RESTAURANT REVIEW: The Peacock, Rowsley

Meandering through some of the prettiest parts of the Dales we arrived under cover of darkness to the imposing and historic Peacock at Rowsley and are duly welcomed into its refined and upmarket restaurant.

We’re here to sample some delights from the newly-launched spring menu and with plenty of locally sourced ingredients and some alluring seasonal combinations the expectation is high.

After all, this is no run of the mill eatery, it has been the proud bearer of three AA rosettes – placing it in the top ten percent of reaturants in the country – for a number of years.

The attentive serving staff, including our charming waiter Joel, soon have us settled in and are expertly describing gastronomic delights from the a la carte menu which pique our culinary curiosity amid the low-lit intimate surroundings of the seventeenth century building.

Decisions made I opt for the Jersey royal and Lincolnshire poacher soup, bacon, nettle and hazelnut pesto to start and it is isn’t long before we are oohing over our crab and venison amuse bouche which serves to awaken the tastebuds ready for the main event.

My soup is a creamy explosion of fresh flavours enhanced by the smokiness of the bacon.

Meanwhile, my dining partner’s pigs head croquettes with ham, celeriac and truffle are a melt-in-the-mouth delight.

The fish of the day is a perfectly seared sea bream - the minted peas standing out from the spring veg to produce an overall feeling of fish & chips from heaven.

My dining partner’s Goosnargh chicken with wild garlic, leeks, morel mushrooms and leg pie has her raving that finally she understands what they’re on about on Masterchef with all their talk of ‘cutting through the richness’ which is exactly what happens with this dish. Our palates are revived by a greek yoghurt, topped with a refreshing sorbet and meringue flakes for pre-dessert. To finish we opt for a selection of three cheeses - including an artisan Stanage Millstone - with Peacock crackers.

RATING: Nine stars out of 10