WHAT’S in a name ...?As we get more and more sophisticated in our tastes and as eating out becomes an increasingly popular pastime there is a lot of talk about various venues and menus and a lot of names bandied about.
Haute cuisine, fine dining, gastro pubs, bistro menus, we are spoilt for choice.
But do we really know the difference?
BBC TV Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, former greengrocer, costermonger and farmer, sums it all up quite simply: “It’s all about a good plate o’ food.” And when it comes to eateries – good value for money.
The new operators of The Dunkirk Inn, Denby Dale, the two Pauls – Clarke (the “gaffer”) and his business partner Higgins, are refreshingly candid in their assessment of their food service.
They serve up honest-to-goodness pub grub – and very tasty it is too. So good in fact that we called in for meals with them twice in the same week.
We first ventured in on a Monday lunchtime. It was wet and dank outside but we got the warmest of warm welcomes to cheer us up.
Andrea, the lady behind the bar was friendly and most helpful. She brought us the lunch menu, but we liked the sound of the ‘special’ Mexican Burgers, spicy bean concoctions served in a brown bread bun and, as a side dish, the biggest bowl of chips I have ever encountered.
There has been a recent dramatic breakthrough in the acquired art of chip-making. After the beer revolution and the fresh bread revolution comes the re-birth of the great British chip – and the homemade Dunkirk ‘fries’ are right up there with the best of them.
Initially we ordered two small portions, but were advised to share a larger bowl. We were however not prepared for the monster serving that appeared.
We ate our lunch heartily – two helpings of most generous proportions for around a tenner. Great value for money – and we didn’t need much for tea!
Suitably impressed, and after studying the evening menu and specials board, we decided to book in for four on the Friday.
A table had been reserved for us in the restaurant area and a young waitress brought the menus. ‘Gaffer’ Paul came over to say hello and talked us through the specials available that evening.
They were very busy. There was a large group of party-goers celebrating in the main bar and Fridays have become traditionally fish nights at the Dunkirk. These are proving popular, with the result that there was only one portion of haddock left and three servings of Pan Seared Scallops.
So we thought we’d help out and ordered all three helpings of the scallops, and as friend Barry liked the sound of the Spicy Italian Meatballs, served in a rich chilli, tomato and fresh basil sauce, everybody seemed happy.
The scallops were presented in large bowls with a creamy aromatic mushroom sauce. They were delicious, done to a treat and as we had by now discovered, the Dunkirk way is to make sure nobody goes home hungry.
The spicy meatballs also received the Sheffield seal of approval from visitor Barry – and it now goes with out saying, his portion too was of generous proportions.