THE village of Hadfield hasn’t got much to thank television for. Having being forever labelled as Royston Vasey in the comedy League of Gentlemen it’s attraction as a visitor destination is probably mainly down to curiosity rather than an expectation of good food and friendly service which is unfair on the place and its near neighbour Padfield.
But the link with the grisly TV series is oddly used in a lot of the marketing material for many “local” businesses. There’s websites extolling you to “stay in Royston Vasey” and The Peels Arms pub uses its webpages to assure visitors that “nothing as unsavoury” as the programme will be served up.
So it’s something of a relief when you get inside and find a warm welcoming traditional pub. The Peels takes it name from the Bury-born founder of the modern police force Sir Robert Peel whose portrait hangs proudly outside and is an inn with four guest rooms, pub with a restaurant area, a traditional bar with pool room and outdoor terrace area for the summer.
In fact sitting outside on a summers evening and enjoying one of their huge salads topped with a grilled fish steak (and maybe a sneaky portion of proper chips) is something I look forward to doing just as soon as the night’s start getting lighter.
But on this visit we were after winter fayre, and tucked up next to one of the roaring real fires, we found it.
The menu has a lot of pub grub favourites such as fish and chips, Barnsley lamb chops, steak and curries but also has a good selection of fish dishes and an ever-changing specials board.
We chose off the specials board for the starters although the menu offered a good selection including Bury black pudding. I was disappointed with the overly symmetrical pre -made prawn balls and his smoked mackerel was nothing to shout about being simply a piece of peppered mackerel fillet with a side salad.
But the main courses made up it. My lightly smoked yellow fin sole stuffed with haddock and spinach was a dainty sized portion, well-cooked and accompanied with buttered new potatoes and a good selection of vegetables.
His pheasant in redcurrant and rosemary could never be described as dainty being a half a bird and having a robust and flavoursome sauce which was complemented by the hops taste of the pint of Deuchars selected to go with it.
The Peels offers a varied selection of guest beers and a reasonable wine list although, disappointingly, only the house wine is offered by the glass.
The sweet selection (all £3.95) included the usual uninteresting cheesecake and profiterole options but also more traditional puds such as deep filled apple pie and we dived into jam sponge and sticky toffee pudding with lashings of creamy custard.
Service and the welcome at The Peels is friendly and its a busy and bustling atmosphere where the pub is at the centre of many community events. So while it is definitely, to pinch a phrase, a “local pub” it’s also one that isn’t just for local people.
The Peels Arms is at Temple Street, Padfield, Derbyshire. 01457 852719.