When I read that a customer had described a bar as being "full of pretentious prats" I instinctively wanted to find out for myself what it was really like.
Earlier this month The Mouse Trap hit the headlines after a customer posted a brutal review on TripAdvisor in which they criticised the venue for its atmosphere, clientele and cheese.
Under the heading 'The Real Housewives of Rammy Outing' the customer said: "Full of pretentious prats with their babies - out of townies - hardly any 'real' local atmosphere and I don't mean people who have moved here in the last few years.
READ MORE:Cafe owner's response to TripAdvisor review
"Rammy is northern but has lost so much of its heritage because of these places and the kind of people it brings in - middle class stuck up Henriettas and Henrys who think they are Rammy folk now because they have moved here - us locals who have lived here for generations are angry and deeply saddened at the death of Rammy as we have always known it - felt out of place in our town where we have all lived for over 50 years!!!
"Far too snobby for our liking - we are salt of the earth folk - more like a creche too - no atmosphere at all, but that's because all the real locals don't touch places like this!!!
"I can get this cheese at Morrisons so nothing special as well?"
The venue's owner, Melissa Seddon from Rawtenstall, hit back at the review and in the interests of responsible journalism I decided to visit the Mouse Trap for myself. And oh, what an experience it was.
I arrived on Friday lunchtime, slightly early for my table booking, and took stock of the surroundings before I went inside. This stretch of Bolton Street was pretty impressive... lots of independent, modern shops, bars and restaurants.
And the second I walked into the Mouse Trap I knew that I wasn't going to be disappointed with my visit.
The young woman who was working, Charlotte, was so lovely and instantly made me feel welcome and at ease, despite the fact I was the first - and only - customer in that day.
I was seated on a comfy settee in the window and presented with the menu. Note: There are that many different cheeses to choose from that the selection is printed on its own separate sheet of paper.
The Mouse Trap's menu offers a few 'starters and nibbles', including 'cheese nibbles' (a choice of three cheeses cut into nibble-sized pieces for £4.95) and three different platters; the meat and cheese platter (£12.95), the Lancashire platter (£14.95) and the veggie platter (£12.95).
It goes without saying that I opted for the Lancashire platter. The platter includes pork pies, a Scotch egg, locally-sourced cooked meats, artisan breads, pickles, grapes and your choice of two cheeses.
Then came the hard part. I said to Charlotte: "How the hell do you pick just two from this list?!"
Out of the 25 options my taste buds and Lancastrian roots instantly honed in on two - Garstang Blue and Lancashire Black Pepper.
When my platter arrived my first thought was: "How on earth can they afford to give this much food away for just £14.95?!". And then, as I sat there grazing and nibbling, it suddenly clicked.
You couldn't possibly polish off a platter in half an hour. There's a reason why tables at the Mouse Trap are booked in two-hour slots. I suspect the premise is that customers will take advantage of the extensive cocktail and wine list as they make their way through the delicacies on the platter.
Half an hour in and I was beginning to feel like Adam Richman from Man v Food. I'm a big cheese fan, don't get me wrong, but this was a challenge.
From the gherkins to the Scotch egg; the impressive range of crackers and breads and the slices of ham, turkey and beef; there wasn't a single thing on my platter which I wasn't impressed with. Ok... maybe that isn't strictly true; the sprigs of thyme were, I felt, a bit unnecessary. But that's as critical as I can get.
At this stage let's talk crackers. You know when you buy a selection box of biscuits for cheese from the supermarket and there are always some which get saved until last because nobody really likes them? Well, that doesn't happen at the Mouse Trap.
The fruity crackers (pictured above) were my favourite. You don't need to put any cheese on these bad boys... they're a taste sensation in their own right. And the fruity bread was like a heavenly fruit loaf.
For me though, the star of the show wasn't actually the cheese, it was the pickle. It was simply phenomenal.
Ok so let's get down to the real issue. The critical customer referenced above seemed to have more of a problem with the atmosphere and clientele at the Mouse Trap.
What was the atmosphere like when I visited? Although it was fairly quiet I honestly don't know how anyone could question the atmosphere. And I'd be the first to pick up on something like that.
Charlotte who works at the Mouse Trap was an utter superstar... I don't know how much she gets paid but, Melissa, she deserves a pay rise. Towards the end of my visit I told Charlotte why I was there and she simply took it in her stride. She was one of the highlights of my visit and if anyone goes to the Mouse Trap while Charlotte's working and slags off the atmosphere then there's something wrong with them.
The aforementioned critical customer claimed the Mouse Trap was full of stuck-up people with babies. I saw neither. All I saw were satisfied customers.
In conclusion, the Mouse Trap could have been full of the most pretentious people in the world and I would still have rated it as 10/10.
But it wasn't.
I've racked my brains to think of something which could count as even constructive criticism but I can't think of a single thing. It's well worth a visit.
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