***Update February 2018***
I went for a meal with my family in February and had a terrible experience from a gluten free point of view. Lack of understanding or care about gluten free food, although they do have items on the menu. I would treat this place with extreme caution. I have tried to get in touch with them to discuss but heard nothing back.
I’ve been to The Summerhouse near Dore and Totley train station before but not got round to reviewing it. Mostly because I’ve failed to take any photos of the food and I may have had a glass or two of wine. But we’ve been back a few times because it’s lovely and has a nice atmosphere, and plenty of gluten free food to try. Price-wise, it’s between £4 to £7 for a starter, and £11 to £20 for main courses.
On Saturday we took my parents and the kids for an early tea and a slightly early Father’s day meal. We booked at short notice and had to sit on a high table, but that was fine, apart from it being a bit tricky to push yourself in once you’re sitting down!
Food is marked on the menu with an asterisk if it is gluten free or can be made so, so it’s easy to see what’s on offer straight away.
We didn’t have to wait too long for our food to arrive, and while we waited, we tucked into some magnificent Chapel Down Bacchus English wine.
For starter, I had a chicken and pancetta terrine with fig chutney, which came with some toasted gluten free bread and a rocket garnish. Very nice -the terrine had a good texture and the toast was quite decent.
My mum had a rather fabulous starter, which was much more interesting than I was expecting: the trio of seafood shooters. These were really good. One was a little crayfish cocktail, I think there was a scallop, and the other was a mini portion of fish and chips, all served in shot glasses. We thought the mini fish and chips was a really novel idea.
Looking at the menu, they may change what’s in the shooters, but I think we’d definitely give that a try again.
My older boy (and this is going to sound very snobby, as he’s only 7) had mussels for a starter, which he loves, and gives me an opportunity to crack my hilarious lemon soup joke. Unfortunately, we weren’t advised of the current mussels recipe, which was that they were cooked in a spicy red thai curry broth!
He was quite heroic and managed to eat all the mussels except for the few that we pinched, but I was a bit shocked when I tried the sauce, as it was really quite spicy! Needless to say he left what remained of the sauce and he spent the next 10 minutes crunching ice cubes to cool his mouth down.
My main course was sea bream with slow cooked fennel, roasted cherry tomatoes and roasted potatoes. I thought it was lovely. Fennel is a rare treat as I’m the only one in the house who likes it.
The Summerhouse do have a children’s menu, which is pretty standard fayre. But I prefer to find a meal from the main menu and split it between them if there’s something they will both eat. I chose braised pork belly, which is served with a spare rib, a corn on the cob, chunky chips and some extremely crunchy crackling. The boys really enjoyed it, although small didn’t want to finish all the meat. This was a sizeable portion even split in half, and is also one of the gluten free options.
I did take a photo, but only when they were part way through eating (it’s an unfortunate theme of most of my photos of eating out). As it contained a well-chewed corn cob, I thought it probably didn’t deserve to be published!
I was looking forward to having the trio of desserts for pudding, which I have had once before when the chef found 3 gluten free options for me. (It is marked on the menu as being gluten free.) But unfortunately, they only had one gluten free mini dessert on the list this time, so that was a bit disappointing. Still, we more than made up for it by having a round of fabulous espresso martinis to finish off the meal. And they even made me a decaff version.
The boys did share the trio of desserts though, and loved them. We can’t end a family meal without them having chocolate all round their faces – it’s the sign of a good meal.
As we were leaving, the place was starting to fill up for the evening sittings, with a small crowd of people starting their evenings off at the bar with a cocktail. It looked like it was going to be a fun night.