The Pack Horse
Overlooked by the beautiful Kinder Scout, The Pack Horse stands proud in the picturesque village of Hayfield and is a popular spot with ramblers and nature-lovers. The delightful setting is just one of the reasons that so many people enjoy visiting. This hidden gem is presided over by Luke Payne and Emma Daniels, who have managed to lend this gastropub a mixture of traditional charm and contemporary style. The spacious interior houses local artwork, inviting Chesterfield sofas, and log burners, creating a relaxed and cosy atmosphere that only enhanced our anticipation of the culinary delights to come.
Landlord and talented chef Luke showcases a real mastery of flavour, bringing together seasonal, sustainable ingredients to create a sumptuous menu. It is hard to believe that Luke is completely self-taught, as the dishes he produces are simply outstanding. Inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage philosophy, he has built a charming gastropub where he can showcase his unique style with no restrictions. A real emphasis is placed on ethical and sustainably sourced produce, and you can expect free-range meat reared to the highest welfare standards, alongside hand-dived scallops and sustainably caught seafood. I began with Isle of Wight tomatoes with burrata, croutons and garlic oil, while my companion tucked into the most perfect scallops. I followed with stone bass fillet accompanied by crispy kale, dill pickle, samphire and tartare sauce – a dish that tasted as delicious as it looked. My companion’s main course was met with equal delight. Native-breed sirloin steak served with beef fat potato, king oyster mushroom, divine buttery spinach and pickled shallots was soon devoured. For a final flourish, we finished with Bruce Farm strawberries with buckwheat bee pollen and Tunworth ice cream, and sea buckthorn posset with meringue, fennel biscotti and elderflower.
Local beer and cocktails provide the perfect pairing to complement the impressive bill of fare. Friendly service was coupled with a relaxed atmosphere, which ensured our entire experience was quite simply faultless. We left The Pack Horse singing its praises and determined to return.