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The Old Vicarage, Ridgeway (near Sheffield)


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Has anyone been to the Old Vicarage recently? Thank God (for the slightly steep, compulsory £48 per head, "4 course" meal) the food was delightful, but the service....well, what on earth was going on?

At 8pm, we were initially seated in a comfortable, but perhaps slightly bland, country style lounge, just big enough for our party of six, for drinks and some pleasant but unremarkable snacks. Eyebrows were first raised when, during the ordering, a male member of our party, following his (female) partner’s lead, was cut off mid-flow and informed by the bossy, headmistress type maitre d’ that she would be taking the ladies’ orders first! Even if this is their modus operandi, surely professionalism would require her taking his order graciously and then returning her attention to the ladies’ heart’s desires? (It’s also worth noting that - much later - the dishes did not arrive at the table in any such order). At 9pm, we were still in the lounge. Around 9.30 we were, at last, taken to our table in an elegant, Georgian style, neutral toned dining room with painted panelling, stripped floorboards and a few more modern touches (but perhaps with a few too many - i.e. any - twigs in vases). Why on earth had we been sitting in that small lounge, that was in many ways a glorified corridor, for an hour and a half instead of this charming room? We naturally assumed this was to ensure we would be only shown to our table when our starters, or at least the a-b, was ready. But no, nothing appeared for about 20 minutes and when it did, it was only a small glass of (wonderful) gazpacho that must have only taken seconds to dish-up. Finally, two hours after arriving, our starters arrived….without a word of explanation or apology. Fortunately, my crab risotto was superb, that much I do remember. I also recall my desert: a chocolate sponge that struck me as perhaps a little ordinary. Better than this was an enticing selection of strawberry themed summer delights I also tried. However, unfortunately, as this was around six weeks ago, although I can remember every detail of the dreadful service, the details of whatever else I had to eat escape me. There were other more minor niggles such as ordering drinks that never arrived (again from the maitre d’) and not being able to find a waiter sometimes, but really….two hours!?

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Thanks for that, PM, and welcome to eGullet. (btw, everyone else should check out his posts on Catalonian restaurants (scroll down), they're well worth reading.)

Has Gary "Our Fella in the North" and occasional correspondent been?

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Going to Fischer's on Friday, might try this on the Thursday though! Especially as I'l be with my mum who loves doing the retired-headmistress 'what on earth is going on?' type scene--might be an interesting clash (god our family likes complaining).

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Has anyone been to the Old Vicarage recently? Thank God (for the slightly steep, compulsory £48 per head, "4 course" meal)

Slightly Steep!?!?!?! :shock: Those prices seem excessive to me for a Single starred resturant, even by London Standards, especially cosidering the lower overheads outside of London.

Being reprimanded/interrupted by the waiting staff wouldn't go down too well with me. Nothing worse than the wait staff thinking acting like they are doing you a favour or know more than you, even if they do. :hmmm:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Has Gary "Our Fella in the North" and  occasional correspondent been?

I doubt it, his piece of elastic doesn't stretch beyond Anthony's at the moment :raz:

Pranian man-I studied at Sheffield - so whilst I had read about the place I obviously couldn't afford to go. :biggrin: But the behaviour you describe is quite frankly - inexcusable and frankly the sort of thing that would never make me go back to place. What can possibly make these supercilious idiots think that customers want to spend their hard earned money and free-time being treated like that?

After all, there are basement clubs for that sort of thing aren't there gary ? :raz:

Edited by Bapi (log)
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Has anyone been to the Old Vicarage recently? Thank God (for the slightly steep, compulsory £48 per head, "4 course" meal)

Slightly Steep!?!?!?! :shock: Those prices seem excessive to me for a Single starred resturant, even by London Standards, especially cosidering the lower overheads outside of London.

Being reprimanded/interrupted by the waiting staff wouldn't go down too well with me. Nothing worse than the wait staff thinking acting like they are doing you a favour or know more than you, even if they do. :hmmm:

Has anyone been to the Old Vicarage recently? Thank God (for the slightly steep, compulsory £48 per head, "4 course" meal)

Slightly Steep!?!?!?! :shock: Those prices seem excessive to me for a Single starred resturant, even by London Standards, especially cosidering the lower overheads outside of London.

If only overheads were lower at this end of the country, we pay just as much if not more for ingredients, gas or electricity doesn't get cheaper the further north you go! Council tax of course will be less but the majority of overheads remain the same, I know i'm at the sharp end.

We charge a shocking £45 per head for 8 courses and we don't even have a star!

