Contrasts In Aughton

While Aughton Parish Council

bewails the rising local crime and criminal damage, Aughton benefits from a national award, another gong for Lancashire’s burgeoning food and drink scene, as Moor Hall Aughton has been named the UK’s best restaurant in SquareMeal’s annual poll of the country’s top 100 restaurants outside London.

Lancashire venues have been amassing trophies of late. Just yesterday, two rural inns near the town of Clitheroe scooped the two top Pub of the Year awards in the Good Pub Guide, and today’s win is a double coup for Moor Hall, which was also recently named National Restaurant of the Year by Restaurant magazine’s Estrella Damm awards.

Moor Hall is a Grade II listed 16th-century manor house with seven guest bedrooms and chef Mark Birchall (previously head chef at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel) at the helm. Many of the ingredients on the menu are supplied by Moor Hall’s five-acre estate and the farmland surrounding the restaurant.

It’s rise has been “meteoric”, says SquareMeal editor Ben McCormack: since opening just two years ago, it won its first Michelin star six months after opening, and a second in 2018.

“Moor Hall is exactly the type of place the exemplifies the real excellence now on offer across the UK,” says Telegraph Magazine restaurant critic William Sitwell. “It doesn’t take inspiration from metropolitan trends, its roots and philosophy comes from land that surrounds it. [Some of which, greenbelt land, top grade agricultural land, is soon to be developed for housing].

“The food presented is as graceful as the menu design, it balances modernity with tradition, and its sturdy pricing shows that many people are prepared to pay well for great food”. 

Local councilors, some of whom may dine at Moor Hall, should heed the ruination that planned housing development would bring to agricultural West Lancashire, particularly desirable Aughton, and fight for local farming and food production. 

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