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Zest: Relaxed Fine Dining in Derby

Zest sign, Derby LO IMG_4367

Fascinating brickwork and an unassuming sign

We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting places to eat, purely, you understand, so that we can share our experiences with you all, our guests and friends.

We happened to find ourselves in Derby earlier this week , with several hours to kill while our car was being serviced. Lunch time loomed, and I remembered meeting restaurant owner Stuart Baddiley recently at a course in Derby. I had promised him we’d try tp pay his restaurant, Zest, a visit some time, so this seemed the obvious opportunity.

Derby is not exactly in our immediate radius, but we have had several guests coming to us from Derby recently, and other local places only slightly further afield; also of course many of you return or arrive via Derby or nearby, so the following food report may be helpful.

Zest is in George Streeet, off Friargate, and not knowing Derby it took us a bit of finding. Once there, the street is modest and the exterior of the building is not particularly prepossessing, and possibly unhelpfully,  right next door to another restaurant.

Mushroom Soup at Zest, Derby IMG_4362

Delicious Mushroom Soup

This all serves to create a great contrast when one steps inside – the interior is  modern, clean and uncluttered, and very charming. We were very pleasantly greeted , seated and looked after for the rest of the meal by Matthew, the Zest manager.

The ‘Express’ lunchtime menu was attractive, and reassuringly simple; one is always suspicious of menus boasting countless choices, knowing full well that they cannot be made to order, but will be ready made and merely waiting to be reheated in a microwave and served with a flourish of (handmade?) garnishes.

As unfortunately we weren’t particularly hungry we ordered a sharing board of breads and dips followed by a truly delicious mushroom soup, piping hot. We followed this with sorbets (John) and coffee.

The restaurant was by no means full, but we could see that they were expecting a large dining party in the evening. We will certainly return when we are next in Derby and if ever that happens to be in the early morning, their champagne breakfast looks too good to be missed! Do let us know if you try it.

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