Kind Regards

JOHNNY :biggrin:

cooking is my passion
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Has Gary "Our Fella in the North" and occasional correspondent been?

not really my patch, 'south' yorkshire you see (i'm north) and i hate having to take my passport with me when i dine :wink:

on a slight tangent, one service error that drives me mad is, especially when entertaining clients, i'm doing the entertaining (literally, you should hear my routine), in the middle of a hugely funny anecdote (trust me on this one :biggrin: ) the waiter/ess walks straight up and interrupts, usually to discuss something vitally time sensitive such as 'still or sparkling?' :angry:

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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Has Gary "Our Fella in the North" and  occasional correspondent been?

I doubt it, his piece of elastic doesn't stretch beyond Anthony's at the moment :raz:

After all, there are basement clubs for that sort of thing aren't there gary ? :raz:

well my elastic stretches to no3 which is conveniently located next door to, a basement bar that, well, let's just say is of more interest to the men than the ladies shall we?*

unfortunately no longer open on friday afternoons, err, so i've been told.

gary

* although mrs marshall and her friend did go one (drunken) night cue, great comment from doormen when confronted with 2 couples rather than sad men/stag party. 'you do you this isn't a 'normal' nightclub don't you?'

you don't win friends with salad

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We charge a shocking £45 per head for 8 courses and we don't even have a star!

so what do we get with you for our £45 Johnny?!

where abouts are you in the north? (no worries if you want to remain anonymous :biggrin: )

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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well here is the current menu, our website is here, and we got a mention in last weeks observer on sunday.

Pay us a visit and at least we won't interupt you at a vital point! :raz:

To Start

Pan Seared Cornish Scallops

Aubergine Caviar, Caviar Cream



Summer Vegetable Broth

with Garlic, Herbs and Cheddar Cheese



Mushroom Carpaccio with

Oven Dried Tomatoes and a Parmesan Cheese Tuille



Thai Spiced Marinated Salmon Fillet

Vegetable Cous Cous and Gazpacho Dressing



Terrine of Pressed Pork Belly, Sage and Shallots

Cider Vinegar Dressing



Tea Smoked Chicken

Roast Pepper and Linguini Salad

Main Courses

Oven Roasted Corn Fed Chicken

Tomato and Smoked Bacon Risotto



Roast Cornish Cod Fillet

Parsley Pesto Mash, Mussel Sauce



Assiette of Cornish Seafood ‘en pappilotte’

Baked New Potatoes and Fennel



Fillet of Derbyshire Reared Beef

Shallots and Mushrooms, Horseradish and Truffle Butter



Breast of Gressingham Duck

Braised Chicory and Slow Cooked ‘Chips’



Baked Courgette Stuffed with Spiced Vegetables

Potato Dumplings and Halloumi Cheese

Puddings

Plum Tart Tatin

Vanilla Ice Cream



Riverside House “Chocolate Brownie”

Malted Milk Ice Cream



Trio of English Strawberry Desserts

‘Shortbread, Jelly and Mousse’



Roast Peach with

Hazelnut Semi Freddo

Savoury

Warm Apple and Stilton Crumble

Walnut Ice Cream

Cheese

Colsten Bassett Stilton

Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire

Godminster Cheddar

Epoisses de Bourgogne

Cashel Blue

Gaperon

cooking is my passion
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thanks for posting jonny. how lovely to see a savory on a menu. which ones do you serve?

at this point i should say something coruscating about gary's appearance so you know how to recognise him but having never met him, i've drawing a blank. bapi, can you describe gary so jonny can cower in the corner if he arrives?

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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we've been thinking about visiting the riverside house (jonnys place for anyone who hasnt followed the link) for a while, the menu looks interesting so maybe we'll give it a go, could be a cue for my first egullet write up.......

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If only overheads were lower at this end of the country, we pay just as much if not more for ingredients, gas or electricity doesn't get cheaper the further north you go! Council tax of course will be less but the majority of overheads remain the same, I know i'm at the sharp end.

We charge a shocking £45 per head for 8 courses and we don't even have a star!

Kind Regards

JOHNNY :biggrin:

But have you seen what London restaurants pay in rent! I appreciate that some things may be a little cheaper in London but wouldn't the property costs more than make up for it?

Incidentally £45 for 8 courses doesn't seem nearly as excessive as £45 for 4 courses - regardless of the star.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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yes i'll give you that, rent of course will be higher.

my point is it's not cheap anywhere these days, people seem to want to eat in beautiful places (riverside was over 1 million to buy) eat on antique tables using fine crockery, silver and crystal and only pay a fiver! after all were all in this business to make money! :biggrin:

and of course i would love all from egullet to come and sample our menu, not sure if i would like reading all the bad things that you may say :unsure:

Kind Regards

JOHNNY

cooking is my passion
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Johhny,

What background does your head chef have? How big is his brigade?

And what about yourself??

Sorry that its not exactly a follow on, but im just curious, or is it nosey?!!

