The Barley Mow Bonsall is a tiny Derbyshire pub. In many ways it’s the perfect example of a traditional country inn. One room, exposed wooden beams, full of characters, not least the landlady Colette. She’ll regale you with tales of the celebrities that have visited and have you laughing and chuckling along with the locals.
But The Barley Mow isn’t your average pub. It’s beautifully eclectic, colourful and bohemian. Everyone’s welcome and I suspect most people will love it.
There’s also the big red cabaret bordello. Not an actual bordello. (I don’t think anyway), but a party marquee in the car park where they host live music and by all accounts, some of the best parties in Derbyshire. This is the sort of place you might stumble upon on whilst on holiday somewhere and have the best time ever. The loos are outside (although beautifully quirky).
I haven’t yet been to one of the live music nights but today I sampled their festive menu with a friend I made in hospital. Kate and I bonded over our love of food and eating out, and as anyone knows, people who like to eat are the best kind of people.
Food at The Barley Mow
The Barley Mow Bonsall is insistent that it is not a gastro pub, but the food is homemade, locally sourced, generously portioned and very delicious.
Festive Menu at The Barley Mow Bonsall
We had pre-booked the festive menu and it was excellent. I started with grilled goats cheese on sourdough toast served with marinated beetroot, rosemary honey and salad. My companion ordered chicken liver pâté with toasted brioche served with spiced blackberry chutney. Both were lovely.
I then had my second Christmas dinner of the year! The Barley Mow’s turkey is from local butchers, Maycocks and was really succulent and tasty. The vegetables were nicely cooked and there was plenty of gravy. If you don’t fancy roast turkey there’s also a beef bourguignon pie, pan fried sea bass or a vegetarian option of butternut squash stuffed quinoa, cranberry and feta.
I found it very difficult to pick a dessert. It was a real toss-up between the white chocolate and cranberry bread and butter pudding and the espresso martini trifle. There’s also an option of a mini Christmas pudding and a cheese selection (without any supplement – and it’s local cheese!).
Don’t bother with coffee (this is a proper pub after all) but instead explore the well-kept, interesting range of real ales and cask ciders. We had a bottle of the Pinot Grigio and it was well chilled and very pleasant.
A quirky, eclectic “proper pub” with a great atmosphere and generous portions of homemade food.
The festive menu is £22 for two courses and a bargainous £25 for three and should be pre-booked by calling 01629 825685. Deposit required.
Small car park.