It’s a Sunday evening and although the sun is shining we fancy some comforting food so head to the much talked-about Crown and Anchor in the village of Barugh Green near Barnsley.
When we arrive it seems many others have had the exact same thought – it’s rammed and clearly a popular haunt with locals.
A further venture of the successful Café Forum group, this is the sixth venue to be acquired by the small chain and the first outside Sheffield.
It’s everything a local pub should be – warm and welcoming with a traditional décor of white-washed walls, heavily-beamed ceilings and leather-covered chairs.
To soak up the last bit of evening sun we enjoy a drink in the well-kept beer garden with stunning views over rolling Pennine countryside, before heading in to dine.
The pub prides itself on fresh home-cooked food using quality local produce so we were keen to sample dishes of varying flavours.
On Sundays the menu offers diners excellent value for money with two courses for £11.95, or the full three courses for £15.95. There is a good choice of mains, burgers, roasts and specials to choose from, including a selection of award-winning pies – the pub’s speciality.
Due to the high volume of custom several dishes were off the menu which was a little disappointing but our starters were delicious. The salt and pepper squid is perfectly cooked in a light zingy batter and served with a punchy chilli mayo dip for that extra kick. The ham fritters meanwhile are little spheres of joy: crispy golden breadcrumbs on the outside with a smooth pork pate-like filling inside, finished with a fresh mint yoghurt dip.
For my main I’d set my heart on chicken and merguez sausage skewers with a water melon, olive and mint salad, flat bread and cumin yoghurt, but this was one of the dishes that had run out. Sticking with chicken I plumped for the chicken and tarragon pasta carbonara while my dining partner just had to have one of those pies.
Disappointingly the tagliatelle dish was rather a non-event. The creamy consistency was nice and the chef hadn’t been shy with the meat, but I couldn’t detect even a hint of the tarragon. The classic meat and potato pie on the other hand was well worth writing home about. The crumbly shortcrust pastry housed succulent chunks of beef and soft potato accompanied by thick, rough cut chips and mushy peas.
Dessert of dense chocolate sponge cake with piping hot creamy custard fulfilled our comfort food craving and meant we finished on a high.
The exceptionally friendly Crown and Anchor team certainly know their pub classics and they do them incredibly well, but perhaps leave the carbonara to the Italians. Oh and diners, beat the crowds for a full pick of the menu.
Venue: Crown and Anchor
Address: Barugh Lane, Barnsley, S75 1LL Contact: 01226 387 200