Refreshing find for hungry travellers

Restaurant Review: Joint owners of The Plough Inn at Brackenfield, Anthony Spencer and Laura Kay.
Restaurant Review: Joint owners of The Plough Inn at Brackenfield, Anthony Spencer and Laura Kay.

Finding somewhere for Sunday lunch in the school holidays when you haven’t booked is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Finding somewhere for Sunday lunch in the school holidays when you haven’t booked is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

On the spur of the moment we ventured out to dine in the Peak District only to to be met with comments like: “We’re fully booked,” “We can’t give you a table for half an hour” or “We stop serving food at 2pm on a Sunday.”

After traipsing around towns and villages for two hours looking for somewhere, anywhere, to eat, we gave it up as a bad job and took the scenic route home along the main Matlock to Alfreton road.

And there it was, the holy grail for weary, hungry travellers, an oasis in the desert of Sunday lunchtime dining.

Perched on a hill on the edge of the Peak District stood The Plough Inn at Brackenfield, its sign promising “ A tradition for honest food, good ale and a warm welcome.”

So far, so good…..but even better was what was waiting for us inside the 17th century listed building.

This idyllic rural retreat with cosy dining areas, exposed beams and stonework boasted an impressive gastro-pub menu, knocking spots off others that we’d seen earlier that day.

It was 2.30pm and yet the staff were happy to refresh us with a three-course meal, something that they were willing to do until 9pm that evening and every other night of the week.

My companion tucked into a tasty starter of smoked Scottish salmon which was accompanied by a crisp salad.

For mains he opted for melt-in-the-mouth roast sirloin beef served with cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, roast potatoes and roast onion.

I chose the corn-fed chicken, some of the finest poultry I have ever tasted, which was accompanied by stuffing, bread sauce and seasonal vegetables.

My dessert also came from the specials board and was sheer heaven on a plate. White chocolate and Baileys cheesecake topping sat on a crunchy biscuit base and was decorated with blueberries and drizzles of raspberry coulis.

Three courses for £19.95, two courses for £15.95, a bottle of Italian red wine, an orange juice and an espresso took the bill to a reasonable £54.60.

With Anthony Spencer, former head chef at Callow Hall, Ashbourne, and his partner Laura Kay, as its new owners, The Plough Inn is sowing the seeds for a revolution in pub dining.

Rating: Four stars

The Plough Inn,

Matlock Road,

Brackenfield,

Alfreton

01629 534437