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. None more so that the Derwent Valley stretching from the cotton mills at Cromford to the Silk Mill in Derby. Now designated a World Heritage Site the valley has, at its half way point, the historically important mill town of Belper.
Part of the charm of the town is that it has retained a lot of its original features. One of them being the many alleyways that offer short cuts that can only be used by pedestrians. One of these in Milford links Hopping Hill with Derby Road and, occupying the whole of one side of the pathway is the New Inn.
Because of its location it has elevations on to both Hopping Hill and Derby Road; the A6 where the New Inn’s car park is located. Myself and Susan had a table booked at the restaurant at The New Inn. The first thing you notice, before you enter, is the view from the terrace, overlooking the Derwent and on to the Chevin. Even with the poor weather of early June it’s worth a minute to stop and take it in.
We made our way into the bar area to a warm welcome from Hollie who asked if we would like a drink while we went through the menu. An extensive refurbishment has given the interior a new look with light, modern colours that are off-set by simple, bold upholstery. Also, there’s cosy seating in the bay window where you can linger with a pre-dinner drink and take in more of that view before you dine.
With a chilled white wine for Susan and pint of Doom Bar for myself we nibbled on tasty tomato bruschetta drizzled with sweet Balsamic while we chose our evening meal.
The menu is styled as British Italian fusion cuisine and the dishes are created using fresh, seasonal produce, locally sourced. Although it retains a lot of Italian influence from the restaurant’s previous incarnation quite a few English classics are now available. The Italian dishes range from the simple but tasty spaghetti carbonara to a creamy risotto. The majority of the Italian dishes are available in smaller portions as starters as well as mains.
Unhurried we finished our drinks and were shown to our table. I took a look at the wine list. It’s not extensive but it’s excellent for a restaurant of this size; with something for most tastes and reasonably priced. We ordered a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that proved to be a perfect accompaniment for all of our chosen dishes.
I chose my starter from the specials board while Susan was tempted by the cream of vegetable soup. The soup lived up to its billing; creamy with a deep, fresh mixed vegetable flavour. I chose the pan fried chicken livers in a cream and brandy sauce. The livers were cooked beautifully. They had a smooth texture and melted in the mouth. The sauce was rich and full of flavour and I cleaned my plate with the aid of 2 slices of ciabatta.
Susan chose her main course of pan fried hake from the specials board. It came on a crushed new potato fondant served with a cream and garlic sauce. Presented skin side up, the fish was a delight to eat. The skin was crispy and the flesh was flaky and white. The garlic sauce was well balanced, not too powerful, and the potato gave the dish texture.
I chose the Gressingham duck breast. The succulent pink duck was served with an orange reduction that had a citrus zing and was not too sweet. The duck was tasty, tender and full of flavour. Both dishes were accompanied by carrot batons, broccoli spears and crispy diced potato.
To finish we shared a portion of home made tiramisu that had us wanting more!
Head chef Kyle is a member of the family that own and run the restaurant. He worked his way up to his current position, starting at the New Inn as a pot washer, with the previous owners. He has now achieved one of his ambitions: to run his own restaurant.
The unhurried atmosphere, the smiling, uniformed staff and Kyle’s memorable dishes made the evening one that we want to experience again.