Derbyshire – The Devonshire Arms @ Pilsley

After visiting the Devonshire Arms @ Beeley for well over a year now, it was time we went and tried out one of their sister restaurants in Pilsley. Once we had completed a monster 64-mile hike (okay 14-mile…) we needed some serious refuelling. I’m not sure why we have never tried the Devonshire Arms in Pilsley before as we have passed it a few times, especially on our trips to Chatsworth or other hikes.

From the outside, it would be quite easy to mistake it for a bit of a “locals pub” and not think too much about going in to try the food, maybe this was the mistake Chris and I had been making for over a year as it really is a very deceiving restaurant. So, we park up and head inside to find that it is incredibly busy… oh yay half term. We are greeted and told it will be at least a 45-minute wait for a table but we are more than welcome to grab a drink and wait in the bar. We don’t take much persuading when it comes to a cold pint of cider so we ordered a drink and took a seat.

The lounge is warm and cosy with high back chairs in soft colours, just up a few steps and out the way of the restaurant. We sit in the lounge for around 10 minutes before I decide to go and ask for a menu to look at while we wait, and to my surprise they have a table ready for us! So, with our half-finished pints we head to a table and start looking over their menu. As we are deciding what to eat, food is being carried past us from the kitchen to other diners and its not hard to see why this place is popular. I keep trying to work out what food is going past and then checking the menu to see what it could be, all the while trying to assure waitresses my weird stares aren’t an attempt to get them to notice me and take my order quicker, I’m just nosey.

I don’t know how many other people have a similar process to me when it comes to picking food, but usually I make mental “short lists” and then keep eliminating dishes until I am left with one. It took me a while to get there today but I narrowed it down to three starters. So instead of having a starter and a main course, I ordered all three starters, that’s perfectly reasonable right? I went with the fried cauliflower florets, arancini balls and Swordfish and salmon kebabs. Okay it was quite a lot in hind sight but that hike and pint of cider made me believe I was invincible. Chris went for the crab cake to start and roasted honey mustard ham, duck eggs and chips for a main. As we waited for our food to come out we were watching around us as people leave, more people arrive, food comes out, and its very impressive how a seat isn’t empty for long and that the waitresses aren’t even breaking a sweat or letting their smiles falter. Clearly this place has a good reputation for its food and as we see more and more of it go past us, we can see why.

When our food arrived it was presented so well and we couldn’t wait to start tucking in. My arancini was soft and creamy and my cauliflower florets had the perfect crunch! Really delicious. Chris also loved his starter, the crab cake, and it took us no time at all to finish them. We ordered some wine to come with our next course and I absolutely loved the large glasses it was served in. I also couldn’t help but admire the gin glasses, as I spotted a lady on the table next to us enjoying a tipple.

Our main courses were just as good, if not better than our starters, my swordfish and salmon kebab was lovely and light, and went down really well with the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc we selected.

Chris’s food looked fantastic, and he assured me it was, the eggs were so big, and all locally sourced. As with the Devonshire Arms at Beeley, The Pilsley Devonshire Arms, also gets its produce from the Chatsworth estate, so it is super fresh. Once we had finished our meals it didn’t take much convincing for us to order a dessert. Our waitress, Cheryl, was so funny and attentive throughout our meal and when it came to twisting my arm over a pud- she helped me choose well. I opted for the Eton Mess, whilst Chris chose the coconut panacotta.

As you can see, they were amazing. I am very disappointed with myself and Chris for not visiting sooner, as the food and the service here are wonderful. Very excited to go for a hike and head back to the Devonshire Arms @ Pilsley again, although, maybe not during half term!

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