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The Tickled Trout, Barlow REVIEW

We’ve been coming to the Tickled Trout in Barlow fairly regularly ever since moving to Chesterfield five years ago and I have never had even a dud course, let alone a disappointing meal. It’s consistently great in every way – the food, the service, the ambiance. It’s definitely been one of my favourite places to eat in the Chesterfield area – whether for a casual family lunch or a more decadent date night.

Why the Tickled Trout is one of my all time favourites

The Tickled Trout is a perfect example of a truly great gastro pub. Relaxed, welcoming and stylish. The food is simply delicious and ranges from simple classic favourites like fish and chips to well executed gastronomic delights, many with an Italian twist.

Situated in Barlow, a picturesque little village near Dronfield on the edge of the Peak District, so it’s easily accessible from both Chesterfield and Sheffield. Normally there’s a light and airy dining room or the cosier option of dining in the bar (it’s currently outside dining only in line with the government roadmap). Everywhere is beautifully decorated with a contemporary, stylish feel.

There’s a real emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. They proudly showcase top-notch local suppliers, whether that’s farmers, growers, bakers etc. In fact, there’s a map on their website which details exactly where they get many of the ingredients used.

My favourite pizza – Pollo Piccante – spicy chicken, chilli and goats cheese.

There’s a very loose Italian theme to the food on offer. Their sourdough pizzas are seriously good. My favourite is the pollo piccante which punches a really spicy kick with chilli-marinated chicken and red onion, garlic, chilli, Roquito peppers and goats’ cheese. Check out their ongoing offer of 2 pizzas for £20 on Tuesdays.

Other dishes I would definitely recommend, all from their ‘small plates’ section of the menu – which you can enjoy tapas style, as a starter or as a side:

Tickled Trout Barlow - a plate of aranici covered in grated parmesan and truffle mayo
Parmesan and truffle mayo drenched arancini at the Tickled Trout Barlow

The arancini is honestly the best I have had anywhere. Including in Italy (a bold claim I’m aware). The Red Fox (an aged red Leicester) works beautifully to provide a delicious little ‘crunch amongst the oozing, cheesy goodness. And if that wasn’t enough they’re finished in THE most perfect truffle mayonnaise. Honestly, incredible!

Tickled Trout Barlow - halloumi sticks in a sticky Vietnamese dressing
Halloumi sticks in Vietnamese dressing – you NEED to try this!

Chargrilled halloumi sticks with sticky Vietnamese dressing. Regular readers will know I am a huge halloumi fan. I don’t think you can go wrong with it. I don’t exactly know what a Vietnamese dressing involves, but it works exceptionally well together. A match made in heaven. Sweet, spicy, sticky, salty… sooo good.

Tickled Trout Barlow - skinny fries with parmesan and truffle mayo
The famous OMG truffle fries from The Tickled Trout Barlow

OMG truffle & Parmesan fries with truffle mayonnaise (this is in the sides section of the menu). At £5.50 you want your chips to be something special and OMG these are. Perfectly crispy skinny fries, dusted in just the right amount of parmesan and then generously drizzled in that wonderful truffle mayonnaise. They are a masterpiece in their own right, and I think about them often.

So that would be my perfect order, maybe with a side salad. You would need to share (with a compliant dining partner) but I dare you not to enjoy that.

Definitely leave room for dessert! Through the years I think I’ve worked my way through the entirely dessert menu. My favourite is their sticky toffee pudding which is done exceptionally  well here), but there’s also a chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream or a deconstructed blueberry and lavender cheesecake with lemon curd and crème fraiche ice cream.

I would also recommend visiting the Trout on a Sunday. Their roasts are simply divine. Beautifully cooked meat with all the trimmings and sumptuous vegetable side dishes, often with a little twist.

The Trout is very family friendly, particularly in the day. There’s a decent children’s menu consisting of real, simple food (not the ubiquitous fish fingers or chicken nuggets) and any of the main menu dishes can be tailored to smaller portions for more adventurous kids. There’s good baby changing facilities, plenty of high chairs and a ramp to the entrance so fully pushchair friendly. My little girl loves it here as much as I do, and often asks whether we going to The Tickled Trout!

Outdoor seating at The Tickled Trout

Is there anything better than a cold drink in a sunny beer garden?

The tables immediately outside the pub are picnic style benches but they’re massive (they’d seat six really comfortably) and really well made so were very comfortable to sit at. There is also some covered seating in the back of the car park. This would be a great option on drizzly day. If you’re looking for other great outdoor seating options, read my edit of the best here.

Lastly, I just want to give the staff a mention. The front of house staff are always lovely – really friendly and helpful. But what is most evident are the standards in the kitchen. Chef owner Chris Mapp has obviously taught a team exceptionally well. Whenever we have visited over the last five years the food has been to exact the same standards of quality and presentation, and there’s not many other places I can honestly say that about.

So basically, you need to go!

Go for:

A consistently great, relaxed and stylish gastro pub.  

Details:

S18 7SL, www.tickledtroutbarlow.com

Read the Ultimate Guide to the Best Derbyshire Restaurants

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