You can often tell if you’re going to enjoy a meal from the very moment you step inside a pub or restaurant.
That was certainly the case when we arrived at the Barley Mow, in Wingerworth, Chesterfield, on Friday night.
There was a lovely convivial atmosphere, with regulars clustered round the bar and busy tables full of diners - always a good sign.
The Barley Mow re-opened last year after a £200,000 transformation by Mark Aisthorpe, who also runs the Bull’s Head in Holymoorside.
At the time, Mark said he aimed to provide fresh-cooked British pub classics - and a glance at the menu showed he had been true to his word.
Options included tried and tested favourites, like steaks, burgers and pies, along with beer battered fish and chips and sausage and mash.
There was also something to tempt the more adventurous though, including the likes of seafood linguine with prawns, clams, mussels and squid.
My eye was taken with the 12oz pork chop with rosemary roast new potatoes, smokey bacon, roast onion, root vegetables, apple, whole grain and cider sauce (£13). Easy to overcook, the meat was perfect - still moist and soft inside - while the mix of vegetables and sauce was inventive and delicious.
Elsewhere around the table, the braised lamb shank (£15)was soft, comforting and falling off the bone.
Our resident cheesoholic declared the rosemary and garlic baked Camembert, with homemade bread (£8.50) one of the best he’s ever had (and he’s had a LOT!), while those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the range of desserts.
We sampled the honey and lemon crème brulee, with lavender shortbread (£5.50) which was rich, satisfying and very, very moreish. The seasonal crumble of the day was packed with zingy fruit, though personally I would have liked more of the crumble topping.
With hearty portions and a quick, helpful and friendly service, the Barley Mow ticks all the right boxes. Give it a try.Barley Mow
The Barley Mow, Langer Lane, Wingerworth, 01246 541771