ASHOVER: Warm welcome at The Kelstedge

NDET 24-6-13 RKH 7 Kelstedge Inn
NDET 24-6-13 RKH 7 Kelstedge Inn

What is it that makes for a perfect country pub?

What is it that makes for a perfect country pub?

Location, in the heart of Derbyshire, is never going to be an issue. Real ales and delicious, honest food are essential. As is the warmth of the welcome.

And at the Kelstedge, just outside Ashover, we were made to feel like guests in our hosts’ home.

The pub is easy to pass on the main road between Chesterfield and Matlock, but miss it and you’ll miss out. On our Friday evening visit, it was clear that booking ahead had been a wise move as, even with an early sitting, reservations were littered like confetti across the tables - always a good sign.

To start, we opted for two dishes from the specials board and special they were. The haloumi skewers with balsamic glaze (£4.25) were perfectly balanced, mixing the salt of the cheese with the sweetened tang of the dressing.

The breaded king prawns with sweet chilli sauce (4.95) were also a great appetiser, with firm juicy prawns beneath a crisp coating given a sweet kick by the spiced jam.

For main course, the special of lamb shank with dauphinoise potatoes at £15.95 caught the eye.

The lamb was well cooked, though I could happily have seen the joint left longer to make it even more tender, and the potatoes were deliciously indulgent, with fresh rosemary adding extra flavour.

The other main was a fabulous sea bass, ginger and lime fishcake that was packed with complex flavour.

It was rounded off with a deeply satisfying warm Bakewell pudding and ice cream, plus a death by chocolate so naughty it was positively X-rated.

The food may not push the envelope, but who really wants snail porridge on a Friday family meal out? It was, instead, delicious, honest food, served with a warm welcome that made us feel like regulars on our very first visit.

Rating: Four stars

The Kelstedge

Matlock Road

Ashover

01246 590448