Dining Out - The Wingerworth Pub & Kitchen, Chesterfield

Dining area

Dining area - Credit: Archant

Creative dishes in modern surroundings are on offer at this Chesterfield gastropub

The Wingerworth

The Wingerworth - Credit: Archant

There is something decidedly different about the menu at The Wingerworth Pub and Kitchen. Despite being a relatively new addition to Chesterfield’s dining scene, every aspect of the venue had been so carefully thought out by owners Over The Moon Hospitality Ltd prior to its opening last November, that it would be difficult for diners to expect anything less than special.

Situated in the Grade II listed former Hunloke Arms, just south of Chesterfield on the A61, the beautifully renovated venue is a tasteful blend of old and new. The décor is colourful and cosy with relaxed but elegant dining areas, a Juliet balcony to the rear and a spacious bar area that is complemented by a walk-in wine cellar.

The drinks offering is certainly impressive. Local suppliers such as the Ilkeston-based North-Star Brewery and 200 Degrees Coffee in Nottingham are championed, and wines are sourced by Peter Bamford of Modern French Wine, whose clients include the Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham. With the assistance of resident ‘wine guy’ Simon Franklin, the choice is deliciously varied – hardly surprising considering no less than ten revisions were made when compiling it!

When it comes to food, the venue has a unique talent in experienced head chef Andrew Brookes. He has honed his skills at renowned establishments in Leeds, Nottingham and closer to home in Rowsley, and has previously held three AA rosettes for his inventive Modern British dishes.

Everything on the menu is made on the premises – including the fantastic Guinness loaf and truffle butter served as an aperitif – and Andrew’s innovative and rather complex creations vary from a ‘sausage, egg and beans’ starter of chorizo, duck egg and parmesan brioche to a main course of venison with suet pudding, pickled red cabbage, prunes and root vegetables, and desserts such as carrot tagliatelle with blood orange and coffee syrup.

The menu is enhanced by daily themes and we were pleased to discover our Monday evening visit coincided with Steak Night. Following a warm welcome from manager James Robinson and head waitress Caroline Barker, we settled down with a Pinot Grigio to peruse the choices.

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I began with goat’s cheese cheesecake (£6.25). A perfect showcase for Andrew’s skill, the inspired combination of a thick cheesey wedge topped with a thin layer of beetroot jelly was served with sugary orange crumbs, beetroot pieces and beetroot sorbet. Goat’s cheese can be overpowering but the sweet and savoury combination worked beautifully, especially with the fresh beetroot.

Delicate notes of sea buckthorn, bitter blood orange and a flavoursome bed of giant couscous featured in my partner’s refreshing starter of soy and honey-cured salmon (£6.45) – a triumph of taste.

By now we were primed to expect excellence and my Middle-Eastern inspired main course of ras-el-hanout pork (£14.95) was a fiesta of colour. A tangy paprika blend added an exotic twist to the dish and bright components included char-grilled pineapple chunks, red pepper purée, creamy polenta and a kofta kebab tower.

Top form continued with my partner’s choice of rump steak. The meat had perfect ‘bite’ and was bursting with flavour. It was enhanced by accompaniments of oyster mushrooms served in a jar, baby vine tomatoes, chunky ‘Jenga’ chips and a buttery Béarnaise sauce.

Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to sample more creative combinations, we couldn’t resist trying the chocolate pudding (£6.95). The sponge centrepiece filled with a gooey chocolate fondant was every bit as decadent as it sounds. It came with a chocolate brandy snap, fudge pieces, pistachio sponge and pistachio ice-cream. There really is no pleasure like a guilty one!

After such an indulgent experience our feelings were perfectly summed up by a Mark Twain quote in the menu – ‘The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.’ I couldn’t agree more.

The Wingerworth, Derby Road, Chesterfield S42 6NB. Tel: 01246 232458