We have been the present guardians of the Cricket Inn for nearly a decade now, it just made sense that Jim & Simon from the iconic, award-winning craft brewers at Thornbridge should team up with Sheffield cook Richard Smith and his restaurateur wife Victoria to realize a dream of creating that most quintessential of English things - a great pub. So with years of very diverse pub experience, we set about transforming the Cricket into what we believed it should be - a place of great inn-keeping traditions - a good welcome, warm, cosy, offering friendly service, a great pint, delicious wines, food of great taste, flavour & generosity, but most important of all making sure our guests leave happy, content and already waiting to return to us for a lovely and charming time.
Richard Smith has worked in kitchens in London, Wales, Jersey, the Peak District, Henley on Thames and Virginia, America - never shy of travelling to broaden his knowledge, with a huge diversity in the type of restaurants he worked in, including great dining pubs, decadent country house hotels, multi-million pound resorts and village cafés. This broad range of experience gave Richard a unique insight into the hospitality industry, learning about every section and role within a kitchen, but also the importance of sourcing artisan suppliers with a passion for quality and value.
After returning home from the acclaimed Keswick Estate in Virginia, Richard has spent the last twenty years building a diverse restaurant group, starting out behind the stove, and now being in the position of advising and developing the business.
Thornbridge beers were first brewed in early 2005 after the establishment of a 10 barrel brewery in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall.
The initial focus was on a range of cask beers that used traditional recipes but provided a modern twist through the use of a wide range of hops, malts and the innovation and passion of the brewing team. After winning a succession of awards (now over 350 national and international awards) a new, state of the art, brewery and bottling line was opened at Bakewell in September 2009 to meet with demand and increase the range of beers.
From the beginning Thornbridge knew that excellence and quality of process and product would be paramount to success and delighting drinkers. The adoption of the Innovation, Passion and Knowledge strap line for the brewery was a statement of the brewery’s culture about how they would approach their day to day business.
OUR AIMS FOR THE PUB
There’s no doubt that the Cricket Inn has an exceptional location, incredible warmth and a unique character - in fact it’s attributes are really quite endless. So with the food we decided to create something that everyone could really enjoy based on generous portions, local and seasonal ingredients and totally traceable products from brilliant suppliers.
The food of a great inn must offer a good choice of dishes, from the simple and hearty to the rich and refined, but above all it must be flavoursome, gutsy and tasty. We offer a full repertoire from our house menu including our own smoked delicacies, fantastic starters and stunning sharing boards, with daily changing blackboards for our seasonal specialities, as well as our pub classics and big hearty roasts, (not forgetting some really decadent puddings). Our food ethos is to try and offer something to our guests whatever they fancy at that given moment - for us a great menu is one with dishes that reflects what our guests love to eat and our chefs enjoy cooking.