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 the one thing they have in common is that you will always get a great pint, brewed at their own micro-brewery and a choice of locally sourced homemade food.
At The Queen’s Head they have a new menu, devised by the very enthusiastic and experienced head chef, Jason McCrellis. Jason is keeping the traditional favourites on the menu such as the beer battered fish and chips and the home made pie of the day, now served individually, but he will be changing the menu every 2-3 months so that it remains seasonal and gives him a chance to showcase some of his other dishes and foreign influences; he spent time travelling in Australasia and comes from a rosetted restaurant background. All the meat is supplied by Barry Fitch Butchers, just up the road from the pub and the fish is delivered fresh by Shaun, who we can recommend personally as he delivers to many local people, including us!
Looking at the menu we were tempted by many things, but for our starters we eventually chose the roast pumpkin, beetroot and goats cheese salad, served with a pesto dressing and the crispy pork belly, chickpea and chorizo stew; both dishes were presented and executed beautifully with the balance between pub and restaurant being effectively realised. For our mains, we were recommended the confit of pork belly, creamed leeks and butter beans, served with roasted apples, buttered seasonal cabbage and cider jus; the pork belly skin was crisp and the meat had been cooked slowly so it was very tender with the apples and cider giving a great balance of flavours. My dish was the pan fried salmon fillet, perfectly cooked, with crushed new potatoes and peas, seasonal greens and a cream cheese dressing.
After my starter of pork belly it was just perfect and I finished the whole thing. Again the dishes were presented beautifully and I like the recommendations on the menu for the ideal drink to accompany your meal. Jason came and sat with us in between courses (this is a ploy of mine so that I can fit a pudding in!) and he was telling us about some of his plans for the food at The Queen’s Head over the next few months. Soon to be introduced will be Jason’s own version of bar snacks where he will be making his own pork scratchings and jalapeno cheese balls along with many other nibbles which all sound very exciting and also a great alternative to peanuts when sampling the great range of ales on offer. During the first weekend in November The Queen’s Head are celebrating The Day of the Dead and offering specials with a Mexican twist along with the other favourites already on the menu.
They will be holding a beer festival around the middle of November plus celebrating their birthday on the weekend of the 23rd November with live music & a hog roast. The Christmas menu will be introduced at the end of November. Finally, we sampled the dessert menu and we were not disappointed….the vanilla panna cotta with honey roast figs and homemade ginger biscuits was exquisite, with a restaurant standard soft set, subtly flavoured vanilla cream, complemented beautifully by the warm sweet figs and crunchy ginger biscuits. My dark chocolate mousse with boozy berries and amoretti cream was not to be out done; each flavour was a complete joy, the macerated berries were unusual and very moreish.
We visited on a Saturday night and all the tables were full so the food is obviously popular, the service is prompt and talking to other diners it seems there is a lot of repeat local custom which is always a good sign. It is good to find a pub which, although serving great food, hasn’t lost its pub ethos, whether it’s a pie and a pint or a glass of champagne and something a little more refined, all tastes are catered for at The Queen’s Head.