Great food, excellent service and sumptuous surroundings
Unless you’re fortunate enough to call the lovely Derbyshire village of Grindleford home, The Maynard will most likely be on your ‘destination restaurant’ radar. Whether it’s this absence of passing trade, or simply the fact that the Fretwell-Downing family who own the hotel know how to entice guests from far and wide, one thing is abundantly clear – they pull out all the stops to make your visit worthwhile.
From pre-dinner nibbles and baskets of warm, freshly baked bread to dazzling intermediate and pre-dessert courses – all offered with the chef’s compliments – they look after their customers incredibly well and, to put it rather crudely, give you a whole lot more bang for your buck.
And it’s not like they’ve hiked the prices on the menu to mask the costs of these little treats; the most expensive starter is £6.50 and mains don’t break the £20 barrier. My medium glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc – a light and refreshing wine that matched my chicken starter and fish main beautifully – was just £4.75. Exceptionally good prices, especially for a two AA rosette hotel restaurant.
Our visit began with drinks and olives in the lounge – a striking room with dark grey walls, huge leather Chesterfield sofas and feature windows – where we relaxed with a Disaronno sour and that chilled glass of Sauvignon while perusing the menu. Options are impressively well balanced, with a good variety of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes.
I opted for a chicken and leek terrine, served on a slate and accompanied by a zingy orange and dill chutney and hearty Guinness and spelt toast. My partner’s beef brisket croquet was given a sweet and spicy twist with soused plums and horseradish. Both offered good signs of things to come.
After a tasty intermediate of salsa and home-smoked cheese, we tucked in to mains. My turbot fillet came with a delicate prawn mousse and herb crust, all balanced on a gently flavoured saffron risotto. Across the table, my companion enjoyed a pan roast duck breast with caramelised apples, Parisienne potatoes, cinnamon spiced red cabbage and a wonderful jus.
Before the final flourish, our palates were cleansed with a great pre-dessert of strawberry and white chocolate espuma with strawberry caviar – tiny balls of strawberry gel that added a little extra texture to the light-as-air mousse.
Our evening ended with beautifully presented desserts of coconut panna cotta and a dark chocolate and salted caramel sphere. Once again, The Maynard had proved that great food, excellent service and sumptuous surroundings are worth the drive into Derbyshire.
The Maynard,Main Road, Grindleford, S32 2HE
Tel: 01433 630321