FOOD REVIEW: Richard’s pie paradise at Dog and Partridge

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Envy can be such a destructive emotion.

All that irrational longing and unfulfilled need can ruin relationships and upset families.

Especially when it’s envy at its most corrosive.

When it’s pie envy.

That terrible sinking in the guts when you look across the table at your fellow diner’s crust-topped creation as it’s placed on the table.

Then you look at your sensible pasta dish which is fine and everything you wanted it to be, but it’s not…pie.

Though the purists - like Martin Dawes and my son Joe whose pie we’re considering - think a pie is less than a pie without sides and a bottom.

More a stew with a pastry hat they reckon and nicely illustrated by Joe’s line: “If you came downstairs one morning and I was wearing a puff pastry cap would I be a pie?”

No, but I’d pay good money to see it.

However there are times when a pie’s filling is so rich, meaty and utterly gorgeous that the pastry cap argument is simply blown away.

Up here at the Dog and Partridge on Bord Hill on the blustery fringe of the moors on the A628 near Flouch roundabout that’s no surprise.

But this is steak and ale pie to live for and made with the simplest of ingredients by a man who came to this beautifully rugged spot - some might say bleak - and had to reign-in some of the skills he picked up in his six years working at The Savoy in London under superchef Anton Edelmann.

“The filling for the pie is really simple – chuck beef on the bone, onions, Barnsley Bitter and salt and pepper, nothing else,” said 52-year-old chef Richard Punshon, originally from Grimsby, who runs the Beaters Restaurant at the pub along with his wife Andrea - they serve the same menu in the bar.

“I trained with French chefs and we used to do things with red wine, thyme, bay leaves and everything else but here we decided to cook it really slowly using only those ingredients.

“I was doing all sorts of fancy dishes when we first came here 15 years ago but I learned to listen to what customers want and simplify things.

“We used to put sides and bottom on the pies but they just go soggy in the gravy. The top is shortcrust made from butter, flour and egg yolk with a bit of salt and pepper. I think it works.”

The Homer Simpsonesque drool on this keyboard suggests he’s right.

The gravy is the darkest, glossiest brown, the meat is fall-apart tender and the pastry cap is light, crisp and buttery.

Joe said he’s never had a better pie and from my fleeting forkful I would agree. Five star stuff.

The chips were at least twice cooked, crunchy and brown and the mushy peas excellent.

My pasta never stood a chance.

Richard makes his own pasta and the Parpadelle looked great, had lots of tender prawns and hunks of tender butternut squash in a creamy tomato and dill sauce. It did seem a little on the subtle side but it delivered exactly what it promised.

But back to our starters.

I had the home-made bread with olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The bread was soft and warm – brioche style and delicious, three different colours and textures and subtle differences of flavour though the balsamic vinegar did seem more vinegary than sweet.

Joe had whitebait, whole tiny fish in a light and crunchy batter that were delicious tossed with rocket in a lemon and lime vinaigrette.

For dessert the very friendly ladies behind the bar wholeheartedly recommended the sticky toffee pudding, saying it was the last piece, so we had that with custard and a portion of lemon mousse with a passion fruit ice.

Both looked fantastic.

The lemon mousse had a serious wobble and richness to it that was complemented by the aromatic sharpness of the passion fruit ice, lovely.

Unfortunately the last piece of sticky toffee pudding might have been around a bit too long and had become a bit dry and chewy which was a disappointment.

We’ve passed the Dog and Partridge hundreds of times on the way to Manchester over the years and seen it as a last outpost of civilization before the trip over those unforgivingly harsh moors.

I’d always hoped it would be a warm and welcoming place with good beer and food and that’s exactly what it is. The Dog and Partridge is also a hotel and the rooms look really cosy on the website

To add to it’s esteem Richard makes pork pies in the summer from the Gloucester Old Spot pigs he keeps within sight of the pub just down the road.

He also makes his own bacon - so there’s an excuse to go back for breakfast.

I’ll be having the pie with mine.

For three courses each, with a Coke and half of beautiful Barnsley Bitter, our bill came to £48.05

- Category: Pub Food The Dog and Partridge, Bord Hill, Flouch, Sheffield, S36 4HH. Tel: 01226 763173 www.dogandpartridgeinn.co.uk

- Breakfast 7.30 - 8.30am weekdays and 8.30 - 9.30am weekends. Main menu noon to 9pm Monday - Saturday, noon to 8pm Sundays.

VERDICT (Out of 5):

Food: 4

Atmosphere: 4

Service: 4

Value: 4