There was a game of cricket in full swing on the village green at Ambergate when I arrived at the newly reopened Hurt Arms.
And the sound of willow on leather was the perfect soundtrack for a meal at this historic pub in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
The venue’s history can be traced back 144 years and is named after the Hurt family.
Wealthy landowners, industrialists and magistrates, the Hurt family’s influence once dominated this part of the county.
Perhaps with this in mind, the hotel’s new owners seem to have aimed at recreating an historical and rustic venue.
The dining area is all exposed wood, with beer barrels and even wooden drinks menus adding to the theme.
We ordered drinks first, a Moretti lager for me and a Pinot Grigio for my partner, and we then checked out the extensive menu.
There are all the usual pub/restaurant favourites, as well as a few surprises such as braised ox cheek and five spiced duck.
I opted for the spiced crab choux to start, followed by the rump steak. My partner chose roasted beets followed by beer battered haddock and chips.
The starters arrived promptly and I enjoyed the crab choux, which was light and tasty and nicely complemented by the watercress and chilli jam. The perfect starter ahead of a big steak.
My partner also enjoyed the roasted beets, which she said were the highlight of her meal.
My steak was also spot on. Juicy and lean without any fat on it.
The sides of hand cut chips, roasted tomato and mushroom complemented it well and my only criticism would be the blue cheese sauce - which didn’t have as much flavour I was hoping for.
My partner enjoyed her haddock but said the chips were slightly over cooked. The dining area was also quite hot and noisy on our visit though this was probably due to the popularity of the venue. The final bill came in at just less than £50 which was perfectly reasonable for a good quality meal.
Our rating: 7/10