Set amongst the high street in Westhoughton, Provenance restaurant takes a corner position to bring fresh produce and home cooked dishes to the locals.
This popular local establishment takes two bites of the cherry in retail and dining by offering a food hall, which sells locally sourced produce and a fully fledged dining area upstairs with seasonally adapted menu.
The restaurant must be accessed via stairs running through the food hall and the store below shuts up shop earlier than the dining area. The decor for both is crisp white and modern. Space is fully made use of to accommodate tables and give diners room to breathe as they eat. A classic piano takes the corner position, a feature which is regularly used on live music nights.
To start our team sampled some of the cocktails on offer. My guest opted for the house signature, named the Provenance, whilst I chose the colourfully titled Flamingo. The Provenance contained vodka, grenadine and amaretto to pack a mighty alcohol infused punch. A blend of orange juice and wide-bottom glass gave this drink holiday cocktail vibes which we were certainly not put off by.
The Flamingo took form of a primary red hue and was served in a martini glass to channel classic evening bar accompaniments. This drink included white rum and grapefruit, which gave a flavour reminiscent of a strawberry freeze pop many will remember from youth. The Flamingo was a good option for those not favouring the heavy alcohol options and functioned nicely as a lighter option for the diner just having one drink.
The starters menu befitted a higher end establishment, with fancier takes on pub and British fusion classic cuisine. Our first diner selected the Soup of the Day, which was a mushroom offering. A difficult dish to present as pretty, the soup made up in flavour what it lacked in looks with strong earthy tones and smooth texture. Topped off with some homemade bread; this staple was as solid a choice as always.
The other starter sampled was a Poached Duck Egg and Ham Asparagus. This dish certainly didn’t disappoint in the visual presentation and lived up to the phrase good things come in small packages. the meat was parcelled around the asparagus, with the poached duck eggs placed to the side, dripping with sauce. the sauce drizzled across did not disappoint and our taste buds were left satisfied awaiting the main affair.
Sticking to tradition, both parties opted for British veteran dishes, choosing the Beef Sunday Lunch and Posh Shepherds Pie respectively. The beef dinner was delectably put together, with thought put into each individual component. The flavour in the vegetables, mash and meat was apparent separately, with clear seasoning of each part to give a meal which can be enjoyed all together and bit-by-bit.
The mash was creamy and moreish, making a good base to mix with the other flavoursome parts of the meal. The beef was cooked to precision, not too overdone and chewy to satisfaction. The vegetables were what made a welcome focal point of this dish, with the roasted carrots in particular bringing signature taste unlike elsewhere.
This dish is currently offered with cauliflower cheese and on our visit we requested if this could be served as plain cauli, a request which the kitchen happily obliged, but it must be said the end result was a little tougher than preferred. Whether this was a result of veering of menu or just simple hurry to get the plates out is still out for debate but was forgivable considering the standard of the rest of the meal.
The Posh Shepherds Pie was in a league all its own; a layer of fluffy mash, lightly baked to create a golden skin, sits atop the serving dish and below tender chunks of lamb soak in sweet red wine sauce. Its easy to see why this dish is a personal favourite of Provenance’s manager, who told us it was imperative that such a long held British classic must be perfected as a cornerstone of the menu, in this aim a huge success has been achieved.
Our first choice was the intriguing Arctic Roll, which took a fancier form of it’s childhood connotations. The roll added a welcome element of nostalgia to the meal, reminding us of primary school lunches from many years prior.
Splatters of strawberry sauce adorn the plate for decoration as the roll itself takes centre stage casting shadow in it’s wake. The ice cream was soft and dense, featuring white chocolate bits in for a nice little surprise. Despite its heavy focus on ice cream the flavour did not become tiresome, helped by the accompaniment of jam and sponge cake around the rim.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding presented a warm and familiar front, oozing with sauce and sickly sweet in the best possible way. The alongside ice cream made a complementary friend for the pudding, juxtaposing hot and cold to engage your taste buds. This went down a treat and adhered to the classic British feel to the overall menu.
To see the full menu and find out more visit Provenance online.