I don't often do a pub review, but then, I don't often go to new pubs, not in Sheffield anyway (Caveat 1 : given that, despite its grand remote setting, the Ladybower Inn is only 15 minutes drive from Crookes, I'd say this is a Sheffield pub, and further, its one that I have only ever been to once before Monday.)
The Ladybower Inn is actually in a kind of Bermuda Triangle of Dark Peak pubs for me. At one vertex (don't let me down brief Internet search!) is the Snake Pass Inn, it's the furthest point away, and I have only been once, certainly as a drinking adult. At vertex two is the Yorkshire Bridge Inn - I went there when I was in my early 20's and was so horrified by the prices I never went back. The third point is the Ladybower, with a similar number of visits chalked up. Its safe to say then that I am overdue a visit and assessment of all of these pubs, and the first is the Ladybower Inn for a celebration meal - 20 years for my Dad in his salubrious flat! (Caveat 2: I haven't checked on a map to see if there are 3 equal points between each pub, and that's before we consider the different characteristics of different triangles, which, erm, I'll just leave well alone...)
Inside is a rather modern bar slightly out of place hiding behind a truly enormous beam leading its length. The right hand room (in so far as it can be described thus, in essence every internal wall has been taken out or at least knocked through ) is a room with slightly more traditional tables and a big fireplace. To the left is a long room leading to the extension which then curves down some steps to the toilets and a fire exit. Its quite chilly down here, and I sense this is the last part of the pub to fill up, unless some diners are after privacy. The decor is country pub with a modern twist, some a little contrived but a lot of the features are plain and understated which is a nice change. And unless this was a failing of my famous lack of eyesight, I didn't see shelves and sides cluttered with "rural" bric a brac either.
We sat on the right hand side and ordered food from a reasonably extensive menu, with quite a few pub staples but a few more interesting options (some of the vegetarian dishes looked interesting, although there weren't that many - and no tomato and basil penne pasta my veggie friends will be relieved to hear). The specials board was very good and all the choices appeared to be available. Me and Wee Fatha had pot roast brisket in Guinness gravy, which came with green beans, carrots, roast parsnip and mashed potato, Wee Keefy had medium rare fillet steak with chips and veg, Chala had gammon steak with local eggs, chips and veg.
The bar was stocked with 5 real ales, one of which, the Acorn Barnsley Bitter had run out. This left Greedy King Ruddles County, Greedy King something else, Brains Reverend James and Bradfield Farmers Blonde. WF was just back from Wales so surprisingly went for a half of the Rev James, Chala was on wine, and me and WK both had pints (several it turned out) of the Blonde. I think it was £2.65 a pint - quite a good price full stop, and more especially so in this part of the peak District.
Our Brisket was a tenner, WK's fillet was £16.00 but it looked like an £8.00 piece of steak to be honest, Chala's gammon was around the £11.00 or £12.00 mark. When the plates came (about a foot wide), it was clear that there was a very large serving of each, but better still it was also soon obvious that the food was very nice indeed. The pot brisket melted in the mouth and was set off by the Guinness sauce, and the veg were perfectly well done, al dente, but crucially, not cold or raw.
The gammon was the size of a large tea cosy and cooked to perfection, i.e tender but with a crispy edge, WK's fillet was cooked exactly as requested and, having tasted a bit, was packed with bags of flavour. In the end we were all too full to attempt a dessert (£4.85), but luckily me and WK had room for many pints of Bradfield. There was also a decent wine list.
When we had arrived about 19.30 there was only us in, which is not surprising on a lonely road on a cold Monday, but there were several groups of diners in when we left, filling half the pub, with quite a few staying there, so that seems like a good sign.
The beer was well kept and topped up without asking, and to be fair its a decent range for what is a pub with quite an emphasis on eating.
I would definitely consider going again for a meal or even just for a summertime pint.
*Caveat 3: I only took 3 photo's all night. I think this is perhaps obvious!