Knowing The Drovers Inn’s reputation, it was with some optimism that myself and colleague Sarah headed to Memus to experience the restaurant’s steak night.
The first thing we noted was that although we had an early booking, just half-an-hour after service started, a couple of tables were already occupied when we arrived and more customers filtered in during the evening which, for a Tuesday at a country establishment, is a good sign.
And it was plain to see why a path was being beaten to The Drovers’ door. After much thought Sarah opted for a starter of butternut squash with potato gnocchi, sage and toasted walnuts while I ordered hot smoked salmon with garlic king prawns and toast.
Both extremely attractively presented, I was assured that the butternut squash included a pleasing variety of textures and flavours, the smoothness of the puree contrasting with the bite of the potatoes and the crunch of the walnuts. The hot smoked salmon was served as a mousse, with several plump, subtly-flavoured prawns complementing it perfectly, and the urge to order it again had to be fought.
We both opted for the steak to follow. Steak night features a different cut every week and on our visit it was rib eye which came with hand-cut chunky chips, Portobello mushroom, onion rings and tomatoes which, at just £10 (add £2 for blue cheese, whisky or peppercorn sauce), represented outstanding value for money.
I can be fussy when it comes to steak but, having ordered it medium rare, had absolutely no cause for complaint and we both felt they were the best we’ve had in a while. With just the right amount of seasoning, both were cooked to perfection and extremely tender; the onion rings were pleasingly crisp while the chips, although slightly chunkier than expected, were the ideal golden accompaniment.
After the first two courses, sampling the desserts had to be done and Sarah rounded off with a creamy creme brulee, berry compote and “delicious” home-made shortbread, while I had a not too rich yet satisfying chocolate torte with orange sorbet - an ideal combination.
Advance booking for steak night is essential, which isn’t at all surprising.