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The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley REVIEW

Described as one of the most charming Peak District pubs, The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley near Bakewell is nestled in the heart of the Chatsworth Estate. A fine example of a traditional country inn and upmarket pub, the food is locally sourced, much of it from the Estate. We went last night for an impromptu date night.

The Backstory

When my parents offered to host my daughter for a sleepover I immediately sprung into action looking for somewhere for dinner. Whilst I always have a very long list of restaurants I want to try, it proved surprisingly hard to find somewhere open on a Tuesday. I remembered I’d seen a post from one of my favourite local bloggers, luxury travel writer, The Travels of Mrs B, where Laura had enjoyed a lovely dog friendly night away at The Devonshire Arms in Pilsley. After reading her blog I’d considered The Dev as an option for a night away for my husband’s forthcoming birthday. We are going somewhere else for that now but when we were presented with the opportunity for a night out, it seemed a good chance to try this traditional country inn.

Confusingly, there are several Devonshire Arms in the local area. The Devonshire Arms in Beeley has been a long standing favourite of mine. It is a gloriously traditional cosy pub with a light an airy brasserie that is one of my favourite restaurants. But I had never actually been to the Pilsley inn. Both are owned and operated by the Chatsworth Estate (not to be confused with the Devonshire Arms in nearly Baslow, which is not).

traditional bar area at The Devonshire Arms in Pilsley
Photo credit: The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley, Chatsworth Estate

The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley – A traditional country inn

Situated in the historic village of Pilsley, The Devonshire Arms is a great example of a traditional inn. A quintessentially English village pub, expect charm by the bucket load and a very warm welcome. In winter there are real fires. Local ales include Peak Ales from the Chatsworth Estate and Thornbridge Ales brewed in nearby Bakewell. It’s dog friendly in the bar area and we noticed several drinking bowls dotted around.

Since originally publishing this, The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley has won gold in the ‘Pub of the Year’ category at the Peak District and Derbyshire Tourism Awards.

Pilsley is a great location for exploring the Peak District. It’s just a few miles from Chatsworth House and is where their iconic farm shop is situated. Pilsley itself is a pretty village, most of the buildings made from local sandstone. There are lots of lovely walks to be done in the local area.

Click here for the other best cosy pubs in Derbyshire and the Peak District

Food at The Devonshire Arms Pilsley

The menu is locally sourced, much coming from the Chatsworth Estate. We were presented with freshly baked sour dough with homemade whipped butter with yogurt. The sourdough was satisfyingly crisp and complemented perfectly with the deliciously salted butter. Just divine. We were off to a good start!

salmon and wasabi at Devonshire Arms in Pilsley
Salt cured salmon, wasabi purée, dill

I have to be really in the mood for a salmon starter but was enticed by the wasabi. Sadly this didn’t deliver the powerful kick I was hoping for, but it was a perfectly nice and beautifully presented dish. For me the star of the show was the cauliflower purée which really was exquisite. Cauliflower seems to be having its moment in culinary circles and I for one am here for that. The depth of flavour was insanely good.

My husband ordered the ham hock terrine with carrot and fennel. He expected some sort of bread to be served with this, so with hindsight we shouldn’t have tucked into the bread course with quite the same gusto that we did.

birds eye view of two starters (salmon and ham hock terrine) at Devonshire Arms in Pilsley

Unfortunately two of the listed mains had sold out by the time we ordered. Typically these were the dishes I was drawn to most (venison with beetroot, parsnip and Pomme Anna; and a delicious sounding fish dish) – but such is life. We were offered an opportunity to order the fish and chips from the lunchtime menu but I was in the mood for something a bit more special.

Both the vegetarian dishes sounded really interesting but after some deliberation I ordered the beef which I gather is a staple main on the current menu.

Derbyshire beef - rump and cheek - Devonshire Arms in Pilsley

This consisted of a beautiful rump steak plus a portion of slow cooked cheek of Derbyshire beef, topped with slivers of pickled onion, horseradish purée and chips. The meat was divine. The rump steak is ordinarily served pink but the lovely waitress didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked for mine to be well done (or “ruined” in the words of a chef friend). I would sincerely like to train myself to enjoy meat on the rarer side of life and actually this would be a good place to do so as I could tell the meat had been well rested.

I enjoyed the contrast of the slow cooked beef with the fresh pops of flavour from the pickled onion. The chips were served separately and were quite the marvel. Impressively uniform, they delivered on both taste and texture. Again, I would have liked a much punchier horseradish and I found the jus a little too salty – but overall a magnificent plate of food. A clever take on steak and chips that worked well in this country inn setting.

This would be a good place for Sunday lunch – read my other recommendations for the best Sunday roasts in Derbyshire.

My husband opted for guinea fowl, sweet potato, cabbage and blood orange. This was beautifully plated and flavoursome.

After a little rest we proceeded to order desserts. I ordered praline parfait with mascarpone, delightfully boozy cherries and coffee. Whilst this wasn’t at all photogenic, it was absolutely delicious.

My husband ordered the passionfruit lemon tart served with diced apple and strawberry sorbet. Two espressos later we were complete.

lemon tart Devonshire Arms in Pilsley

Service was wonderful throughout. We were appropriately welcomed, dishes were explained as they were presented and we were checked on quickly after each course was served. Efficient, friendly service from every single staff member we encountered.

I wasn’t wow-ed by the wine (a glass of Pinot Grigio with my starter and an Argentinian Malbec to accompany the beef). Personally, for the prices I expect a bit more and I think other places are delivering much better quality, or certainly much more to my taste. (e.g. Try The George in Hathersage).

Overall we had a lovely night. It is always a pleasure to have an uninterrupted date night and The Devonshire Arms provided a perfect venue. It has all the charm and relaxed ambiance of a traditional cosy pub whilst delivering high end food. The service is great and it would be a wonderful place to stay to explore the Peak District.

Go for:

Delicious, locally sourced upmarket gastro pub fare in a charming country inn.

Details:

The Devonshire Arms, High Street, Pilsley, Bakewell, DE45 1UL

Dog friendly in the bar and dog friendly rooms.

Three courses each, two coffees, a large and a small wine and a soft drink came to £98.

Car park with two EV points and Tesla charging (and additional parking round the corner).

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If you enjoyed reading this, why not read my guide to the best cosy pubs in Derbyshire or my round up of the best Derbyshire restaurants.

2 replies on “The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley REVIEW”

Haha! The first half of this comment just popped up as a notification and my heart SANK… nice to get here and it be a nice comment 💛 Sorry to make you hungry 😊

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