We follow a leafy lane out of the city, winding deep into the countryside. Twenty minutes later we’re outside a flower-decked stone pub, pretty much in the middle of nowhere…
The place looks deserted, but open the doors and it’s packed to the old oak beams – even though this is 6.30pm on a showery Wednesday evening. Welcome to the Plough at Low Bradfield!
The nation is awash, these days, with pubs masquerading as restaurants. But this isn’t one of them.
It’s a proper pub – with a spacious lounge bar, dining room, tap room and snug – and it serves pub grub in the best tradition: home cooked, much of it using local produce.
The place has just reopened after an eight-week refurbishment that included sandblasting the walls, enlarging the bar, turning the function room into an eating area and redecorating throughout.
In charge are mine hosts Jo Smith and Ben Green, formerly of the Blue Ball at Wharncliffside. In fact it’s something of a family business – Ben’s brother John Wyke is landlord of the Old Horns, just up the road at High Bradfield.
“This is totally different from what we’ve been used to, but we love it” says Jo. “It’s so beautiful… to wake up in the morning with these views.”
Year-old son Finley loves it too, not least because he has his own bouncy castle and hens in the back garden.
This being a free house, there’s a good range of real ales, including several from nearby Bradfield Brewery. There’s also a dozen wines – from £9.95 a bottle.
As a pub, it has no designated head chef, but teamwork gets results in the kitchen.
The menu is fairly standard. Don’t be misled by the promised specials, they’re still a myth at this stage. But the usual sandwiches, jacket spuds and pub favourites are boosted by a choice of four different pies and six burgers.
We start with soup. It’s leek and potato, though the overpowering taste is of celery. But it’s a good consistency, with half a breadcake to mop round the bowl.
My jalapeno peppers are stuffed with cream cheese, breadcrumbed, deep fried and served on a bed of iceberg lettuce with a sour cream dip. So, they’re probably out of the freezer, but this is a pub.
Lasagne, on the other hand, is home made. It’s an individual portion, in a deep china bowl, with a good, meaty Bolognese sauce and a topping of stringy molten cheese. It comes with two slices of supermarket-style garlic bread and a salad of cherry tomatoes, peppers, red onions and more of that chopped iceberg lettuce… But the bonus is a drizzling of balsamic dressing.
Steak ‘n’ Farmers Ale pie, with chips and veg, is good. Plenty of braised steak, a decent shortcrust topping and a yummy – if superfluous – jug of meaty gravy.
I finish with coffee, a decent cappucino, while my companion obliges with dessert. Most are bought in, but he can vouch for the Our Cow Mollybokerglory.
Dinner for two, excluding drinks and service, is a very reasonable £24.35.
* The Plough Inn, New Road, Low Bradfield, Sheffield (0114) 285 1280