A few years ago we stayed and had dinner at Fischer’s Baslow Hall. We really enjoyed the food and the excellent service but the setting was a little formal for our taste. So, when we discovered that Fischers have opened a more relaxed place in Baslow called Rowley’s – it sounded ideal for us.
We arrive to find a fairly busy informal restaurant and bar with an interesting menu. We order drinks and study the menu while we wait for the drinks to arrive. Long after deciding what we want to eat, another member of the Rowley’s team comes to ask if we want drinks – we tell them we have already ordered but nothing has yet appeared. She takes our food order and promises to chase our drinks. Ten minutes later they finally turn up without any apology.
My pint of Swift Nick from the locally based Peak Ales Brewery is a really quite beautiful bitter with notes of fruit and malt. Rock has an interesting Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms – slightly too sweet for her but a nice change. Rock is having the char-grilled mackerel fillet with lime mayonnaise, wasabi and cucumber. It is a little overcooked and, despite the mention of lime and wasabi, tastes quite bland. I have the pan roast partridge breast with pickled raspberries, toasted seeds and honey dressing. It is good.
I ask for another beer and Rock asks for a glass of water. I cannot resist the Derbyshire venison loin with beetroot, baby parsnips, turnip, red cabbage and bitter chocolate sauce. The combination of game, root vegetables and chocolate is a marriage made in heaven or, at least it should be if the root vegetables are properly cooked. I like al dente but one of my parsnips was so undercooked I was physically unable to cut through it! I am calmed by my second beer and the fact that the venison is perfect! Rock has the saddle of rabbit wrapped in pancetta with pearl barley risotto, thyme, baked carrots and a jus made with a dash of pedro ximenez. Still uninspired, she leaves most of it. She may have been calmed by the glass of water she ordered…. but this never arrives!
At no stage does anyone ask us if everything is ok or if we are enjoying our food – despite clear signs to the contrary. We hear other guests, presumably regulars or locals, being well looked after but we are left feeling as though nobody cares. Did we complain? No – while we are very disappointed, as the venue doesn’t seem to care, we decide to simply pay and leave…