The Devonshire Cat

December 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | Leave a comment
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Back in the day, the Devonshire Cat used to be my go-to place for pre-Corporation drinks – because if you’re going to spend 30 minutes queued up in the cold, then you need something to keep you going!

Despite this, I’d never actually eaten at the Devonshire Cat before, so when I heard that they’d just finished refurbing the Wellington Street venue, I was excited to see how the new-look Devonshire Cat compared to my (slightly fuzzy) pre-Corp memories. Plus, they’d just launched a brand new menu, and I’m always up for checking out a new menu!

The newly-renovated Devonshire Cat feels much lighter and more open than before, which is a welcome change, because the Dev Cat was always nice, but it did used to feel a bit on the dark side.

devonshire-cat

Turns out, the Devonshire Cat’s new menu is perfect for this time of year, as it’s packed with comfort food and seasonal favourites. And since the Dev Cat is best known for its huge range of bottled beers and real ales, it’s great to see them continue this theme across their food, with a menu that features plenty of booze-infused treats including mussels in wheat beer broth, chicken thighs roasted in Heathen pale ale, and Absolution battered cod.

I kicked off my three course meal with something suitably wintry: a warm salad of red cabbage, beetroot, apple and goat’s cheese (£4.75).

dev-cat-red-warm-salad

For the price, this is a generous portion, and the goat’s cheese gives this salad an indulgent feel (if only this could be said of all salads!) The beetroot was fresh, rather than pickled, which means this salad has a really unique, woody flavour that contrasts nicely with the rich, creamy goat’s cheese. This is a great vegetarian starter!

Meanwhile, my friend had opted for the honey and ginger chicken wings, which were served with homemade ketchup (£5.50).

dev-cat-chicken-wings

The homemade ketchup was packed with flavour and had a nice kick to it. The chicken wings did have a hint of ginger and honey to them, but my friend did say they’d have preferred these wings to pack more of a punch when it came to the ginger and honey.

Onto the mains, and surely I can’t be the only one who’s fed up of seeing the same 2-3 vegetarian options on every pub menu? There’s only so many times you can order a veggie wellington, mac and cheese, veggie burger or vegetarian lasagna, before you start craving something a bit more exciting – or at least something different!

So I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Devonshire Cat have clearly put as much thought into their vegetarian meals, as they have the rest of their menu.

In the end, I wound up ordering the roast chestnuts and wild mushroom cottage pie, which came with braised red cabbage and green beans (£8.95). This might just be one of the tastiest-sounding vegetarian meals I’ve ever seen on a pub menu!

dev-cat-chestnut-and-mushroom-cottage-pie

Chestnuts are my all-time favourite Christmas treat anyway, to the point where I actually named my childhood hamster after them (RIP Chestnut). As it turns out, the only thing better than roast chestnuts, are chestnuts and wild mushrooms smothered in mashed potatoes. If you’re craving something to warm you up on a cold day, then this is it!

Despite almost being swayed by the Devonshire Cat’s Sunday roast, when it came to their main course my dining companion wound up ordering the Absolution-battered cod, double-cooked chips, mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce (£9.95).

This is an enormous plate of food!

dev-cat-fish-and-chips

The fish was perfectly cooked so it practically fell apart, and the homemade tartar sauce was every bit as good as the homemade ketchup – clearly the Devonshire Cat know to knock up a cracking sauce!

The only slight disappointment were the mushy peas, which had somehow managed to set – these were mushy peas that were seriously missing the “mushy!”

But, non-mushy peas aside, this is huge, tasty meal that’s guaranteed to please the fish and chips fan in your life.

Finally it was time to check out the dessert menu, and although I don’t have much of a sweet tooth one thing on the menu did catch my eye – the rice pudding!

This is a proper oldschool dessert that you don’t often see on menus, plus it was absolutely freezing outside, and what better way to warm up than stuffing yourself with some piping hot rice pudding? So even though I had serious doubts about whether I had any room for dessert, I ended up ordering what our waiter later confirmed was the biggest, stodgiest pudding on the menu. Whoops!

The Devonshire Cat’s rice pudding is served with homemade plum and honey jam, topped with honeycomb pieces (£4.50). According to the menu, all the honey is supplied by the Sheffield Honey Company – it’s always great to see pubs and restaurants sourcing ingredients locally!

Let’s just get one thing out of the way first – I love rice pudding, but there’s no denying that it looks like frogspawn, so even with the best will in the world, this is never going to be the most photogenic of puddings!

dev-cat-rice-pudding

But, photography woes aside, the Devonshire Cat’s rice pudding tastes fantastic. I particularly loved the plum and honey jam, which struck a perfect balance between sweet and tart. My only complaint is that there just wasn’t enough jam for such a huge portion of rice pudding – I wanted more!

When I’d first spotted rice pudding on the menu, I’d been particularly excited at the prospect of trying honeycomb – in my head I’d been picturing those big chunks of straight-from-the-beehive honeycomb that you sometimes see suspended in jars of posh honey. Turns out I was on completely the wrong track, as the honeycomb that arrived was more like honeycomb toffee. As someone who has more than their fair share of fillings, chewing my way through this incredibly tough, sticky honeycomb was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience, but it was tasty enough to risk losing a filling or two!  

Rice pudding is pretty stodgy to begin with, and this is a massive portion, so just a friendly warning: only order this if you’re seriously hungry!

My friend had opted for something equally seasonal: pumpkin pie with pistachio brittle, homemade marshmallows, and Bradwells vanilla ice cream (£4.75).

Unlike my rice pudding, this dessert definitely had the ‘wow’ factor!

dev-cat-pumpkin-pie

Not only did this pie look great, but the pastry was light and crumbly, and the pumpkin filling had a lovely velvety texture, making this a winning dessert.

All in all, I love the Devonshire Cat’s new menu, particularly since they’re not content to serve the usual staples; even putting their own spin on all-time pub grub classics like fish and chips (which the Devonshire Cat serve in Absolution batter).  

This is also a very seasonal menu that’s perfect for the colder months, so if you do find yourself in the city center on a cold day (perhaps you’re doing some panic-stricken, last minute Christmas shopping?) then I’d definitely recommend making the whole experience less painful by treating yourself to some warming food at the Devonshire Cat.

four-stars

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