Derby! Who'd have thought it? A delicious destination? Somewhere you'd actually consider going to if you wanted to enjoy a day out, an overnight stay, or a weekend break while grazing on some very different, but completely fantastic, food?
Well. Something like £2.2billion has been ploughed into the transformation of the city, which has given the place a tremendous buzz. Pubs, clubs, boutique hotels, an impressive Westfield Shopping Centre, and a multi-million point Arts Centre have all popped-up in recent times in a city which already boasted a couple of excellent theatres, and the finest collection of Joseph Wright paintings in the world.
And several bright-eyed and bushy-tailed restaurateurs and café owners have been inspired to turn their gastronomic visions and philosophies into reality in Derby.
Possibly the brightest-eyed and bushiest-tailed amongst them, Amelia Horne, is the brains behind Jack Rabbits (main picture above) - an aromatic food emporium where the emphasis is very much about lazy grazing. It is also in a setting which feels like it's just been plucked from one of the coolest corners of New York City's Greenwich Village.
But that's really just scratching the surface of a deep-filled feast of fine food at Jack Rabbits which blows you away with choice, presentation and service.
One short bunny hop away is the "oldest" newcomer in town - Grandpa Lew. A concept café, Grandpa Lew is supposedly a traveller and an adventurer who has travelled the world and sailed the seven seas; experienced new and different tastes, aromas and flavours; gathered together the things he learned on his travels; and created a Food Place - "where lovers of food, drink and travel can get together and celebrate the finest things in life"! The brainchild of 29 year old Lewis Hunt, it's another superb eaterie, offering a wide range of food sourced both locally and from around the world, including his own range of fresh, open-topped pies which are rapidly gaining a niche following amongst visitors to his shop and when he's at the local farmers' markets.
It's only a short walk to The Derby Pyclet Company, as good a reason as any for being tempted into the city's colourful Indoor Market. Evidently it's the result of a casual conversation in a pub between friends Mark Hughes and Martin Reid. This has to be one of the new food finds.
Between them, Mark and Martin have not only resurrected and reinvented one of Derbyshire's greatest food traditions, but have also created a little bit of food theatre in the traditional market.
Flat crumpets, made with milk from a local dairy, and baked on griddles, the Pyclets can be bought to take home, or else garnished on the spot with the most mouthwatering choice of toppings: smoked salmon and horseradish cream; Colston Basset Stilton, honey and walnuts; ham and homemade piccalilly.