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Dining Out

Each month we review the best restaurants in the midlands. Click below to read our reports and to add comments yourself.

Dining out in Derbyshire

Restaurant Review – Anoki, Derby

Walking along the leafy, broad street leading out of the centre of Derby, the innocuous stone frontage of Anoki belies the drama of the restaurant which lies behind. Straight in through the entrance and we were greeted with a warm welcome as the waiter asked if we would like pre-diner drinks, or to be shown […]

Restaurant Review – The Old Poet’s Corner, Ashover

Ears pricked up in the office when they heard that this months dining out was at The Old Poets Corner in Ashover. So Jane was well and truly out of the frame, as Alistair, Scott and I pushed our way in to dine there. Since Kim Beresford took over the  ‘Red Lion’  in Ashover 14 […]

Restaurant Review – The Bay Tree at Melbourne

Melbourne, just south of Derby, is an elegant, historically rich, town; the narrow streets that slow the traffic down to a steady pace makes wandering around the sites and the many independent retailers, a pleasurable experience, as was the short walk from the free car park to the centre of town; where, on the corner […]

Restaurant Review – The Thorn Tree

Memory and the passage of time can play wicked tricks. Many months ago, when the prospect of balmy sunny days to come was heralded by a warm day in April, I bravely suggested that we – myself, Susan and our dachshund –  spend a day by the sea in my old holiday haunt of Mablethorpe. […]

Restaurant Review – New Bath Hotel, Matlock

Built around 1745, the Grade 2 listed New Bath Hotel stands proudly overlooking the Derwent Gorge and on to the Tor in Matlock Bath, it has been welcoming visitors for well over 250 years. Situated on the edge of Matlock Bath makes the New Bath Hotel an ideal place from which to walk into town […]

The High Peak Bookstore

“Can I come?” I would ask when my Dad announced he was going to ‘Foggy’ Bagshaws to pick up a part for his car. Moving forward half a century, it’s quite a bizarre feeling to be sitting in the High Peak Bookstore (formerly Bagshaws Garage) at Brierlow Bar on the Ashbourne to Buxton Road talking […]

Restaurant Review – The Sanam Tandoori Restaurant

Cooking in a traditional way has always been the ethos at the Sanam, and they are immensely proud that their quality food has maintained a fine reputation in the area whether it be ‘dining in or takeaway’. The Sanam offers a mouth-watering tasty menu of food so whilst enjoying your pre-dinner drink it is good […]

Dining Out at Viva Restaurant

Matlock is known for its great walks and heritage; it also has good facilities for shopping, leisure and recreation including the lovely Hall Leys Park. The skyline of Matlock is famously dominated by Riber Castle, gracefully overlooking the town. We are privileged to live on the outskirts of this beautiful town and one evening we […]

Dining Out Lumb Farm

I can remember back in 1978, sitting in my car, listening to the radio and the latest captivating episode of the BBC comedy The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I never missed one of them. A couple of years later, looking for reading material to keep me occupied through a long flight […]

The Blacksmith’s Loft

A traditional Sunday lunch is still a firm favourite with me. What could be better than roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, fresh vegetables and a boat of gravy all accompanied by a glass of red wine? So when Victoria, a Director from The Blacksmiths Loft, Blacksmiths Yard, Sadler Gate, Derby invited us to try their new […]

Dining at Jeera

It was a cold, dark, Thursday evening in the middle of January. The forecast was for it to get colder with possibly a heavy snowfall. The worst of the winter was yet to come. So, we decided it was time for a spicy evening out to banish the winter blues. We headed to Codnor Market […]

The Horse & Jockey

Back in the mid 1960s the Sunday afternoon picnic was something to look forward to. Family and food packed into the Morris Oxford and my father at the wheel conducting us on his own, very special, mystery tour. It could be to Clumber Park and long walks through the woods or to Dovedale; over the […]

Lunch at Lisa Jean at Bennetts Brasserie

The day hadn’t started very well. One of those tiny warning lights had illuminated on the dashboard of the car and, although I thought I was good at solving cryptic crosswords, this combination of hieroglyphics and abbreviations had me foxed. It required an excursion to Derby for a diagnosis. It wasn’t good news. It could […]

Kedleston Country House Boutique Hotel

Stepping over the threshold at The Kedleston Country House Boutique Hotel I realised that the last time I had been here was with work colleagues, some sadly no longer with us, for happy hour in 1989. In honesty I didn’t recognise the place as so much has been done to make this a truly splendid […]

Dining Out at The Sanam

Cooking in a traditional Bangladeshi way has always been the ethos at the Sanam, on King Street Alfreton.  Their philosophy of providing quality food at a fair price has stood the test of time and they are immensely proud of their track record.  The Sanam offers a mouth-watering tasty menu. Whilst enjoying our popadoms and […]

Blacksmith’s Loft

An embarrassingly long time ago I worked in an office on Iron Gate, Derby. Myself and my colleagues never appreciated the grandeur of this elegant street; with its subtle curve that leads the eye from the Market Place towards the Cathedral and the pleasing proportions of the Georgian facades. We simply hated the fact that […]

Dining at Railway Tearooms

Having ventured out on the weekly supermarket shop early Saturday morning and completed the ordeal, we decided that we deserved a (rare) treat; perhaps a trip out to a tearoom would be just what we both needed to start the weekend off properly. With this mission in mind, my partner and myself were fortunate to […]

Dining at Izaak Walton Hotel

I’ve just finished reading C.S. Quinn’s, historical novels centered around her resourceful character Charlie Tuesday. Both stories are set in London in the mid-17th Century; a turbulent time. The English Civil War had lasted 9 years (1642 – 1651). This was followed by Cromwell’s Commonwealth and then the Restoration of the Monarchy (1660). The first […]

Dining at Anoki

Anoki means “unique” and as its name suggests we found our dining experience quite distinctive; from the impeccable service provided by polite and welcoming waiters, the theatrical decor, to the excellent cuisine offering carefully crafted dishes taken from a rich cultural heritage. Climbing the marble staircase to the large spacious restaurant, the high, barrelled ceiling […]

Harpur’s of Melbourne

Derbyshire’s newest 2 AA Rosette restaurant Derbyshire is a county of contrasts. From the dramatic vistas of the gritstone edges scarring through the purple heather, to the gentle rolling pastures and the newly created National Forest along the meandering Trent, the landscape could not be more different. The towns in the county reflect this diverse […]

Matlock Gurkha Inn

A few weeks ago the old Royal Oak in Tansley finished its transformation from a country pub to a new Nepalese and Indian Restaurant, and in keeping with this, it changed its name to the Matlock Gurkha Inn. You can’t miss the restaurant on the main road from Tansley into Matlock with its brightly painted […]

The Dovecote at Morley Hayes

The Dovecote restaurant at Morley Hayes has always maintained a good reputation for its’ consistently good food and beautiful surroundings. Set amongst acres of beautifully manicured fairways the surrounding golf courses make this a haven of peace. But even the most mature establishments occasionally need a little tlc and the Dovecote has recently been beautifully […]

Meynell Langley Tea Rooms

I’m a hoarder. My garage is so full of stuff that the car has to be parked on the drive at the full mercy of the English weather. However, if I sold the entire garage contents at a car boot sale, it wouldn’t raise enough to get the car fully valeted at my friendly local […]

Dining at The Black Swan, Ashover

Kate Morrison, the new manageress at the Black Swan Ashover, has embarked on a fresh venture that has come to fruition after working for many years in the food and restaurant industry. Their new chef was in the kitchen on our visit on June 15th, he comes with a great reputation and has years of […]

Dine Out at Kathmandu Gurkha

The recent monsoon weather left me wondering ‘Where the monsoon is a fact of life; does it have an influence on what you eat?’ An expedition was called for; actually a short drive for Susan and myself to Ripley and an evening at the Kathmandu Gurkha Restaurant on Church Street. The exterior of the restaurant is […]

Dining at Marquis of Ormonde

Why have so many songs been written about Monday and not, for example, Wednesday? According to Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats they don’t like Mondays and on Monday the Easy Beats had Friday on their mind. I’d like to change their opinions of that much maligned day; because Monday Night* is Steak Night at […]

Dining at Viva Restaurant

There’s something about Viva, a family run, glamorous Italian restaurant, situated in the heart of Matlock, you really do feel so welcome when you arrive. Call me old fashioned, but I find it comforting to see families with young children, parents, grandparents, friends etc all sitting together enjoying excellent food while merrily chatting away. I […]

Dining at The Railway Inn

Trains have been running through Shottle on and off since 1867.  I say on and off because in 1947 the line was closed for passenger trains and used for goods trains only. However the recently opened Ecclesbourne Valley Railway now serves this delightful area of Derbyshire, which is rich in scenery and beautiful walks. The local […]

Kedleston Country House

From the beginning of the 18th century Derby has had a reputation for fine town houses. A slow walk along Friar Gate and on to Ashbourne Road will reveal many fine examples but if you continue that journey out of town along the Kedleston Road you will come across the grade II*-listed Kedleston Country House […]

The Brasserie at Horlsey Lodge

The pretty lights which lined the drive over the narrow bridge leading to Horsley Lodge gave us a lovely welcome as we arrived with anticipation to enjoy an evening at the newly opened Brasserie Restaurant. We are not strangers to Horsley Lodge and have spent many a happy hour in these lovely surroundings, either on […]

Dining Out – The Sanam

Possibly my biggest failing when having an Indian meal out is to skip the starter.  I enjoy the popadoms and then go straight into the main course but, one rainy night in November, we decided to let Iqbal, the owner of  The Sanam Restaurant on King Street in Alfreton, present us with the full works. […]

Dining at Santo’s Higham Farm

Dining out with your partner, family or friends should be a memorable experience for all the right reasons; beautifully cooked food, pleasant surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere. What a delight when all these things come together as they did recently for my wife Susan and I on a chilly Autumn evening at Santo’s Higham Farm, […]

Dining Out – The Boot

I was really looking forward to our visit to The Boot at Repton, checking it out on the website the lovely hand drawn images set the scene and the menu looked innovative. Hence I was not deterred by the torrential rain and wind, and the distinctly chilly feel to the evening as we set out. […]

Lunch at Meynell Langley Gardens

I don’t know if it was the stillness of the air, the steel grey sky against the vibrant hues of the autumn leaves, or just that warm feeling inside when you buy out the time to enjoy a leisurely lunch that I experienced. I travelled past the now free flowing Markeaton island; or at least it […]

Dining at the Izaak Walton

When James and Amanda Keay bought the Izaak Walton (named after the famous author of “The Complete Angler”) in March 2014 it was a definite case of head and heart coming together. The head part was the fact that this was a great business opportunity to restore the Izaak Walton back to its former glory, […]

The Horse & Jockey – Wessington

Thursday is ‘veg box’ day! Many months ago we embraced the spirit of the eco culture and decided that a weekly, organic veg box would be a great idea. The fridge and the larder were not at their usual ‘straining at the seams’ capacity and so it was with great bravado I announced that I […]

The Holly Bush – Marehay

The Holly Bush at Marehay has always been a favourite haunt for good pub food. David and Lorraine Hilton, veterans in the ‘pub running’ industry, have, since buying the Holly Bush in 2009, continued in their tradition of providing honest to goodness food and drink at very reasonable prices in a very friendly and homely […]

Eating at The Sea Fish Restaurant – Ripley

I just love it when somewhere that you visit regularly yields a hidden surprise. Having often called at the Sea Fish Restaurant, Cromford Road, Ripley on late nights of press week to enjoy the excellent fish served there I have never looked beyond the take away counter, so asked to visit and sample their lunch time […]

Dining at The Bulls Head

Set in the rural village of Denby, and on the doorstep of Derby and Ripley, The Bulls Head has been under private ownership for the past twelve months. During this time its reputation for serving good food at an affordable price has grown and grown. To the rear of the large car park is a […]

Dining at The Elaichi – Belper

Thinking back, it must have been 30 years ago when Susan and I, fresh with the knowledge of what a good curry should taste like, took our two young nephews on their first outing to an Indian restaurant for an evening meal. We parked our tangerine Datsun Sunny on piece of wasteland in a dodgy […]

Dining at The Marquis

One of the most dominant feelings I left The Marquis of Ormonde with was the relaxed, cheerful atmosphere of the place. Keli the owner has a welcoming and happy disposition that immediately makes you feel at home and easy listening music covers any hush as the restaurant fills. Whether you’re popping in for lunch, calling […]

Dining at Biggin Hall

Of all the seasons I think Spring is my favourite. It’s the fresh, green colours and lengthening, warmer days. With that extra daylight in the evening the drive to Biggin-by-Hartington was a tour of Derbyshire landscapes. From the wooded Derwent Valley, through the steep sided Via Gellia and on to the limestone dales every view […]

Dining at Made @ No.18

M.A.D.E@No.18 is a newly open cafe set in the heart of Alfreton. The authentic charm of the building gives you a warm vibe as you enter the cafe. With its Georgian fireplace, stone lintels, unique artwork and contemporary crafts it’s a welcome change to the new, modern cafes that are around. M.A.D.E@No.18 source all their […]

Dining Out at Sylhet Spice – Ripley

I can think of no better way of warming up on a cold, dark night than by indulging yourself in a delicious Indian meal that has been expertly cooked and perfectly presented in warm and luxurious surroundings. Located on Nottingham Road in Ripley is the contemporary and impressive Sylhet Spice. We were warmly welcomed at […]

Dining at the Queens Head- Little Eaton

The Queen’s Head at Little Eaton is a pub first and last. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else and to that end the beers on tap are a great selection from the Derby Brewing Company who have been in residence for the last three years. The menu is traditional pub food which is pleasantly […]

Dining at The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun at Wirksworth has, over this last year, become firmly established on many people’s regular dining schedule. Since Steve and Laura arrived, the pub has had a complete refurbishment and the menu is continually refreshed to reflect the current trends in dining.  Interestingly what is popular one year can be yesterday’s news. The […]

Dining at The Sanam

Striding down King Street in Alfreton on a dark Monday night we were greeted by the drifting aroma of charcoal  ‘Ah the naan bread oven is fired up’ we thought.  Cooking in a traditional Bangladeshi way has always been the priority at the Sanam and for the past 23 years they have stuck to that […]

Dining at Zan fish

The Zannetou family have been serving simple, tasty, takeaway food to the good people of Derby since the 1960s, so with 45 years of experience you can be in no doubt that they know exactly what they are doing.  There are now 5 Zan Fish restaurants in Derby and all food is cooked to order […]

Dining at Blacksmith’s Loft

It was early on a sunny Saturday evening when my daughter and I strolled down from the Cathedral Quarter in Derby’s old city centre and turned right onto Sadler Gate, wandered past the old 16th century buildings until we reached the entrance to Blacksmith’s Yard.  There is an inviting looking bar that opens onto the […]

Dining at High Tor Hotel Matlock Bath

On a warm, balmy evening my dining partner Paul and I set out from Belper and meandered our way down the A6 and through Matlock Bath. Just past the cable cars and up the steep entrance slope on the left is High Tor Hotel.  A beautiful 19th century building stands in stunning surroundings, nestled amongst […]

Dining at The White Hart @ Moorwood Moor

Over the last decade or so public interest in cookery has grown and grown and our perception of good food has changed with it. Where we were once happy to go out for steak and frozen chips, most of us now demand more from both the fine dining experience and the country pub. So to […]

Dining at the Marquis of Ormonde

On a balmy Friday evening, after work we drove up to the Marquis of Ormonde on Denby Lane in Codnor and parked up in the car park.  Although I had never been before, I had often considered a visit on recommendations from friends.  When the opportunity arose to visit for Country Images, I jumped at […]

Fox & Goose, Wigley

Pudding Pie Hill; The Fox and Goose; Wigley – how those ancient names conjure up a picture full of atmosphere and history. Travelling the ancient turnpike roads we cross the moors and begin to drop into the tiny village and to the Fox and Goose. With a history going back several centuries the bar is […]

The Rising Sun @ Middleton Top

The Rising Sun is situated in Middleton, just outside Cromford and Wirksworth, with breathtaking views across the Derbyshire countryside. It makes an excellent watering hole if walking The High Peak Trail and both walkers and dogs are made very welcome by Steve and Laura. The beer garden has been redesigned and now provides a fantastic […]

Dining at The Village Inn

Martin, Sarah and Phil have always had the knack of providing good food at the right price and our visit to the Village Inn this month showed that they still maintain that, with the addition last year of the wood burning pizza oven adding another dimension to their business. Situated on the outskirts of Ripley […]

Four Seasons Bistro

By weekday, Four Seasons is a busy café serving homemade cakes and coffees, lunches and all day breakfasts, but on Sunday it changes its face to become a dining room where full Sunday lunch is served. Donning crisp white linen tablecloths and vases of pale pink roses it is an easy change to make and […]

The Dog Inn Pentrich

You don’t really expect a packed pub in a small village on a cold damp, weekday evening these days more’s the pity but that is what we found at The Dog Inn in Pentrich last Tuesday and were surprised… for a short while that is. The reasons for this quickly became patently clear to me; […]

The White Hart at Moorwood Moor

The White Hart is situated just outside South Wingfield and changed hands in June 2012. Since then the original building has undergone more of a complete rebuild than renovation! However for those of us who liked to stop in on the way back from a walk in the nearby White Peak, don’t worry as it […]

Rising Sun at Middleton Top

One of the saddest things I noticed on a recent visit to north Wales was the scarcity of the village pub. Twenty years or so ago we were spoilt for choice as to where to go for Sunday lunch or which pub garden to sit and have a drink in on frequent visits to my […]

The Black Cow at Dalbury Lees

The Black Cow was renovated a little while ago returning it to the status of village pub at the heart of Dalbury Lees. It retains many of the features of a village pub, a convivial bar area where locals gather in the evening, tables that can be used for dining and bar meals, a snooker […]

The Elaichi @ Belper

The Elaichi is in the heart of Belper with easy parking across the road. The restaurant is thoughtfully laid out; downstairs there are sofas so you can sit in comfort and have a drink whilst ordering or waiting for your takeaway, upstairs is just for diners, with a further floor which can be booked out […]

Nico’s of Derby

I’ve been wondering recently just why restaurants and café bars in Italy have such an attraction for me, is it the busy buzz of chatter, is it the rustic décor and cheerful colours, or is it just the combination of herbs and oils that lends Italian country cooking its distinctive character? Our visit to Nico’s […]

The Fox and Goose

It’s been some time since we visited The Fox and Goose in Wigley and there have been some notable changes since then, so they kindly invited us back to sample their new game menu, both devised and beautifully executed by new head chef, Marcus Jefford. The Inn is situated on top of Pudding Pie Hill, […]

The Queen’s Head @ Little Eaton

The Queen’s Head is an old coaching inn on the Alfreton Road (although some refer to it as the old Derby Road) in between Ripley and Derby. It’s recently become the third addition to The Derby Brewing Company’s selection of great pubs in and around the Derby area. These establishments are all completely individual but […]

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