Pudding Pie Hill; The Fox and Goose; Wigley – how those ancient names conjure up a picture full of atmosphere and history. Travelling the ancient turnpike roads we cross the moors and begin to drop into the tiny village and to the Fox and Goose. With a history going back several centuries the bar is low beamed with large open fires, cosy corners and stone flagged floors.
We were immediately welcomed by the bar staff and offered drinks (Brampton Bitter, Peak Ales etc on tap). It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the light coming in from a clear evening, but the Fox and Goose has more to offer than just history, walking through the restaurant area to the orangery we chose to dine here to make the most of the spectacular views over Chesterfield and Sheffield as the light faded. As the whole evening was ours to enjoy we ordered a bowl of mixed olives in herbs and oil while we took our time over the menu with the help of Hannah the waitress.
New chef Rob Buchanan changes the blackboard menu regularly, while their seasonally changing menu offers a real selection of meals from traditional pub grub to the best steaks and meals more associated with fine dining. I love fish as a starter so the trio of smoked fish paté (mackerel and haddock) and smoked salmon was intriguing. Beautifully presented, in fact you couldn’t fault the presentation of any dish, there was a light dressing with dill and small capers with wafer thin pickled cucumber and thin slices of bruschetta. Fresh and with a lemon tang it made a balanced starter.
My husband’s chicken parfait was served in a miniature preserving jar, with a sweet plum chutney and more slices of bruschetta, it really was very good. To reflect the variety in the menu we chose the Bakewell beer battered haddock and the rack of Highfield Farm lamb. I have to say the lamb was cooked to perfection, browned and slightly caramelised on the outside but pink and deliciously tender inside.
The roasted carrots were sweet, the lightly buttered shredded cabbage, onions and peas were a lovely change from the usual heavy vegetables and the leek and herb potato cake was just crisping on the edge and all brought together with a jug of rich gravy. It was thoroughly enjoyable, enough to fill, but not overwhelm with beautiful subtle flavours and attention to detail through out. Even though my husband’s meal was a pub favourite, the hand cut chips with their skins on and homemade mushy peas lifted it to a new level.
I always hold my breath when it comes to puddings, why when so many people have a sweet tooth do many restaurants just not get this right. At the Fox and Goose all the desserts are homemade, and as we were in a sharing mood we chose the assiette where you could create your own combination. We had the baked cheesecake and an outstanding lemon tart; smooth and creamy but with the fresh clean taste that lemon brings. A lovely pot of crème brulée also got top marks from us. Scattered cubes of rose scented jelly, finely crumbled cinder toffee and nuts were sprinkled in between; a real feast for sweet lovers. From sandwiches, to 2 meals for £10 or the best steak, the Fox and Goose really caters for so many different occasions.
There are beautiful walks around the area too and we can confirm that walkers are made most welcome. This was evident when we called in again 5 days later after a sunny afternoon’s walk around Linacre reservoir and sat in the garden watching the grandkids play on the swings whilst we enjoyed a beer. Well how far will you drive for a good meal you may ask? We enjoyed a leisurely run from home which gave time to relax and to get in the mood for a good evening out.
However I have been known to drive two and a half hours for a Sunday lunch to the Yorkshire Dales!
Our meal: To get us in the mood. Marinated Mixed Olives £2.50 Trio of Smoked Fish Locally smoked mackerel paté, smoked haddock mousse, smoked salmon, pickled cucumber & dill finished with a caper vinaigrette £7/£12 Chicken Liver Parfait Accompanied with a plum chutney & thyme croutons £6 The Fox & Goose Fish & Chips Bakewell Best beer battered haddock with homemade mushy peas & handcut triple cooked chunky chips £12/£9 Rack of Highfield Farm Lamb Leek & herb potato cake, thyme glazed carrots, buttered greens and red currant & mint cream sauce £18