Getting food while on the move is certainly not a new idea. Many of us return from France, and other parts of Europe, extolling the virtues of the “little places” along the way or get enthusiastic about the cult movie appeal of America’s roadhouses. But it seems we often overlook the fantastic heritage of watering holes here on our doorstep.
Providing sustenance for travellers is why the Dog and Partridge, seemingly completely in the middle of no-where, half-way along the Woodhead Pass as it winds its way through Derbyshire, was built in the first place.
Situated on the old medieval salt way route, this isolated inn, with a history that can be traced back to the Elizabethan period, was originally a farmhouse and alehouse, supplying shelter and refreshment to travellers crossing the hostile moors of the Pennines.
Originally known as Border Hill House and owned by the Gothard family, the inn became known as the Dog and Partridge upon the receipt of its first licence in 1740.
Since that time it has been under the ownership of many prominent landowning families such as the Payne’s of Frickley Hall, the Bosville’s of Gunthwaite Hall and the Pilkington’s of Chevet Hall who still own the surrounding grouse moors to this day.
Today the Dog and Partridge is a family run inn and hotel, still offering food and shelter to those travelling across the still hostile if dramatic moors or venturing out for walking, helicopter flights or any other manor of leisure time pursuits.
We took shelter from a flurry of hail to sit beside the open fires and sample some lunch recently. And we weren’t alone. A packed dining room was obviously putting the waiting staff under pressure but we found a table and set to the menu.
Lots of traditional dishes, fish and chips, gammon and eggs but also some specials on offer. I sampled the deep-fried goats cheese(£4.95) which was unusually rolled in oats rather than breadcrumbs. De-constructed it would have been an oatcake with goats cheese – plea sent but quite substantial for a starter.
The game terrine(£4.95) was a more unusual affair – rich tasting with its real ale and onion marmalade accompaniment. Starters out of the way we settled to enjoy a drink. Sadly there’s only one variety of wine available by the glass (Blossom Hill) but beer drinkers will find more choice and the Bradfield brewer Farmer’s Blond proved to be refreshing and light.
The wait turned out to be rather longer than expected with kitchen pressures leaving some disgruntled diners getting fidgety but finally they arrived.
The special griddled steak(£15.95) which had been requested as medium came out rather well done after the long wait but he was consoled with a portion of chunky “proper” chips and a separate dish of pepper sauce which was flavourful without being fiery.
My salmon on a bed of sweet potato and parsnip puree(£11.95) was also over-cooked – an understandable problem given the length of time it took to arrive. The menu had promised a sweet saffron sauce but what arrived on the plate looked like custard, was the texture of custard and, whatever my head kept telling my mouth, tasted like custard.
While the hail beat down and the wind whistled round, we were glad of the cosy environment and some sustenance to get us on our journey back to Manchester but as far as dining out goes, the Dog and Partridge’s location means it’s unlikely to be a destination venue. But if you’re passing……………..
Dog and Partridge Inn, Bord Hill, Flouch. S36 4HH. 01226 763173.
More pictures at the Flickr group.