eating out

Cafe review, Strutt Street Bakery, Belper

Think I’ve mentioned belper’s amazing cafes before… We tried a new one this week and loved it. This cafe has been around for about a year but we still hadn’t tried it. I will definitely be going again. The cakes were absolutely amazing! They looked gorgeous and were really unusual. I had a peanut butter brownie (they do a whole range of brownies) and Chris had a slice of billionaires shortbread. He even managed a cup of hot chocolate with it, but that would be too sugary for me nowadays so I opted for a sparkling water to go with my cake. The hot chocolate was delicious though. It was made the proper way with melted chocolate and milk so totally delicious! The meals looked nice, but it was definitely the cakes that sold the place. I saw a few people come in for takeaway cakes whilst we were there, which seemed like a great idea.
The cafe was lovely and comfy, with a little courtyard as well as seating out the front. The only one thing I found disappointing was that they weren’t actually a bakery for bread. They baked their own cakes/quiches etc, but got the bread in from a place in crich. That said, it must be pretty good because there wasn’t a single loaf left when we were there at 3pm on a Saturday!
All in all, I will definitely be going back and working my way through the various cakes!

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Cafe review- Fresh Ground, Belper

Might as well start with our favourite cafe of all time! Belper boasts a great cafe culture. Off the topic my head I can count 6, excluding morrisons cafe (!) but I’m sure there are more. In fact, I’ve just remembered a seventh. Even better, there isn’t a single chain cafe, which nowadays is something to celebrate. In ashby where I work, which is a similar size to belper, the costa on the main road is always rammed whereas when I went to an independent cafe it was empty. In ashby I often go to costa, I’m not against it exactly (well on principle I am actually but the coffee is quite nice and there’s little choice nowadays) but the main reason I go is the independent cafes in ashby shut early whereas costa puts in the hours- disappointing.
Anyway, belper holds off this sort of thing quite well in general (although someone did let greggs open a shop opposite our local bakery, birds- a chain in itself but a local one). All belper’s cafes are worth a visit but Fresh Ground is the best because it does the best coffee. Not just the best In belper, but the best I’ve had anywhere, at least in this country. We always have the same thing, a latte, (actually Chris has been known to branch out). You can only have it with semi-skimmed milk, and there’s never any need for syrup. If we can fit it in calorie-wise we have a cake. Last time I had the carrot cake which was lovely and Chris had some of their homemade white chocolate and chilli ice cream which he said was lovely but hot! Everything is made there, and when we had lunch there the other day the cook was discussing the soup Chris had had with him (she thought she’d put in too much cheese). They do all the normal cafe stuff, paninis, sandwiches, soup, and also a few specials. We are yet to try out their evening menu, but they have a chilled out evening menu of sharers and a couple of dishes, which looks lovely. You can have a coffee in the evening too, it’s open until 10. Sadly it’s shut on Sunday but then I am keen for them to have a break!
They do a good milkshake too, that is panther’s favourite. Once she drank it so fast they brought her some more! They do a half size for children for £1. They also, possibly my favourite thing right now, have a basket of toys for children which keeps her occupied meaning we can actually talk!

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Restaurant review- Tamatanga, Nottingham

This is one of my all time favourite restaurants! I’m often found trying to find excuses to shop in Nottingham just to go there! On this occasion I needed a shop we don’t have in derby so we headed over to Nottingham. It’s best on a weekday as they have a daytime offer where you get meal and drink for £6.99. We like to have a lassi to drink which costs and extra £1 but its still very good value I think. On this occasion panther was with us so we ordered her a meal from the children’s menu- as she’s so little I don’t like children’s menus that cost too much, but a meal here was £3.99 which is fine. She had mini chicken korma with rice and a little salad. It was delicious. They also did more basic children’s food like chicken and chips but I like her to experiment. She ate the rice and a bit of salad really well. Had to convince her to try the chicken by both eating some at the same time, but she then loved it! She wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce but managed to get her to dip some of our naan in it, and try a tiny bit on a spoon, so generally pretty successful toddler dining! Anyway, I have digressed!
I always want a wrap, which I tried a few years ago just before I had panther. They are huge and come with spiced chips. However, I am always tempted away by one of their delicious curry bowls. You can choose rice or naan and I always have naan, never mind the calories! Chose garlic naan which was delicious. I had a butter chicken curry which comes in a bowl, it was very saucy which is how I like it as I can dip my naan in. Chris always varies his order more than me, everywhere not just here. He had a paneer curry last time and a chicken karahi which was hot but tasty this time. We always order popadoms too, they come with 3 lovely dips, the coriander and mint chutney is particularly nice because it’s unusual.
Anyway, this places comes high recommended. We’ve been occasionally ever since it opened. At the start they used to do buy one get one free, but its got way too popular for them to need to do this any more! It’s a nice chilled out, ‘cafeteria- style’ restaurant and you can see into where they prepare the food. Definitely go and try it if you’re in Nottingham!

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Restaurant review- Graze, Belper

We don’t eat out loads and loads but we do love to go out for meals, and last week we went out to belper’s newest restaurant. I was a bit apprehensive as the building has changed hands loads of times and I most remember it as a club! Not that I ever went! But Chris had heard some great reviews from colleagues, and when he told me it was actually a restaurant in the centre of derby that had branched out I felt a bit more confident (not that this would be what I generally looked for, but this building has been used by some seriously dodgy businesses).
So we went last Tuesday to celebrate Chris’s dad’s birthday, which was actually weeks ago but I was poorly so we didn’t celebrate with him. The place was huge and really nicely laid out. They seated people relatively close together so it felt busy but actually it was surprisingly busy anyway for a Tuesday, especially when it only opened relatively recently. On a week night you can get 2 courses for £10 which was great, although if you want the third course you have to pay from the a la carte menu, and we did want it! Prices are higher at the weekend though. the set menu is £20 for 3 courses, no two course option. For starter I went for the rather unusual sausage and mash. The sausages were very tasty, apparently award-winning. It was only a smear of mash but t was creamy and delicious. It was ideal for a starter as it was small, although I had to share a whole 1 of my 3 sausages to panther as there was no children’s menu so she was sharing with us. I hadn’t planned to buy her a meal but would have liked the option, it is unusual nowadays for places not to have a children’s menu.
For main I had chicken. I had chosen a pizza but it wasn’t part of the £10 menu so I quickly chose the chicken I’d been looking at. It was won patatas bravas and chorizo, amongst other stuff. It was very tasty but probably to be fair nicer to read than to eat! It came with veg which were nice but to my mind a bit under seasoned.
For using I had brownie. They get this from strutt’s bakery which is next door and it was truly delicious. We will definitely be going there ASAP to sample some of their other cakes! Everybody else had different food to me but I tried a lot of it and it was all lovely.
We will definitely be going back. I love where we live anyway, but it is great that we have such a nice restaurant within walking distance of home. Sadly we don’t normally have anybody to babysit but when we do get the chance I want to go back. Next time I fancy trying the pizzas though!

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