Get a taste of Derby

Derby has become a delicious destination: somewhere fresh to visit for a day out, an overnight stay, or a weekend break – while grazing on some fantastic food.

Something like £2.2-billion has been ploughed into the transformation of the city, which has given the place a genuine buzz.  Hipsters here brush shoulders with shoppers, along the nation’s “2016 High Street of the Year”.

And pubs, clubs, boutique hotels, and a multi-million pound Arts Centre, Derby QUAD, have all popped-up in recent times in a city which already boasted a couple of excellent theatres, and the largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings in the world.

At the same time, several bright-eyed and bushy-tailed restaurateurs, bar owners, gin joints and café owners have now been inspired to turn their gastronomic visions and food-and-drink philosophies into reality right here – in Derby.

The Pyclet Parlour is as good a reason as any for being tempted into the city’s colourful Indoor Market.  The Parlour has not only resurrected and reinvented one of Derbyshire’s greatest food traditions, but has also introduced a little bit of food theatre in the traditional market.

Flat crumpets, made with milk from a local dairy, and baked on griddles, the pyclets can be bought to take home, or else garnished on the spot with the most mouthwatering choice of toppings: smoked salmon and horseradish cream; stilton, honey and walnuts; and goats cheese, Chorizo and sweet red peppers.

Elsewhere, The Exeter Arms is one of the highlights of a world-renowned Real Ale Trail described by Lonely Planet magazine as one of the world’s top experiences.  Owned by former AntiPasti punk rock band member Martin Roper, it offers its guests (amongst other mouth-watering choices) a full “British Tapas Board” alongside its carefully kept rack of real ales.

Call it retro.  Call it what you like – but when it’s all set against the traditional backdrop of an authentic Victorian pub, and prepared by someone as passionate as Martin, then it also deserves to be called “special”.

Less than 5 minutes walk away, in the Cathedral Quarter, another slumbering giant is being brought back to life.  Having shut up shop several years ago, The Old Bell in Sadler Gate has now come under the control of Paul Hurst, who is breathing new life into one of the most historic properties in the city.  The latest fine dining experience on offer here are the steak rooms which combine to make-up The Belfry steakhouse.

A former coaching inn, it’s also globally renowned for having one of the most haunted rooms anywhere on the planet.  Like the rest of this Grade II listed property, the attic is currently being renovated, and – once that is ready – will be ready to host guests who don’t mind sharing their room with an odd spirit (or two!).

And if takeaway is your thing, Himalayan Gurkha has recently been named in the HungryHouse Top 10 list of the nation’s Most Loved Top Takeaways for 2017.

Waiting in the wings to be added to these are The Post House Derby which has taken residence in the old Post Office and will open as funky indoor street food market this May, featuring eight independents under one roof; nearby White Peak Distillery in Ambergate which will launch its own brand of gin this May, and its own whisky in five year’s time; and a Jacobean themed micro-pub called The Rebellion Ale House, marking the southernmost point Bonnie Price Charlie reached on his tour of England.

Two other recent additions to Derby’s sizzling foodie scene include The Kedleston Country House just 10 minutes drive from the city centre, and The Brooklyn Social at the very heart of the city’s throbbing nightlife.

Add to these a high tea experience in Lisa Jean’s Bennetts Brasserie, the Prosecco Parlour, Rowley’s Gin Bar, and the mixologist in the boutique city centre Cathedral Quarter Hotel Cathedral Quarter Hotel and you’ll get a flavour of a city that’s rapidly becoming the newest addition to the county’s gastronomic tour of Britain.

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