A review of a family breakfast out at the Devonshire Arms in Middle Handley from our guest writer, Charlotte Taylor.
Although the address gives it that the Devonshire Arms in Middle Handley is in Sheffield, it is actually right at the top of the county flanked by Derbyshire the villages of Apperknowle, Eckington and Marsh Lane. Just 11 minutes from Chesterfield, 9 from Dronfield and 10 from the M1 at junction 30 it’s an easy reach for those of us in the north of the county.
The Devonshire Arms is a family favourite of ours: we had our Christmas Day meal here in 2019 and plenty of special ‘celebration’ meals out (we tend to go between here and the Hunloke). Service is always superb and as my husband noticed on our most recent visit, a really low turn-over of staff: it is the same friendly faces from each ‘last time’.
Family friendly dining at The Devonshire Arms Middle Handley
Before Covid we went through a time of having our breakfast ‘out’ here- we had a young daughter and it felt like a treat before posh restaurant meals were an option. Having just got back from holiday and probably two years since we last went this early, we decided to ceremoniously declare the end of our break with breakfast out at The Devonshire Arms. Because they have staying guests it means that breakfast is served from 8.30 – such a tiny, fab detail when you have a young person to consider. When we arrived there were already a number of tables occupied which made me feel less silly for arriving before 9am (no lounging with children).
The menu is a real mix of traditional (to scratch the full-English itch) and continental- on a previous visit I enjoyed the Memories of Fuengirola: sourdough topped with avocado, poached egg, chorizo and salsa. It felt oh so Spanish in such a northern-most tip of our green county and I was here for it.
This time though, I went for waffles, yoghurt, fruit and berries; my daughter had the ‘4 items for £4’ kid’s breakfast and my husband had the Devonshire Arms Full Monty. While my 5-year-old coloured in her specifically designed house menu (branding is so en-pointe here) I watched the chef. I spotted my waffle being plated up and noticed how he made sure the yoghurt was curved like the crest of a wave would be, as well as dotting the fruit on top with precision. He took as much care about my little waffle meal as he did about the rest of the orders and that really was telling.
Unlike a lot of restaurants the chef can be seen by the diners through the wall. I wondered if this is more satisfying for the chef? Does he like seeing people enjoy what he’s made? Then our food came and we tucked in. One detail I really, really like is that sauce came in little pots (not plastic sachets) and butter for the toast was Anchor. The devil is in the detail as they say. Soon beans had been moped up, scrambled egg chased and berries gone.
Our dishes were empty and husband and daughter were sated (now she could eat the biscuits which came with our hot drinks). The room had busied considerably for a weekday August morning as most of the tables were now occupied. After paying my daughter played on the pirate-themed play area outside and I looked about at the houses around thinking how lucky they were to have this in walking distance.
Excellent food- traditional yet a mix of new ideas not seen in standard fayre. It would tick the grandparent box as happily as the vegan one.
Child-friendly without losing any of its luxe charm; Sunday lunches are legendary. Order a taxi and make the most of the cocktail menu (local beer on pump too).
The Devonshire Arms in Middle Handley – postcode S21 5RN
Recent awards: AA rosette for 2022, AA 5* inn and Tripadvisor Traveller’s choice 2021. Full menus available online (cocktails too) with monthly fish nights. They also have very popular live music (see Facebook) and have boutique hotel rooms too.
Children’s play area.
What else can I do in the local area?
Dronfield 13 mile circular walk is a mile or so away, as is the Honey Trail. Barrow Hill roundhouse is 4 mins away by car and slightly further on is Poolsbrook country park in Staveley.
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