Darleys, Derby

We love to make an occasion of Sunday lunch – a leisurely affair with good company, great wine and even better food!

Darleys is a fabulous little restaurant, tucked away behind the old mills on the waterfront in Darley Abbey, Derby, and is somewhere we have visited on many occasions for both weekday lunch, weekend dinner as well as Sunday lunch.

Upon arrival you are seated in the lounge area, or on the terrace overlooking the water which is the perfect spot for an aperitif before your meal (weather permitting!)

We took full advantage of a break in the clouds to enjoy a drink in the sunshine – Estrella Inedit Damm for the boys (Darleys is the only other place in Derby that I know offer this beer, the other being Blacksmiths Lounge – see my post here) and tonic for the girls who were driving (short straw, obviously!)

We were given some time to make our meal choices whilst nibbling of some olives & what I believe are crisps made in-house, and chose a bottle of French Riesling to compliment our meal which was chilled and waiting for us on our table when we were shown to our seats.

The restaurant is quite small which makes for an intimate atmosphere, and everything is beautifully presented – crisp white tablecloths, fine stemware & lovely crockery.

So on to the food…. For starters, I went for the crisp ham hock fritter, apricot compote & chilli syrup – the lovely salty ham hock was still really nice & moist even though it had been fried, and the apricot & chilli added a nice contrast. The pea shoots didn’t contribute much flavour-wise but did add a bit of colour & interest.

My main dish was the fillet of plaice, crab crushed potato, clam & shrimp chowder – I did feel that this particular dish had a little less finess than others but this was more than made up for in taste. Beautifully cooked fish and buttery potato mixed with crab meat was accompanied by sprouting broccoli, pak choi & carrot. The chowder was really rich and deep without overwhelming the rest of the dish.

Dessert was coconut cake ‘french toast’, roast pineapple, pineapple curd & vanilla ice cream – a lovely sweet and fruity mix of textures and flavours, I could easily have eaten another portion!

A bottle of Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes dessert wine complimented the desserts nicely, although next time we visit our host has recommended another for us to try – any excuse to return!

My dinner companions had a couple of the other dishes – confit portobello mushroom with goats cheese to start, roast beef for main and the chocolate, pistachio & and berry dessert – and were all really pleased with their choices.

Their sunday lunch is a set meal affair at £30 per person for 3 courses (extra vegetables & potatoes can be added for £3.50 but you don’t always need them) which I feel is great value, just be prepared to get carried away with the drinks!

I must also say that the staff are some of the nicest I’ve experienced – very knowledgeable, super friendly and nothing ever seems too much trouble – a warm welcome at every visit!

Visit their website here – you’ll definitely need to book!

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