Food review - Derwentwater Arms, Calver

The Derwentwater Arms

The Derwentwater Arms - Credit: The Derwentwater Arms

Beautiful Calver was the location for our first meal out as a family of four - and we weren't disappointed

Found in the pretty Hope Valley village of Calver, the Derwentwater Arms dates back to the early 18th century and benefits from superb, elevated views. 

Cosy and welcoming inside, the pub also bursts to life in sunny weather, where visitors can catch the sun on the open terrace, which overlooks a well-maintain on-site park, perfect for young children. 

Our particular trip to the Derwentwater Arms constituted our first outing since the arrival of our daughter last month - always a nerve-racking experience - however we couldn’t have asked for a warmer or more welcoming atmosphere and immediately felt comfortable and at ease.

The traditional feel of the Derwentwater Arms is comforting and creates an environment where you feel you can truly relax, whilst the spacious eating and drinking areas burst with natural light to offer a perfect ambiance. 

Landlord and landlady Tom and Kat Keogh live on the premises with their children and the pub certainly benefits from the family-friendly atmosphere that has been created. 

Beautiful views outside the Derwentwater Arms

Beautiful views outside the Derwentwater Arms - Credit: The Derwentwater Arms

There is also a lovely mix of clientele. During our time there, both my wife and I commented on the eclectic range of people - from locals and regulars who were sat chatting away enjoying a Bank Holiday drink to first-time visitors and tourists busily planning their day out in the Peak whilst enjoying a meal. 

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The Derwentwater Arms prides itself on providing excellent quality food which is fresh, lovingly prepared and sourced from local suppliers and this ethos certainly translates to the plate. 

The offering is wide-ranging and caters for all, whilst the Specials board tempts you away from the standard menu with an array of tantalising options.  

For starters, my wife, a vegetarian, opted for the soup of the day, on this occasion broccoli, and this was, in her opinion, her standout dish. 

‘This is so good’ was the immediate reaction as I watched the bowl’s contents disappear rapidly in front of my eyes. 

On the way home, she commented on the freshness of the broccoli, which was rightly the star of the show, and how the texture of the flavourful croutons added a perfect balance of texture. 

I went with the chicken liver pate which came beautifully presented and was smooth, rich and luxurious but nevertheless light enough that I still had room for the next course. 

Bec's pizza went down a treat

Bec's pizza went down a treat - Credit: Nathan Fearn

For main, Bec chose the Rocketto pizza and particularly enjoyed the delicious goats cheese element, having gone nine months without during pregnancy. 

The pizza was bursting with flavour courtesy of generous toppings of rocket and the aforementioned goats cheese, all brought together with refreshing, fresh pesto. 

The crust was light and crispy and I can vouch for its flavour, having pinched a bit – with Bec’s blessing, of course! 

I was very much looking forward to my main, from the Specials menu, and I wasn’t disappointed – a beef bourguignon pie with fresh broccoli and accompanying chips, which I had requested instead of mashed potato.  

It was an imaginative twist on the traditional beef bourguignon and the dish greatly benefited from the addition of the light pastry which encased the tender beef. 

The meal was lifted still further by a rich and hearty gravy – the remains of which were gleefully mopped up with the rustic, home-cooked chips.  

The beef bourguignon pie oozed with flavour

The beef bourguignon pie oozed with flavour - Credit: Nathan Fearn

A beautifully balanced meal which was hearty but not too heavy. The pie – before being devoured – was pretty as a picture too. 

Fit to burst, we braved a dessert and were very pleased we did. 

As our eldest daughter Rory happily tucked into her ice cream with salted caramel sauce – having enjoyed her pasta and sauce off the children’s menu which helpfully arrived with our starters. 

Meanwhile, I made a start on my sticky toffee and ginger pudding, accompanied with delicious vanilla ice cream and a rich, thick caramel sauce. It smelled divine and tasted equally good. 

I rarely have ginger with my food and I found the balance perfect – it didn’t overpower the moist, delicate pudding which packed a toffee-filled punch but it was definitely there and added a lovely warmth to the dish. For me, it was my standout dish and the perfect finish to a thoroughly enjoyable meal. 

Nathan's sticky toffee pudding with ginger was his standout dish

Nathan's sticky toffee pudding with ginger was his standout dish - Credit: Nathan Fearn

Torn between the apple crumble and gluten-free brownie, Bec finally opted for the latter and again, her choice was vindicated. 

The pudding was moist, light and rich – super indulgent with a generous helping of chocolate sauce - whilst the large helping of vanilla ice cream added a freshness and cut through the richness; complimenting the dish perfectly and leaving a refreshing final taste on the pallet. 

We’ve never not been impressed with the food, service or atmosphere at the Derwentwater Arms and this day was no exception. 

It’s worth noting too that the pub offers superb, recently-renovated on-site accommodation, with three en-suite bedrooms very much in keeping with the look and feel of the place; created in a country style with a modern twist. 

The option to stay at the Derwentwater Arms becomes all the more appealing when you realise just how close you are here to numerous outdoor activities – from Chatsworth five minutes away by car, to nearby Frogatt Edge, popular with hikers and climbers. 

Excellent food, lovely atmosphere, friendly hosts, ample on-site parking, perfect location and the option to stay over and really let your hair down – what's not to love.  

We, certainly, would highly recommend it. 

For the full menu and more information – including accommodation options - visit www.derwentwaterarms.co.uk. To book a table, call 01433 639211 or email dwacalver@gmail.com