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Bakewell, Derbyshire
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Kicking Off Our Short Break With Lunch At The Woodyard In Bakewell

Published On Thursday 21 Dec 2023 by Sticky Beak
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For as long as I can remember, His Nibs and I have always kicked our holidays and short breaks off with breakfast or lunch out; it gets us in the spirit every time, and kind of defines leaving normal domesticity behind. When Fledge was old enough to ‘get’ what it was about, we brought her into the tradition, too, though her choice of tucker was usually a McMuffin (bleurgh!).

This year, study schedules meant that it was just Me + Him for lunch, so we headed over to The Wood Yard in Bakewell; we haven’t been here before, but Fledge and her beau have been, and heartily recommended it. The Wood Yard is tucked away from the main town centre (though is conveniently located a matter of metres away from a car park), and has a rather nifty riverside beer garden that, had it been warmer, we would’ve happily sat in. As it was, we headed inside the gorgeous stone building (originally a Marble works) to escape from the chill, and walked into a beautiful festive wonderland!

I was immediately taken by the exposed beam, high-pitched ceiling and its skylights; paired with the large sash windows, there was plenty of natural light coming into the venue. The pale tiles on the floor are lifted by rich Maroon and Plum tones on the seating, and they contrast superbly with the dark wooden tables. There were already plenty of diners in when we arrived (and even more came whilst we were there), including family groups with smaller children; high chairs are available if needed, just ask. Dogs are also welcome in a specified area of The Wood Yard: the team just ask that you let them know of this at the time you make your booking, as tables are limited.

As well as daily specials – ask your server for more details – there is an extensive menu, with something for everyone on it. We were looked after by Jack, who soon got us sorted with a Latte (£3.50, from Cafeology) and a pint of Moretti (£6.20), before giving us a few minutes to see what we fancied to eat. I should just mention the drinks menu too; there’s a fab range of beers, ciders, wines and spirits to choose from… 10 pages-worth, actually!

The Wood Yard do their own, fresh, stone-baked Pizzas and I spotted the Festive version (£15), complete with Turkey, Bacon, Pigs-in-Blankets, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, and Tomato Sauce – that was me sold! His Nibs plumped for the Pulled Pork Burger (£18): a Beef Patty topped with slow-cooked, BBQ Pulled Pork, Smoked Bacon, Emmental Cheese, and BBQ sauce, that comes crowned with Onion Rings and a pot of Pickles.

When our food came out, which wasn’t long, it was lovely and hot - and plentiful, which always puts me in a good mood. After an unfortunate incident in Nottingham, I was very pleased to see a pizza wheel nestled at the side of my colourful Festive morsel: no struggling to tackle my meal here! The base was thin and crispy, with a lovely flavour to it and there was certainly no shortage of toppings, so I cracked on and tucked in.

I’m a bit funny when it comes to Sausage as you know, and order my pigs in blankets from my local butcher (Percy Dawes in Alfreton) as I know their ones don’t repeat on me, so I’m very pleased and relieved to tell you that the ones on this pizza are super-scrummy. Moist shreds of Turkey breast meat were delicious and my imagination had them becoming flakes of glistening snow on the ground…maybe my weather-forecasting skills were trying to tell me about the conditions 48hours into the future? The stuffing wasn’t too strong, so it harmonised nicely with the mild poultry and the tangy Cranberry sauce that were plentiful on the pizza base. My palate loved the intensity of the Tomato sauce, and it went surprisingly well with the other elements, as did the melted Mozzarella. Sometimes ‘festive’ dishes can be a bit under-whelming, but this little beauty delivered on all fronts, happily. There was a delightful presentational touch, too: a sprig of fresh Red Currants sat proudly in the centre of my pizza, adding a zhuzh of festive cheer.

Whilst I’d been munching away, my keen ears had picked up the wondrous sound of a cocktail shaker being put through its paces! When Jack came to check we were enjoying our meal, I took the opportunity to order a rather cheeky-sounding ‘Bakewell Sour’ (£8.50). As our designated driver, The Man had to content himself with his single pint - which had slipped down easily! - so he ordered a black coffee.

The Man is no stranger when it comes to burgers and is well-versed in the art of wrestling whoppers (keep it clean, please!), but his eyes goggled when he saw the size of The Wood Yard’s Pulled Burger behemoth! Credit where it’s due, he did make a strong start and squashed the morsel down as much as he could without contents spurting everywhere. In the end, though, he had to bow to its mightiness and resort to the use of cutlery to deal with some of the burger. First off, he got the pair of large Onion Rings out of the way, smiling at the audible crunch they gave as he bit into them. I got handed the slice of fresh Tomato from between the bun, as well as the pot of Pickles: no complaints here, I love them both.

You can’t beat a super-juicy Beef patty and the one here was absolutely sublime and moreishly flavoursome, especially when partnered with a large blanket of tender, BBQ-pimped Pulled Pork. His Nibs’ palate was working overtime, processing all the magnificence that was blitzing all over it! The crisped Bacon added a superb smoky hint at the periphery, and the buttery taste of Emmental cheese provided a luxurious layer as its melted texture cosseted the tongue.

I nearly forgot to mention the fries that come with the burgers as standard! Whilst they don’t warrant the superlatives that the burger did, they were absolutely delicious and subtly seasoned.  Keeping their skins on ramps up the fibre content of these minxes, as well as increasing their inherent flavour. They weren’t at all greasy and there was a good-sized portion of them, housed in a little metal pot to keep them warm. Nice.

Had we not already been booked in for an evening meal later that day at Shalimar Indian Restaurant in Darley Dale, both of us could’ve been tempted to a pudding. Yes, I know that holiday calories don’t count but we wanted some water to remain in the Hot Tub when we got to our villa and wallowed in it!!

Jack and his colleagues had taken great care of us from start-to-finish at The Wood Yard, and we both said that we’d happily go back. Hot Wings awarded to this excellent Bakewell eaterie, without hesitation.

To book your table, which I would do anyway, but definitely if you want to bring your fur-baby along, ring 01629 690140 and visit the website www.thewoodyardbakewell.com for the latest menu details and opening times.

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