Yesterday, we had an exciting date at David Nieper‘s ‘Exclusive Boutique’ in Alfreton. This is another place
we I have long hoped to visit, but an approaching birthday and a chance meeting up with the said David Nieper himself at a party recently led us seemlessly towards his (only) shop, in Alfreton yesterday. That is another story but if any husbands or lovers want to give their other half a really lovely present, that is an excellent tip – and I can assure you that is entirely unsolicited as is anything we promote on our blog, which is totally non-commercial.
Anyway, from Parwich one goes through Matlock to get to Alfreton, so what could be a more appropriate opportunity after one self-indulgence, but to plan another…
And what a good thing we did! It gives me enormous pleasure to tell you that we can recommend for us all another gastronomic treasure in the area. It is obviously very popular already so we cannot claim to have made an exciting new discovery, but it is for us.
We booked dinner for 6.30 – very early but it fitted in well with David Nieper shutting at 5 and then a quick flit round the big Sainsbury’s in Matlock to stock up with everything we need for the weekend/changeover. (This last a bit of a contrast to the leisurely, personal attention in Alfreton, one could easily become very spoilt…!)
The restaurant is on the corner of the bridge over the Derwent, more or less under it. You go down steep steps and once there you are only aware of being on the river bank. There is a nice looking terrace where we were offered pre-dinner drinks, but yesterday was somewhat chillier than recent weather so we decided to go straight to our table, in the corner of their conservatory – a table we’d like to request again.
They do all sorts of aperitifs and cocktails but we spotted a rather nice wine of the wine list and started straight way on that. John and I had scallops and chorizo for our very generous (and totally delicious starter). John then chose the fish which was very tender hake but maybe not quite so exciting as my Derbyshire lamb with black pudding in a sea of crushed asparagus! (My words.)
John can’t resist puddings and absolutely loved his lemon and raspberry brulee with basil ice-cream while I enjoyed an excellent coffee.
Over and above all this we were delighted by the ‘little extras’ that kept appearing, unbidden – home popped corn and crisps to begin with, unusual bread with different tastes of butter, and a tray of the most delicious chocolates at the end. Apparently every thing is made on site, apart from the bread which they buy in Bakewell.
Very soon the place had filled up, and when we left I could only see one table in the main dining room which was not full, but it could have been that those diners had already finished. We gathered that the restaurant was fully booked for the rest of the week, so booking would be essential.
Parking – there is no car park but we parked a couple of hundred yards away (£4 for 4 hours!) in the enormous station car park (for a tiny station) and the stroll only took us a few minutes.
The setting is delightful (no photos, but look at their website), the service was friendly and good, and the food first class. If I had a criticism at all, it would be that the tables in the conservatory are quite close together. They are a good size for personal chat with whoever you have come with, but it was occasionally hard not to get involved with the next table’s own personal chat. As it happens, the couple next to us were very pleasant and we enjoyed the occasional conversation with them. If one did not want to get involved one at all with your next door neighbours you would just have to make it very clear and I am sure that would be easy enough.
To sum up: 10/10!
We are waiting for the next excuse to return.
Douglas’s Barn is available to book for short breaks 3 or 4 nights between 2 and 20 May 2016. Bookings usually start on a Monday or a Friday but if you want a break that starts on a different day get in touch. We are very flexible with bookings.
There are some new attractions added to the list of treats available with the Premier Cottages special privileges card. Amongst them are Renishaw Hall, Thornbridge Hall Gardens (new discounts), Hassop Station Cafe, Village Green Cafe Eyam, Carsington Water Sports and Leisure, Hartington Cheese Shop.
There are still a few free dates at the end of March/April in both Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns. Short breaks, 3 or 4 nights, which are not normally available are on offer. Please look at availability and give me a call or book on line.