In the ‘old days’ pubs were for blokes. A dark, testosterone-fuelled bolt hole where Mr Hunter-Gatherer could drink a hard-earned pint, grateful for an hour or two of respite from ‘her indoors’. Gradually women popped their heads around the door. Cautiously chaperoned and strictly limited to babychams and lager shandies, thus began the all-inclusive pub and gastro culture we now experience today.
Male-dominated pubs still exist of course. Dotted around the towns and villages of Britain these traditional boozers defiantly fly the flag for the independent thirsty male seeking refuge in a silent pint…. But the gastro phenomenon is truly taking over. Fine wine now rubs shoulders with traditional ales and bland pub food is gradually replaced by artisan picks and creative cooking.
Ladies now like pubs and pubs like ladies and if ever there was a pub that was fit for a lady to deign to drink in, then that pub would most definitely be The Plough at Lupton.
Located on the A65 at Cow Brow near Lupton, one could easily whizz past, completely oblivious and hell bent on the journey to the land of milk and honey in showy Kirbky Lonsdale. But ladies, stop a-while and invite your men folk into the dreamy powder pink interior of this comforting gastro pub. Delicately decorated in hues of pinks and blues complementing smudgy watercoloured wallpaper, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m describing an over-sized chintzy tearoom.
Owner Paul Spence has cleverly thought through the decor. Subtle but welcoming feminine colours contrast with the hard, grey lines of its solid granite bar and minimalist decorative features are scattered throughout. Traditional wall lights by Jim Lawrence cast a warm glow over earthy velvet seating whilst the squishy, imperfect leather sofas by the fire offer a comforting place to read the papers – a definitive reassuring gender blend for Mr & Mrs to both indulge in.
Mr Welly and I dropped in last Sunday, keen to try out a quieter evening at The Plough (we’d been a couple of weeks before on a hectic Saturday night). The bar area was quiet, with a smattering of couples eating at the more relaxed tables just outside the main restaurant. Perched on the bar’s original ‘Baa’ stools (yes their invention not mine), Assistant Manager Sam Evans invited us to an apertif.
Once seated at our table not far from the main bar area, I decided upon Potted Ravenglass crab with toasted sourdough for starters whilst hubby picked the freshly made soup (vegetable today). Topped with a blend of butter and lemon juice the crab was light and delicate, the perfect accompaniment to the side of dressed radish salad. Sourced from My Fish Company just down the road in Fleetwood the crab could not have been fresher.
Next up, the Cumbrian lamb rump for me and roasted chicken breast for him. Both dishes absolutely perfect – truly succulent and cooked to perfection. The chicken breast was cleverly cooked using the sous vide ‘water bath’ method which ensures a perfect result every time as the temperature never supercedes 64 degrees. Nothing worse than dry over-cooked chicken.
Once again dear reader I have let you down – unable to eat a dessert each, we both shared the lemon and masacarpone cheesecake – delicious and definitely a decadent finish to a tasty meal.
Both utterly impressed with the quality of food, we felt that the Plough was up there with top gastro food at fairly affordable prices – above average but worth it.
A comfortable, easy atmosphere, this pub is most definitely in touch with its feminine side and the perfect location for a casual but truly foodie experience… all without a babycham in sight 🙂
Good for: Groups of friends, couples seeking high-end gastro dining in a casual setting.
Not for: Those seeking traditional, cheap pub grub.
£££: Above average gastro prices but worth it for the quality of the food and ambiance.