[Bradwell, Derbyshire] Samuel Fox Inn
Although it’s a pleasant enough drive, if it wasn’t for its entry in the Good Food Guide, we wouldn’t have been making a nearly 60 minute schlep to have lunch there. And, truth be told, having eaten there, you really do wonder about its slot in the Guide. There must be many dining pubs that offer up this sort of food and, even in our limited experience, we know that there’s a goodly number can do it better. Some can do in much better and, seemingly, still not find a place in the Guide.
It’s a pleasant enough pub, away from the main village, with most of the space set out for eating but the second smaller room retained for drinkers. There’s a decent looking dining pub carte, as well as a very good value set menu offering two courses for a tenner. But it was towards the carte and specials board that we looked.
Ham hock and chicken terrine was OK. A tad cold from the fridge – a midweek lunchtime service must be their quiet time so they probably don’t get stuff out unless there’s a customer (we were the only ones). There was toast, a little bit of salad garnish and some homemade piccalilli which was mustard zingy, as you’d hope, but the vegetables were soft.
Cream of broccoli soup looked the business but tasted of pretty much nothing. The accompanying bread was oddly crisp on its upper side – at a guess, the plate had sat for a while under the hot lights of the pass.
Speaking of sitting for a while, that’s exactly what we now did. For quite a while. In due course, an explanation and apology came. It was my chips that were the problem. Not the chips themselves, but rather the cooking of them. The fryer had either gone on the blink or had not actually been switched on. When they finally came, they were pretty good, sitting alongside a juicy, tasty piece of flat iron steak. Google tells me this is an American term for something Brits call “butler’s steak”. Well, not this Brit – I’d never heard of either description before. I’d like to see it on more menus so I can order it again. Also on the plate, the classic accompaniments of mushrooms and tomato. And a béarnaise sauce that simply wasn’t like any béarnaise I’ve had before, nor want to again – I wasn’t quite sure what it tasted of, but it was perhaps an attempt at a flavoured butter – which might have been an OK substitute if only it had properly tasted of tarragon, instead of the herb only being wafted in its direction.
On the other plate, slow cooked lamb shoulder was as good as you’d hope to cook yourself at home. There was some thinly sliced creamed cabbage. And what the menu said was going to be dauphinoise potatoes, but wasn’t. Instead, a single small piece of potato, perhaps roasted a bit, or deep fried.
Desserts? No thanks, we’ll pass and get coffee and a biscuit at home.