Food Review – The Cricket Inn

The Place
When approaching the Cricket Inn via a narrow, quiet country lane it can be easy to forget that the hustle and bustle of Sheffield centre is a mere 20-minute drive away. Located on the edge of the Peak District while surrounded by green fields and grazing cattle, it’s pretty as a picture and a welcoming sight as we arrived outside on a warm summer’s night. The interior is just as pleasant; a recent refurb has freshened things up nicely but still retains that quintessential country inn feel.

The Food
We took our seats, tucked away in the corner alongside a wall adorned with framed Sheffield cutlery. After a warm welcome, our waiter came over to take us through the starters, and it quickly became apparent that the staff A: took great pride in the food they served; and B: knew the dishes like the back of their hand, even from the seasonal daily menu we’d chosen to order from.

For starters I opted for the BBQ white asparagus, while my partner went for the hand-dived scallops – the latter being a particularly solid choice, we were told. Both arrived looking impeccable, the scallops nicely presented and intermeshed with summer truffle, iberico ham and peas; while a generously sized poached egg smothered in hollandaise sauce was the centre-piece of my choice. My crispy egg was perfectly poached and the rich hollandaise and sweet white asparagus complemented each other very well. The scallop dish tasted as good as it looked: succulent scallops, salty iberico ham and the pea puree were another winning savoury-sweet combination in a real treat of a starter.

For mains I had been eyeing up the 8oz Denver steak right from the off, and the decision was cemented when manager Chris picked it out as “must-try” while talking us through the menu. My partner on the other hand kept it piscatorial with the smoked salmon tagliatelle. More helpful pointers from the serving staff suggested a medium-bodied shiraz-malbec for the steak and a classic pinot grigio for the fish.

The steak, seasoned well and cooked to medium-rare perfection, was cut into juicy chunks and served amongst shitake mushrooms, chewy pieces of pancetta, spinach and mushroom ketchup. I had ordered some peppercorn sauce too, but most of it went on the triple-cooked chips as there was no need to add to the superbly rich, beefy and generously marbled pieces of steak, a taste which contrasted well with the tangy mushroom ketchup. Likewise, my partner immensely enjoyed the tagliatelle dish: the smoky salmon and creamy dill sauce with a subtle kick of green chilli making for another tasty, indulgent offering.

For dessert, and with us being a mere 10 miles from of the famous market town, we felt obliged to try the Bakewell Tart Soufflé – a twist on their famous apple crumble soufflé. The light, fluffy dish boasted tasty homemade jam in its centre and warm biscuits on the side made for perfect dipping.

The Verdict
With exemplary service and a winning selection of both comfort and luxury dishes on offer, the warm welcome at The Cricket Inn is still well worth heading slightly off the beaten track for.

The Cricket Inn,
Penny Lane,
S17 3AZ 

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