Steven Smith says he wants to create the best pub in the world, and he’s well on his way following a major refit of his Ribble Valley venue that has seen the addition of Mr Smith’s – an ambitious tasting menu-only counter restaurant cum development kitchen.
While this new addition sees Smith move slightly towards restaurant territory, the Freemasons remains a proper pub. The service, led by Smith’s wife Aga, is warm and friendly and people can still pop in for a drink.
In a bid to be as accessible as possible, The Freemasons now offers a selection of menus to suit different tastes, occasions and wallets. Its five-course Taste of Freemasons menu (plus snacks and homemade bread and butter) is £65 a head while a set lunch and early supper ‘unmasked’ menu lists two courses for £22 and three for £27. There’s also an a la carte option and a kids menu (currently entitled ‘school’s out for summer’) where youngsters can eat fried chicken or fish fingers served with triple cooked chips and greens followed by pavlova or bread and butter pudding.
Whichever menu you choose you’ll get to experience Smith’s love of hearty, elevated pub grub that see numerous techniques, cuts and preparations married on the plate. Current options include 100-day sirloin of beef aged in its own dripping with triple cooked chips and onion rings; salt aged breast of duck with a leg meat dumpling; roast loin and kebab of lamb; and roast sirloin of aged Lancashire beef with sticky cheek.
The pub also offers accommodation, making the Freemasons even more inviting for a weekend getaway.