Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens may have been a few of Julie Andrews’ favourite things. If she’d been looking for a pub on Friargate. Pitcher and Piano Derby would definitely have made her favourite list.
I frequent Pitcher, as it’s fondly known amongst locals, a fair bit. It’s an easy place to be. I wrote about it earlier this year too (check out my original review here). I was delighted to be called back to check out the new season’s menu over the weekend. It’s another diverse menu with broad appeal. From sandwiches and superfood salads for those craving healthy sustenance, to light lunches and full on dinners, there really is something for everyone. Food categories remain the same, including small dishes, sharer boards, burgers and roasts. (I’m in the middle of writing a roast feature, more on that later.)
We kicked off with a couple of tapas style sharers. Chicken thighs (coated in chilli, caramel) were spicy and subtly sweet. The meat was succulent, which when eaten dunked in the caramel sauce, rendered the meat silkier and even more flavoursome.
I had reservations ordering the fried pickles (blue cheese mayo). Now, bear with me, I know what you’re thinking… fried pickles? All I can say, is don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. They were delicious and easily the best thing I have eaten in a while. Crisp batter, smooth slivers of pickle swiped through zingy blue cheese mayo was so perfect, I could cry just writing about it. I beg you, if you do ever find yourself in Pitcher and Piano, do order the fried pickles. Your life will be better for it.
Our third and last tasty tapas side were the bacon and sausage rolls (Dijon mustard, honey and brown sauce). Salty bacon bits and perfectly seasoned sausage meat was good, although the pastry could have done with a teeny bit more time in the oven. Still, it was very tasty, especially with the mustardy, honey base which I couldn’t help but love.
For main, I had the chicken and blue cheese brioche burger (spicy coated chicken breast, blue cheese mayo, little gem lettuce, hot sauce, rosemary and sea salt skinny fries, beetroot and apple slaw). The brioche had a lovely caramelised flavour to it. The chicken. Oh that chicken. It was divine and melt in your mouth goodness. It felt like it was marinated in luxurious buttermilk, and to have the moist meat in juxtaposition to the crispy crumb was imaginative and delicious.
Dining partner had the jerk marinated chicken (chicken breast coated in crispy breadcrumbs, rocket and cherry tomato salad, skinny fries). I had a forkful of the chicken. I would have liked to taste a little more spice on it, but combined with the juicy tomatoes and dressed salad, was very good indeed. Skin on fries were very moreish, although I preferred my rosemary sprinkled ones more.
Honeycomb and toffee cheesecake (vanilla, mascarpone cream, honeycomb and white chocolate crumb, toffee sauce, chocolate sauce) was decent. The cheesecake was a little too light and airy for me, (it felt more like a mousse), but was tasty all the same. This dessert is all about texture, which contrasts beautifully with the various components on the plate. I absolutely love baked cheesecakes, and I can’t help but think this dessert would be all the better for it if baked off.
Generous portions mean you get bigger bang for your buck. Many thanks to Adele and Jess, who really looked after us well. I am still dreaming of that succulent chicken. A virtual high five to Team Pitcher and Piano, see you again very soon.
Star Rating 1-10 (1: “I’d rather eat my own shoe, I hated it that much” – 10: “I’d pillage for a meal here”.)
Value for money: 9
Rate or Slate? Rate
Address: 19-20 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1BX
Tel: 01332 206790