Night out at rural Sheffield pub has Smiths giggling from starters to coffee.
There can’t be many better views in Yorkshire.
Not the beef and merlot pie on our table, though that did look a bit special, but the view across the Loxley Valley from the Admiral Rodney pub at the top of the hill.
Green, wide and handsome the valley is a haven for runners, cyclists, walkers and their dogs and is pretty much the marker for the start of urban Sheffield after the relative wilds of the Peaks.
This version of the place dates back to 1957 when a new pub replaced the old Admiral Rodney named after George Brydges Rodney following his defeat of the French in the Battle of Saintes in the West Indies during the American war of Independence in 1782.
Odd though it may seem now to name a Sheffield pub after a man with no connection to the city, such was the status of England’s naval heroes and our maritime tradition that there are pubs all over England named after him.
So with all three ‘kids’ I set off to the Sheffield version with relatively high hopes.
We were welcomed warmly on arrival, our waitress Sarah sat us at a table near the window where the view of the valley would have been – if it hadn’t been dark by then.
The Smith kids – all grown up now – tease and torment each other in fun, take pictures, take the micky out of the menu, giggle and check their phones, much as kids of all ages do when out with a parent.
At least when they’re tormenting each other they’re leaving the old man alone.
For starters we had a box-baked Camembert with ‘warm rustic bread’ to share for £10.75.
Ideal indeed. Lots of melty French cheese with bread hunks to dunk.
It was so tasty we were practically licking the last of it off the paper it came wrapped in – when I say practically we actually did, much to the amusement of Sarah who promised to say nothing of our shocking table manners.
Along with the Camembert we had stone-baked garlic and rosemary pizzettes with vine cherry tomatoes – broad, long pieces of nicely cooked pizza dough with butter and olive oil which hit the spot nicely without being spectacular.
But the Camembert was. It had a few raisins on it and came with a tasty sweet chutney and soft bread that might have been better toasted for a little crunch. But all was devoured, paper, box and everything (well, almost).
The kids are exchanging tales of childhood misdemeanours, pranks and hilarious threatened punishments.
I smile as wisely as I can, order another half of Doombar and keep my version of events for therapy in later life.
For our main courses we had the lamb duo – pan-fried lamb rump and a cheddar shepherd’s pie with vegetables and a red wine.
The lamb rump was a little grey and disappointing, pleasant enough but slightly chewy in parts and not that much of it.
The Shepherd’s pie on the other hand was beautiful.
Cheesy mash and lots of lean, shredded rather than minced lamb in a rich gravy. Glorious stuff and the broccoli and carrots that came with it were firm and sweet.
Hannah chose the Caesar salad with chicken breast, crispy sweetcure bacon, anchovies, Parmesan-like cheese and served with a garlic pizzette. T
he chicken had hints of smoky grill about it and was moist and tender.
Ellen, the veggie of the family had beer-battered halloumi with triple-cooked chips, mushy peas and gherkin relish. The salty halloumi worked well in the delicate, crunchy batter and the chips were good without reaching any heights.
Joe, the carnivore of the family, had the pie with slow-cooked beef, shallots and portobello mushrooms in a red wine sauce, topped with puff pastry, and served with mash and vegetables .
The pie is as Mr Dawes would say is ‘a stew with a lid’ but it’s a good lid and a very good stew with tons of tender beef in a rich red wine gravy. Lovely on a freezing cold night.
Afterwards I spoke to assistant manager Andrew Day who joined the Admiral Rodney a week ago from the Fox House at Longshaw.
“I really like it here, it’s more of a restaurant than a hikers’ pub, that suits me,” said 24-year-old Andrew from Huddersfield who came to Sheffield Hallam University to study hospitality business management with culinary arts – and stayed.
“We are part of the Vintage Inns group owned by Mitchells and Butlers and our food is centrally sourced. We have just revamped our menu and made the lamb meal bigger, that’s going down well. The beef and merlot pie is very popular too.”
We decided to try mini puddings – a great idea for sweet-toothed but full diners – and coffee to finish.
We went for the chocolate pot – thick, chocolatey and lovely; the Sherry trifle – creamy, rich and fruity; and the Bramley apple crumble – good tart fruit, crunchy top and sweet, thick custard with decent cappuccinos and an espresso.
For review purposes we shared two lots of three courses including coffees and mini desserts plus two pints of Doombar, and our review bill came to £62.10. Night out with the kids, priceless.
Star ratings out of five:
Category: Pub food
The Admiral Rodney, 592 Loxley Road, Loxley, Sheffield, S6 6RU
Tel: 0114 233 6121.
Open Mon to Sat: noon to 11pm Sun: noon to 10.30pm