The Old Horns Inn, High Bradfield, April 2017

A sunny Saturday lunchtime in South Yorkshire. Yes, we have sneaked over the border for today’s walk, enjoying a stroll around Low and High Bradfield, and putting this pub perfectly in the middle of our walk as a lunch stop. This lovely sunny day saw our first outdoor pub lunch of the year, although that does unfortunately mean you get to sit with lots of smokers puffing away…

A few different cask ales on at the bar and I thought this was a new one to me, but it turns out I’ve had Hen Harrier from Bowland Brewery before, and it was in better condition the previous time too.

Lots of things on the menu to choose from, classic pub dishes like Hunter’s chicken, steak pie, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and some amusingly named and intriguing dishes such as:-

Elvis’ Last Burger

6oz beef burger, melted cheddar cheese, peanut butter, pickle, crispy bacon & onion rings with “Frank’s hot sauce”

Today it was time for another fish finger sandwich, the “Giant Fish Finger” baguette:-

No false advertising here, that is certainly a giant fish finger. Nice bowl of chips and a few leaves on the side.

A good pub lunch enjoyed in the sunshine at a lovely village pub. Well worth a lunch stop if you’re in the area…

Ladybower Inn, April 2017

We do like a lunch time pub stop. Another day out walking today, walking around the northern “spur” of Ladybower Reservoir. The Ladybower Inn is reasonably placed for walks around Ladybower, situated as it is just on the eastern edge. A little detour on most walks should get you here.

We stopped in at the halfway-ish point on our walk and ordered some lunch. Sometimes the menu description doesn’t do justice to the plate (hopefully it’s a plate) that arrives at your table. This was one of those times. Something called “The Fish Finger Sandwich” sounds like it will be a fish finger sandwich. There’s quite a detailed description:-

“Succulent beer battered strips of haddock topped with Monterey Jack cheese and tomato sauce on a bed of rocket served on a toasted ciabatta. Served with chips and tartare sauce.”

Even that doesn’t quite prepare you for what arrives…

A whale in a mega bun. It’s a carb fest. Batter inside a ciabatta. Cheese, tomato sauce, rocket. And chips as well. It was a big lunch for sure, and would have been more suited on a more arduous day, but it went down very nicely.

You will notice a lack of beer, and that’s because there was a lack of beer on the bar, just one pump serving some very average Bateman’s which I politely declined.

The Ladybower is a lovely pub, walkers are welcome, and there’s plenty of space outside in the summer months. They obviously get a lot of passing traffic from the A57 which keeps them going.

The Bulls Head, Castleton, April 2017

Another sunny April day, and a twist on a familiar Peak District walk. We’ve walked from Hope to Castleton and back quite a few times over the years, and via quite a few different routes. Last time we did it, we stopped off at The George in Castleton for lunch.

Today we did the low level bit first, and arrived in Castleton with plenty of time to stroll around the shops (picking up a beer or two at the village shop), as well as buying some gifts elsewhere. As before, you are spoilt for choice in Castleton, as there are so many great pubs. We opted for The Bulls Head, a Robinsons pub that we have passed by so many times.

We sat down, checked out the menu and then popped up to the bar to order. This interesting looking concoction is Lucy Jack (Grapefruit Edition) from Norwegian brewery Lervig, full of juicy grapefruit goodness, although it could have even more hops and grapefruit for me. Very refreshing after a morning of walking.

My lunch was predictable, because pulled pork was on the menu. Pulled pork was ordered, in the form of this sourdough sandwich, served with salad, and we ordered some sweet potato fries on the side.

It was delicious. So often pulled pork can be sickly stuff, but this had the right balance to it, and it was a very tasty lunch. Another great Castleton pub.

We headed off soon afterwards, as we have the high bit of the walk still to come, returning to Hope via the Lose Hill ridge.

Easter Monday lunch, The Old Hall Hotel, Hope, April 2017

Easter Monday traditionally sees a visit to the pub for lunch. This is a tradition in Mrs MOFAD’s family, and is something we have done together for many years. It is often followed by some form of sporting activity, usually a game of rounders or cricket. Weather permitting. I say weather permitting, but we have been known to play on a snowy pitch before now. Not for a good few years now though, we’ve had quite a few mild Easters.

This year’s gathering just happened to be taking place at the Old Hall Hotel in Hope. Venue for the Hope Valley Beer and Cider festival that has been mentioned already on this blog. Pure coincidence surely? Or all part of the caring, sharing MOFAD plan to allow others to sample local ales? The MOFAD is all about the sharing 🙂

Mrs MOFAD began today’s proceedings with Elderflower by Pulp, from the beer festival tent outside. It was sweet with elderflower hints.

My choice was JW Lees Manchester Pale Ale, an inoffensive golden ale. If the name is familiar, that could be because you’ll often find their yeast strains in beers from Cloudwater Brew Co.

