How are you doing? It’s been another stunning weekend for this Derby foodie, packed with lots of clement weather, cocktails, good food and giggles. I had Gal Pal L visiting on the Saturday, which was pretty awesome, as we don’t see each other enough.
We spent the day chilling in the city centre. We’re a little bit in love with Bennetts on Irongate (have you ever been?) which has a whole bunch of lovely brands including Neal’s Yard and Neom candles (thanks for the intro Lucy)! I totally adore their Tranquility scent (English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine). I can’t get enough of their earthy, floral lavender and the nuanced basil mingled with jasmine is just divine.
We stopped off for lunch at the European Bistro in the quaint Cathedral Quarter in Derby (this is one of my favourite spaces in Derby) with cutesy shops and lovely eateries. The European Bistro is a lovely restaurant in the city and in my humble opinion, one of the best. I reviewed earlier this year for The Derbyshire Guardian, I’ll be sure to post the full piece online soon.
After lunch we stopped off for some cocktails at Blacksmith’s Loft on Sadler Gate. It’s a lovely space, kitted out real nice with faux cow-hide and leathers in buttery beiges and stark chocolate browns. It’s a diverse cocktail menu and we kicked off with the French Martinis. I’m a big fan of French Martinis, having had these delightful concoctions UK-wide (this is my poison of choice). I have found that The Alchemist in Manchester do the best in the country, although I’m always hopeful that I will find a place closer to home in Derby.
Which is why the bar was set way high when I walked into Blacksmith’s Loft. The French Martinis at Blacksmith’s Loft were average. They didn’t blow me away and to be honest, I was a little disappointed because this place has been on my radar since the beginning of last year. I found the cocktail to be lacking in sweetness. In fact, I had to resort to dropping into my glass a honeyed cashew from our nibbling platter (yes the nut was that sweet and lovely too).
I always like to give places a second chance, to redeem themselves, which is why I perked up to order a Bellini. This is traditionally a mixture of Prosecco sparkling wine (or champers, depending upon how posh the joint is) with peach puree. I couldn’t see the peach flavour anywhere, so asked the kind bartender if he could possibly make one up. I nearly fell off my suede chair when he said he couldn’t. Why? Because the juices are pre-mixed.
Now, I feel the measure of any good cocktail bar is their Bellini offering. Blacksmith’s Loft’s lack of peach Bellini was gravely disappointing. Trying to contain my dismay, we ordered the Passion fruit Bellini. And I wish we hadn’t. We paid £6.50 each for a glass that tasted of Rubicon. The drinks were dispiriting (no pun intended), however I am a hopeful soul and will check out their food offerings next month (watch out for a review here soon).
It was lovely weekend but I was sad to see Gal Pal L skip off into the sunset (well, hop onto the train back up north to be precise but the whole sunset is a nicer picture). We brainstormed some very cool ideas and generally had a lovely day out. The weekend didn’t stop there – we had Derby Live’s Darley Park Concert to get to on Sunday. It’s a lovely open air concert with the best of live music, from classical tunes to local folk music, plus a massive firework display. I spied this gorgeous camper van that do coffee and cake – yes, COFFEE and CAKE, my two favourite things in the whole world (well, apart from my boyfriend who always tops the list). They’re known as The Sunshine Van (how cute is that?). Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to sample their offerings (the queue was a mile long), however I’ve connected with them on Twitter to see whereabouts their next gig will be. Once I’ve tasted their lush wares, I’ll be sure to post a review.
We didn’t come prepared like the rest of the massive crowd, who it seemed had carried everything but the kitchen sink. Seriously. I had total table envy as I watched this family who had lugged a table, four chairs, food and drink into the park to enjoy the concert. Kudos to them (that’ll be me next year when I bring my own picnic.)
Just a note to organisers of the Darley Park Concert – is there any chance of having more food stalls please? And what about hosting the concert a month earlier, when it’s a lot warmer? It was a little chilly circa 7pm (thankfully the rain held off).
And so it’s the start of another week and we’re well and firmly into autumn. I’m in the middle of fleshing out Christmas blog posts… I know, I know, it feels plain wrong even thinking about Christmas in September but it has to be done.
Have a lovely Tuesday and catch you later!