Monday, 28 January 2013
Before Christmas we were nominated for the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards 2012/13, and what an honour it was to attend a wonderful evening at Chatsworth House for the presentation ceremony. Judges had selected us to enter the category for Best Derbyshire Breakfast, with all our ingredients being so locally sourced and our menu ingredients carefully selected by taste tests to find the highest quality ingredients coming from Marsh Green at Kelstedge producing exceptional bacon, sausage and black pudding. We were visited by mystery diners for them to judge the quality of our breakfasts, customer service, atmosphere and everything that makes your visit to us special. We attended the evening with lots of excitement with this being our first awards of hopefully the first of many to come. With many other businesses competing in our category our certificate for Finalists in Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards 2012/13 for Best Derbyshire Breakfast is proudly framed on show for all to see in blu.
Sunday, 7 October 2012
From a pre-dinner drink in the sun, through to the final spoonful of her stunning dessert, Twist's Kat Withers found plenty to drool over at Chesterfield's newest bistro, blu, on Chatsworth Road
RELAXING in the sun with a cool glass of white wine on a summer's evening, I could have been anywhere. But I wasn't on some exotic bech, I was at blu Bistro & Coffe House with Twist colleague Mike, browsing all the mouth-watering sounding dishes on their new menu.
Located alongside Chatsworth Road, blu Bistro opened just over two months ago and has already seen customers returning and recommending the place to friends, thanks to its fine wine, classic food and friendly service.
Having served as a restaurant before, since being taken over by the Branson family, the venue has undergone a stylish refurb and now boasts an outdoor seating area, a private party room and a snug bar; spreading over three floors.
Now run by front-of-house team Jill, Becky and Annie Branson, with chefs Adam Warwick - Jill's nephew - and Andy Johnston in the kitchen, blu offers everything from freshly-made lunchtime specials and home-made cakes, to quality evening meals and Sunday brunch.
Explained Becky, who also runs Definition Hair above the bistro: "It's traditional English food. It's not pub food, but it's not a la carte food either. It's somewhere in between and at a reasonable price."
Taking the name from a favourite restaurant of the family in Spain, the restaurant runs perfectly alongside the hair and beauty salon, with clients being able to have their treatments and enjoy lunch all under one roof.
"We want to make people feel welcome when they come in, that's the whole idea of it," added Jill. "People are more demanding of good quality food these days and take more notice of reviews and recommendations. What we're trying to do is use locally-sourced ingredients and we tested all the produce before taking it on. I think it's important for local businesses to support other local businesses."
Taking our table inside just as our starters were reader, deciding on our dishes has been a difficulty task, with every option sounding as tempting as the one before it. Unable to resist the combination of two of my favourite foods, my Baked Goats Cheese with Beetroot, Puree and Herb Salad came with a crispy breadcrumb crust and was just the perfect choice for a warm summer evening.
Across the table, Mike's Pan-Seared Scallops with Black Pudding, Nutmeg and Apple Puree were stunningly presented, with Mike praising the chef for how well the flavours complimented each other.
And this attention to detail and extra little touches extends further than than the food. Complimentry bottles of water are on each table, as well as tags with little message tucked into the expertly folded napkins. Even the shortbread that is served with coffee is home made.
Having already glimpsed the delights on offer on the dessert menu, I had opted for a slightly lighter main of Baked Mackerel Fillets with a Smoked Bacon Crust, served with Crushed New Potatoes, Tomato Salsa and Baby Watercress.
While I enjoyed the perfectly cooked fish, meaty pieces of bacon and the tasty chunky salsa, Mike was busy digging into a delicious dish of his own; Pan-Fried Gressingham Duck Breast, served with Crispy Duck Leg, a Port Sauce and Potato Fondant. The dishes also came with a side of seasonal vegetables, in this case carrots and broccoli.
Sitting back satisfied after a beautifully cooked meal, Mike said: "That was stunning. It was the meatiest duck I have ever had an it was cooked with just a nice hint of pink."
Having heard of the blu Bistro's pudding club, where people try a sample of desserts and decide which should make it onto the final menu, we asked Becky for her recommendations and went with those.
As impressively presented as with every other course, Mike's Lime and Ginger Cheesecake, with Fresh Cream, put other cheesecakes to shame by being served with Ginger Tuile and White Chocolate Mousse.
Just as special was my Compote Trio which comprised three shot glasses, each filled with a delicious combination. While the Raspberry and Tarragon Cream was my favourite by just whisker, the Caramelised Banana, Creme Fraiche and Toffee and the Passion Chocolate came a close joint second.
With both of us finishing everything on our plate in each course, Mike and I agreed that we would be back again soon to try out the lunch menu or to enjoy a coffee and cake.
Review courtesy of Twist Magazine, September 2012.
For more information visit: www.twistchesterfield.co.uk