Sadlergate is one of the oldest areas of Derby city centre dating back to around 1250AD. In more recent times, it was a thriving area with shops and restaurants but these small businesses took a bit of a hit due to the recession, and the opening of a large shopping centre on the other side of the city, as a lot of people were drawn away by big name shops and restaurants and stopped visiting the smaller independant outlets
Thankfully over the last couple of years business has started picking up in this beautiful part of town and there have been a number of new openings, lifting the area and bringing it back to its former glory
One such opening is The Palfrey – owned by mother & daughter team Sharon and Amie Marlow and billed as ‘a unique and contemporary restaurant and wine bar’ – the newly refurbished bar/restaurant opened in The Blacksmiths Yard only 1 week ago, on 21st October
Clearly a lot of effort has been put in to refurbishing the venue (previously Embers Bar which closed about a year ago) and even though it follows the recent trend for the mis-matched look, The Palfrey seems to have done it more successfully than others by not going over the top with nick-nacks and clutter
Unlike its previous incarnation, when you walk in the front door of The Palfrey and into the bar area it feels really warm and inviting – almost like it was made for this time of year! How much can you imagine yourself sat with a bottle of wine next to that log burner on a cold day?!
The bar itself is adorned with copper barware which gives it a modern, expensive feel – again, very on-trend
There’s a good selection of drinks on offer including an extensive cocktail menu. I decided on an espresso martini as it’s always a good gauge of a bar – it had the perfect hit of espresso and a nice froth on top, but I admit I do like my espresso martinis a little sweeter, although that it just personal taste
We sipped our drinks whilst perusing the menu – I felt there was a nice selection of well though out dishes from Head Chef Danny Edwards and I struggled to decide as they all sounded so good!
I loved all the copper accents – from the cutlery to the salt & pepper grinders, every detail has been carefully considered
I chose the roasted wood pigeon for my starter and was delighted with both the presentation and the unexpected elements such as the crispy ‘spring roll’ filled with the pancetta. The pigeon itself was perfectly pink, cut like butter and melted in your mouth with a deep gamey flavour. As I stated in my previous post, I am a bit of a sweetcorn obsessive so I especially enjoyed the rich sweetcorn puree, and the fresh pop of the pomegranate seeds was a nice touch
I’m a sucker for beautiful crockery and as you will see from the photos below each dish had its own specific plate or bowl chosen to make the food itself stand out
For my main I chose the cod with Tuscan bean and ndjua sausage ragout – a very generous portion of well seasoned flaky cod sat atop an indulgent smoky and slightly spicy ragout that had a great depth of meaty flavour from the sausage. At first I thought that the lightly stir fried bok choy was a strange addition as you tend to see it more in oriental dishes, but it actually worked really well
I’d also like to note that the main components in both the starter and the main course weren’t faffed with too much, allowing the meat and fish to shine in their own rights but still providing great flavour
I couldn’t resist dessert and the jelly & ice cream was too intriguing not to try! Gorgeously fruity sloe gin jelly (with a perfect wobble!) was accompanied by creamy marshmallow ice cream, chewy meringue, and shortbread with a subtle hint of lavender. The apple puree added colour more than anything but was another welcome texture
The service received all night was friendly and attentive and our courses were nicely timed with just the right amount of space in between. I was also pleasantly surprised that there didn’t seem to be any teething problems on the night I visited – so often you go to a new restaurant or bar and the staff haven’t been properly trained or lots of dishes on the menu aren’t available, but I’m happy to report that this wasn’t the case at The Palfrey
I came away from the meal really excited to tell people all about it and shall definitely be returning very soon (with friends and family in tow!) Keep up the good work guys!
Make sure you book ahead (even if it’s only to get your name in scrabble letters to mark your table reservation – such a sweet and personal touch!) Visit their website here