whenever i visit my grandparents, my granny and i can talk for hours about recipe ideas, meals we've had and what we've made lately with our pasta machines. along with my mum, she's basically my blog's biggest fan and she's even got me bookmarked on her ipad. hi granny! so i thought it was about time that i took her out to lunch somewhere local and treated her to a nice meal. i'd had my eye on seven in derby for a while, so after a little menu research we decided that would be the place for our lunch catch up.
a very friendly welcome was accompanied by a jug of fresh water, introduction to the menus and prompt drink order. i glanced at the menu but had already decided on the beetroot cured salmon (£5.25), whilst my granny took a liking to the goats cheese parfait (£4.75), which both had gluten free options too.
the combination of walnut crumble outer, port wine syrup and chilled grapes were a triumph, which had a sweet and biscuity contrast to the cheese. the grapes were so chilled they were almost frozen, which was a challenge, but again counteracted the richness of the syrup. my salmon was deliciously fresh, with again a classic combination of earthy beetroot and creamy horseradish potato salad.
with a good size and fantastic quality starter we were eager to see what was in store for the mains. meanwhile the restaurant filled up quickly with merry diners in festive jumpers, large family groups and tables for two. we both agreed that we'd done well to get ahead of the kitchen rush and had our best smug faces on when our second course appeared.
i had gone for the twice cooked packington pork belly (£13.50) whilst my granny opted for the pan fried duck breast (£15.50), which again i was pleased to see had gluten free options. vegetarian offerings looked appetising too; with butternut squash, sage and cannellini bean stew, wild mushroom pappardelle and a super seven salad packed with interesting veg.
the pork belly dish was accompanied by sweet potato dauphinoise, buttered greens, black pudding bon bon and a sherry vinegar jus. i was seriously impressed by the layered potato idea, which tasted so much better than my photograph does justice. the pork belly was a beautiful cliché of crunchy and melt-in-the-mouth consistency, whilst the black pudding bon bon was meaty enough without being bitter and overpowering. i enjoyed the flavour of the greens too, although i think there could have been much more of.
the pan fried duck was matched with mini fondant potatoes, orange braised cabbage, tender stem broccoli and damson compote. again, another classic combination of flavours brought up to date with modern presentation and inspiring kitchen techniques. think contemporary duck l'orange with a seasonal addition of damson.
of course all good things must end, but not quite yet. yes, of course we ordered dessert.
i dashed in for the lemon meringue posset (£5.25) and granny had the open banoffee brulee (£5.25). this was a tricky decision with a malteser brownie and honey and whisky arctic roll lurking before my eyes. although i remember i chose lemon because it's light, and i was just about stuffed. with such dutiful staff, we actually had to try tactics to not have our dessert order taken straight away, since we wanted to build up an appetite for something sweet.
light, lemony and lovely it was. i could have easily done without the meringue topping, partly because i was getting full and partly because the lemon posset itself was easily the best bit. the puff pastry twist was a nice touch and something that has inspired me to try out at home.
like the lemon meringue and posset combination, here was another classic dessert hybrid. the banoffee pie meets the creme brulee. i didn't actually get to try this one but i think that probably means it was pretty good.
a brilliant atmosphere, welcoming staff, modern interior and contemporary takes on classic dishes with a dash of international inspiration; i definitely think i'll be back.
as well as a lovely menu and catch up with my granny, it was also the day i found out my grandpa can't actually cook. instead the poor thing had eggs and bacon laid out ready for him to have a go at making himself. i think next time we should probably invite him along!
note: i paid for our meal and the restaurant did not know i was planning to review. all opinions are honest and my own.