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REVIEW | Fine Dining Done Properly at The Peacock at Rowsley – Derbyshire

By Molly Scott | 2nd November 2019

Why I loved The Peacock at Rowsley
The Peacock at Rowsley offers fine dining done properly. The historic building houses an elegant, refined setting for a special meal. The sumptuous menu is based on the finest, seasonal, local produce and is presented with refreshing creativity.


Worth paying a babysitter?
Definitely! You could even make a night of it in one of their luxurious bedrooms.


The first thing you’ll notice about the Peacock at Rowsley is the beautiful old building. Built in 1652, originally a Manor House and now a boutique hotel with a sublime fine dining restaurant overlooking pretty gardens.


Head Chef Dan Smith is passionate about seasonal, quality, truly local ingredients, including organically-reared beef and lamb from the nearby Haddon Estate.


Value for money: 7/10
Reassuringly expensive.

Setting the scene:
The Peacock at Rowsley has an esteemed reputation locally. So when they got in touch to invite me to try their summer menu I was there in a flash.


We kicked off our evening with a cocktail in the quaint little bar. This would be a perfect place to cosy up in colder months. I’m slightly kicking myself that we didn’t opt to take our aperitifs in the garden… but then life’s too short for such regrets. Drinks were served with the most delicious honey roast nuts ever. I’m honestly still thinking of those!


Our amuse bouche was a deliciously refreshing watercress velouté served with a stuffed nasturtium. This was beautifully presented and set the tone for the evening. Each course was exquisitely well thought out and executed perfectly. Next up was homemade breads (sourdough and treacle). I chose the treacle and was impressed with the rich, deep flavours.


My starter was a citrus cured salmon with handpicked crab, nasturtiums, radish and horseradish yoghurt. The combination of flavours was simply exquisite. My husband opted for one of the specials: steak tartare with oyster. Despite this being my personal idea of food hell I have to admit that the presentation was so good even I thought it looked appetising.


I don’t know about you, but before I eat out anywhere, I love to pour over the menu and plan what I intend to order. It’s probably one of my very few hobbies! We’d both been lusting over the duck dish for a good few weeks. Beautiful Gressingham duck with mulled cherries and plums, duck fat potatoes, carrot and cardamom puree, fennel and sangria sauce. Being the good wife that I am, I let my husband savour the duck whilst I chose a fish dish. He assured me it was every bit as good as it sounded.


I had, and loved, the bream (a slight substitution from the listed red mullet) with pesto, marinated potatoes, aubergine, artichoke and octopus beautifully brought together with a smoked butter sauce. I really enjoyed this dish – the flavours worked together wonderfully. We were then presented with a pre-dessert of a sea buckthorn posset with fig compote and sea buckthorn granita. I’d never heard of sea buckthorn before, let alone eaten it but we were both blown away by this dish. It was AMAZING and a real highlight of the meal.

My actual dessert was chocolate, cherry, pistachio and milk sorbet. Whilst my husband opted for strawberries, white chocolate, yuzu mousse with lemon verbena. Both desserts were superb (and the rest on the menu sounded equally delectable). We finished with a round of double espressos and homemade petit fours which were again nothing short of sublime.

We had a wonderful evening at The Peacock. Everything from the food to the service to the ambience was just perfect. We would definitely return for a special meal in the future.


The Menu:
In addition to the a la carte menu there’s also a bar menu consisting of more traditional, relaxed dishes such as steak and chips. Tasting menu (to be taken by the whole table) is available on Friday and Saturday evenings, with special tasting menus for dietary requirements available when pre-booked. Accompanying wine flight available.


To find out more https://thepeacockatrowsley.com

With love,

Molly x

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