Food perfectly presented but be careful not to overdo it
Our Spy tries to get a table on a busy weekend at the Broadway .
AS a place to meet friends, enjoy after-work drinks or get competitive in a general knowledge quiz, the Broadway in Derby ticks all the boxes.
But how would the restaurant fare? The Ember Inns website says it serves "beautifully cooked meat, seafood and vegetarian meals that make the most of the season's best produce".
What's more, the site claims there is no need to book – just go along and you will be looked after.
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Secret Service decided to test this theory on a busy weekend evening, retaining a degree of pessimism about getting any food.
But the claims were correct – although the pub was bustling, a table was easily secured. You order and pay at the bar and your Spy was served by a very cheerful and helpful bar tender.
To keep us occupied while waiting for the food to arrive, we ordered some nibbles – these are tantalisingly displayed behind the bar in large glass jars and are definitely a cut above peanuts and crisps. We plumped for a bowl of chilli puffs and some wasabi peas (both pretty spicy).
The menu features a variety of starters, including mushroom rarebit, devilled whitebait and, that staple of British menus, a prawn cocktail. But your Spy and companion decided to head straight for the main course.
A sharers' menu looked like fun, with farmhouse, fish and vegetarian platters available, as well as a delicious-sounding box-baked camembert. But, as your Spy and companion could not agree on a platter to share, we went our separate ways.
Your Spy opted for a cheese and bacon burger, served with chips and coleslaw. The burger was stuffed with lettuce, red onion, gherkin, mayonnaise and sliced tomato, so much so that a bamboo skewer had been employed to hold it all together artfully.
The accompanying chips were attractively presented, in a small loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper. They were deliciously crispy. Unfortunately, while tasty, the burger let this meal down as it was overcooked and dry.
My companion suffered a similar fate with the char-grilled salmon salad. This sounded irresistibly refreshing but sadly both salmon and salad disappointed.
The salad was an uninspiring collection of lettuce and rocket with a few pieces of tomato, and the salmon, described as "succulent" was anything but as, like the burger, it was overcooked.
The chunky chips chosen as a side order were so large that they were more floury potato than crisp chip.
Undeterred, your Spy decided that a dessert would improve things and chose the milk and cookies sundae, which contained chocolate and vanilla ice cream scoops with home-baked cookie pieces, Belgian chocolate sauce and whipped cream. All the ingredients were deliciously indulgent. My only criticism was the cookie pieces were so huge as to make them unmanageable with a small spoon.
My companion skipped dessert and went straight to the calypso coffee, with Tia Maria. Inexplicably, instead of an after-dinner mint, this arrived with four Smarties on the side. Maybe that is the latest trend and the height of chic but it is definitely a new one for your Spy.
What: The Broadway
Where: Duffield Road, Derby,
Meal for two: Wasabi peas £1.95, chilli puffs £1.95, cheese and bacon burger £7.25, chargrilled salmon salad £7.75, side order of thick-cut chips £1.75, milk and cookies sundae £3.95. Drinks: bottle Pino Grigio £10.95, elderflower cordial 55p, calypso coffee £3.50.
To Book: Call Derby 556100