Gourmet review: Elm Tree at Elmton is a traditional pub treat

The Elm Tree is no stranger to winning awards having been voted Derbyshire’s Pub of the Year in 2011 along with a host of other accolades.

NDET 11-6-12 BWJ 1 Mystery Diner Elm Tree, Elmton.
NDET 11-6-12 BWJ 1 Mystery Diner Elm Tree, Elmton.

When I found out that the Elmton pub had once again been nominated for the Traditional Pub of the Year title in the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards, I thought it was time to find out what all the fuss was about.

And the venue certainly fits the bill of a traditional country pub when you arrive in the tranquil village of Elmton. The Elm Tree is located on the main road through the village, near Creswell, and is a beautiful old building with ivy on the walls.

There was a warm glow from the traditional lights inside the pub when I pulled off the road on a weekday recently.

Inside the pub was as cosy as expected and after ordering a Coca Cola at the bar I was shown through to a table in the restaurant section of the pub by the friendly and efficient waitress.

For those not driving, the pub has an excellent selection of beers and guest ales as well as all the other wines and spirits you would expect to find.

The Elm Tree prides itself on using locally sourced produce and this is clear from just a quick glance at the menu.

Among the main courses are the Derbyshire sirloin steak and the Derbyshire fillet steak, which are both aged for 31 days.

The award-winning steak burger is also sourced from Derbyshire and other items on the main menu include beer battered haddock and chips, liver and bacon with mashed potato, red onion and thyme gravy and the pork chop with leek and bacon potato croquette, apple fritters and Rosie’s pig cider gravy.

In was tempted by all of these but in the end decided to see why the burger was so raved about and chose this as my main course.

There was also an excellent range of starters, including soup of today with fresh homemade bread, garlic mushrooms on toasted fresh bread with truffle oil and prawn cocktail with cucumber salad, lemon wedge and Mary Rose sauce.

I opted for the smoked salmon and lime fishcakes with sliced smoked salmon, lime mayonnaise, lemon and capers.

The fishcakes promptly arrived and were served on a piece of slate.

The lime mayonnaise complemented the smoked salmon beautifully and the fishcakes melted in the mouth.

My only minor criticism was the slate it was served on, which although it looked nice made me wince every time it made contact with my knife or fork.

Fortunately there was no such problem with my main course, which arrived on a block of wood - whatever happened to plates?

The steak burger was excellently presented and served with pub ketchup, onion rings, dressed salad and hand cut chips.

The chips were thick but surprisingly crispy and delicious. At first I didn’t think there were enough of them but I was soon full.

The salad bowl complemented the rest of the meal nicely and the quality of the burger was superb, being juicy but not at all greasy.

The bread bun was also just right with the flour sprinkled on top complementing the juiciness of the burger.

I was far too full to even attempt something from the dessert menu but there are plenty of tempting options for those with a sweet tooth.

The final bill came to just above £20, so quite pricey for a pub meal but well worth it for a splurge.