by Stuart Costen, Love Derby Editor
I was invited to sample the menu at Derby restaurant House of Darwin, situated at 221 Chellaston Road, the restaurant occupies what used to be the Golden Pheasant.
When we visited one rainy night in November I was taken aback at how different it is to its predecessor.
Once inside you are met with soft lighting, wooden clad walls and exposed brick which creates a cosy and intimate restaurant. Think country lodge meets cocktail bar.
The bar is well-worthy of a mention as it really is something special.
There are large tree branches showered in fairy lights hanging over seating area, and brightly lit, vibrant red shelves filled with spirits that illuminate the space.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies with seating and big booths that would suit larger groups.
Our table for the night would be a little two-seater on a raised area close to the kitchen.
After reading the menu I realised choosing what to have was going to be difficult as there was so much choice!
Check out the menu here (you’ll soon see what I mean). There was also a fantastic gin and spirits selection, and some very interesting cocktails and mocktails.
The friendly waitress came over and took our drinks order. I had the aptly named ‘Golden Pheasant’ soft pale ale which was a nice nod to the restaurant’s past. The water was delivered in a champagne bucket which I enjoyed.
To begin with we ordered the artisan bread with house dipping oils and marinated olives. The bread was soft and warm and came with three different types of oil. The olives were fresh, and marinated is certainly the term I would use to describe them.
For my starters it was creamed wild mushrooms on ciabatta toast with parsley shoots and wild mushroom crumbs. The mushrooms were warm and so creamy and went well with the crusty ciabatta.
My dining partner ordered ham hock and chorizo terrinee with salt baked beetroot, mouli slaw and micro leaf salad. The hamhock terrinee was rich and flavourful and the ham melted in mouth.
For my main I opted for the chicken supreme with wild mushroom dauphinoise potatoes, cream bacon cabbage and port reduction. The chicken was the softest and most succulent I’ve ever had, and the potatoes were crunchy but perfectly balanced with a nice hint of mushroom. The salad with bacon was subtle and a great accompaniment.
My dining partner had the roast duck breast with duck leg bonbon & orange glazed carrots, broccoli & Shiraz jus. The large serving of gorgeous duck breast had a delicate flavour and a delightfully crisp outer skin. The vegetables were well seasoned leading to interesting tastes at every bite.
For dessert I opted for the raspberry and white chocolate blondie with vanilla ice cream. The blondie was soft, warm and tasty. It had a subtle but not overpowering flavour and went well with the vanilla ice cream and crunchy white chocolate top.
My dining partner decided upon the sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and chantilly cream. The pudding tasted like bonfire night, rich and warm and an absolute pleasure in the mouth.
It’s worth noting that we were well tendered to throughout each course, the waitress made sure everything was OK with our meals as well as keeping us watered.
The meal at the at House of Darwin was a great experience, from the friendly greeting, to the excellent food (the chef has a rosette background we were told). The service was delivered with a smile, and we watched with envy as delicious looking meal after delicious looking meal passed us on the way out of the kitchen, we so desperately wanted to try them.
For intimate date nights or large parties, House of Darwin will not disappoint.
View its website here. If you have tried House of Darwin please leave your comments below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Review disclaimer: This meal has been reviewed after Love Derby was invited by House of Darwin to try its menu.