Restaurant review - Cricket Inn, Totley
Lawrence Evans calls in at the Cricket Inn, Totley, South Yorkshire for warming and delicious food
There’s a real gastro gem hidden away in the leafy suburb of Totley, just seven miles out of Sheffield and on the edge of the Peak District. Richard Smith’s Cricket Inn looks out over beautiful countryside, an idyllic place for a summer pint as you watch your children play safely on the village green. But here I am, mid-winter and what I’m looking for is something to warm me.
I arrive at the Cricket following the wettest few days on record and am warmly greeted by manager Liam Carlisle. This inn is everything you might expect – warm, cosy and inviting. It was once a farmhouse and has big open hearths where fires blaze. In a large chapel-like room there is the ‘smokehouse’ where food is smoked on-site to give it its unique flavour. On the other side of the room is flag-stoned bar and family area where beams and wood panelling add to the warm, cosy atmosphere.
The menu is exactly what I’m looking for on this winter’s day – hearty. It’s also extensive and based around Richard’s philosophy of pairing food and beer. His new book Craft Union explores how different Thornbridge Ales work with menus at all his venues. It’s a collection of recipes for the budding chef and makes an interesting read while waiting to order.
The friendly and helpful staff are on hand to make recommendations from the menu prepared today by the Cricket’s head chef Marco Caires.I ordered the hot smoked salmon from the specials board because I wanted to taste the smoked flavour that the Cricket is famous for. The salmon was served with soft boiled egg and salad and did not disappoint.
The smokiness of the fish was fantastic, complemented by a zingy caper and parsley dressing. A sizeable starter, I thought too.
For the main course I opted for the steak and ale pie. Huge chunks of beef under a thick suet crust. Pie lovers, this is what you dream of – tender beef that melts in the mouth, with roast potatoes that are perfectly crisp. This was served with winter greens and a jug of ale gravy.
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There’s a good dessert menu – if you are not already full. I opted for a light and cleansing lemon sorbet served with lemon curd, limoncello jelly and lemon cake. There was also a very tempting cheese board with six to seven artisan cheeses on offer.
Lunch out is something of a rarity for me these days, but then again so is finding a hidden gem like the Cricket Inn. It’s easily ideal for a romantic evening meal or a relaxed family Sunday lunch. The food and service was impeccable and the portions very good. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I’m sure it won’t be long before I return.
The Cricket InnPenny LaneTotleySheffieldS17 3AZ0114 236 5256cricketinn.co.uk