We live within a short walking distance of the Derby arms and used to visit on a regular basis. However, we stopped going as the food had gone downhill. We did visit recently, the first time in a couple of years, in the hope that things had improved — especially as it is on our doorstep.
After ordering our starter arrived very quickly — before our drinks had arrived, which was odd. The starter was nice enough, I had a Kofta kebab which was pretty good. Halfway though our starter our drinks finally turned up.
After the starter was cleared away we were then presented with the bread… which was baffling as this should have turned up before the starter.
Shortly after (a little bit too quick for my liking) our main course turned up. A beef pie for me and a salad for my wife. I took one look at the pie and called the waitress over. The pie crust was anaemic and the egg glaze had actually run into the middle of the crust and formed a small layer of ‘omelette’. I had never seen anything like it. When I lifted the crust up with my knife, it was almost raw underneath. I complained about this and sent it back.
It came back just a few minutes later and didn’t look any different. It was still very pale and the eggy middle was still there. I suspect it was placed under the grill for a short period of time which didn’t address the fact that it was quite a bit under-baked.
My wife wasn’t faring much better either — she complained that her salad was limp and tasteless. The waitress offered to get us another main course, but we decided that we’d seen enough and asked if we could just pay for the starter and drinks.
A few minutes later the manager of the restaurant came to our table. To be fair, he was superb and handled it as well as possible. He acknowledged that they just didn’t get it right and said that he didn’t want to see us go away hungry and asked for the chance to do the main course again. He personally guaranteed that it would be good and he also said we wouldn’t be charged for the main courses.
My wife changed her main course to a mushroom and cheese tart — I decided to stick with the beef pie. My wife was very pleased with her meal, which was tasty. My pie was dramatically improved. The pastry crust was properly baked, with a good golden colour and with the egg-glazing properly applied. The filling was quite tasty although not particularly generous: it was more carrots and sauce than beef.
We did end up having a nice evening — but I felt that no chef worth his salt should have ever sent out the first incarnation of that pie. You didn’t have to be Paul Hollywood to see that it just wasn’t baked right.
So, in summary we had our starter, before the drinks, which then was followed by the complimentary bread. Our main course was returned twice before managerial intervention came to save the day. On the basis of this experience it doesn’t look likely that we will return again soon — maybe we’ll give it a try in another two years time. I can’t really recommend this place, although special kudos does go to the manager whose intervention saved it from being a disastrous occasion.
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