Restaurant review: The Peacock at Rowsley
The Peacock at Rowsley is a beautiful historic Manor house dating from the 1600s. Part of the Haddon Estate, in the stunning Peak District, it's been a hotel since 1832 and has an acclaimed restaurant with three AA rosettes.
The menu offers a mouth-watering selection of exciting and innovative dishes, featuring fresh seasonal ingredients.
A pre-lunch drink can be enjoyed in the cosy bar. You can really feel the history of the hotel here: leaded windows, beamed ceiling, flagstone floors and a crackling open fire create a warm and welcoming atmosphere – helped along by the friendly and attentive staff.
The dining room itself is a stylish but relaxed space with large picture windows overlooking the pretty hotel gardens.
Freshness was the theme that ran throughout our meal, thanks to an on-site vegetable garden and locally produced ingredients – including venison from the Haddon Estate.
To start, we chose cauliflower soup, and venison and green peppercorn terrine. The soup was garnished with a swirl of garlic oil, and served with crispy croutons and plenty of fluffy, freshly baked bread, while the terrine was served with quince chutney, toasted sourdough and a fresh rocket salad. The tangy, fruity chutney complemented the rich, gamey flavour of the terrine beautifully.
Above: Venison and green peppercorn terrine
Above: wild garlic and nettle risotto; salmon fillet poached in white wine
The choice of main course was diverse, ranging from slow cooked beef brisket to classic haddock and chips. There were daily specials, too – and we chose the Fish of the Day along with a vegetarian option: a wild garlic and nettle risotto.
The wild garlic and nettles for this dish are grown in the hotel garden. After a little preliminary anxiety about getting a stung tongue, the risotto was declared delicious – and it certainly looked spectacular.
The Fish of the Day was a salmon fillet poached in white wine and served with a smoked salmon velouté and Jersey Royal potatoes. The salmon arrived on a bed of baby broad beans, French beans and thinly sliced carrots – more delicious, spring freshness. The smoky sauce combined wonderfully with the light and delicate salmon, and the crisp vegetables.
Dessert featured more seasonal flavours: a pink, frothy mound of rhubarb sorbet sitting atop a creamy Crème Catalan, with a garnish of wafer-thin slithers of spicy stem ginger.
The Peacock's set price lunch menu is excellent value at £24.95 for three courses. Unlike many other set menus, this one doesn't limit choice to one or two dishes, but offers a superb choice. You'll get a full sized starter and a full sized dessert, with a smaller-sized main course portion – giving you an affordable opportunity to sample a superb fine dining menu without breaking the bank.
Above: Crème Catalan with rhubarb sorbet