First came hygge (cosy vibes), then lagom (minimalist chic), now meraki is the term du jour.
A classics lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Dr Myrto Hatzimichali says of meraki: “It loosely means taking pleasure at your work. Doing something with joy, attention to detail, putting in the extra mile… it means made with love and care and taking pride.”
By the time I’m done visiting The Great Northern Mickleover Derby, meraki is what springs to mind. Read on to discover why.
I have booked a table at The Great Northern Mickleover Derby on a Sunday. It is a five-minute drive from home, and we park in the decent sized car-park with relative ease. A Sunday roast is on the menu, which is what I attribute numerous ‘reserved’ signs perched on tables around the pub to.
The Great Northern Mickleover Derby reminds me of a woodcutter’s hut. Not in the sense of provincial frugality but more where cosy wood and a warm welcome combine. (I confess that as a child, I was obsessed with fairytales with woodcutter’s huts in deepest, darkest forests, but more on that story some other time.)
The building has more doors than Buckingham Palace. Well, not exactly 1514, which is the precise number to be found in the palace, but a high number all the same. (I might count them next time I’m at The Great Northern Mickleover Derby).
Within the grounds lies a refurbished barn accommodating three contemporary rooms channelling boutique hotel vibes. Next time I have larger numbers of family visiting, I’m going to book them there.
My starter of lamb kofta is nicely seasoned with a moreish fiery kick. I don’t usually eat lamb, I find it too ‘meaty’, but not so with these fat, sausage-like beauties. Succulent, juicy and spicy is just how I like these koftas, and I am not even embarrassed when I nibble every little bit off the skewer. Mixed leaves are lightly dressed which I appreciate – so many kitchens serve plain, undressed leaves which can render a dish as uninteresting. The mint yogurt dip brings the dish nicely together, making this one of the strongest starters I have eaten in a while.
Dining partner’s salmon and dill potato fishcakes are fist-sized mounds of herby, smoky goodness. It is so good to be able to discern flakes of fish in a fishcake, and when a hunk of fishcake is swiped through the sweet chilli sauce, it feels all is well with the world again.
My main of lemon and pepper chicken breast arrives with a flourish. Generous portion, perfectly seasoned with a chargrilled exterior aside, a special mention must be made for those chips. Golden coated chips revealing a fluffy interior are so good to eat, I half contemplate getting some to go. Again, a dressed side-salad pleases me, whilst the accompanying home-made coleslaw has good crunch and texture.
Dining partner’s Sunday roast is impressive, replete with giant Yorkshire pudding, multiple slivers of tender silverside beef and a river of rich gravy that is a joy to muddle some crispy roast potatoes through.
Other items I can recommend are the fish and chips from the light bites lunch-time menu, and Ploughmans’ Platter, because I have visited The Great Northern Mickleover Derby thrice since the time of review. I was there earlier today, because I know the food is guaranteed to be quick, good to eat, and where a warm welcome awaits.
It is a diverse and appealing menu; from hot sandwiches and jacket potatoes to pork medallions, piri piri chicken burgers and Owen Taylor’s chicken and leek pie, there is something here for a wide palate range.
Service is exemplary, and the waitstaff’s smiles are contagious and lovely in equal measure. Bookings are now being taken for Christmas, where coincidentally, I am having one of my Christmas do’s. I wood (sic) heartily recommend a visit to The Great Northern Mickleover Derby – and if you’re there, perhaps you can count the doors for me..?
Eatery name: The Great Northern, Mickleover
Address: Station Rd, Derby DE3 9FB
Mon – Thurs 12pm–11pm
Fri – Sat 12pm–12am
How to make reservation: Telephone
Telephone: 01332 514288
Head chef: Rachel Reid / Jamie Moseley
Front of house: Lisa / Megan / Vicki
Caters for dietary requirements: Yes; gluten-free and vegetarian options are all highlighted on the main menu. There is also a standalone vegan menu.
Wheelchair friendly: Yes
How to get there: A 10 minute drive (via Ashbourne Road) from Derby’s Intu in the city centre.
Whilst in the area: Finewood Studios, a family business specialising in oak and pine is worth a visit for the name alone. They also do cute dressers and extending tables.