I wasn’t expecting Derby to have such a great range of restaurants, from local specialities to fine dining and from funky independents to quaint tearooms, but it turns out the city has a huge amount to offer, so much so that I had to undo my jeans when I drove home from my 3 day trip to the city, genuinely.
Here are a few of my suggestions for top places to eat for your next visit.
Coffee & light bites
- BEAR – 7 Iron Gate – BEAR actually serves a lot more than coffee, including seasonal food, cakes & pastries and cocktails & craft beer, but it’s the coffee that drew me in. All it’s coffee is sustainably sourced and their speciality coffees include the ‘Chemex’ and the ‘Aeropress’, whilst the more familiar French Press & iced lattes are also top notch. Whilst chatting to locals around town I was repeatedly told the cost of BEAR’s coffee machine, (pretty high!) but whatever they paid for it, with coffee that tasty, it was worth every penny.
BEAR – Coffee, Kitchen & Bar – Iron Gate, Derby – Bear Coffee Company
- Derby Pyclet Parlour – Market Hall – A ‘pyclet’, pronounced ‘pie-clet’ is like a large flatter crumpet, and Katie the owner told that it was originally considered to be a crumpet for the poor, as they couldn’t afford the metal mould to make the more common thicker crumpets. Pyclets are delicious and a Derby speciality, and clearly incredibly popular; on a day following bank holiday weekend when everywhere else was quite quiet, the Pyclet Parlour had a constant stream of people coming past to pick up their stash to take home, with others sitting in to eat. I opted for a sweet topping of banana, cream, honey & chocolate, but other delicious toppings include sun-dried tomato, chorizo & goats cheese, and stilton. All for a few pounds, and served with a smile!
- The Wonky Table – 32-33 Sadler Gate – The Wonky Table came highly recommended around town and is clearly a local favourite. It’s a small restaurant serving fresh, unique dishes as well as delicious cocktails, all in a funky environment with unusual decor. There are multi-coloured chandeliers with aeroplanes dangling down, old tills, and other vintage/quirky memorabilia dotted around. The staff are chatty and smiley and more than happy to recommend dishes. The food is tasty and imaginative, including a mini roast dinner for starter, tempura avocado, and a fantastic steak topped with a mini beef wellington.
- Masa – The Old Wesleyan Chapel – Masa is a fine dining restaurant & wine bar, and a favourite locally for those looking for somewhere special to dine or drink. It’s inside an old converted chapel, and the restaurant has kept many of the old pews as well as making use of the different tiers to create multi level dining, all with great views over the bar below.
They have been awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence for the last seven consecutive years and a listing in the Good Food Guide and this comes as no surprise as every dish is well thought out and uses the highest quality of ingredients. I particularly liked the pork served with black pudding and scallops, as well as the fantastic amuse-bouche of butternut squash veloute with local pesto. There’s an extensive list of wines as well as cocktail favourites and it was clearly a popular spot for special occasions for drinks as well as food.
Masa Restaurant | Fine dining in Derby
- Lisa Jean at Bennett’s Brasserie – Bennett’s Deparment Store, Irongate – Served in beautiful china, Lisa Jean’s offers a delightful afternoon tea in a relaxing environment with sweet and savoury treats guaranteed to fill you up. There’s a lovely selection of teas to choose from, with the opportunity to smell the different leaves before you make your choice. I opted for a mixed berry tea, and also tried the mint.
As well as classic favourites like smoked salmon sandwiches, they added little twists such as serving a ‘made in house’ lemon curd with the scones, and mini samosas alongside ‘stilton & sausage rolls’ in the savoury selection.
Welcome to Lisa Jean at Bennetts Brasserie | Irongate, Derby