Molly McGreevy reviews Dronfield's pretty countryside café
When the sun is shining, it’s almost the weekend, and the wind is in your hair as you drive through the luscious countryside, it’s hard to think that your day can get any better, but when the drive ends at Hackney House, Barlow, the best is yet to come.
We arrive at lunchtime and every table is either occupied or reserved, with walk-in customers taking seats in the hidden gem of a garden at the back of the café. We were seated in Hackney House’s conservatory, which was light, airy and quaint: the perfect spot.
The Hackney House menu features all you would expect from a café, there’s sandwiches, spuds and scones but it was their homemade pies that caught my attention and I ordered the cheese, onion and potato pie from the specials board. Keeping to the pie theme, my friend chose the fisherman’s pie.
Sat at tables with checked cloths and pretty little vases full of flowers it felt like we had been transported back to a traditional tearooms from times gone by, fitting seeing as the building that Hackney House stands in today has been serving tea and cake since the 17th century.
Our lunch soon arrived, my cheese and onion pie came with a generous portion of salad and crusty bread, which was perfect for dipping into the wonderfully cheesy filling that spilled out from the flaky, homemade pastry. Just like Grandma makes (well better, but she doesn’t need to know that), my pie was flavoursome, comforting and delicious.
The fisherman’s pie, a combination of prawns, salmon and white fish, came with homemade mash, broccoli and carrots. The flavours complimented each other beautifully, whilst the vegetables were cooked to perfection.
For dessert we were spoilt for choice, Hackney House serves a selection of cold cakes as well as more traditional hot desserts. After considerable deliberation I chose the Bakewell tart, whilst my friend chose the lemon meringue.
It’s not often my friend is rendered speechless but when her lemon meringue arrived at the table she sat in disbelief for a few seconds, jaw dropped, in awe of the dessert in front of her. At least three inches of light, fluffy meringue sat on top of a refreshing, zesty layer of lemon; the flavours suited the sunny day perfectly. My Bakewell tart came warm with pouring cream, and was a fabulously sweet end to a great homemade lunch.
For those who want to take a piece of Hackney House home, their pies and cakes are available to take away at very reasonable prices, and almost everyone was buying extras to take back for their supper in the evening. Or, if you want a souvenir of your trip out to the pretty countryside in which the café sits, the adjoining shop sells a fabulous range of handcrafted gifts.
Hackney House, Hackney Lane, Barlow, Dronfield, S18 7TD
Tel: 0114 289 0248