On to the starter next, and just like the last time we came here for Easter Monday, it was a pate which was supposed to be served with a pear chutney, but this didn’t materialise… The pate was nice though, with a few cheffy smears  of balsamic glaze having to make up for the lack of chutney.

Another drink to accompany the main course, this was Plane Jane by Long Hop, a gentle blonde ale.

Mrs MOFAD had a Tempted Medium Sweet from Tempted Irish Craft Cider, which was quite dry and would probably work better with a curry.

On to the main course, and just like the starter, it was similar to the one in 2015. The biggest difference was probably that it was served on a plate this year, and not a board! Hurrah! A nice piece of fish with a nice pesto crust, sweet potato chips and small bowl of peas.

Instead of pudding, I finished off my meal with a Sleepy Badgers by Little Critters from Sheffield, a smooth stout with chocolate notes.

Another pleasant trip to The Old Hall, everyone enjoyed their meals.

National Trust Cafe, Longshaw Estate, April 2017

A soggy Easter Sunday. We had plans for a certain walk today, but conditions were not conducive to this, so we adapted our plans, and decided to head over to the Longshaw Estate for lunch, and then head out to Carl Wark fort and Higger Tor. Free parking (as we are National Trust members) is always an attraction!

As it was Easter Sunday, it was absolutely packed inside the cafe, but we managed to spot a family leaving their table at the back and quickly swooped in to grab it. The cafe itself is a little confused, as it also doubles as a shop. This means that valuable table space (particularly on a busy bank holiday weekend) is wasted by island display units selling standard NT toys and tat.  It needs a bit of a rethink.

On to lunch. After queuing up for a bit, we were expecting a bit of a wait for food, but it turned up pretty speedily. Mrs MOFAD ordered a jacket potato with tuna mayo, and I went for the safe option of a ploughmans.

Reasonably priced, it was a nice little lunch and a reasonably decent interpretation of a ploughmans. The ham was tasty, some decent leaves (no limp iceberg in sight) and home made coleslaw (not too much onion). The rest of the usual salad items were missing though, no tomatoes, no pickled onion (Mrs MOFAD was thankful for this), no apple.

Although I do have a question. Why grated cheese? This is the first time I think I’ve seen this on a ploughmans. It should be a nice chunk of cheese – grated cheese makes it much harder to eat! You have to mash it on to your fork so that you can get it into your mouth.

Apart from that oddity, a decent and speedy lunch. We were also treated to a surprise visit from MOFAD companions, Hazel, Matt, Kerrie & Andy, who we spent the day with yesterday. Kerrie’s window licking upon departure was a sight to behold.

If you’re having a day out at Longshaw or nearby, this is a good little place for lunch or tea and cake.

All Bar One, York, April 2017

Yes, we are still in York. Another wonderful sunny day today. We checked out of our hotel, left our bags with reception, and then explored the city some more. We wandered around the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, the Minster, the Treasurer’s House, and went off to spot some wildlife along the river.

As it was such a lovely day, we did explore a few riverside pubs for lunch, but they were all absolutely rammed and had waits of nearly an hour for food. As it was already getting into late lunch territory, we wandered away from the river for a short time, and found ourselves at what we hoped would be a reliable chain for some lunch. All Bar One opened its first bar in 1994, and there are now over 50 dotted around the UK. I say “the UK” – there are 4 in Scotland and the rest in England, with half of those being inside the M25.

The first tick goes to the drinks menu. This is the kind of place that you expect endless lines of bland fizzy lagers, and you will find some of those. Thankfully they also have a “world and craft beer” section of the menu, which features a Spanish lager, a German wheat beer and a Belgian blonde ale, alongside some bigger (Adnams, BrewDog) and smaller (Fourpure, Siren) names from the UK beer scene.

Siren Liquid Mistress Red IPA was my choice, and it’s probably the best beer I’ve ever had in a chain pub, hoppy, malty and bitter.

Lots of options when it comes to food, we chose 5 things from the “small plates” menu, which essentially makes it an international tapas menu. Here’s what they looked like:-

And here’s what they were.

Just hiding behind a drink you can spot crushed avocado & tomato bruschetta, topped with kalamata olives. In front of that same drink sit some ginger teriyaki chicken skewers, served with pickled vegetables and sesame seeds. Next to those you might recognise salt & pepper calamari, tossed in a citrus, red pepper and pink peppercorn seasoning with a sweet chilli & lime dip (delicious).  At the bottom left you can see feta & spinach bourek, crisp pastry parcels served with chilli tomato jam. Finally, there are crispy duck dumplings with some deconstructed slaw and more sweet chilli sauce.

This turned out to be the perfect lunch. Light enough not to slow you down for the rest of the day, filling enough to keep you going for the rest of the day. Paired with a lovely beer, this was a surprisingly good lunch venue. There are plenty of great independent places (I’ve already showcased some of them), but sometimes the chains can do a good job too.