Tickled Trout Barlow Review

Tickled Trout Barlow Review

Tickled Trout Barlow Review

Babysitter booked and another night out in hope of some great food and wine. We had heard lots of positive things about the Tickled Trout Barlow so we were a little excited and expectant. So ourselves and our besties squeezed into a taxi, yes squeezed as it was a Ford Focus. Not to worry wine and food was to follow. As we entered the Tickled Trout Barlow it wasn’t overly busy and the place looked fresh clean and appealing. The first drink of the night, what would we have. I spotted a large selection of Gin’s (not for me I had a bad experience on it many years ago) for the good lady. So a Rhubarb Gin was ordered with added dehydrated rhubarb in the glass. (it was good but not that good). Tickled Trout Barlow Review.

Tickled Trout Barlow Bar

Of course us boys took a little longer to decided on what we would be drinking. We eventually decided on a bottle of Rioja as we were told we could add it to our table bill. Sorted, they dropped the bottle on the bar with 2 glasses, then I realised it was DIY and had to pour my own first glass. Hmm not overly impressed, the other good lady had a glass of Pinot Grigio. All set, shortly afterwards they approached and told us our table was ready. So we all grabbed our glasses (and the bottle) and set off to our table. We were sat right next to the specials board, result. It meant that we didn’t have to get up and try and remember what was on the specials board. They all looked fantastic so it was difficult to decided on what to have.

Tickled Trout Barlow Review

Tickled Trout Barlow Review  Starters

The ladies asked to see the wine list while we decided what we would start our culinary adventure with. For myself it was a split decision on the pigs cheek or the Cornish cod brandade. The choice for my good lady was simple, Squid one of her favourite ever dishes when done correctly.  Eventually I made the brave decision to go for the pigs cheek, Mrs W had the same and Mr W went for the Cornish Cod Brandade. Oh and we asked for the wine list Again when they came back to take our order.

Tickled trout Barlow review

The Cornish Cod Brandade was unlike any Brandade I had ever seen before, I think the chefs poetic license was on overdrive the day he named this dish.  Mr W was a little disappointed that the quails egg yolk was hard and it was barely warm. The wine list arrived and the ladies ordered a bottle of white.

Tickled Trout Review
Cornish Cod Brandade

The Squid, sorry Dusted Calamari came out in a quaint miniature deep fat fryer basket. Unfortunately it was quite greasy and the Tickled Trout Tartare well. The tartare, the usually sharp salty capers in tartare were virtually tasteless. I can only presume that they had made it some time the previous week and the flavour had diminished into nothing. The good lady was starving so we remained quite and ate on.  The waitress returned to the table to ask how the starters were, we said ok and we asked where the wine was.

tickled trout Barlow review
Dusted Calamari


Tickled Trout Barlow Review The Pigs Cheeks Tartlet

Well when the tartlet turned up I was a little, hmm surprised to the actual tartlet. Again I can only guess the poetic licences used, so it must have been a deconstructed tartlet. On the bottom was some crispy overcooked pastry, stuck to the plate with some celeriac glue. On top of that was some more celeriac puree, well thats what it said on the menu. The pigs cheek on top. It looked beautifully constructed dish, very small but nevertheless beautiful. The eating, well the plate wasn’t very warm and the food was just warm.

The puree was under seasoned, one of the reasons I ordered the pigs cheek is I love celeriac, especially my celeriac and turnip gratin. The pigs cheek, tender cooked well but, Arghhhhh just warm under seasoned and dam average. Wait a minute I looked up at the board and the price of the pigs cheek. Not average, it was very poor for the price. I don’t usually mention the price of food because I don’t mind paying for quality.

Tickled Trout Review
Pigs Cheek Tartlet

The Pigs Cheeks

Pigs cheeks is a cheap cut of meat that is becoming  fashionable again because of the great taste and tenderness. It can be a succulent tasty and a joy to eat if done correctly. However on this occasion the under seasoned pork cheek on tasteless celeriac puree on a burnt pastry disk was expensive. There must have been about 80p worth of pigs cheek that was going to cost me £8.50. What a mark up, banging profit for the Tickled Trout. On the positive the apple did taste nice and sharp. The other positive was that the ladies wine turned up after asking 3 times. It was a cheek to even dare call it a tartlet.

Tickled Trout Barlow Review Mains

Again it was a difficult choice for us all as they all sounded so tempting. Lamb, beef or Quail. I am a certified carnivore so I love my meat. My lovely lady went for the Sea Bass with a soy & honey dressing, mussels, and samphire I was nearly tempted. I did taste a sliver of the sea bass. It was meaty, tasty but if I was uber critical maybe slightly overcooked. The big down side was that it was just warm. Perhaps the presentation meant more to the people at Tickled Trout Barlow rather than serving hot food.

Tickled trout Barlow review
Sea Bass @ Tickled Trout

Mr & Mrs W had the Highfield House blade of beef, which did look rather nice. What I did not know at the time was that the beef dish was going to be right in front of me. The W’s said it tasted very nice but just warm enough to eat, the plates were just warm so that didn’t help. Yes and it took an age to actually get to the table. The boys had to ask for the bottle of wine again we had ordered earlier, Its always nice to have a glass of red with your main, especially if you are having red meat.

blade of beef Tickled trout Barlow review
Highfield House blade of beef @ The Tickled Trout Barlow

Tickled Trout Barlow Review The Lamb

Lamb, what a beautiful tender piece of meat and I was luck I was getting 2 different cuts of lamb. Cannon and shank, bring it on, more meat and it had to be better than the pigs cheek tartlet. How could it not be.

