Food Review: The Devonshire Arms
Braving the foggy drive through the dark lanes of Derbyshire, we arrive at The Devonshire Arms a mere 20 minutes after leaving Sheffield – and that’s after taking a wrong turn due to our dodgy map reading skills… (Perhaps it’s wise to take the advice of the staff and order a taxi next time, just £15 from the city centre). It’s a warm welcome on a chilly night, and despite its remote location there are plenty of diners enjoying a mid-week meal. Striking a balance between cosy and contemporary, we’re shown to a table tucked around the corner from the bar next to a wood burning fire.
With a menu that changes weekly, you’ll probably never have the same meal twice here. Champions of seasonal, local produce, tonight’s options are ideal for the inclement weather outside, and we opt for suitably warming dishes to fit the mood.
For starters, the chicken leg with egg yolk, parsnip and hazelnuts is generous enough to be a main, and served with a deliciously creamy sauce, which is complemented beautifully by sweet, crunchy hazelnuts. We also go for the lamb sweetbreads, served with cauliflower and chanterelles. These are absolutely bursting with flavour, with subtle spices adding a lovely depth of flavour to the buttery sweetbreads.
For mains, the shoulder of venison is decadently served with foie gras, chestnuts and quince, which cuts through the richness of the meat, ensuring it is not overpowering. The belly of pork is equally tasty, and brought alive with some aromatic fennel, piccalilli sauce, crispy pancetta and puffed up crackling. Unaware that the dishes would also be served with fondant potato and seasonal vegetables, we ordered a side of hand cut chips. Although we couldn’t quite finish them all after devouring every morsel on our plates, they’re undeniably some of the best pub chips going. Absolutely worth that so-stuffed-you-can’t-move feeling.
And in light of that, we only shared a dessert: a stunning chocolate financier with mousse and winter berries, finishing off the meal perfectly.
This is what modern pub dining is supposed to be about; an ever-changing menu bringing the best out of local produce and comfortable cosy confines to enjoy it in. Our server Damian is also worth mentioning – running both the bar and the floor by himself for the entire evening without letting anyone wait (and having time to chat to us about the menu) is no easy feat!
Lightwood Lane, Middle Handley, Derbyshire S21
Tel: 01246 434800