Stuffed pig’s trotters sold out in a day and brains also made a brief appearance on the menu. But chef Wayne Rodgers is no longer a die-hard nose-to-tail fanatic.
Not that he’s changed his philosophy; he just accepts that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea: “I’m cooking for what people want now… My food’s got a lot more refined over the last few years,” says the chef whose CV ranges from the Nettle at Ashover to the Michelin-rated Star at Harome and latterly the Druid Inn at Birchover.
The new-style Rodgers is eager to please – his menus include private dining, a mix-and-match chippy special (all £10), as well as Sunday lunch, early bird and an eclectic pub selection.
Wayne has been head chef of the Inn at Troway, just south of Gleadless, since the middle of last year and he’s buzzing with the challenge: “We started off with the old menu, but now we’ve got new food, a new team and we’re really building it up,” he says.
Everything is made onsite, down to the baked beans and the curry sauce; they even brine their own meat for corned beef and pastrami.
The Inn at Troway has changed too, since our last visit. The panoramic view over the Moss Valley is still as striking, but there’s a more mellow, lived-in feel about the bar and the airy conservatory with its fresh flowers, racing green walls and lofty rafters.
Service is good; we order drinks and settle down to enjoy the view. Draft and bottled beers sit alongside a list of more than 30 wines (from £14 per bottle), at least half available by the glass.
The pub menu may not be weighed down with offal, but it’s still a pretty hefty selection. Smoked haddock tart is off, but juicy field mushrooms are a good substitute, deep-fried and perked up by little cubes of stilton, slices of apple and quenelles of sour cream with chives.
Soup of the day is just as tasty: an intensely flavoured pea and ham, thick and well seasoned, with chunks of meat in the bottom. It comes with warm bread and butter pats like mini golf balls.
Putting Wayne’s developing skills to the test, I steer clear of the house speciality: an all-day mixed grill that reads like a butcher’s stocktaking inventory.
Pies range from rabbit and mustard to classic fisherman’s – and there are gourmet burgers, fish and salads too. I go for linguine, with tiger prawns, crab, coriander pesto and sweet red chilli jam. It’s simple, filling and nicely done: good and hot in both senses of the word.
But top honours go to the ox cheek – sweet brined, puréed and ballotined, with some formed into crisp-fried croquettes for a variation of texture. This is Wayne at his familiar best.
The dessert menu is a triumph, but don’t expect anything even vaguely light. My companion grunts appreciatively over sticky date and muscovado sugar pudding, with honeycomb ice cream and butterscotch sauce.
We finish our meal with good coffee – and chef’s treats: home made bourbon and jammy dodger biscuits.
Dinner for two, excluding drinks and service, is £43.40.
The Inn at Troway, Snowdon Lane, Troway, near Sheffield (01246) 290751 www.troway.co.uk