Tickled Trout Barlow Review The Lamb

Derbyshire late season lamb £17.95 sounds fantastic. So the plate arrived and it looked great. I could not wait to get stuck into the lamb, where to start the cannon or the shank or the veg. So me Mr carnivore went for the cannon of lamb, the first thing I noticed as I cut into the lamb was the effort it took. Yes it was overdone, slightly pink in the middle a little disappointing. No worries lets go for the shank, where is the shank and was this large white tower a fondant potato. No the large white tower was in fact a suet pudding filled with the lamb shank, brilliant. So I cut into the suet tower of lamb shank, tasted and the meat was delicious bit the suet.

The suet was undercooked, stodgy more like the texture of wallpaper paste. I do like e my food and quality food so I remained silent for while. I asked the better half if she would like to try some. She did so I gave her a little of the suet of shank and within 2 seconds she said the suet isn’t cooked. Mrs W was a little shocked as the experience so far had been a little flat.

tickled trout review of the lamb
Derbyshire late season lamb £17.95 Cannon, shank, celeriac

So it starts, the waitress pops over and asks about our mains. No there not great “the suet is undercooked” Mrs W. I added that the cannon was overcooked. So they take it away and ask what would I like. The same lamb dish please. Then she returns to tell me that the chef thinks the lamb is not over cooked and the suet is cooked. Well I have cooked in a pro kitchen, I have eaten in a lot of restaurants around the world and it appears that I am wrong. Oh and the next statement get better. She adds that the chef would not like to get the lamb wrong or me be wrong again. Could you pick something else, ok the Quail.

The Tickled Trout The Complications

So the quail ordered and the rest of the table carried on eating at my request. Shut the front door, the waitress returns stating the quail will take some time to cook. Mr W leaves the table and proceeds to the bar to talk to the manger. Of course if my main is going to take time I would be eating alone by the time mine arrived. So take the rest of the meals back and serve them at the same time. The waitress said that they could serve the beef within five minutes. So I said yes bring the beef and I convinced the rest of the crew to carry on eating their Luke warm food while I waited.

The Review of The Blade Of Beef

Blade of beef tickled trout review
24 hour Blade of Beef @ Tickled Trout Barlow

The blade of beef was the same temperature as all the food, just warm, not hot. So I tucked into the blade of beef, yes it fell apart with just pulling it with the fork. It had been cooked for a long time, rich, very rich in taste and the sauce that surrounded it was real good. The smoked field mushroom was an inspiration of taste adding flavour, yummy.

The garlic roasted  veg, well they must have forgot the garlic as it tasted of just lukewarm veg. The smoked cauliflower under the rich sauce was just a puree without flavour. Creamy mash potato own the side, can you remember Smash potatoes, well thats the only type of mashed potato that I could relate it to. Not nice at all, more like wallpaper paste, stodgy glupey. The nice rich beef would have benefited of something sharp in the dish to cut through the sweetness. At the end of the dish I was feeling full and a little overwhelmed. Address the balance of the dish and you have a winner.

Tickled Trout Barlow The Peace Offering

When they did bring my beef, the red wine eventually turned up. They offered us free deserts and coffees to make up for the shortcomings of the main. So we did, the ladies went for the tarte au tatin. The gents went for the cheeseboard and at £12 wasn’t cheap so obviously we were in for a treat. Coffee we had and the deserts came eventually, we were there for over 2 hours before the last course come out. The tarte au tatin was nice, not exceptional but nice with ice cream and clotted cream. The cheese board, seriously £12 I am glad that we didn’t pay for it at that price or it would have gone back for what we had.

review cheese board tickled trout
Chees Board @ The Tickled Trout Barlow


Five different cheeses and not much of each of them. A blue cheese, a rather strong goats cheese, I presume brie, along the lines of a stinking bishop. We wasn’t sure about the other cheese’s and they were not exactly to our particular palate’s. That wasn’t the problem, it was disgusting that there was a few pieces of celery, No apple , no grapes, no imagination with the accompaniment’s to a twelve pound chessboard. The chutney was well below average, the biscuits very hard, in fact I nearly cut the roof of my mouth on them. Where was the butter, biscuits and butter come on people this board costs a fortune. The only saving grace was the quince jam (I presume it was quince) as we were never told what was on there.

Tickled Trout Barlow Review The Final Word

Overall it was a very disappointing experience. The ambiance of the place was nice the staff seemed nice, maybe a little undertrained. The waiting time was horrendous, luckily we were with our besties and we can talk crap for hours. The delivery of food and wine took to long. Yes there was a private party upstairs but they should have planned to cater for a large party upstairs and not at the expense of poor service downstairs. I stated before that I never worry or mention the price of good food but it was expensive for very average food and service. Should we have a drink whilst we wait for the taxi. No not after seeing that the original single Gin nearly cost £9. Goodbye and unless there is a change of management or a guaranteed good chef we will not be going back there again.



Great places to eat in Chesterfield Bottle & Thyme  or if you want a Branded eating place there is always Frankie & Bennies