THE WORDS AND SENTIMENTS OF DAVID HEELEY - BROADCASTER | FOOD CRITIC | TRAVEL WRITER
Warrick Dodds' Lytham Shrimp Salad - find it at the Hastings Lytham

Food Critic

Lytham Shrimps

Lytham has long been synonymous with the shrimp.  This tiny crustacean has been landed in the town for hundreds of years and currently the fleet of little shrimping boats can be seen bobbing in the estuary, adjacent to the slade by Seafield Road. The shrimpers hardy tractors, parked by the sea wall, take out the small tenders, from which the fishermen disembark their prize catch. You may well ask – why is Lytham synonymous with shrimps? Well, it’s all to do with the River Ribble, which floods the estuary with fresh water, laden with nutrients. Crucially, this dilutes the salinity [Read More]

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New Birch Broom

Food Critic

New Birch Broom

I was recently invited to sample the culinary skills of Andrew Birch, the wonderful new chef who along with his team of 7 has taken over the restaurant at Ribby Hall Village. Ribby has long craved a fine dining restaurant and with Andrew and his teams arrival there is now nothing to stop them establishing themselves as one of the finest purveyors of predominantly North West sourced food that our region has to offer.  From the excellent breads right through to his 5 and 7 course tasting menus, there’s a new flair about the Restaurant at Ribby Hall that they’ve [Read More]

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Sea Bass Quotient

Food Critic

Sea Bass Quotient

For years now I’ve employed something called my SBQ, when evaluating the relative cost or value for money of a dining venue. It’s short for – Sea Bass Quotient – and as that dish has become almost ubiquitous on restaurants menus in recent years – it enables me and now other diners to evaluate the relative value for money that any given restaurant is offering its customers. If the sea bass is north of £18 to £20, you’ve stumbled into a rather pricey establishment that had better work very hard to persuade you that it’s offering value for money.  Conversely, [Read More]

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Spot On

Food Critic

Spot On

Over the decades different continental foods have been given protected geographical status, with the UK lagging sadly way down the league table.  Recent years have seen this wrong begin to be righted with everything from Yorkshire rhubarb to Melton Mobray pies, now given a Designated Origin Certificate (DOC). The latest English food stuff to be so recognised is the wonderful Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, which produces some of the finest pork you will ever eat.  If you’ve yet to sample it, go now and seek it out before this new recognition forces prices up. What is particularly galling, however, is [Read More]

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Lost it at Maze

Food Critic

Lost it at Maze

The adjectivally challenged Gordon Ramsay, continues to have a difficult time, with the closure, last year, of Maze, his exclusive Cape Town restaurant, announced.  It’s another set back for the chef who has lost some of his most prestigious restaurants in the last few years including Petrus, The Boxwood Café and his eponymous restaurant at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Although only a consultant at Maze, a source at the restaurant whom I contacted explained, that Gordon had last visited two months earlier. The source added “Nobu is next door and is always thriving, but Ramsay’s place was mostly empty.  [Read More]

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Help me battle to resurrect old favourites

Food Critic

Help me battle to resurrect old favourites

Having recently given a talk to a group restaurateurs in Palma, Mallorca, I was accosted afterwards by a British lady who said that my speech had been “absolutely superfluous” (sic) would it be published locally, she wondered? I told her it would – but only posthumously.  “I can’t wait” she replied. Well, with fans such as this it’s at least nice to know that my articles have a truly international reach because it was whilst waiting for my return flight to Blackpool International Airport – surely an oxymoron – that I chanced upon my GP, Dr Evans. “David”, he said, [Read More]

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