Is this Sheffield's best value pie and pint deal?
The best thing about a good walk, it is a truth universally acknowledged, is the reward of an even better pub waiting for you at the end.
That’s especially the case as winter draws in, with the thought of sitting, beer in hand, toasting your sore and soggy feet before a roaring fire enough to keep you ploughing on through whatever mother nature throws at you.
It’s also a great excuse for an indulgent Sunday lunch, knowing you can walk off at least some of that gravy-laden treat, even if only to make space for more dessert.
There can’t be many better placed pubs in Sheffield for a countryside walk than The Nags Head, which sits near the top of the picturesque Loxley Valley, just a stone’s throw from Damflask Reservoir.
It’s a 3.5-mile walk round the reservoir, and you won’t find many flatter routes in this city, making it perfect for unambitious amblers like us, though there are plenty of worthwhile deviations if you’re seeking a more challenging trek.
We make the rookie error of turning up on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon having failed to reserve a table for lunch, but luckily there’s plenty of space outside on this occasion.
Next time we go, we’ll be sure to book ahead, as, even with the small extension completed over the summer, space remains at a premium in this cosy pub, complete with the obligatory fire and a three-quarter size snooker table, among other features.
We make the controversial decision to eat before heading out for our walk, with a cunning plan to return for pudding having dragged our bloating bellies around the water.
The menu’s small but perfectly formed, with all the comforting home-cooked pub staples you’d expect.
You can’t visit The Nags Head, I’m told, without trying the homemade pie – which at just £9.50 with a pint included must be one of the best value meals in Sheffield.
I opt for the steak and ale pie while my partner picks the pork roast, which comes with a homemade Yorkshire pudding, roast and mashed potatoes, stuffing and a generous serving of gravy.
The gravy is the star of the show. It’s rich, thick and silky smooth – the perfect insulation on a clear but nippy day.
The pie’s packed with tender meat, though if I’m being picky a few bits on the edge have gone a bit dry, and crisp, buttery pastry.
The roast pork is also succulent and the portions are more than enough to fuel a walk much longer than we’re planning, but a homemade apple sauce and maybe a bit of crackling would have been a welcome addition.
The gravy is a hit with our one-year-old, even if most of it does predictably end up on his face, being greedily eyed up by the many dogs who are eager to lick it off for him, to his delight.
This being the Bradfield Brewery pub, located just a short stroll up the road, it would be rude not to try one of its beers – especially since it comes free with the pie.
The Farmers Poppy Ale is a fruity tipple and a great way to wash down the meal, and I set off for our walk with the warm glow that comes from knowing 10p from my pint has been donated to the Royal British Legion’s local Poppy Appeal.
After a brisk walk, we’re back for round two, and it’s the bread and butter pudding and treacle sponge which take our fancy.
It’s hard to go wrong with the former, which doesn’t disappoint, while the sponge is light as a feather and has just the right amount of sauce to help it slip down easily without being too sickly.
Our bill, including two hot drinks, a beer and a soft drink, came to a very reasonable £32.40.
The Nags Head, Stacey Bank, Loxley.
Tel: 0114 285 1202.