The One at The Farmhouse at Mackworth20:05
Now when I hear of a new venue opening in my area, I'm desperate to get a peek. So it's needless to say that when I got invited to have a sneak preview of the Farmhouse at Mackworth, I didn't need to be asked twice.
Pulling into the carpark, I noticed twinkling lights and heard the light chink of glasses and laughter inside. This must be it!
Stepping inside, we instantly felt the warm glow of the roaring fire, and soaked the atmosphere right up. They've done a fantastic job to the place - if you ever saw it before, you'll appreciate the detail and serious eye for quirky interior that's gone into this place.
Copper butterflies told us which way to head...
Our ever-so friendly waitress Natalia took us to our seats and bought over some drinks. The mother-in-law and I chose Sauvingnon, and Rob and his Dad chose one of the ale's on tap.
The food menu was more than impressive, and has a selection to suit any price range. Indulge in a fillet steak, cooked to absolute perfection whichever way you fancy. Or, if you'd rather not splash out, you can share one of their generous wood fired pizzas (I'd highly recommend the smoked mackerel topping) and a side of sweet potato wedges.
Finally settling on our starters, the in-laws chose Josper grilled mackerel fillet on a bed of rocket, with a honey and pomegranate dressing.
Rob enjoyed the slow-cooked pork and potato hash, with a poached egg and a dribble of hollandaise.
And I opted for marinated duck skewers with sticky plum dressing, laid out on an Asian salad.
I'll be totally honest here and say I had complete food envy. My duck was nice, but I definitely should have chosen the mackerel. With my starter being the most expensive on the menu priced at £7.50, I don't feel as though it was quite worth it. It could have done with more sauce, but even so, it rivals food of a majority of places in the area. Next time, mackerel, you're mine...
And now on to the mains!
Naturally, most of the table chose steak. Being a family of "proper" steak eaters, we're always on the hunt to find the best steak in this country. I don't think anyone will ever be able to cook a steak like the French do - bathed in salt, cooked for 30 seconds, and taken from a cow that passed it's Sainsbury's sell-by date a good few months ago. BUT, we're always keen to try.
So far so good...
So what was the verdict? Absolutely delicious. Cooked medium-rare, nicely tender and packed with flavour. Mum-in-law chose a side of sweet potato and onion rings, and Rob's rump was served with chunky chips.
I wanted to mix things up a little bit, so I was the only member of our party that chose something different to steak. And boy did I make a good choice! I went for the duo of British Pork; stuffed belly and slow-braised pig cheeks, laid out on buttered sweet potato mash and served with Savoy cabbage and red wine jus.
All topped so beautifully with a big piece of pork crunch.
As for the pig cheeks - I've never had pork like it. It melted in my mouth, was absolutely packed full of flavour, and I could have honestly eaten a plate of 50 of them.
It's making my mouth water just looking at these pictures, so let's move on to take a look at the snazzy interior, shall we?! What, you didn't think I'd go without having a nosey around the bedrooms did you?!
The Harry Potter-esque 'secret library' - a place to hold meetings and conferences, or just somewhere to chill out and be in awe of the array of books hanging from the ceiling.
And of course, their stunning wedding venue The Folly...
Thank you for a fantastic evening and to all of the amazing staff at The Farmhouse at Mackworth!
If you'd like to book a table, a room, a meeting, wedding, or pretty much any occasion you can think of, then check out their website for more information.