Snow has arrived in Derby and with it single digit weather, meaning I am craving hearty, wholesome fayre, all over again. I can’t recall it ever being this cold in March, can you?
A yellow snow alert from the Met Office for the remainder of this week means I’ll be on an elongated hunt for comfort food that feels like a hug in a bowl. It’s been a busy few months, juggling a big move, work stuff and more.
The move has meant us dining out more often as the kitchen has been in a state of upheaval. Besides, the last thing I wanted to do after spending a gruelling day boxing up, moving and unpacking, was meal plan and cook.
I’ve whittled down five eateries that have been keeping us nicely fed and watered over the past month. That’s not even counting Deliveroo, but more on that later.
The first of my reviews is Nalaas. It is a restaurant we have dined at numerous times, and I just wanted to give a shoutout to the chef and wonderful team for all the delicious food they cook and serve, always, always with a smile.
Nalaas is not far from the city centre at all. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat unassuming exterior because once you park up, expect to be transported to a Narnia-esque kingdom of magic.
The last time we dined in was over the weekend and like any other time, it was jam packed. It attracts a wide variety of cool bods, from solo diners hunkering down for a quiet meal in peace, to larger families and couples who just want a taste of home-cooked food without the fancy price tag.
Enter the building and you’re greeted by staff with sunshine-warm smiles who will go on to provide polite, stellar service. The restaurant underwent a revamp post-Covid, so now you will see teal accents throughout the dining room.
It’s a decent sized menu packed full of your new favourite dishes. Expect starters such as samosa, pakora, gobi Manchurian, mains of chicken jalfrezi and palak paneer, desserts of gulab jamun and chilled drinks from large bottles of Cobra beer to milkshakes and masala chai.
My usual go-to curries are fish masala or chicken kadai with Malabhar parotta. The chefs have started serving specials now which includes dishes such as keema with parotta.
I love the lamination of the parotta, which is a joy to tear apart and dunk into any of the Nalaas’ curries. What I love about the fish masala curry is its lightly spiced creamy base, made with generous chunks of tilapia fish that are beautifully flaky yet meaty in texture, all at the same time.
Nalaas are renowned for their masala dosa, which are literally giant treats served alongside three chutneys and a spiced daal. If I’m feeling a little jaunty, then the dosa is a good one to scarf, in all its theatrical glory, because it arrives on a dish bigger than your head on a canteen-style, robust plastic dish.
I adore dishes at Nalaas, which is food just like Mom makes. Whenever I’m missing her cooking, I’ll ring through to Nalaas, which is one of the few restaurants I have on speed dial.
Nalaas is a cash-only restaurant, so don’t forget to pack some notes when you visit. If you haven’t been yet, my God you’re in for a real treat, because not only is the food finger lickin’ good, the staff are so lovely and thoughtful, you sometimes forget you’re dining in a restaurant instead of sitting at home sharing food with loved ones.
I usually get a chicken biryani packed to go too, as it makes a great lunch to mix up the work from home lunch routine. I cannot recommend Nalaas enough, and if you go, I would love to know what you ordered, and how you got on.
*Header image of poori masala courtesy of Nalaas
Food: 10 / 10
Value for money: 10 / 10
Ambience: 10 / 10
Service: 10 / 10
Restaurant name: Nalaas
Address: 81 Monk Street, DE22 3QE
Tel: 01332 205511
How to make reservation: Telephone