The Longridge restaurant lies in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, establishing itself - along with its synonymous owner Paul Heathcote - over 20 years as one of the behemoths of British fine-dining. Throughout its tenure, the restaurant has remained true to its original principles of cooking prized local ingredients with honesty, while Heathcote’s passion for his first restaurant has remained undimmed.
Sitting on the outskirts of the historic small town of Longridge, the building is distinguishable by its flawless white exterior which by nightfall is beautifully lit-up, confirming to passers-by and oncoming guests that this is very much a destination restaurant.
Inside, the restaurant is just as evocative, with elegant furnishing and a healthy din of 60 covers giving the eatery a refined yet thoroughly relaxed ambience. In a past life, the restaurant was a traditional 19th century cottage and it certainly retains some of its Victorian features and an olde-worlde charm, yet this does not cloy and feels in keeping with the setting.
The food served also feels natural to the environment, with revived British components like black pudding and mustard mash sitting proudly at the heart of the menu. Each dish is given added gravitas by the knowledge that most ingredients are sourced locally, from producers that Paul Heathcote has nurtured over decades. Prices are very reasonable and, at the time of writing, an extravagant 8 course tasting menu will only set you back 65 pounds per head.
Though the food is usually described as classically British – due to Paul Heathcote’s reputation as one of the savours of British cuisine – it as much Lancastrian as it is British. It would be no exaggeration to suggest that a discerning foodie would be able to guess the region of the restaurant by the menu alone.
Perhaps the biggest change in Longridge’s make-up over the years has been Heathcote’s decision to step back from service duties. Nonetheless, his approach clearly filters through to all facets of the restaurant’s approach and in current Head Chef Hywel Griffith; Heathcote has certainly found a worthy successor.
Paul Heathcote’s love affair with cooking began in his early teens when his mother – who worked shifts – left him and his father with pre-cooked meals which Paul would then experiment with. He went on to win two Michelin stars and own multiple restaurants in the North West
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