RESTAURATEURS Richard and Victoria Smith joined forces with Jim Harrison at Thornbridge Brewery and Simon Webster of Hendersons Relish to breathe life back into this old pub by the cricket pitch in leafy Totley. It’s down an uneven, tree-lined lane – blink and you’ll miss it.
“Children, dogs, muddy boots welcome,” it says over the door and this sets the tone. It’s inclusive, and you can feel it as you walk in. The vibe is laid back: stone-flagged floors, open fires and soft Farrow & Ball colours on tongue and grooved walls is the style. Wholesome, rustic dishes are on chalk boards on several walls, and value-for-money food comes out of chef Marco Paulo Azevebo Caires’s kitchen. Lamb shank, shepherd’s pie with minted garden peas and glazed carrots and a jug of onion gravy, award-winning sausages, Poxon’s black pudding – the list goes on and on. Simpler tastes can plump for a ploughman’s and in a nod to the chef’s homeland there is Portuguese cataplana, a family recipe (cataplana is the cooking vessel, like a tagine – the dish is fish stew).
Beer brewed for the pub (plus its sister, the Troway Arms in Sheffield) at the Thornbridge Brewery in Bakewell has won prizes. The Jaipur is a winner, but don’t dismiss the novelty beer; a pint brewed in honour of local lad Richard Hawley. It is a belter. Against a number of menu choices, is a beer recommendation – a really neat idea.
In the summer, it’s a great place to sit out and watch a match with a pint and a ploughman’s. In the winter, just sitting by one of the roaring fires will do nicely. Either way, it’s worth getting lost trying to find.