It has to be said, from the outside, Thurcroft’s Double Barrel Steakhouse doesn’t look all that inviting.
It’s an old pub stuck in the middle of a roundabout, but if you like a big plate of-quality meat, don’t let appearances put you off,
The former pub has been taken on and refurbed by Jason Mace, of marquee and gazebo company Gala Tent. Craig Savage, from a pub and steakhouse in Hoyland Common, is on board and they hope to turn it into South Yorkshire’s premier steakhouse, then launch a chain.
Have they bitten off more than they can chew, a bit like eyes-bigger-than diners who take the Barrel’s 72oz steak challenge (eat it all and you get it for free. Stumble and it’s £45.95)?
It’s a big place, too - as with most old pubs, there are two sides. We’re there at 6.45pm on a Sunday and there are few diners, though we learn it’s been full all afternoon with Sunday lunchers. We should have been there at 6.30 and I’d called umpteen times to say we would be late, to no avail. The solo waitress says she had been too busy to answer the phone, hands us menus, with no explanation of the choices, and tells us to order at the bar. We later discover we also have to pay at the bar before we’ve even eaten, which put us off ordering more drinks and desserts.
The house wine is a decent Merlot, cheap at £3.95 a large glass. The husband has a £3 pint of Cornish Doonbar and I admit we weren’t expecting much of the food. But chef Sally Emerson knows her onion rings.
Double Barrel Yorkshire puds (£2.95) were wonderful; two puds, crisp on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside (Sally makes them with duck eggs supplied by a barmaid) came with a rich, meaty gravy riddled with griddled onions.
“How’s the soup?” enquires the husband. “It’s not,” I reply. Though there’s so much sauce in my £3.50 bowl of creamy garlic mushrooms I understood his confusion. It was pleasant, though, and came with a hot baguette.
For mains, there are prawn, chicken or beef sizzler stir-fries from £9.95, fish and chips, fajitas, gammon, mixed grills and steaks galore, the latter varying in cut, size and price but all 21-day aged for flavour and locally-sourced.
Prices are lean; steaks start at £12.50 for 8oz sirloins, vegetable sides are £2.20 and a £25.95 deal offers two 8oz steaks and a carafe of wine. Bargain. Plus kids eat free with paying adults up to 6pm (excluding Sundays).
The husband opts to have his 8oz rib-eye (£12.95) cooked perfectly medium-rare in the kitchen. I opt for a £12.50 sirloin to griddle for myself on a hot rock at the table, which is a bit of a novelty and means you can cook each mouthful freshly, though you do go home smelling a bit beefy!
Both steaks were of beautiful quality - lean, juicy, tender and packed with flavour. They came with crunchy battered onion rings, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and bowls of freshly-fried chips (mine also has three dipping sauces).
This simple, well-cooked, quality fare is what a lot of people want, especially at these prices. Though will they trek to an old pub in Thurcroft to stake it out? That’s the question.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Double Barrel Steakhouse
Tel: 01709 709911
Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-10:45pm, Sat 10:am-10:45pm, Sun 10am-10:30pm. (Food served until 9pm).
MY STAR RATINGS OUT OF FIVE: