If you have to choose a restaurant to have A Relationship Talk, I can recommend no better destination than the Three Acres in Shelley. It’s quiet, discreet and the food is so good that the proprietors will be pleased to know the relationship is pretty much back on track. Granted, the waitress feels a little awkward taking order but she battles through with a winning smile and admirable efficiency.
On a July Sunday evening, the diners here are of a well-to-do Barbara Taylor-Bradford ilk with a subscription to Yorkshire Life and a job on Look North.
The Three Acres inn and restaurant is in an idyllic setting. Close to the M1 in the village of Shelley, it’s achingly rural, situated among rolling gentle countryside. There’s a slightly surreal element in the 1000-foot-tall Emley Moor digital transmitter dominating it but the surrounding villages are posh, pretty and nice.
Crammed full of sports memorabilia, stuffed animals, old books and trinkets, the pub is a treasure trove of artefacts old and new. A full account of the sinking of the Titanic sits alongside a framed picture of Chris Eubank, signed menus from Peter Sissons and Sharon Osborne and the establishment’s many awards (and there are plenty). Luckily everything is so cluttered and tastefully done that these items don’t seem in the slightest bit anomalous.
The restaurant itself is at the back of the pub (but dining is available in the bar) and is a far less chaotic affair. There are white tablecloths, sparkling silverware and elegantly folded napkins. The eclecticism is still there though, with myriad pictures on the classically decorated walls and dried flower arrangements.
On a July Sunday evening, the diners here are of a well-to-do Barbara Taylor-Bradford ilk with a subscription to Yorkshire Life and a job on Look North. It’s fairly busy at 7pm and – apart from ours –the conversation is one of overseas villa maintenance and university fees.
The menu – for a landlocked establishment – is very seafood-heavy and easy on the vegetarian options offering a mixture of classic French and hearty Yorkshire pub food. Starters range from mushroom soup to Yorkshire pudding and mains include lobster and seared calf’s liver. The wine list is good and a bottle of 'Three Acre' House Hock Medium White from Germany clocks in at £15.95 (per glass, £2.80).
For my starter I choose a seared fresh Cornish mackerel, crispy bacon, potato and horseradish croquette, tomato and gooseberry chutney (£7.95). The French call the gooseberry groseille maquereau or mackerel berry because it is the classic accompaniment for the fish and it certainly works well here. The croquette is very mustardy and, to be honest, could have sufficed as a whole meal it's so delicious.
My partner chooses chicken liver parfait (which he declares, “parfait” (yes maybe there’s good reason for the Relationship Talk), with rhubarb jelly, brioche and pickled cherries (£8.95).
As a main course, my dedicatedly Yorkshire companion chooses the steak, kidney and mushroom pie. He describes the pie crust as suety and thick and unlike the puff he often gets. My seared monkfish (£17.95) comes with Serrano ham, mussels, chickpea and chorizo and saffron rice and is good and firm.
I have never in my entire life considered using basil in a sweet setting but with my valrohnah chocolate mousse torte it works a right treat, so much so that I keep dipping different bits of the pudding (it also comes with griottine cherries (sour cherries soaked in kirsch)) in the sauce. My partner opts for the Heston Blumenthal option of scrunchy brown-bread ice-cream with brandy snap and rum and toffee sauce. The ice-cream is hearty, with big nutty chunks and honey-covered grainy bread.
Service at the Three Acres is efficient and polite. Our principal waitress is cheery and no-nonsense, despite being painfully aware that she is interrupting some sort of domestic.
We see a couple of other waiters through the course of the meal, an Eastern European girl who smells like Crabtree and Evelyn and a tall boy who mistakenly tries to deliver us some steaks, to my partner’s horror (who momentarily thinks he has to try EVERYTHING on the menu – bless). There’s no point lying, the prices here aren’t cheap, with the mains hovering between the £15 and £25 mark, but they are worth it.
|Breakdown:|| 8/10 Food |
|Address:|| Three Acres |
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