The hotel in Clowne, Chesterfield, ticks all the right boxes
With a newly launched menu, locally sourced spirits, grand piano, soft lighting and a genuinely friendly and attentive service, the Hotel Van Dyk ticks all the boxes for a memorable evening out.
First impressions are positive, the hotel is situated in a picturesque corner of Derbyshire and is elegance itself. The white exterior looks like something out of a fairytale, with a tunnel of lights opposite the entrance, large bay windows and an imposing stone dog stood to attention at the double doors- I couldn’t wait to see the inside.
Walking into The Bowden Restaurant’s bar area did not disappoint. We were greeted and seated in a spacious booth, the perfect setting to relax with a large glass of Merlot (£7.25) while my designated driver partner opted for a coke (£1.85).
Soon we were led through to the dining area and seated just a few feet away from the white grand piano, sometimes a source of live music but, in this case programmed to provide relaxing background sounds.
Our meal began with a selection of white and brown artisan breads, with olives and oil for dipping and sundried tomatoes.
Following this was an amuse-bouche, containing avocado mousse, Marie Rose sauce and prawns.
For my starter I opted for pan seared scallops (£10.95) which were caramelised to perfection and complemented the smoked salmon ribbons and crispy savoy cabbage, whilst my partner chose the pressed pork (£9.25) served with both dried and pureed apples, which melted in the mouth.
An intermediate course was next - a waldorf salad with a twist. The dish is steeped in a butterscotch vodka, sourced locally from Brittain’s in Doncaster and certainly added the wow factor to every bite.
For mains I chose the poached turbot (£24). The chef’s didn’t miss a mark when it came to the fish, which was cooked and seasoned to perfection, and partnered with an inventive passion fruit jelly and caramelised onion mouse.
My partner went for the duo of local venison (£27.50). The pan-seared venison was slightly pink in the middle with a blue spruce jus which ignited the flavours of the meat. The venison shoulder, which was wrapped in a leek and presented like shepherd’s pie, was the winner of the night, with its rich and tender flavour.
Homemade desserts proved impossible to resist. I went for the carrot cake (£8.45), which was delightfully moist and an espresso (£2.10) but, the real star of the show was the chocolate cased parfait (£8.75) which my partner chose.
The dessert came encased in a chocolate shell and, once the hot caramel sauce was poured on top, opened to reveal the smooth, flavour packed parfait which went perfectly with the caramel shells dotted around the plate.