Three Derbyshire gastropubs are rated among 100 best in the country

Three Derbyshire gastropubs have been rated among the 100 best businesses in the country.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 2:37 pm

The Duncombe Arms at Ellastone, Ashbourne heads the county trio, which includes the Pack Horse at Hayfield and the Blind Bull in Buxton, in the Estrella Damm Gastropub league.

In the 2022 table The Duncombe Arms sits at 28 which is a rise of three places on last year.

Head chef Jake Boyce said: “We’re going in the right direction. We’re all really, really happy about it.”

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Derbyshire's top gastropubs have been named among the best 100 in the country.

Sitting on the edge of the Peak District, The Duncombe Arms, which has a ten-bedroom hotel, already holds a Bib Gourmand award from Michelin Guide and two AA rosettes.

Jake, who has been working at the gastropub for three years, said: “The idea behind the food is all really seasonal, it's British, we do the classics but we try to do them in fine dining quality. We’ve got fish and chips with haddock in a lovely beer batter made from Duncombe Ale, with handcut chips, crushed peas and tartar sauce.

"We also do some interesting dishes such as a pig's head terrine or raw mackerel tartare with brown butter crumpet.”

Salt cured duck breast with buttered dill pickle, white beans and chestnut and beer glazed baby cauliflower with radish, kale and walnut also feature on the menu.

The Pack Horse at Hayfield

The gastropub and hotel is coming up for its tenth anniversary this year. Co-owners Johnny and Laura Greenall revamped the former boarded-up village local and reopened the 19th century pub in March 2012.

The Pack Horse at Hayfield has rocketed up the table to 32 from 76th place last year.

A posting on its Facebook page says: “We are honoured to be in such great company on the most prestigious list for all pubs. This is a testament to the hard work and passion of our team and suppliers. What a momentous occasion, and huge thanks to the judging panel for thinking that we are worthy to rub shoulders with our heroes.”

Luke Payne, head chef at The Pack Horse which features in the 2022 Michelin Guide, has a passion for providing a menu that highlights the best seasonal, sustainable and ethically sourced British produce. The menu includes local lamb and fish which is caught off the north-west coast.

A contemporary gastropub, The Pack Horse opened in 2016.

The Blind Bull at Little Hucklow is a 12th century inn which inhabits the site of Britain’s fifth oldest pub and has been extensively restored to its former glory. It has been placed at 75 in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub league.

Raab Dykstra-McCarthy, owner, said: “We weren't in the list last year as we only opened in July 2020 and with Covid had to shut in October 2020 so we only really got started last year after the second lockdown. Saying that, we are very excited to even have been on the radar of top 50 after such a short period of time - let alone make it to the list.”

The Little Hucklow gastropub’s main courses, which are prepared by Luke Hawkins and his team, include lamb with crispy anchovies, plaice poached in pork fat, with mussels and pickled fennel, wild garlic and ricotta ravioli.