By Stuart Costen, Love Derby Editor.
I had followed Incognito Dining for a while through social media, and had always marvelled at some of the creations I would scroll upon.
Recently taking up a residency at Elements Tea and Coffee House on Victoria street, the restaurant is open Friday and Saturday night serving an exciting eight course surprise menu.
I won’t lie, I’m not the most adventurous when it comes to food, so having the menu decided for me and not being told what will be on said menu beforehand is a concept I am quite unfamiliar with, however, when Head Chef Joe asked us to come and give it a try, well, the allure of the unknown was just too temping to turn down.
We were greeted by the owner of Elements, Pete Marris, who gave us such a warm welcome. To say he was a coffee/tea enthusiast wouldn’t go far enough, and his knowledge far outweighed my own which covers PG Tips and Pukka Green tea!
Elements is an artisan tea and coffee shop raising the coffee game in the centre of Derby, a cafe by day and a restaurant by night.
Incognito Dining is quite a different concept for Derby. The menu is pre-planned before you arrive, you’re not told what you’re having, and when you arrive you are handed a card which contains image clues to each course.
First up was something I have certainly never been served before. There was pineapple and goats cheese with basil and black olive purée, and Saint Dominique chocolate, hazlenut, Seville orange marmalade and chicken liver parfait (yes chocolate and chicken!?!) on a shiny hello sign. The pineapple and goats cheese was very fresh…and…well…all the best starters come with chocolate.
Next up on our magical mystery tour was a warm sourdough loaf with goats butter, whipped smoked pork dripping, puffed pork crackling and smoked bacon jam and it was an absolute taste sensation, just reading it back is making me drool.
The third course was slow cooked hens yolk, with truffle purée and corn velouté . Now I’m not an egg person but the flavours complimented each other very well.
The fourth course was a Waldorf salad. Kidderton Ash Goats cheese mousse with pickled grapes, walnuts, a raisin puree cooked in smoked tea, celery leaves, parsley and marigold, all served with a celery consommé. The salad was light with lots of different flavours and textures. each other beautifully
Fifth on our menu was the Cabrito goat, a shoulder, breast and loin served with salt baked turnip, charred shallot, kale and ickled cockles. It was presented beautifully, the onion shallots and pickled cockle created a wealth of flavour.
Cornice pear, gingerbread, yoghurt foam topped with ginger syrup made our sixth offering. It was fresh, light and the gingerbread provided a pleasant ‘kick’ to complement the pear and yoghurt.
For the penultimate course it was a Peach Melba with raspberries and dehydrated milk. It was sweet and slightly sour making for the perfect combination.
And to finish we were treated to some beautifully handmade chocolates, one with ginger and the other with salted caramel both were delicate and well balanced.
Incognito Dining is certainly for the adventurous foodies out there, and if you like fine dining coupled with a little intrigue then you must try this.
The Chef has really put their personality into the food, it feels like you are eating something quite personal. Each item on the menu has been handcrafted with creativity and charm.
After living in Derby most of my life I couldn’t believe that such a thing existed and that it was right in Derby city centre.
The setting is relaxed, and maybe it was the weather bit we felt like we were on holiday!
All I can say is, give it a go, I can guarantee you will have never have had anything like it.