The clocks officially go back this weekend – which can only mean one thing… winter is around the corner. When it’s cold and chilly outside, my first instinct is to seek out comfort food. Hot pot, casserole, and a big old wodge of sticky toffee pudding are the dishes I would happily devour on a wintry evening.
The menu at Littleover Lodge has all the hallmarks of hearty fare, and is a place which feels warm and cosy upon entering. Just to clarify, that there are two adjacent eateries, but part of the same lodge hotel. Bentley’s Restaurant is the grown-up, fancier sister to the Lodge Bar, which is where I was dining.
The Lodge Bar has undergone a recent refurbishment which has seen the décor augment the building with a contemporary twist. I have previously dined at the Lodge Bar, so I can make an informed judgement call on the before versus after. The eatery has improved a hundred fold and it is now a lovely space. It also feels warm and welcoming, mainly due to the carvery station that feels volcano hot mid-service.
It’s a compact, reasonably priced menu that has something for everyone. The bar itself is quite small and can get quite busy, as food and drink orders are placed here. After ordering drinks and securing a table, we planted in the dining area.
I ordered the Herb Crusted Salmon Fillet (served with crushed garlic new potatoes, green beans, prawn and spinach sauce) whilst my partner had the Braised Beef (slow cooked with bacon, mushroom, silver skin onions, red wine thyme bourguignon sauce, parsnip mash, roasted vegetables, bacon crumb). My salmon was cooked perfectly and the soft, melt-in-your-mouth flakes were beautiful with a dollop of the creamy, earthy green sauce. My dining partner too liked his beef, saying that the thyme sauce was perfectly seasoned and the bacon crumb a salty, moreish revelation.
The portions are generous and my salmon also came with a side of seasonal vegetables. We were both quite full, but couldn’t decline dessert (it would be rude not to, so we wound up sharing). We had the Vanilla Cheesecake (with salted caramel sauce), which was light and not cloying on the palate. I prefer a baked cheesecake, but this chilled offering was perfectly decent.
What I love about the Littleover Lodge Bar is that they value the customer and service is always with a smile. We were served by the delightful Rueben and Karen, who are the epitome of perfect hosts. Karen has been with the company for over 10 years and every time she speaks to customer, it is as if she is greeting an old friend. It is this warm familiarity that fosters good feeling and makes you want to return to Littleover Lodge Bar time and time again. They also have a new chef who is doing great things with the menu. (Just a note – please keep the herb crusted salmon with the gorgeous velvety green sauce on the menu and I shall forever be your patron till the end of time.)
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I’d rather eat my own shoe, I hated it that much” – 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 8
Rate or Slate? Rate.
Diet Pepsi £2.00, San Miguel £3.95, Salmon Fillet £9.99, Braised Beef £10.99, Vanilla Cheesecake £4.50. Total £31.43
Address: The Littleover Lodge Hotel, 222 Rykneld Road, Littleover, Derby DE23 4AN
Tel: 01332 01332 510161 Website: www.littleoverlodge.co.uk