The Wife and I visited the Three Horseshoes recently for an overnight stay, on a DB&B basis. Leek is a pleasant enough market town, despite being situated a bit too close to the bleak and unforgiving landscape of the High Peak.
Having made my booking through Late Rooms, I made a point of calling the hotel to secure a reservation in the restaurant (it was a bank holiday and I was a tad concerned that they might be too busy to seat us). I was duly notified that the restaurant was 'fully booked', and only succeeded in securing a table reservation due to stating that our entire booking would be in jeopardy in the event that we couldn't eat at the hotel (the Three Horseshoes is a couple of miles outside of Leek and the attendant inconvenience of ordering taxis was not a compelling prospect).
Upon our arrival at the hotel we were checked in expediently and directed towards a very pleasant and tastefully-furnished room with a bath so sizeable that Poseidon himself would sure have felt at home languishing in it.
When we ventured down to the restaurant at the allotted time, we were a bit taken aback to find it almost completely empty. The maitre d explained that they had several kitchen staff off sick, hence the fact that they were not taking table reservations. This struck me as odd given it was one of the busiest nights of the year thus far. Furthermore, I did not appreciate being lied to as they evidently weren't 'fully booked', this was a ruse to deter diners.
At this juncture I was fairly disgruntled, my disquiet amplified by the arrival of another couple who were in the same predicament as ourselves, but who hadn't tried to secure a restaurant booking prior to their arrival. They were turned away from the restaurant and informed that, due to staffing shortages, they could not be accommodated.
The guy was understandably upset at this, particular as he and his girlfriend were then directed to the nearby carvery. Nice romantic weekend that must have made for. I did note a Southern accent therefore deduced they must have travelled some way. I felt that the restaurant staff and by extension the hotel management handled this very badly, and if I had been the customer in question I would more than likely have erupted into apoplectic fury.
Our growing sense of unease was further enhanced by noises emanating from the kitchen, some disaffected soul sarcastically rendering 'O happy day', presumably in response to the staffing situation. As a paying customer I did not really want to hear this.
By dint of good fortune foregoing events were consigned to memory by virtue of the quality of the food. The Thai-themed starters were interesting, but the main courses proved the star of the show. My pork belly was gargantuan in nature and happily accompanied by other pork-based delights, including, but not limited to, some miscellaneous braised cut, as well as the obligatory black pudding.
The desserts were equally compelling, delighting and satiating in equal measure. The portion sizes were out of control and I could almost feel the onset of a hiatus hernia.
We missed breakfast the following morning due to oversleeping (The Wife was recovering from bronchitis and was up half the night in convulsions). In sum, I would definitely recommend the Three Horseshoes on account of the fact that the food was first rate. The niggles I earlier mentioned perhaps speak of bad management, but by the end of our evening we were in a state of pork belly and fillet steak induced reverie.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC