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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

Dining at Binary, Derby

Binary Bar and Restaurant, Bespoke Inns newest addition, has continued to prove itself over the months to be a jewel in the crown by winning the coveted ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Marketing Derby Food and Drink Awards. If you haven’t tried it yet then you’re missing a treat.   We took the opportunity, over a […]

Dining at Fairways Chevin Golf Club

It was a very different day when we arrived at Fairways, Chevin Golf Club from over a year ago, the bright sunshine was replaced with a soft grey mizzle, but driving down the lane, the beautiful landscape that opened up still brought a smile to my face.  We had last visited for a summer lunch […]

Dining in Derbyshire – Donington Manor Hotel

Castle Donnington is a market town in the true sense of the word as it was granted a charter for a weekly market by King Edward I in 1278. In the centuries that followed lace making rose and declined and in 1965 the airport opened close by. The Donington Manor Hotel, situated on the high street, also […]

Dining in Deryshire – Southwell Garden Centre

The sansevieria is better known as a mother-in-law’s tongue. The one Susan and myself purchased from Southwell Garden Centre, on a warm mid-week afternoon at the beginning of September, is a fine looking specimen… and the red pepper tart was delicious. At home Susan looks after the house plants, bar one: the multi stemmed miniature […]

Dining In Derbyshire – Anila Indian Restaurant

For many years I’ve driven past the little single storey building that sits katy corner wise on the green at the junction of the A610 and the A6 at Ambergate. My first memories are when it was the Little Chef and we considered it a treat for the family. Times change however and during lockdown […]

Dining Out – Meynell Langley Gardens & Tea Rooms

Which ever way your journey takes you, the approach to Meynell Langley Nursery is through the most pleasant, verdant, typically English countryside that you could wish for. Meandering down twisting country lanes you could imagine yourself back in the days of the grand country house, where kitchens were supplied with produce, lovingly cultivated in the […]

Dining Out – The Machine Inn, Ashbourne

You may, like me, wonder what the Machine Inn in Ashbourne and a corset have in common, and your interest may be further piqued when you see the simple line drawing that identifies one of Ashbourne’s newest restaurant and boutique hotels. But looking into the history all becomes clear as for 125 years Ashbourne was […]

Dining in Derbyshire – Taj, Alfreton

The newly opened Taj Indian Restaurant on King Street, Alfreton provided us with the opportunity to meet  and share a unique dining experience, I’ll explain…  Owner Vir Chijar is an experienced pizza chef of many years! That’s a twist we weren’t expecting and that’s  not all as  he has a vast experience in the food […]

Dining In Derbyshire – Darley’s

Darley Abbey is a mill village just over a mile from the centre of Derby, on the bank of the river Derwent. On the other bank sits an area of historic, industrial heritage now part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site. Approached from Alfreton Road, you turn along Haslams Lane and pass the Derby […]

Dining In Derbyshire – Seafood Cave & Grill, Matlock

It felt a little surreal as Susan and I drove into Matlock Bath, late on a sunny, mid-week afternoon. Most of the traffic was heading in the opposite direction; office workers in a rush to get home. We weren’t in a hurry and our route wasn’t busy. It felt like one of those summer evenings, […]

Dining Out – The Cobbled Street Cafe, Belper

One of my lasting childhood memories is of me and my mum, meeting my grandmother every Saturday morning in an upstairs cafe in Chesterfield. We would happily queue on the stairs until a table became available and order our milky coffee and delicious toasted teacake. Time has moved on and the smell of freshly roasted […]

Dining Out – Bang In Belper

I used to have a ‘local’. Somewhere I could walk to for a pint with our dachshund, Rupert. When I walked through the door I’d be greeted with a one word question: ‘Usual?’ And the dog would be allowed to sit on my knee at the bar. He’d size-up everyone who walked in from the […]

Dining in Derbyshire – The Curry Lounge, Somercotes

It was early on a Wednesday evening when we parked on the Market Place in Somercotes adjacent to the familiar restaurant entrance. The welcoming, contemporary designed foyer hadn’t changed but for one addition; in pride-of place, the wall facing the door was adorned with a large ceramic plaque. On it, in bold type, it reads […]

Dining In Derbyshire – The Bulls Head, Holymoorside

On first glance, The Bulls Head appears your typical, traditional pub; four square it hunkers down comfortably in the centre of Holymoorside, a delightful village on the moor-side of Chesterfield. Just a scenic 20 minutes or so away from the Amber Valley, it’s an area I’m well acquainted with from my childhood and easily accessible. Through […]

Dining Out at Nicco Restaurant & Bar

Nicco Restaurant and Cocktail Bar is contemporary Indian dining and it doesn’t shun the lime-light. Its stylish exterior and brightly lit foyer shines like a beacon among some of the faceless buildings in Pride Park. It’s easy to get to. The Derby main line railway station is less than a 10 minute walk and several […]

Dining at Shirland Golf & Country Club

On Sunday March 5th we took the opportunity to go along to Shirland Golf Club for a carvery lunch.  It’s years since I was there and was quite shocked and very pleasantly surprised to see how much work and effort has been put into what was a bit of a tired building. The quality of […]

Dining Out – Yassou Greek Kitchen, Little Eaton

We are huge fans of shared eating so Yassou suited us down to the ground and evoked memories of dining at restaurants over in the Dodecanese, especially the historical ‘capital island’ Rhodes.  The huge contrast was that we set off on a freezing cold evening with coats and scarves on,  rather than in the gentle […]

Dining In Derbyshire – MEZZO, Derby

To the south east of Derby, sandwiched between the River Derwent and the old A6 London Road is a vast area of former industrial land that had been part of the larger railway yards. An ambitious project by Derby City Council has transformed the once derelict area in to a thriving business park. The site […]

Dining In Derbyshire – The Bear Inn, Alderwasley

When you plan to visit a country inn the imagination can run wild. What’s its history? Is it still original or has it been spoilt by modernisation? Having visited the Bear many times during the years before lock down and way before that, my memory was of log fires, oak beams, stone walls and a […]

Lunch at Meynell Langley

There aren’t many of  them left; I’m talking about nurseries. Not the ones where you abandon your offspring but the places where you can buy plants that have probably been grown from seeds or cuttings by the person who served you. The family-run Meynell Langley Gardens is one such place. It’s a retail nursery and […]

Restaurant Review – Kayi Mezze Grill, Mickleover

Experiencing a different culture’s dietary habits really broadens your horizons where the use of ingredients is concerned, some familiar and some not so. Kayi Mezze Grill, named after the owners two daughters, is  based in Mickleover and features a mix of delightful Turkish and Syrian cuisine , refreshingly clean to the palette. But we will […]

Restaurant Review – The Little Kitchen, Little Eaton

On our travels Susan and myself  have eaten breakfast in some very memorable places: an ‘all American’ diner on I50, somewhere near Williamsburg, Maryland, overlooking one of  the many picturesque creeks that litter the shores of  the Chesapeake Bay. In the roof  top restaurant of  the Hotel Bristol, Sorrento, Italy, with its magnificent view of  […]

Food In Derbyshire – Mitchells Butchers

There’s no better way to start the summer than with a sizzling BBQ. Eating Al Fresco, or even under the cover of a garden gazebo outside is a delight especially after enduring a grey and dull winter that seemed to last forever. To make it a truly enjoyable experience, throw away the skinny, dubious cheap […]

Restaurant Review – Chevin Golf Club

Times change and so that means businesses have to adapt with them. Golf clubs traditionally have been a pretty no go area for members of the public but all that has changed at Chevin Golf Club, and their latest development reflects that refreshing approach. Light, airy and up to date with the emphasise on  friendliness, […]

Restaurant Review – The Fishpond, Matlock Bath

Myself and Susan had been invited to sample the Sunday carvery at The Fishpond.  It had been a pleasant mid-day drive through the quieter country lanes to our destination: Matlock Bath. It was a warm Sunday and although the main roads were busy the car parks were a long way from being full. The day […]

Restaurant Review – Denby Lodge

It was a mid-week evening and Susan and myself were out to sample the new menu at the Denby lodge. There’s something homely and relaxed about the Denby Lodge that I can’t quite put my finger on. It feels familiar. The decor helps with its modern, soft palette and mix and match furniture. The staff […]

Restaurant Review – Nicco Restaurant & Bar

Set in the heart of Pride Park sits a refreshingly new dining experience. Tall glass doors open into a jaw-dropping, spacious restaurant with touches of glamour, high lights and low lighting, marble tables and comfortable seating. Across half of the back wall, floor to ceiling, the cocktail bar displays more drinks than I can give […]

Restaurant Review – Shapla Spice

I’ve always thought of Ripley town centre as a comfortable place. A wide variety of shops; well connected by public transport, which runs through the centre of the town, and there’s plenty of car parking. Ripley isn’t overpowering; part of its charm is that it’s all on a human scale. That comfortable feeling doesn’t vanish […]

Restaurant Review – The Sanam Tandoori Restaurant

Cooking in a traditional way has always been the priority at the Sanam on King Street Alfreton, and for the past 25 years they have stuck to that premise. Over that period of time they have seen restaurants come and go, some change hands. Their philosophy of providing quality food at a fair price has […]

Restaurant Review – Shapla Spice

Shapla Spice is one of the longest established restaurants in Ripley, Derbyshire. I must admit I drive past Shapla Spice almost every day and always thought it was a take away, how wrong was I?  It was on a pleasant Friday evening that my partner and I were booked in to dine, it was then […]

Restaurant Review – Lunch at The New Inn, Milford

Fresh, seasonal and cooked in a traditional way. The New Inn is situated conveniently on the main A6 just midway between Belper and Duffield. And true to its name it is experiencing a new lease of life under the careful direction of Kyle and Hollie.  Make no mistake about it, this isn’t a fast food […]

Dining at The White Horse

Dining at The White Horse, Woolley Moor The White Horse conjures up the happiest of memories for us as it was here that we spent many sunny evenings with our children and friends enjoying the spectacular, beautiful Derbyshire countryside and a quiet drink. However, that was many years ago and happily, like our family, it has developed […]

Dining Out – Afternoon Tea on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

We’ve dined on some memorable trains; breakfast on the Lake Shore Limited as it skirted the edge of Lake Erie on its route from New York to Chicago. Lunch at 190 miles per hour on one of the Frecciarossa trains between Naples and Florence and dinner on board the California Zepher as it made its […]

Restaurant Review – The New Inn @ Milford

A Fusion of Flavours I’m not ashamed to say ‘I love Derbyshire’; every bit of it. From the Dark Peak of the moorland above Glossop to the ambling course of the River Trent as it twists and turns through the floodplain at the southern tip of the county. I also love its diverse industrial history. […]

Restaurant Review – A Relaxing Evening at the Marquis of Ormonde, Codnor

The first thing that strikes you about the Marquis of Ormonde on Codnor Denby Lane, apart from the smart décor of the exterior, is the sleek steel and glass surround to the front terrace. This south facing alfresco seating area is decked out with matching solid wooden tables and benches making it an ideal spot […]

Restaurant Review – M.A.D.E @ No. 18

To spend 2 or 3 hours in one restaurant it has to be good. To spend the entire Friday evening at M.A.D.E.@No.18 it has to be exceptional and something different. It was early on a Friday evening that our taxi delivered us to M.A.D.E. @ No 18; a café-bistro at the top of the old […]

Restaurant Review – Alfreton Golf Club

The carvery is a brilliant concept; a meal served in a pub or a restaurant where cooked meat is freshly sliced to order for diners, served in a buffet style for a fixed price. It lends itself, in a casual way, to the traditional Sunday lunch. But all too often we associate it only with […]

Restaurant Review – The Sanam, Alfreton

Choosing a place to take the grandkids for a meal can generally be quite a challenge for many of us.  So when I said “we will go to the Sanam on King Street, Alfreton at 6pm for an early doors meal”, I’m not sure it was what they were expecting.  It’s an Indian restaurant I […]

Dining Out – The Curry Lounge, Somercotes

They’re in every town centre and sometimes have the same names; that’s Indian restaurants. Somercotes is no exception. At the side of the parish church, on what remains of the Market Place, is the Curry Lounge; an independent restaurant, owned and skillfully managed by Ukeel. Susan and myself visited the Curry Lounge on a Saturday […]

Taste Derbyshire – Derby’s Bustler Market

Market food used to be all about simple, rib-sticking snacks like hot dogs piled with fried onions and thick wedges of cheese on toast. The height of sophistication was asking for a serviette with your bacon butty. But times have changed. Avocado is now our national fruit of choice; you can get liquorice in your […]

Restaurant Review – The Old Poet’s, Ashover

There are some pubs that claim to be what they’re not, and others who know exactly what they are and are happy being there, sticking to the time honoured script. Kim Beresford, owner of ‘The Old Poets Corner ‘Ashover for the past fifteen years, explained very clearly to me “We are first and foremost a […]

Restaurant Review – Jeera, Codnor

The British love affair with ‘Indian’ cuisine has come a long way in the past 50 years. From the days when anything with a hint of chili and a whiff of cumin was called a curry, to today when we can dine on authentic regional variations from the subcontinent. For example Eastern Indian cuisine is […]

Restaurant Review – Jeera, Crich

An evening of quality Bangladeshi cuisine. “Whoa, slow down Midge you’re going far too fast, you’ll have to explain that to me again” When  people are passionate about what they do, it’s really hard for them not to try to tell you everything all at once.  And all in one breath.  If I was to […]

Restaurant Review – The Hope & Anchor, Wirksworth

Standing proudly on the market place in the centre of Wirksworth is The Hope and Anchor, a grade two listed 17th century stone building. Closed in 2016 but now under new management and with around £100,000 spent on refurbishment, along with a new chef, The Hope and Anchor is now open for business. On their website they […]

Restaurant Review – The Dovecote, Morley Hayes

As the year drifts slowly in to Autumn the chill in the air indicates that it’s time to put away the short sleeve shirts and shorts and consign the thoughts of dining al fresco to next Summer. The longer nights need a cosy atmosphere, pleasant surroundings, attentive service and, of course, excellent food. One Saturday […]

Restaurant Review – An Evening of Tapas at The Denby Lodge

I’ve never been to mainland Spain although I once took a winter break on Lanzorote, the northernmost part of the Canary Islands. That was over 47 years ago. We flew from a misty, sub-zero Manchester on New Year’s Day, before it was a Bank Holiday in England, on a Freddie Laker Airways flight; landing at […]

Restaurant Review – Lunch at The Dragon, Willington

Situated near Bridge number 23 next to the 93 mile long Trent and Mersey canal sits Willington’s original public house, the 150 year old Dragon Inn, serving fine food and quality ales. If that isn’t enough information to get you down there I don’t know what it is that floats your boat! With a population […]

Dining at the Hope & Anchor

Standing proudly on the market place in the centre of Wirksworth is The Hope and Anchor, a grade two listed 17th century stone building. Closed in 2016 but now under new management and with around £100,000 spent on refurbishment, along with a new chef, The Hope and Anchor is now open for business. On their website they […]

Dining Out at Viva Restaurant

Viva restaurant is well situated in the middle of Matlock on Dale Road; being close to a car park just around the corner. We visited this restaurant and discovered an idyllic place to eat in and experience that special Italian dining cuisine at a very cost effective price… On entering the restaurant we immediately felt […]

Restaurant Review – The Sanam Tandoori Restaurant

Cooking in a traditional way has always been the priority at the Sanam on King Street Alfreton, and for the past 25 years they have stuck to that premise. Over that period of time they have seen restaurants come and go, some change hands. Their philosophy of providing quality food at a fair price has […]

Hidden Gem of Food & Drink – The Boot, Repton

Turning the corner onto Boot Hill in Repton, the self-proclaimed capital of Mercia, I immediately thought “I should have arrived on a horse!” Everything seemed to be linked to the past and, in all honesty, I love that. The Boot, a 17th Century coaching Inn, is owned, managed and run by people with a fierce […]

Restaurant Review – The Poet & Castle

The demise of the local public house has been the subject of many newspaper articles; part of the ethos of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) believes well-run pubs, whether in rural or urban areas, play a critical social role in UK culture as the centres of community life. CAMRA believes that the British pub […]

Restaurant Review – Viva Matlock

Viva restaurant is well situated in the middle of Matlock on Dale Road; being close to a car park just around the corner. We visited this restaurant and discovered an idyllic place to eat in and experience that special Italian dining cuisine at a very cost effective price… On entering the restaurant we immediately felt […]

Restaurant Review – The New Bath Hotel, Matlock

The New Bath Hotel and Spa, with its fine Georgian façade, has always struck an impressive pose, standing for over 250 years as a sentinel at the southern entrance to Matlock Bath. It has recently undergone a major refurbishment and from the moment Susan and I walked into the light and open main entrance the […]

Restaurant Review – The Peacock at Rowsley

As we crossed the threshold I blushed a little as I suddenly recalled that my last visit to The Peacock at Rowsley, some years ago admittedly, was with a previous boyfriend who had impeccable taste and was the owner of a small hotel on Jersey. This visit was on a very wet April evening with […]

Restaurant Review – Santo’s Higham Farm

When was the last time you visited Santo’s at Higham Farm? I expect for many of you reading this it has been a little while, but please take a fresh look as Santo’s continues its heavy investment into refurbishing this beautifully positioned hotel. The latest Santo’s investment is in the kitchens bringing them right up […]

Eating Out – Kinara, Willington

Love it or loath it you can not ignore the fact that the A38, when it’s on form, has reduced journey times in our part of the county. We had a table booked at the Kinara in Willington and on a chilly Tuesday evening the relaxed drive from Ripley to the restaurant, situated on The […]

Eating Out – The Dog Inn, Pentrich

Many years ago, before man had walked on the moon or The Beatles had got together, one of the simple highlights of a warm summer Sunday evening was to walk with my brother and our parents to The Dog at Pentrich. Our route was via Lowes Hill, Hammersmith, Asher Fields (no A38 in those days) […]


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