The Peacock at Rowsley
“Technically creative, nimble cooking in an aristocratic manor” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's View
The Peacock is a sturdy-looking mansion built in the 17th century of Derbyshire stone in just the right dimensions to make for a country-house hotel on the human scale. The interiors are deeply comfortable – the bar goes for a village-inn look, with its low ceiling, venerable timber columns and stone walls, while things get rather more formal in the dining room, where contemporary country-chic hues of lime-green and plum are accessorised with old oil paintings and chunky, unclothed wooden tables. After a stint with Tom Aikens in London, head chef Dan Smith produces a technically nimble rendition of creative British cooking, looking to nearby estates for organically reared meats, as well as the Peacock's own kitchen gardens, for the bedrock of his dynamic modern output. Whether you go for the à la carte or multi-course taster, things set off on a hearty note: a superb terrine of chicken, duck’s liver and pistachio is served alongside cep purée, parsley root remoulade and crisps, a posh quail’s Scotch egg made with smoked chicken and foie gras, and the balancing sharpness of pickled pear helping things along. Main courses turn up the volume, building layers of flavour and clever textural balancing from pedigree prime materials – venison timed to perfection comes with pickled and poached pumpkin, a Stilton and venison bun, trompette mushrooms and sweet caramelised Roscoff onions. If you’re in the mood for fish, there may be flawlessly timed monkfish, supported by a picturesque array of potato terrine, asparagus, sea kale, and the umami slap of oyster and seaweed sauce delivering deep satisfaction. The kitchen’s technical dexterity runs all the way through to impressive desserts, when top-grade Casa Luker chocolate provides the bedrock of an immaculate soufflé, with a ball of prune and sherry ice cream of luxuriant creaminess slotted into its top at the table.
Awards, Accolades & welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 56
- Private dining available
- On-site parking available
- Wheelchair accessible
- Steps for wheelchair: 2
- Accessible toilets
- Assist dogs welcome
- Open all year
- Days Closed: Bank holiday Monday
- Lunch served from: 12
- Lunch served until: 2
- Dinner served from: 7
- Dinner served until: 9
- Wines under £30: 4
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 16
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the Area
About The area
The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.
The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.
The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.
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