Rowleys Restaurant & Bar sits on the edge of the beautiful Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire, in the picturesque village of Baslow. It is listed in the 2014 Good Food Guide and is the venture of Rupert Rowley, Head Chef at the Michelin Starred Fischers, also in Baslow, with the backing of his mentor there Max Fischer.
When I lived in Sheffield, this area of the Peak District was a regular haunt for us, for weekend walks and exploring and we have eaten at Fischers before (although this seems an age ago – it was my first ever Michelin Starred meal for my 21st birthday!) Ok who am I kidding? It was an age ago, because as much as I like to kid my self, I am now the other side of 30! We’ve also eaten at Rowleys, and I remember really enjoying that meal although it was a few years ago too. So on a day trip up north to relive a few memories in the area, we booked in for lunch. The bar and dining area downstairs was very busy, and unfortunately the upstairs dining area which I had loved last time wasn’t open. There was a choice of a set lunch menu, providing good value at 2 courses for £16 or the lunch time A La Carte. Lee ate off the former and myself off the latter. I must say that on first glance and read through, the menu didn’t excite me which is always a shame. I had memories of the place being slightly more innovative, whereas it felt like more of a bistro style menu. Nothing wrong with this, but I had to alter my expectations.
For my starter I decided on the Ham hock, with Sourdough toast and Pickles. I was actually quite impressed with this. The presentation was good, and the flavours worked well. It came with a little apple salad which was delightful and the pickle on the veg was good, although I felt they were cut a little large. The whole thing was a little under seasoned for me, but I enjoyed it. Lee went for the Smoked Haddock Fishcake. He enjoyed this, and it was a very large portion for starter, and indeed for a set menu.
For mains we went for the Beef Bourginon, and the Fish & Chips. Both were fantastic portion sizes and really good quality. The crushed peas on my fish and chips were so fresh and sweet and the chips cooked to perfection. Lee felt the depth of flavour in his beef was also great and it was packed full of bacon and mushrooms.
Overall I really enjoyed the food, it was well executed and on the whole, very flavoursome. I’m not sure I would eat there again on a busy lunchtime downstairs, it was all a bit rowdy for me, not helped by the fact out table was right next to the server station, but I would return for dinner in their upstairs restaurant.
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal and the restaurant where not aware that would be writing about my experience.