Great food and drink in the quintessential English inn
If you were making a film and you were scouting locations for scenes set in a country pub, you’d probably pick somewhere like the Plough Inn.
Subdued lighting, twinkling brassware, wooden beams, pints of foaming ale – the Plough, with its warm and friendly atmosphere, is straight from country inn central casting.
Its timeless appeal made it a welcome refuge after a drive over the moors and from the first scent of the woodsmoke whipped across the car park by a howling gale, the Plough was everything you’d expect from a rural pub.
So much for the props, but we were here for the main feature – the food and drink.
Bradfield Brewery’s local brews star at the bar, along with Black Sheep and Old Speckled Hen and there’s an extensive wine list. You could really push the boat out with the fine wine selection topping out price-wise at an eye-watering £225 a bottle, but we found plenty to choose from at the more modest end of the spectrum, settling for a fine fruity shiraz and a glass of delicate viognier to get things started.
Food-wise, the Plough offers an extensive selection of classic bar meals – grills, steak and kidney pudding, fish and chips, traditional Italian pizzas – but we chose from the more elaborate and intriguing restaurant menu.
Proceedings kicked off in fine style with a complimentary appetiser of langoustine veloute served in a cup. Rich and creamy it had an intense seafood flavour.
Next up were starters of pork terrine, whose robust, rustic flavours were well set-off by a delicate, mustardy, mayonnaise-y sauce, and juicy scallops served on a bed of light, flaky pastry and crispy radicchio and with a delicate liquorice sauce adding an unusual twist.
There were more contrasting flavour combinations on show when it came to the main courses. Moist, succulent red mullet came perfectly cooked, its skin delicately crispy, and accompanied by little bombs of intense aubergine flavour with herby notes of rosemary.
Meanwhile, my poached beef, medium-rare and oozing delicious meaty juices was melt-in-the-mouth tender. It came with a lovely rosti potato - just the right of crunch on the outside and soft and silky inside – and an intriguing mixture of horseradish and ginger.
The pudding menu featured lots of fruity goodness. My cranberry and clementine crumble was a lovely gooey mouthful complemented by a generous dollop of silky ice cream, Across the table, a tangy orange marmalade and Greek yoghurt was the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing honey and walnut cheesecake.
The service was attentive and friendly and featured young Jacob Emery, 14, the third generation of his family to be involved in running the Plough and learning the trade under the watchful eye of his dad, Elliott. On this evidence, the future’s in good hands.
The Plough Inn, Leadmill Bridge, Hathersage, Hope Valley, S32 1BA. Tel: 01433 650319