What was on the menu in 1978?
It isn’t that long ago – 35 years – but I am sure there are many in the village who remember the Orchard House Restaurant, although I had never heard mention of a restaurant in the heart of Leigh. By the time I arrived in Leigh, we had Genesis and the Clock House next door. But 15 years earlier these premises formed part of the Orchard House Restaurant and Bar – which also offered music and dancing.
The owners were Mr Anthony Stamp and his wife, Frances, who had converted the premises from a grocery store. An article from “Focus June 1978” states that “the restaurant is an 18th century listed building together with a spacious oak panelled bar in what was originally the barn of an oast house” and is “decorated in the classic old English style with an attractive Norwegian wood-burning stove in the bar to add warmth to the convivial atmosphere. The tables are well set out with plenty of space between them and the restaurant is spacious enough to seat 80 people in comfort”.
The Stamps did most of the work involved in running the restaurant and Mrs Stamp undertook all the cooking. There was a head waiter employed, Mr Dennis Thompson, who was assisted by a staff of waitresses.
Apparently, the restaurant was a place where one could enjoy a pleasant meal without spending a fortune. “Here the bill which is handed to the customer at the end of an evening out, often the cause of a nasty shock, will be a pleasant surprise instead. The menu offers excellent value for money, a good meal in an unhurried atmosphere with no hidden extra costs. All the prices displayed on the menu include VAT and there are reductions for children on the Saturday and Sunday lunchtime menus”.
The table d’hote menu was changed each evening and included a choice of starters, a main course with vegetables and sweets from the trolley. The à la carte menu included flambes, grilled river trout with almonds at £3.80, veal cordon bleu – breadcrumbed escape of veal with ham and Edam cheese cooked in butter at £3.75. All the prices included starter, main course with vegetables and sweet. Coffee was extra with choice of Irish, Gaelic or Jamaican.
There was also a Sunday lunch menu which made “eating out virtually as cheap as eating in with a traditional Sunday meal of roast rib of beef and or Yorkshire pudding and a choice of starters and sweets at an inclusive price of £2.95”. The Sunday menu usually had a choice of about five main courses.
There was also a comprehensive wine list which ranged from vin ordinaire at £2.20 per carafe to champagnes and sparkling wines at various prices. A speciality of the restaurant was the Cabrals Royal reserve tawny port at £6.95 a bottle.
The Focus article is followed by an Advertisement for the restaurant which gives a sample menu and prices:
- Homemade soup of the day
- Egg Mayonnaise
- Prawn Cocktail (plus 45p)
- Rump Steak garnished with tomato and mushrooms a choice of French fries or jacket potato and garlic butter, served with a side salad £3.95
- Seafood Platter A selection of choice fish fillets and shellfish garnished with tartare sauce, a choice of French fries or jacket potato and garlic butter served with a side salad £3.25
- Chicken Quarter cooked Orchard House style with peas, French fries or jacket potato and garlic butter, and served with side salad £2.50
- Sweet of the day
- Ice cream
- Cheese and biscuits
(Irish, Gaelic, Jamaican, etc 65p)
Parish Magazine Article: Feb 2014: by Joyce Field