“ Address: Main Road / Middle Mayfield / Ashbourne DE6 2JT / Derbyshire „
Every year towards the end of our holiday, Mrs SWSt treat ourselves to a table at a local good food restaurant or pub. When holidaying in Derbyshire, this year we ended up at the Rose & Crown inn in Mayfield for this special "end of holiday" meal. There were two reasons for selecting this: first of all, it has a very good reputation locally for excellent food served in a pleasant environment. Secondly, it was at the bottom of the road where we were staying, meaning that we could both have a drink with our meal and then stagger home in less than 2 minutes afterwards!
The Rose & Crown is pretty easy to find. It sits just off the A52 - one of the main routes connecting Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Turn right at the signs to Mayfield village (shortly before you reach Ashbourne) and follow the road round for about a mile and a half and you will find it at the top of a hill, sitting on a bend in the road. It's rather hard to miss as it's the only building on that side of the road for quite some time and has nice big signs outside it with the pub name. A reasonable sized car park is at the rear of the pub, with the entrance to it just past the pub itself.
Inside the Pub
From the outside, the pub doesn't look any different from all the other country pubs in the Derbyshire area and doesn't have anything particularly to recommend it. To be honest, if it hadn't been for the fact that so many people spoke so highly of it, we might not have given it a second glance.
This slightly anonymous theme continues inside. As you enter, the bar takes up most of the space on your right hand side whilst the rest of the pub is laid out with tables of varying sizes in one single, largish room. It's clear from the way it's laid out that the pub is really aimed at the dining crowd, rather than as a drinking pub, although we went down there for a drink on one of the quieter nights and bagged a table easily enough. The walls of the pub meanwhile are nicely decorated with some interesting old photographs of the village of Mayfield, together with a helpful explanation of what they show.
Overall, the interior provides a clean, bright and pleasant environment in which to eat. Although there are quite a lot of tables, the area set aside for dining is reasonably large so you don't feel as though you are sitting right on top of the party next to you. Certainly, when we visited there were about five or six parties in, all seated in roughly the same area, but we felt we had plenty of privacy. Although we were aware of the chatter from surrounding tables, it was not intrusive and actually added to the pleasant environment, rather than detracting from it.
A word of caution: because the Rose & Crown has established itself locally as an excellent place to eat, it can get very busy. This is particularly true of Friday and Saturday evenings and you are well advised to book in advance on these nights in particular to make sure you get a table. Having said that, we went in on Thursday night and whilst we did book, there were plenty of tables for anyone calling in on spec.
Food & Drink
Of course, the most important part of any dining experience is the food and drink and here the Rose & Crown does not disappoint. The menu is relatively small, but full of choice. Indeed, so appetising did all the dishes sound that we had serious problems choosing every single one of the courses!
Since we were treating ourselves, we went the full hog and had a three course meal. For starters we both had the deep fried brie, which came with a delicious red onion marmalade relish. This was followed by a locally sourced pork steak and mash, whilst Mrs SWSt opted for the lamb. Both were absolutely delicious and the pork steak in particular was very succulent, about an inch thick and very, very tasty. Indeed, all the constituent ingredients on the plate were delicious and incredibly well cooked.
The dessert menu was similarly full of choice and once again, both Mrs SWSt and I struggled to make a selection because everything sounded so nice! In the end, I plumped for a delicious sticky toffee pudding which came in a generous portion, covered in a delicious sauce which was not too sweet (often a problem with this type of pudding). Mrs SWSt went for the bitter chocolate tart which also proved a very pleasant way to finish the meal.
There's a couple of things to bear in mind with the menu, it's clear that the owners don't really hold with the idea of vegetarianism, so choices for this are limited to just a couple of dishes. Not a problem for us, but something to bear in mind if you have one in your party. Secondly (as is common in this type of pub), the main meals do not come with any additional vegetables, although these can be ordered as a side dish for an additional charge. I'd recommend doing this, partly to make sure you have enough to eat, but also because (like everything else) they were cooked to perfection - crunchy to eat and full of flavour.
The nice thing about the meal was that we felt the size of each of the portions was exactly right. They were not massive, but neither were they haute cuisine sized. We left feeling pleasantly full, but not stuffed.
One of the real beauties of country pubs is that you can often find a range of beers not often available elsewhere, but the choice at the Rose & Crown was more limited than I expected with a choice of just a couple (one of which is fairly common) On the plus side, the Mansfield Dark is delicious and definitely to be recommended! The bar also offered an impressive range of choice when it came to whiskies, too although I didn't sample any of these.
Service throughout was efficient without necessarily being effusive. Staff were friendly enough and cleared away dishes quickly and brought out the food when it was still piping hot, although we didn't quite get the same hearty welcome we have experienced in other country pubs.
As you will see if you have a look at the sample menu on the Rose & Crown website, the pub is more expensive than other places to eat in the area, but the quality shows through and you can see what you are getting for your money. Certainly, we didn't feel the prices were overinflated; although with main courses ranging from £9-15, it's possibly more the sort of place you would go to for a special occasion rather than a spur of the moment thing.
The Rose & Crown is open from 12-2pm and 7.30-11pm every day except Sunday night and Monday and food is served throughout those hours.
We were delighted with our meal at the Rose & Crown. Every course we had was delicious and the menu was nicely varied and full of choice without being over the top. It provided a very pleasant and relaxed environment in which to eat and drink and if we are ever in the area again, we would go back there like a shot!
The Rose & Crown
© Copyright SWSt 2011