking up the taste buds’ is his business…”
Steven commented: “I’m not so sure about some of their terminology but to be the second highest-rated restaurant in Lancashire – and as a new entry – is a real positive and another step in the right direction for us. The review was obviously carried out back in Fenruary so, hopefully, it will prompt their team to come again and again and allow us to create even more of an impression.”
The full review read: “Local Spies reckon that the Ribble Valley is quietly morphing into a foodie destination - witness the return of chef Steven Smith, who was brought up in these parts before hitting the big time. Now he's at the helm of the Freemasons, a gussied-up country inn with lofty gastronomic aspirations and an unwritten mood of classy informality. "Waking up the taste buds" is his business, and he proves the point with a tricksy starter of Tandoori monkfish, pork nuggets and scratchings with sweet potato and cumin, or a Cocktail of Muncaster crab, apple, radish and shaved fennel. Mains provide real interest too; Crispy breast of lamb with wild garlic, bacon risotto and morel sauce, or Butter-poached haddock with leeks, mussels and local cider, plus chips served in a dinky metal basket ("a nice touch"). Clever desserts also earn top marks for flavour and presentation; Lemon meringue pie with Walnut Whips and salted walnut ice cream, for example. The 250- strong wine list offers a goodly assortment by the glass, with bottles from £14.50.”