COVER STORY

Unlocking the potential at the Keys

With a brand new refurbishment to look at and an exciting new menu to sample, our dining experts Allan & Kaye Burnett went off to view the new look at The Keys at Hoyland Common as well as sampling some of their amazing food. Here’s what they had to say….

Having undergone a recent renovation, The Keys at Hoyland Common is establishing itself as a high-quality fine dining restaurant, whilst maintaining its ever-popular place as a local drinking establishment.

The renovations have created a modern, warm and extremely welcoming atmosphere, with the addition of a newly styled bar area that is separate from the main eating area. This enables people to simply relax and enjoy a few drinks in a comfortable seating area, without encroaching on the dining space.

The new head chef, Peter, is putting his own flair on the food and is working hard to source the finest ingredients. His passion is clear to see, having worked in Michelin starred establishments in the past, and he is keen to bring fine-dining at an affordable price to this little corner of Barnsley.

Our recent visit was on a Sunday and we were looking forward to a delicious Sunday lunch – to say we weren’t disappointed is an understatement. Upon our arrival we were impressed with the improvements and overall appearance of the new, improved interior. The whole place had a friendly buzz about it, which is clearly communicated by the staff and shows their commitment to the business.

The head chef Peter came out to greet us and talk us through the new menu. The starters on the Sunday lunch menu range from the old favourite prawn cocktail, to a modern dish of mussels and chorizo. Of course, the main menu consists of the traditional Sunday lunch, with a choice of sirloin of beef, pork loin, chicken breast or a vegetarian nut roast. These are all accompanied by seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. In addition to this there is a great range of alternatives available – from Steak and Ale pie, to Fish and Chips – there’s something to suit everyone.

After an interesting and detailed chat with Peter about the menu choices, we opted for the traditional Sunday Roast – well, how could we not! We were also lucky enough to be able to sample a starter from the main Keys menu – Duck Wellington served with Pickled Carrot, and Carrot and Orange puree. To say

this dish was as pretty as a picture wouldn’t be doing it justice! The care and attention to detail was second to none, and the taste was equally as impressive! Our other starter is on both the main Keys menu and the Sunday lunch menu – Chicken Liver Pate topped with a Rhubarb Crumble (yes, you did read that right!) and Charred Bread. The combination of these ingredients was quite remarkable and the proportion of bread to pate was perfect! The pate was smooth and rich whilst the sharpness of the rhubarb complimented it perfectly.

For our main courses, I opted for the Sirloin of Beef whilst my other half decided he would like to try a little of each selection! Fair to say the beef was some of the most delicious I have ever tasted – served pink and so tender, it was plain to see that Peter had treated this meat with the same care and attention that he has for his job. The other meats were all delicious and the nut roast was surprisingly good – both of us would have quite happily had this as an alternative to the meat (well, maybe not the sirloin!). The accompanying vegetables and roasters were delicious and a gravy boat of delicious extra gravy was served alongside, which was a welcome addition to the crisp and fluffy Yorkshire Pudding.

After the amazing starters and delicious main courses, we thought we maybe wouldn’t manage dessert – but out popped Peter again and persuaded us to try ‘small’ tasting samples of a selection of his desserts! We weren’t disappointed! White Pannacotta with Strawberries, Lemon Meringue pie, Rhubarb and Ginger Parkin with Honey Ice-cream and a Strawberry Sorbet. Every single mouthful was heaven and we were so pleased that we had been ‘persuaded’ to try a sample of these mouth-watering desserts.

Prices are extremely reasonable for the quality and service of such delicious food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Starters range from £5 to £7.50, main courses start at £10, with Sunday lunch priced at £10.50, and desserts are around the £6 mark. The staff, who are professional and friendly, are all dressed in a smart, modern uniform which adds to the whole experience. They are efficient and polite and do their utmost to ensure your dining experience at The Keys is an enjoyable one. Fine dining at an affordable price!

Vegetarian and vegan menus are available on request and the Keys has disabled access.

It won’t be long before we are back at The Keys to sample more from this tempting menu!

To make a booking at the Keys then please call them on 01226 824437.