My dad was up for a visit and after a hard day’s work he wanted something to eat. We set off up the A6 in search of some decent grub, and we came to The Sparling in Barton – about 10 minutes drive from Preston.
First impressions were good. The place is fancy inside, soft furnishings, lots of angles and modern decor. It’s not what I expected it to be like.
We were seated and immediately eyed up the set menu. Two courses for £7.95 – that’s credit crunch beating stuff. It’s only starter and main for the two courses, you have to pay extra for a desert. I went for the cup-a-soup of the day and a pepper steak. My dad went for the cheese brisquetes and also plumped for the peppered steak. My girlfriend went for the cheese briquetes as well and the macaroni. I went for a San Miguel to wash it all down, while a glass of Spanish red (250 ml) was £4.95 for the old man and the missus enjoyed a glass of the house red (priced around £2.95).
Our decisions were made carefully on the set menu as the waitress reported that they were out of a few things (including orange juice!) and we understood as it was reasonably busy for a Tuesday night.
The starters arrived quickly and the cup-a-soup was fantastic. It was carrot and cale, delicious. With a steaming hot baguette to go dunking with. Dad’s cheesy brisquetes (cheesy bites to you and me) were reportedly delicious. The portions were just right, small enough to be ‘fancy-ish’ but not so large you had no room for the main course.
Due to the busy nature of the place for a Tuesday it took a while for the main courses to arrive. The portions weren’t as big as I was hoping for, but the quality of the ingredients shone through. The steak was lovely, with a peppery source drizzled all over. There were no chips unfortunately, so it was mashed potato insteasd and some great fresh veg. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, I was suitably full but with enough room for a desert. The girlfriend was happy with her macaroni (yum! was the sentiment) and Dad had a similar experience with his pepper steak.
Desert was moderately price, Dad and I went for the two scoops of locally producer ice cream. I had banoffi and vanilla bean and it was delicious. The girlfriend went for a knickerbocker glory. Now, I hadn’t seen one of these in years! It was special. Although the fruit got stuck at the bottom and she’d been given a large spoon which couldn’t reach down that far.
We recoiled after our desert and then settled up the bill. A cracking £49 for three, not bad! A brief chat with the head waitress revealed that the South African owner was putting a lot of money into the place and they’ve just started an advertising campaign locally (not that we’d seen it). A second restaurant, called The Sparling, has also been opened in Lytham, which I think we will check out in the summer.
If you’re in need of some top notch food, for good prices, the Sparling is a top contender.
Rating: Food: 4/5, Drink: 3/5, Service: 3.5/5, Atmosphere/decor: 4.5/5, Value for money: 4.5/5
Need to book? Not on week days, but weekends will definitely be busy.
Phone: 01772 863 789
Address: 807 Garstang Road, Barton, Preston, PR3 (map)