Did you know there are 91 days to the US election? I have been known to take the day off work as I watch the results roll in, during the late twilight hours. (I learnt the hard way when one year, I cockily thought I could watch the US elections AND make it into work. That was tough – working a full 8-hour day on circa 1 hour patchy sleep was not fun and I would never do it again.
Whichever political stripe you wear (oh please god don’t let it be a trumpian tangerine otherwise we can’t be friends), eating American dishes on election night is the only way to ‘do it properly’.
To save you trying to find a place to eat on that pivotal evening, I have found an excellent eatery that you need to be on 3 November when the US goes to the polls. Plus, it’s a pub, meaning you can celebrate with a few drinks (or drown your sorrows if the result is not what you’d hoped).
Have you heard about The Greyhound, Friar Gate, Derby? If you haven’t, I encourage you to continue reading this review then follow head chef Tom on his Instagram.
Did you know that the Office for National Statistics estimates 197,000 US-born immigrants are residents in the UK*? I don’t know the breakdown of exactly how many reside in the East Midlands, but still, nearly 200K US expats in the UK is a significant number. Diaspora adds wonderful variety to an already diverse melting pot of cultures. The domino effect on hospitality is that menus evolve to offer gorgeously heterogenous dishes. This can also be said of the menu at The Greyhound on Friar Gate, Derby.
At first glance, it is chock-full of American dishes. Chicken and waffles, Hound Club Sandwich (the Brit’s Club Sandwich’s cousin), macaroni cheese and Louisiana crab chowder are just a few to mention. When you look a little closer, you realise that it is a menu that demands more attention. The BBQ salad has a jammy dollop of chilli jam, whilst snacking popcorn is made with beef dripping to make it even more addictive.
We order poutine. Fries are crisp and the gravy has a good, meaty depth. I would have liked to see more of a heavier curd, but this is a personal note and observation, not a negative.
On review night, I always have a super light lunch, so by the time we’ve planted at The Greyhound, we are more than ready to eat (translated into starvin’ Marvin).
I order the Nashville Fried Chicken Burger (buttermilk fried chicken, Gochujang hot sauce, spring green and pickled carrot slaw). Velvet soft chicken pretty much disintegrates in your mouth, whilst the darkened crumb gives it a good bite. Warmth arrives with Gochujang, whose fermented notes give the burger an exotic twist. I like the carrot ribbons which sit nestled atop the chicken, like elongated, calorie-free langues de chat. It is nice to see a burger stuffed with something other than regular lettuce. And this is when it strikes me, that this burger, nay, this menu, is nothing but regular. It is good, challenging and takes traditional dishes then cleverly injects them with a contemporary twist.
Dining partner has Low & Slow Brisket (Derbyshire brisket, pickles, Boston beans, spring green slaw). He tells me the brisket is deliciously silken, which is undoubtedly down to its 12-hour sojourn in The Greyhound’s Smoke House. I am fascinated by this Smokehouse – so much so, that I have just decided I will write about this in a standalone post. Back to the review, and Boston beans have a subtle sweetness, and I think I can taste a hint of molasses in there.
Both mains arrive with seasoned fries – just one to bear in mind if you are going to order the poutine.
Pecan sticky toffee pudding boasts an excellent light sponge, and unlike other toffee puddings, this one really does not taste overwhelmingly sweet. A potential problem with steamed puddings is that they frequently stray into overtly saccharine territory, but this is thankfully not the case here. The sponge here is laced with salted caramel, which goes very well with the buttery toffee, whilst the ice-cream provides a cooling river of vanilla.
The menu is an homage to Americana with a cheeky nod to far-flung France and Korea. It is a menu that excites. It is a menu that once you dine and write about it, you spot another three dishes that you need to try out. Smokehouse at The Greyhound and Tom’s cooking are natural partners, and one that I hope to see create even more novel, palate-tingling dishes.
The Greyhound is also participating in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme. Forget Rishi’s Dishes, make a note of Tom’s Dishes and get booked in to The Greyhound now (Rhode Island Ribs are a hat-tip to his favourite restaurant which I will investigate further).
Ordering via the dedicated app is recommended. Pro-tip – download the app before you arrive at The Greyhound. Although it only takes a few minutes to input information, I find it streamlines the dining process and also gives you time to familiarise yourself with the app.
I am not including marks for ambience or service, as I don’t think it is fair to mark these categories in these somewhat irregular times. I can however, imagine the outdoor seating with heaters and electric canopy to be popular in all seasons.
The inventive food is inspiring and pushing boundaries, which will – and this is the most important bit – guarantee a return. Team Greyhound and Tom, I shall see you again very soon.
Bookings are recommended for the pub’s popular quiz night on Tuesday evenings at 8pm. For more information, please visit the website now.
Restaurant name: The Greyhound Friar Gate Derby
Address: 5-76 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1FN
Wednesday 12am–1pm, 5pm–11pm
How to make reservation: Email [email protected]
Telephone: 01332 344155
Covers: 125 (90 indoors, 35 al fresco)
Executive Chef: Tom Burton
Assistant Manager: Tom
Caters for dietary requirements: Yes
Wheelchair friendly: Yes
Quietest table: Table 73
How to get there: A short 4-minute walk from the city centre
Whilst in the area: Squeeze in a pre-supper visit to Derby Museum