Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Whitley Hall Hotel, Grenoside, Sheffield

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 September 2014 | UPDATED: 20:08 02 November 2015

Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Whitley Hall Hotel

Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Whitley Hall Hotel


Some venues are steeped in history while others have every modern convenience. Some are nestled in rural seclusion while others are within a heartbeat of the city. And some offer simple bar fare while others present diners with top-of-the-range a la carte cuisine. Not content with simply being some or other venue, Whitley Hall Hotel ticks each and every one of these boxes and more – even the one that specifies ‘growing family of resident peacocks’.

The birds who happily call this South Yorkshire gem home came out in force to welcome our guests, proudly showing off the latest additions to their expanding clan in all their fluffy glory. And while the usually bouffant feathers of the famously vain males were a little sparse due to their annual shedding, at least it meant our table decorations were given an extra dimension of colour with the addition of plumage complete with iridescent eyes.

Peacocks would simply be too much for most hotels, but they look right at home in the 16th century splendour of Whitley Hall. Nestled in a heavily-wooded valley, this stunning, ivy-clad Tudor mansion is the perfect place to escape day-to-day cares without travelling too far from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

‘You can walk in the footsteps of Mary Queen of Scots in the West Wing and admire the lake from your Juliet balcony in the Parker Wing,’ said Jade Ridley, business development manager at the hotel.

‘But you’re still only a few short miles from the heart of Sheffield and less than two from the M1.

Head Chef, Ian Spivey (seated) and his team; Sharon Walton,  Frazer Jarvis,  Lindsey Aukland,  Thomas Hodgkins and Peter StewartHead Chef, Ian Spivey (seated) and his team; Sharon Walton, Frazer Jarvis, Lindsey Aukland, Thomas Hodgkins and Peter Stewart

‘It might feel like you’re luxuriating in the middle of nowhere, taking time out to catch your breath while being soothed by the sights, sounds and scents of our countryside hideaway, but we’re actually just a quick hop from the city.

‘When people talk about ‘the best of both worlds’, they really are talking about Whitley Hall.’

After admiring the glorious 20-acre grounds, the fascinating 16th century architecture and the peacocks (both the fluffy and fully fledged varieties), it was time for the main event: lunch.

We began with a soft, creamy spiral of goats’ cheese, an ingredient that can sometimes prove a little too strident but which, in this case, was beautifully handled, its subtle piquancy off-set with a sweet and sour piperade salad.

Paddy the peacockPaddy the peacock

Next came a delicious, slow-cooked bar of belly pork from Moss Valley, a fourth generation farm on the Sheffield-Derbyshire border, a mound of savoury shredded celeriac and a chargrilled corn cob, which split the room when it came to cutting off the kernels or picking up the whole thing and attacking it with gusto.

Finally, our lucky guests were presented with a fabulously decadent celebration of chocolate in all its many and wonderful guises – brownie, mousse and, most intriguing of all, soil, which threw off the shackles of its rather unappealing name and won round the crowd with its undeniable deliciousness.

After a well-deserved round of applause for the kitchen brigade, wedding entertainer Looch stepped up to sing for his supper with a startling mind-reading act. How did he know that a random word chosen from a random book was eyeglass? Or that an old school friend conjured up in the mind of a guest who hadn’t seen, heard or spoken to them for 30 years was called Claire Pinder?

No one had a clue. But everyone did agree that it was a suitably mysterious end to a truly magical afternoon.

Whitley Hall staged a masterclass in cooking and hospitality – but Looch could probably have told us that before we’d even picked up our salad forks.

For further information about Whitley Hall Hotel in Elliott Lane, Grenoside, Sheffield, call 0114 245 4444 or visit whitleyhall.com.


Goats’ cheese roulade, salad piperade and red pepper gel

Slow-cooked belly of Moss Valley pork, chargrilled sweetcorn and celeriac remoulade

Chocolate brownie, milk and dark chocolate mousse and Nutella soil

Wine notes

Joseph Mellot Les Collinettes Sancerre: a stylish, crisp white with powerful fruit flavours and a delightful kick of gooseberries. This family-owned estate produces consistent, award-winning, quality Sancerre – and this is no exception.

Louis Jadot Fleurie: this mellow, elegant wine is floral as well as fruity with a silky texture that only adds to its finesse. Full of luscious crimson fruits, its subtle mix of freshness and acidity makes it the ideal partner for robust meats.

Errazuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc: the colour of spun gold, this smooth dessert wine emits the heady aromas of candied apricots and quince with subtle under-notes of white flowers and nuts. Unlike some dessert wines, it’s not overly sweet, packing just enough acidity to give it a persistently fresh finish.

Wine supplied by Matthew Clark. For more details, visit matthewclark.co.uk.

What’s on at Whitley Hall

The Great Escape – two-night stay, dinner, bed and breakfast on both nights plus a bottle of bubbly on the first night and house wine on the second. From £280 per room based on two people sharing.

Secret Sundays – bed and breakfast for only £20 when dinner is taken in the restaurant (based on two people sharing).

Let’s Do Lunch – three-course lunches, Monday to Saturday, for £15.95 per person. Join the loyalty scheme and you’ll get a stamp for every lunch or afternoon tea you take and, when you reach eight points, receive one lunch for free. (Double points in January, February and March.)

Murder Mystery Dinner, October 17th – a night to remember with a 1920s’ theme. From £35 per person or £135 per room for dinner, bed and breakfast (based on two people sharing).

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Break – afternoon tea on arrival, a five-course dinner for two, a glass of bubbly, carols, mince pies and a superior en-suite bedroom. Christmas Day brings a complimentary gift, an evening buffet, a bottle of sparkling wine and a full cooked breakfast. From £195 per person for two nights (based on two people sharing), with Christmas Day lunch available for an extra £105 per person.

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