Dining Out: The Lathkil Hotel, Over Haddon
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 October 2016
A picture-perfect panorama and a relaxed atmosphere are highlights of dining at this country pub near Bakewell
AS FAR AS spectacular sights go, the picturesque panorama that can be enjoyed from the Lathkil Hotel’s hilltop position is surely one of the finest in Derbyshire. Set on the summit of the steep hillside that flanks the River Lathkill, just two miles outside Bakewell, the venue takes in the steep-sided Lathkill Dale and a patchwork of fields stretching as far as the eye can see – providing the perfect backdrop for a refreshing pint or a hearty meal.
Originally called the Miners Arms when it was first established in 1828, the pub was traditionally used for much-needed refreshment by the lead miners working nearby. It has long since been known as the Lathkil Hotel – with an insistence on the use of the old spelling for the name of the area – and for the last three decades has been run by Robert and Helen Grigor-Taylor, who handed the reins to their daughter Alice in 2011.
Despite its mining past, today the pub provides refreshments for a very different clientele. Frequented by diners, drinkers, families and walkers, the Lathkil takes full advantage of its spectacular location, with picture-windows in the cosy lounge bar and cleverly-placed tables in the smarter dining area providing diners with a grandstand view over the dale. In good weather, customers can enjoy the scenery by sitting on the garden terrace – perhaps accompanied by one of the bar’s numerous beers and real ales from local breweries.
Food is served buffet-style at lunchtime – with choices such as soup, filled rolls, casserole and lasagne – whilst the evening à la carte menu takes a more formal approach on Fridays and Saturdays. On the evening of our visit the concise menu displayed eight starters – ranging from goats’ cheese, pear and candied pecan salad to breaded whitebait or duck à l’orange pâté – and ten main courses including steak and kidney pie, venison and blackberry casserole, a salmon parcel and sirloin steak.
My partner began with a hearty slice of black pudding (£5.95), sourced from New Close Farm in Bakewell and fried in the traditional style, with a tasty wholegrain mustard sauce that balanced out any richness. My starter of succulent smoked salmon (£6.50) was artfully presented on toasted bread with capers and cucumber – simple enough to let the ingredients shine through.
For main course my partner chose lamb cutlets (£13.50), accompanied by a fragrant orange and rosemary stuffing with a light lamb jus, whilst I enjoyed chicken breast (£12.50) filled with Parma ham and sun-dried tomatoes. The accompanying creamy Stilton sauce was strong and flavoursome without being overpowering.
All main courses are served with complementary side orders of chips or potatoes and vegetables or salad, and we were particularly impressed with the ratatouille that arrived with the vegetable option.
Desserts – all served with custard, cream or ice cream – are homemade and hearty. We chose sticky treacle tart on a crumbly pastry base and an irresistible Mars Bar banoffee pie, both £4.95 and equally ‘moreish’, to round off a satisfying meal.
The pub has a long tradition of raising money for charity, and events include a beer and gin festival and a weekly quiz night. And for those who really can’t tear themselves away from the view – or simply want a convenient base to stay in the Peak District – there are four tastefully-decorated en suite bedrooms, all of which have a flat-screen TV, mini bar and tea and coffee making facilities.
Service is attentive and friendly, helping to create a thoroughly relaxed and enjoyable experience. As the hotel’s website states: ‘We’re not part of a chain, but a friendly local team who want to help you make the most of your time at the hotel.’ w
The Lathkil Hotel, School Lane, Over Haddon, Bakewell DE45 1JE. Tel: 01629 812501, www.lathkil.co.uk