As I try to be more flexitarian (yes the term does exist, no I didn’t make it up), I am actively looking at incorporating more vegetables into my diet. What better way to boost my veggie intake, than to dine from a full on vegetarian menu?
And so it was that I found myself at The Palfrey Restaurant. Nestled in Old Blacksmiths Yard, The Palfrey Restaurant stands like a shy first date, towards the back. I visited here last year for a drink, and I wasn’t aware that they did food. When you enter, large Chesterfield couches strewn with fur and cosy suede and chocolate tones automatically put you at ease. This could easily be your front room, a home away from home, if you will.
Up the stairs we went, where we were promptly seated, handed our drinks and menu. My name was spelt in a Scrabble stand, which I found rather cute. The menu has a subtle Asian influence, and is perfect for those who like pan-Asian or contemporary cuisine with a twist.
First up was a starter of sweetcorn and cumin puri (chickpea and pomegranate salsa, herb chutney). Fried flat-bread was a delight, puffy, crisp and the perfect partner to eat with the lightly spiced chickpeas. I loved the sweetcorn and cumin puree, which when swiped through with the jewels of pomegranate, made for an altogether sublime dish. I am still dreaming of this starter – no mean feat, as it has been a few weeks since I had this dish.
Dining partner had the starter of grilled peach panzanella salad (chilli, spinach, basil, sourdough, capers, sherry vinegar dressing, halloumi).
The sweet succulent flesh of the peach was wonderfully balanced with the salty, griddled halloumi. I could have happily eaten both of these starters and been happy, but more delicious food was on its way.
My main of Thai green curry (ong choi, Palfrey fried rice, raw vegetable salad) was spicy, crunchy and so moreish, that I finished it in 10 minutes flat. I’m a notoriously slow eater, and this 10 minute record-breaking time should be indicative how much I enjoyed this dish. Curries can be difficult to plate up. After all, how can you sex up a bowl of homogenous food? Perfectly seasoned curry is always a good start, but here, the crowning glory of water-spinach and al dente mange tout made the main a starrer in its own right. I would have like to see more rice, which was deliciously fragrant with a hint of garlic.
Dining partner had the Palfrey Burger as his main (mixed beans, smoked Cheddar, pickled green tomato salad, toasted brioche bun, kimchi ketchup, skinny fries). It was a wonderful Hulk of a burger, the patty busting out of the brioche bun like my favourite green supersized super-hero. The mixed bean, corn and spinach combination rendered this one gorgeously meaty burger, which was very filling. Piquant kimchi ketchup was the surprise twist to this dish, delivering that hit of umami especially when I swiped a bite of the burger through it.
My dessert of sticky toffee pudding (vanilla seed ice-cream) was generous and moreish. Deliciously dense sponge in a pool of sticky salted caramel sauce was heavenly, whilst the ice-cream, meringue and cherry combo elevated this dish to the next level (freaking gorgeous).
Dining partner indulged in the Palfrey Mess (whipped vanilla seed cream, drunken summer berries, strawberry purée, orange curd, smashed meringue, basil). Meringue shards, alcoholic berries, varying degrees of citrus tang with fresh strawberries and orange curd made this one of the best desserts I have tasted in a while.
Presentation of all courses was spot on (great dinnerware by the way chefs). The cooking team should be proud of their gorgeous vegetarian menu. I loved dining at The Palfrey Restaurant, and I couldn’t fault the perfect dishes.
You too can taste manna, where on the last Wednesday of each month, The Palfrey Restaurant puts on a vegetarian menu (2 courses £14.95 / 3 courses £18.95). If you haven’t tried it, or The Palfrey Restaurant’s offerings, I strongly recommend you do so. If I had a magic purse, I would pay for you to dine at The Palfrey Restaurant, I know you’d love it there. Unfortunately, as I’m not in possession of an endless stream of money, you’re just going to have to take my word for it, that the food at The Palfrey Restaurant is b-e-a-utiful.
The Michelin guide was released yesterday, and I think that The Palfrey Restaurant has real potential to one day soon, be featured on this list. Hat-tip to head chef Danny Edwards and sous chef Tom Burton. Continue cooking tasty as hell dishes. See you very soon (yes that’ll be me camping outside your restaurant waiting for it to open tomorrow).
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my Dior MoonBoots – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9.5
Restaurant name: The Palfrey Restaurant
Open since: October 2016
Address: Old Blacksmiths Yard, Derby DE1 3PD
Opening times: Wed-Thurs 12pm-12am / Fri-Sat 12pm-1am / Sun 12pm-9pm
How to make reservation: Telephone & email.
Call: 01332 293135
Head Chef: Danny Edwards
General Manager: Amy Marlow
Front of House: Jess
Whilst in the area: If you fancy some take-away dessert, pop into Doughnotts, whose innovative toppings on fist sized doughnuts have taken Derby by storm.