I’ll take any excuse for a weekend away.
Whether it’s a housewarming, christening, wedding, funeral, concert, garden show – literally, any excuse to go on a road trip.
My latest excursion had me flying my weekend warrior flag high, as I missioned a gruelling five hour on a Friday Night, straight from the office in London up to Bowland Fell, a static caravan site and holiday/retirement park for over 50s. My absolute favourite Uncle and Aunt had both just packed their jobs in down South and had decided to retire to one of many residential park homes in Yorkshire. Although they’d stressed time and time again that they weren’t staying in a caravan, I was still expecting to be bunking on a spongy sofa that vaguely smelt of damp – it turns out I was a little far from the mark…
Credit: Bowland Fell
I could tell my Aunt Rose was proud of her new home and she was even happier to see how surprised I was by the condition of her new home. Although it was only a 2-bedroom bungalow, the state of the finish was a far cry from your traditional caravan. Glittering white walls were accompanied with some classy decor which I could tell were a particular boon for Aunt Rose, who was keen to pick out each piece, with a little side-note as to how much money she had saved. I was sure to make all the right sounds and gestures, which were mostly genuine.
What both of them were most excited to tell me about was a new restaurant that they had found in the local town of Clitheroe.
They’d always struck me as traditionalists when it came to food, their dinners mostly consisting of the classic formula of ‘Meat and Two Veg’, so I was surprised to hear them so enthused about a new ‘style’ of eating. They were so excited that they’d booked us a table for Brunch the next day at Hoof and Rooster, an ‘American inspired Smokehouse and Bar’…in Clitheroe.
For context – here’s a map of Clitheroe and it’s surrounding area:
Now – I’m always one for experimentation, but I feel like there’s something inherently wrong, taking locally sourced meat from the area and turning it into gourmet American food, a trend that was on trend well over 5 years ago now.
Let me try and explain myself here:
There are certain foods which are just a little too difficult to stomach when they’re out of context.
Gourmet Burgers, for example, sit comfortably on most modern high streets; but transplant them into an utterly English rural town, like Clitheroe and something doesn’t quite feel right.
It’s a little like Disney Land Paris. Despite it’s distance from the city there’s something innately un-American about that particular resort – you just know that what you’re getting is a cheap imitation, rather than the real thing. You know in that Mickey Mouse suit, there’s no friendly, vaguely brainwashed, failed actor; you’re more likely to find an overweight French fellow, who’s desperately looking forward to his next fag break.
Now, the question of authenticity is a dubious one when you’re dealing with the physical manifestation of a global brand like Disney, but when it comes to authentically replicating specific types of food it’s a little easier, especially when you’ve eaten as much food as I have. Often a chef can try as hard as they can for authenticity and end up shooting himself in the foot. Despite my reservations, I found myself enjoying the American-flecked breakfast that I had at this recently opened establishment and I could see why my Uncle and Aunt liked it.
Credit: The Hoof & Rooster
The decor inside the The Hoof & Rooster (Neon lights, bare bulbs in wire cages, taxonomy and industrial props) might well feel a little rote to experienced diners from the city, but these little touches made the restaurant stand a mile out in Clitheroe, a place that has clung to it’s traditional values for some time. Going there made Aunty Rose feel ‘young and hip’ and that’s something that I would never dream of taking away from a woman in her mid-50s.