Sunday lunch at the Maynard
Unbiased, un-announced Sunday lunch at The Maynard review by Let's Stay Peak District. All drinks and meals paid for.
Star rating system
1* = Keep well away
2* = Approach with care
3* = Worth a visit, good experience
4* = Must give this a whirl, very good
5* = The very best - book now!
Perfect Peak Sunday served up at The Maynard in Grindleford
Recently face-lifted, well known Peak hotel in Grindleford - have the changes been worth it and is the AA rosette restaurant any good? Let's Stay Peak District paid a recent visit...
Over the years The Maynard Arms Hotel (as it was formerly known) at Grindleford has been a favoured, fairly regular haunt of ours usually following a Sunday morning hike in the Peak District - although we never felt that boots, fleeces and waterproof trousers were appropriate dress for a meal to be taken in the restaurant itself!
Well, on this occasion no pre-meal walk was in the diary and so we declared ourselves clean and presentable enough to actually book Sunday Lunch in the restaurant itself and looked forward to trying the recently face-lifted and re-named establishment; the maynard. boutique hotel. bar. restaurant
Nevertheless and hoping that the place would prove more substance than style we arrived for a pre-dinner drink in the lounge - an eccentric and eclectic mixture of very modern paintings and furnishings (including two or three yellow plastic swivel chairs) counterpointed against an original fireplace, stripped floor and neo-classical ceiling. My wife decided she liked it and I decided I liked some of it as we relaxed into our chairs and sipped our drinks which, incidentally, included my pint of Abbeydale Brewery's usually excellent Moonshine pale bitter which on this occasion was disappointingly not at its best.
However, the menus were soon offered by a friendly waiter and revealed an impressive looking choice of 5 starters at £5 each, 5 main courses at £12.50 each and 5 desserts at £5 each. We were also impressed that diners are given the option of choosing just 1 course too, other hoteliers please note!
Meals were duly ordered along with a half bottle (another plus-point) of very good Rioja Crianza (£12.50) and we were soon led to our table overlooking the attractive Maynard gardens and beautiful scenery around Eyam Moor high up in the distance. The table was thoughtfully pre-prepared with a jug of water and 2 generous chunks of excellent home-made 'brown & white' bread with slightly melting butter waiting to greet us. A good, attentive start we thought.
And it soon got a whole lot better too...
My starter choice of Roast red onion and tomato soup was absolutely gorgeous, served slightly thick and packed full of Mediterranean-style influence and flavours.
My wife's Salmon & Lemongrass Fishcake was also declared a total success both in terms of its delicate and pretty presentation and in the lightness of cooking touch shown by an obviously skilled and confident chef. 'Sensational' was her bold pronouncement!
This was getting better by the minute and Sunday lunch in the Peak District had really begun!
Outside in the garden the early August sun at last began to shine and filter warmth through the large French windows of the modernist-style restaurant decorated with large original paintings from local galleries and obviously keen to position itself a million miles away from the stuffy image of the dowdy 'country house restaurants' of yesteryear.
On time, our main courses arrived and immediately impressed with their presentation. My rib of beef was a generous, thick slice of Derbyshire sourced (had to ask) beef served pinkish, perfectly cooked and served 'relaxing' over a bed of roast potatoes with plenty of very good gravy. Alongside this handsome pile of loveliness was a huge, crisp, feather-light Yorkshire pudding in addition to separate side-dishes of al-dente broccoli and softer, buttered carrots. I was also offered and accepted home-made (?) Horseradish which, happily, packed a good, beef-enhancing punch of sharpness!
My verdict? A veritable feast. A victory against ordinariness and an absolutely tip-top Sunday lunch if ever I tasted one. You'll gather I liked it? A lot!
Meanwhile, in the blue corner, my wife was enthusiastically tucking in to her pan-fried breast of chicken with rosemary-roasted new potatoes and Tuscan-bread salad, once again, an expertly and caringly presented, well balanced, flavoursome meal adjudged to be another unqualified success.
Result! 4 courses so far and 4 resounding successes!
We raised a glass of Rioja to the chef even though we could occasionally hear him shouting in the nearby kitchen - maybe he was punching the air with celebration as each plate was returned to his kitchen totally cleared?!
By this time the sunshine outside was irresistible and we succumbed to sharing a sublime chocolate torte with a fresh cherry sauce, al fresco, on the raised terrace outside.
Occasionally, when you've been out for another average lunch or meal you want to dash off home as quickly as possible. It's as if you want to completely forget the experience and expunge it from your memory immediately.
Here, however, on this particular Sunday in August 2010 we wanted to linger - I even retrieved my sunglasses from the shade of the car's glovebox to help me relax enough to polish off the remainder of the dessert, wine and coffee being thoroughly enjoyed on the sunny terrace overlooking all that National Park greenery.
Aside from a couple of early niggles, this was a near-perfect day for us both. We eat out a lot in the Peak District because we live and work here. And we eat a lot of Sunday lunches too and can categorically state this to be one of the very best we've had in a long time.
We heartily recommend it and you should try it. Very soon...
Star rating score: 4 out of 5
Please remember that this review was the subjective opinion of the author at the time of visit and is not, necessarily, an accurate representation of the restaurant as it is today.
Cost of meal including drinks
Total cost of 5 courses with pre-meal drinks, wine and coffee - £62.15.
Friendly, young, enthusiastic team who look like they enjoy their jobs. Professional, attentive service, great food and lovely restaurant location at the heart of the Peak District. Original artwork includes work by Kristan Baggaley - quirky decor, choice of real ales. Grindleford railway station across the road - 5 minute walk.
Mike and Bridget Cummins
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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015