To say Ramsbottom is alive with incredible food and drink would be a huge understatement. There are records of this quaint, stone-built village existing as far back as the 1300s, and today the settlement is home to just under 20,000 people. A good proportion of those seem to have high standards when it comes to what they want to eat, and Holcombe Tap, a traditional terraced public house, certainly keeps up appearances. Marrying the timeless tradition of this semi-rural area with a more contemporary outlook on how to run a kitchen and bar, it comes complete with outdoor garden boasting retractable cover.
Operating on a small plate basis, customers will find an extensive menu from which to put together their feast. Classic nibbles such as sourdough with beef butter and shallots, baked camembert with croutons, and whipped goats cheese lead into the more substantial dishes, and this is where things really start to set a precedent. The pan-fried cod, corn & lobster bisque is first class, a seafood soup of a dream that’s the perfect warmer on a cold winter day but just as suited to midsummer indulgence. The fried aubergine with honey and maldon is another good non-meat shout which we’d order again in a second.
For those who do want to go carnivore, there are plenty of stand out choices at The Holcombe Tap. Duck breast, fondant potato, plum & burnt orange sauce with pumpkin seed crumb is as good as all that sounds on paper, as is the braised pork cheek, creamed leeks, and red wine jus. Light bites and sandwiches get an entire menu to themselves, betraying the range available, and desserts come in the form of British and Italian favourites like sticky toffee pudding, various ice creams, and very attractive martinis (blood orange espresso, bakewell, classic espresso). A huge selection of beers on tap lend the pub its name, although those not after a hoppy brew are not left wanting — a large range of wines, cocktails and (particularly impressive) gins are also vying for attention.