Announcements of new season menus galore are flooding my inbox, and the Slug & Lettuce Bar is the latest in a flurry I was invited to check out.
I have visited Slug before. This was back in the day when I was hooked on their tostadas. I know the Slug development chefs can do good things in the kitchen, which is why I was looking forward to seeing what has changed on the menu front.
Instead of bombarding you with reams of menus, Slug have thoughtfully split the menus into three; breakfast-brunch, lunch and dinner. The dinner menu is diverse and user-friendly, including burgers, small plates, sharer boards and classics such as Cumberland sausage and mash.
I was in a snacky mood, which is why we plumped for the 5 tapas to share. First up, warm chorizo (honey and cider sauce, bread).
Sticky medallions of soft and spicy chorizo were divine, with just the right peppery kick to render it addictive. The bread was soft and good as a liquid absorber. It would have been good to be able to dunk the bread in a little more liberally, instead of being in a jar, but this didn’t take away from the tasty factor of this dish. I could have eaten this all evening and been as happy as Larry.
Lotus style steamed buns (BBQ pulled pork, pickled red onion) were tasty as hell. The Chinese five spice mingled with the pork was warming on the swallow, and the pungent onion took this dish to another level. It would have been good to have all the buns at an even temperature and all equally soft, but again, this was another dish I could have happily eaten all night.
Crispy vegetable tempura (Virgin Mary ketchup) were good. I especially liked the bite of the baby sweetcorn. The vegetables when swiped through the ketchup were moreish. It would have been great to see a different garnish on either this dish, or the others, instead of a few strands of pea-shoots strewn across the top.
Crispy calamari strips (Virgin Mary Ketchup) were a fishy delight, the surprisingly meaty flesh yielding after a satisfactory bite. I especially liked the extra crispy coating.
I adore seafood, which is why our final dish comprised of another favourite seafood dish. Crispy salt and pepper shrimp bombs (paprika, garlic mayo) were appetising and delicious. I loved the seasoned crumb, which when dunked into the creamy mayonnaise, was a match made in heaven. I couldn’t spy any paprika or taste any garlic in the mayonnaise, which is a shame, as I think this combination would have made this dish excellent instead of great.
Overall, Slug & Lettuce have a very strong new summer menu. A special shout-out to Dan, our server on the night, and Gaetano Salvemini, who made the evening extra special with their attentive nature and friendly faces.
What’s cool about Slug & Lettuce? It boasts a range of pocket-friendly and downright cool meal deals, including Tanqueray Thursday and Wine Wednesday. Slug & Lettuce, see you very soon (next time I’ll try out the desserts, I promise).
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 8
Restaurant/Bar name: Slug & Lettuce
Address: 11 Iron Gate, Derby DE1 3FJ
Opening times: Mon-Thurs 10:00am – 11:00pm / Fri-Sat 10:00am – 2:00am / Sun 10:00am – 10:00pm /
How to make reservation: Online & telephone
Call: 01332 341946
General Manager: Matthew Letchford
Whilst in the area check out: Bennetts Irongate, a quaint and very cool department store stocking cute and quirky brands including Barbour, Neom and Dr. Hauschka.