It’s not quite got the real ale reputation of Kelham Island but, as locals well know, there’s a lovely little pub run out in Mosborough.
If you start up at the George and Dragon in High Street – Timothy Taylor’s on tap and a friendly welcome – you’ve got a down hill stroll which takes in three more boozers within half a mile.
There’s The Royal Oak, a big screen and Carling sort of place; the Queen which has the feel of an old coaching inn; and finally The British Oak Ale House. There’s worse ways to spend an evening than wandering betwixt the four.
It’s the latter which we’re concerned with tonight.
An old 18th century travellers inn in Mosborough Moor, it was refurbished and reopened three weeks ago by Kane Yeardley, the local lad behind some of Sheffield’s most highly-rated gastro-pubs. The Old House, in the city centre, The York in Broomhill and The Broadfield in Abbeydale are among six venues in his portfolio.
“I like pubs where there are a lot of chimney pots near by,” he once told me. “That means potential customers.”
Mosborough certainly has that. And, while there’s room for improvement – which we’ll get to – people living below those pots could certainly have worse restaurants nearby.
Outside it’s white of brick, and green of trim; while within it’s all low ceilings, beautifully exposed beams and mismatched furniture. Somehow it’s both snug and sociable. The walls, meanwhile, are decorated with 19th century rifles and a spot of taxidermy which is, says duty manager Carly Honeycombe, a nod to the area’s hunting heritage.
The menu has no such nods. It’s described as classic British with a twist, which, presumably, is 21st century code for staples like roast chicken and lasagne.
Still, you couldn’t knock the starters. Chef Lee Stocks has come in from The York and is skills are clearly honed. Ham hock terrine was thick and pink and served with a refined piccalilli that added a class, while devilled whitebait was bitey and salty, and not even the way the little fellows looked up with mournful eyes could make one resist getting stuck in with lemon and aioli.
The beef burger for mains was decent enough. Six ounce, toasted brioche, skinny fries, etc etc. It ticked the boxes. But my pie – steak, ale and mushroom with potato wedges and mushy peas – let things down. One critic once said the Broadfield’s offerings were the best she’d ever had but clearly tips haven’t been passed on here. The filling was generous but the pastry was tough and flavourless, and the wedges soft. It was okay but not much more.
A pecan brownie, and a cappuccino rescued things.
Conclusions? The British Oak, like the rest of Mosborough, deserves a visit. But be aware the pie might not be alright.
n £39.95 with two merlot.