I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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I'm the head chef, my last job was head chef at Overton Grange, my first head chef's position, before that i have work abroad, in germany,etc, also did a stint at St Pierre Park in Guernsey.

We have 5 in the brigade and will hopefully be expanding to 6 very soon!

The hotel itself was bought nearly 8 years ago by Penny Thornton (yes the chocoalte people). we are still investing and changing the property and we think we are nearly there, finally.

Kind Regards

JOHNNY

cooking is my passion
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So have you won a michelin star?

Anybody else recieved one??

I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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Johnny, your place certainly looks enticing on all accounts and I will try and make it there next time I’m around that way. The menu looks like just the sort that would attract me to a restaurant. What would you call it, a sort of modern British with a few exotic twists? I am however at a loss as to be able to imagine what the tea smoked chicken is like (so much so that I would almost certainly order it), or have I missed something – can you not move for chefs preparing this dish nowadays?

Anyway, at the risk of appearing pedantic, just so that we can clear this up once and for all, presumably your 8 courses includes a few snacks, an amuse-bouche, a pre-desert etc that are not listed on the menu? Also, does the cheese constitute a course in its own right (rather than as usually is irritatingly the case in this country, instead of a pudding) and are coffee and petit-fours also included in this price? If so, £45 seems eminently reasonable. I think there is one other thing that should also be taken into consideration: Bakewell is in a genuinely attractive part of the peak district where property prices are no doubt high and Ridgeway…well, it’s just not by any stretch of the imagination, despite the actual building being impressive. I referred to the “4 courses” at the Old Vicarage as such because it was really a glorified 3 courses with another 3 that don’t really count (and certainly wouldn’t be counted on a continental menu) of snacks, a-b and pre-desert. I think just another couple of small courses would move it closer to being value for money.

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thanks for the kind comments, yes 7 (opps i can't count courses on my own menu :unsure: ) courses are all the other bits too, but we do count them as courses as we take a lot of care and attention into making them and serving them, not just chucking out any old stuff on a plate and calling it a course. coffee is included at the moment we have 8 different coffee's on offer, most single estate ones, petit fours are also included, all homemade choc's, fruit pastiles, tarts, fudge etc.

As to the other question, no i didn't win a star i left about 6 months before claude got it, claude and i did work together for 3 months before i left and he took over, and i have to say he is the most impressive chef i have had the pleasure to work with.

Kind Regards

JOHNNY

cooking is my passion
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at this point i should say something coruscating about gary's appearance so you know how to recognise him but having never met him, i've drawing a blank. bapi, can you describe gary so jonny can cower in the corner if he arrives?

it's easy, just think brad pitt.

you know, two arms, legs, head etc :biggrin:

i have many unflattering pictures of bapi that i will post with pleasure!

looks a very pleasant place, wasn't there a thread bemoaning the lack of decent places in derbyshire? I'm sure it's Thom's neck of the woods we'll send him as an egullet envoy, with his 9month son as an extra challenge!

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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bapi, can you describe gary so jonny can cower in the corner if he arrives?

A puce Homer Simpson with hair. :biggrin::raz:

Aaah The Riverside- my friend went there many moons ago with his (then) soon to be ex. She demanded to go away and he really didn't want to be there, in fact they argued continuously and she wept most of the night. :shock: His comment on the night away was that he loved the place and the food just not who he was with !

I suspect that this was possibly before your time though Johhny. If you don’t mind me asking who did you work with at Overton Grange then? Was it with Claude Bosi or Wayne Vickerage or was it before their time?

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i started at Overton as sous under Adrian Jones ex Shaun Hill and Gary Roades.

I then got promoted to head chef and was soon joined by Claude, with whom i worked with for 3 months. I then left to come to the riverside and claude took over at overton.

Hope that helps

Kind Regards

JOHNNY

cooking is my passion
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Good grief, culinary excellence in Derbyshire; O frabjous day!

I did indeed bemoan the lack of decent places to eat around North (specificly) Derbyshire. As a returned Glossopite the only decent places are Thyme (over the tops into Sheffield), Rems in Chapel-en-le-Frith (Ex-Ivy/Juniper chef, just closed down) Apart from that it was into Manchester for decent places.

I must say I find it staggering that in a beautiful, touristy, relatively affluent (Glossop has the fastest-growing affluent population in the UK don't you know...) part of the country decent eateries are so thin on the ground. I have been meaning to try Fishers (at Baslow) but have heard some mixed reports.

Anyway, Johnny, your place looks very nice indeed. I will have to put Bakewell on my 'to do' list. I'm on a roll at the minute, having tried Anthony's this week, with the Merchant House due (again) on Saturday and a trip to L'Enclume in the next fortnight (it's only 1 1/2 hours drive door-to-door - hurray for the M6).

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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