Psychiatrists tell us that the most stressful time of the day is breakfast time. Work, school and the first appointment of the morning all combine to make the early part of the day, hectic. And a hurried bowl of indigestible muesli does not help improve the early morning mood. What’s needed every so often, in the words of Lionel Richie, is something… easy like Sunday morning!
Darley’s Restaurant and Terrace, situated in part of the old mill in Darley Abbey, has recently launched their English sparkling breakfast menu and Susan and myself had been invited for a stress free and easy start to the day.
The restaurant is in a beautiful location at the side of the river Derwent in the old Darley Abbey Mill. After a warm and friendly welcome Stacey, one of the restaurant staff, showed us to a table with a view of the river. The February storms had created a fast flowing Derwent, made more spectacular as it crashed over the nearby weir. A stunning backdrop to our breakfast.
The sparkling part of Darley’s English breakfast is in the choice of accompanying drinks. There is an English ‘champagne style’ sparkling wine from Halfpenny Green or a non-alcoholic Royal Flush Kombucha. We shared a bottle of the chilled Kombucha as we read through the new Darley’s breakfast menu. The refreshing, sparkling beverage is made from first flush Darjeeling tea. Royal Flush Kombucha has a fruity floral taste with a hint of rhubarb. Served chilled; this is an alternative to sparkling white wine and very low in sugar.
Our choices made and Susan started with the devilled lambs kidneys. These were served in a crème fraîche sauce flavoured with English mustard, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce on a slice of toasted brioche. The not too spicy sauce complimented the tender kidneys that melted in the mouth.
For my first course I decided to try something completely different: the French toast with banana, hazelnut and chocolate. This exciting combination arrived in the form of a sandwich along with fresh berries. The eggy bread outer part of the sandwich provided the contrast to the dark chocolate and hazelnut filling which was rich and deep in flavour and sweetened by the accompanying thinly sliced banana. An amazing combination of textures and flavours that worked extremely well together.
The next course on the sparkling breakfast menu has eight dishes to choose from; including kedgeree, eggs Benedict and the Darley’s full English breakfast. I chose the omelette Arnold Bennett; named after the famous writer and critic and perfected for him at the Savoy Hotel in the 1920s. This was a light, fluffy omelette with a hint of Parmesan and stuffed with large chunks of smoked haddock. The omelette isn’t folded but is finished under the grill and presented on the plate just how it left the pan. It was dressed with a drizzle of warm, lemony hollandaise and a small stack of rock samphire. The hollandaise was a perfect dressing for the smoked fish and the vibrant green samphire a refreshing contrast to the beautifully cooked egg.
Eggs were also Susans choice for this part of our breakfast. She chose the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. The eggs were flavoured with chives. The mild hint of onion from this little underused herb enhanced the delicate smoky flavour of the fish. It was served on two small potato rosti; crispy at the edges and soft in the middle.
There is a desert selection to the breakfast menu. I chose the dropped scones; light and fluffy saucer sized pancakes accompanied by tangy raspberries, a dash of tart crème fraîche and a drizzle of maple syrup. The syrup’s butterscotch flavour united all the elements of the final dish.
Susan chose the red berry sorbet accompanied by crushed pistachio and chocolate nibs. It looked like a work of art on the plate and tasted divine. The chilled sorbet was a refreshing finale to a spectacular breakfast experience.
We ambled through breakfast and finished with a first class coffee each. While we ate we had been entertained by watching the work of a film crew from Carbon Free Dining making a promotional video for Darley’s. Carbon Free Dining is the zero-cost restaurant sustainability initiative managed by The United Nations Environment partner, Green Earth Appeal. Darley’s, along with many other notable restaurants have signed up to the scheme. As a ’thank you’ for allowing them to interrupt our meal, they treated us to a glass each of Halfpenny Green brut sparkling English wine from the breakfast menu. Halfpenny Green vineyards are in Staffordshire, to the west of Dudley. The wine is produced using the traditional Champagne method. Despite this being a dry wine it’s packed with sweet flavours: honey, vanilla and green apple. This was a leisurely way to end a deliciously long breakfast.
Darley’s Restaurant & Terrace
Waterfront, Darley Abbey Mill,
Derby. DE22 1DZ
Telephone 01332 364987 for bookings