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jobs6874   , 87

from West New York


The White Swan: restaurant review | Jay Rayner

Ancient and modern: the White Swan's traditional interior. Photograph: Gary Calton for the Observer

300 Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, Lancashire (01282 611 773). Meal for two, with wine and service: £75

Forgive me if, for the next few sentences, I sound like a man tiptoeing through a field of uncracked raw eggs. I don't want to offend. Or to be precise, I'm very happy to offend but only with good reason. Right now I don't have one. So when I say Fence in Lancashire is not the kind of place where I'd expect to find food of the quality currently being served at the White Swan pub, that's all I mean.

Fence is a working village, the sort where people have to wash their hands at the end of an industrious day. It laughs in the face of the manicured and picturesque; if you want that, it's back over the hill in the very lovely Ribble Valley, where it's rumoured nobody has ever farted. Fence is a place of solid-built houses with, at one end, a solid-built, four-square pub. Just looking at it, you know that darts have been thrown in there, and bad football results mourned with too many pints of sticky bitter.

Try as I might I can't be polite about the pub car park next to it, which is all curved and buckled Tarmac. It looks like the kind of place where a bloke would park up in his Ford Capri so he could chuck his girlfriend, while chain-smoking Embassies. I'm a nostalgic, me. Still, it functions as a car park, one that deserves to be full.

A well cooked, juicy steak accompanied by some button mushrooms together with a few chips, a jacket potato or a green salad is the food of the Gods!. With traditional butchers shops disappearing from the high street to be replaced by a supermarket, our choice of cuts of beef and other meats is severely restricted. Thankfully online butchers shop are filling in those gaps and the latest ones are competing with the supermarkets over price. The following link will bring good news to all beef lovers Buy Sirloin Steak

Inside the pub, work has clearly been done since it was taken over by the owners of Turners, a wine shop-cum-deli and café in nearby Barrowford. The tellies have gone, the carpets stripped out, and the maple-coloured wood bar has been given a good polish. There are some fearsome animal heads on the wall and standing by the optics are huge jars, incubating gins flavoured with sloes, damsons and blood oranges. What matters most, though, is the presence in the kitchen of a young chef named Tom Parker. Right now he's giving a masterclass in how to craft tight, compact menus to a budget - just three choices at each course - without sacrificing flavour, inventiveness or wit. Some of what he's serving here is a minor bloody miracle.