How does a restaurant achieve a listing in the Good Food Guide? There will no doubt be many Sheffield chefs and proprietors asking this question following the publication of 2018’s culinary roll call.
Just two city eateries were deemed worthy of a recommendation in the guide, and there were no Sheffield restaurants in the book’s top 50 places to dine nationally.
But the Peak District fared a little better in the listings stakes, with a handful of mentions - including nods to Fischer’s Baslow Hall and Rowley’s, both in Baslow. The two venues have a shared history, but efforts are under way to make the latter a distinct offering to its Michelin-starred neighbour.
Rebranded Rowley’s at the Prince of Wales, its head chef Adam Harper took over in 2015 from Max Fischer and his executive chef Rupert Rowley.
The vision is now ‘village pub and restaurant’, less stuffy than might once have been the case, with good-value menus to match.
We tried the £16.50 two-course lunch menu, which on price alone stands out as excellent for a dinner in the Peak.
Newly-baked bread rolls and sea-salted butter are brought to the table before the starters arrive.
Citrus cured seabass was a sharp, lively dish – refreshing, almost – peppered with lemon zest, fresh peas and mint.
Meanwhile the fine roast chicken terrine had a slight curried quality, its flavours balanced with leek and pink peppercorns.
If customers would suspect Adam of skimping on portions to achieve his ‘lunch for less’, they’d be wrong.
The chargrilled pork chop was a substantial plate of food – a giant, bone-in piece of meat, done to a tasty turn, piled with mozzarella and red pepper coulis, and perched atop a mound of crushed new potatoes.
The addition of tomato and basil brought a somewhat Italian twist to the straightforward grilled pork, although the coulis would have benefited from a spicier kick.
Our bill totalled £42.10, including two half-pints of Abbeydale Brewery’s Moonshine ale and good cappuccinos, served with chunks of rich chocolate brownie. Diners intent on tackling a dessert still only pay £21 each.
And the secret to breaking into the Good Food Guide?
Adam thinks Rowley’s latest listing is down to the more grounded approach.
“Something is working. We’ve had lots of good compliments.”