Derby’s food and drink industry descended on The Roundhouse yesterday to celebrate the Eighth Annual Derby Food and Drink Awards. The evening highlighted Derby’s finest restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes, in categories including Best Newcomer, Best Out of Town, and the highly prestigious Restaurant of the Year. The award ceremony, organised by Marketing Derby in conjunction with the Derby Telegraph, Roundhouse Events and Cactus Images, was hosted by Andy Potter, broadcast journalist.


With over 2,200 nominations received from the public, finalists were shortlisted from the quality and content of the public nominations, as well as the establishment’s hygiene ratings and TripAdvisor scores. Each establishment was visited by mystery judges, who critiqued them on food, drinks, overall atmosphere and customer service.

On the night were a number of different food stalls, thoughtfully put on by Marketing Derby. I tasted a selection of canapés from The Engine Shed Restaurant, which were very nice indeed. The mini jacket potatoes with cheese and beans was delicious. It takes great skill to render a hearty dish like jacket potatoes into delicate finger food, which is why I have added this restaurant on my list of places to review.


Other foodie highlights included stunning chocolates from Cacoa Elora, whose grapefruit base truffles were moreish and heavenly. I’ll be reviewing them shortly, so look out for this ab fab chocolate review coming soon.


If you’re a Derbyshire foodie, then you’ve no doubt heard about The Quirky Cook, aka Kay Wagstaff. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kay around Derby, and more recently at Derby Food Assembly. I fell in love with her tomato, chilli and black garlic relish. Black garlic is a great ingredient to work with, and Kay uses it to great effect to add depth to already multi-faceted dishes.

In addition to a bar, thirsty foodies could whet their whistle by sipping on artisan cocktails courtesy of Rested Cocktails. What I love most about their tasty cocktails is their branding and how their concoctions have been steel-aged. Quaint, right?

After sipping a few cocktails (the rum was my favourite), we took a seat just in time for the awards ceremony to kick off.

It was a really great evening. John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, said: “The judges had a difficult albeit enjoyable time picking a winner. We asked them to take a rounded view, looking for excellence in customer service, with knowledgeable staff who seem to care, appropriate ambience, as well as, of course, an excellent food and drink offer.”

Here is the list of winners. Congratulations to finalists and all who entered. An extra special well done to the Derby Museum Café, which happens to be one of my favourite spaces to get a coffee. If you haven’t been before, do check it out. Well done to Team Derby Museum Café!


Best International

Sponsored by Riverlights Derby

Winner – Lorentes

Finalist – Shalimar Gold

Finalist– The Spice Lounge

Best Café

Sponsored by Zest Produce

Winner – The Coffee House at Derby Museums

Finalist – Grand Café Caruso

Finalist – Heavenly Desserts

Best Bar

Sponsored by Swindell and Pearson

Finalist – Pitcher and Piano

Finalist – Mansion

Winner– Hopgate

Best Pub

Sponsored by Koobr

Winner – The Greyhound

Finalist – New Zealand Arms

Finalist – The Exeter Arms

Best Newcomer

Sponsored by University of Derby Business School

Finalist – The Cosy Club

Finalist – Oliver’s

Winner – Lisa Jean at Bennetts Brasserie

Best Out of Town

Sponsored by Xcel Energy

Finalist – Dovecote at Morley Hayes

Finalist – Anoki Burton

Winner – Fox and Hounds, Coxbench

Best Customer Service

Sponsored by Derby Telegraph

Finalist – Anoki (Derby)

Finalist – Dovecote Restaurant, Morley Hayes

Finalist – Grand Café Caruso

Finalist – Mansion

Finalist – Hide

Winner– The Spice Lounge

Restaurant of the Year

Sponsored by Marketing Derby Bondholders

Winner – Iberico

Finalist – Hide

Finalist – Masa

Finalist – Restaurant Zest

See you all again next year!