Food Review: The Tickled Trout

The Place
The Tickled Trout in Barlow is the kind of restaurant you’ll kick yourself for not visiting sooner. Chef/owner Chris Mapp (whose culinary heritage includes working for Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay) took over a run-down pub four years ago and spent a lot of money to turn it into something rather special.
It’s casual enough to be able to enjoy a pizza or a few pints but also has a menu (and in particular a specials board) that allows Chris to flex his gastronomic muscles properly. It’s light and airy but with enough ‘zones’ so you can sit somewhere different each time and get a slightly different experience.

The Food
It’s pretty special. This was my third visit so I’d already tried their signature dish, The Tickled Trout, which is a piece of Cornish sea trout, delicately cooked and flavoured with watercress, almonds and a smoked mash. So instead, on Chris’ recommendation, I went for pan-fried halibut, served with a short rib bon bon and a red cabbage and raspberry ketchup. Yum. The halibut was wonderfully delicate, so it took the bon bon and the ketchup to bring the punch, but boy did they deliver. And it’s all presented so beautifully too, on crockery that compliments the dish, and in portions that don’t mean you need to stop for a breather half way through.

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My other half was equally mesmerised by her côte de porc, which had a moreish potato rosti to keep it company and a pretty zingy celeriac remoulade on the side. It’s clear Chris and his sous chef Jack understand what it takes to give classic flavours with that added wow factor.
Before that I’d snuck down an almost velvet duck liver parfait, supremely accompanied by super-sweet ginger and suitably sharp pickles to make for a perfectly balanced mouthful.
We wolfed down a tarte tatin for dessert between us, which Chris told me was the same recipe from his Petrus days under Marcus Wareing, so it had to be a bit special. It was sweet, perfectly caramelised and came with both ice cream and clotted cream for those of you who can’t decide which one works best.

The Verdict
If you think Barlow is too far to go for great food, you’re wrong. It’s probably no more than 25 minutes from the centre of Sheffield and a lot less if you live somewhere in the south west of the city. The food here is sublime. If you want to go casual, you can, with a full pizza menu, a couple of burgers and a Derbyshire pie all regulars on the menu; but for me, it’s really a place to push the boat out. Why? Because if you let it, this particular trout will tickle you pink.

33 Valley Rd, Barlow, Dronfield S18 7SL. Phone:0114 289 1111 // www.tickledtroutbarlow.com

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