A trip out to the Derby Arms last weekend for lunch. A popular restaurant specialising in Game and Fish according to the blurb. Inside it's traditionally decorated with two dining rooms to either side of the lounge. A full menu was available for lunch including a large board of specials and a more traditional choice from the a la carte; a Table D'hote is also available. The wine list is good and varied and is nicely laid dividing the wines into drinking styles.
We both started with the monk fish but cooked in different ways. Jackie's was prepared Spanish style in an oven baked terracotta dish swimming in garlic oil, I went for the beer battered tempura style. Jackie's was far more tasty though I have to say the batter was cooked to crispy perfection (which makes a change). To be fair Monk fish is just a little too bland for this treatment and this needed a dipping sauce of some sort to give it some life.
The main course was one of my all time cheap cut favourites, a slow cooked pork belly roast. A dish that's easy to get so badly wrong this version was as good as any I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, including the 24hour V&A version in Florida. Served as a full slice and with the texture of butter it had a taste depth that's off the scale. It was accompanied by a separate piece of crackling that was so good it could have been marketed as a new luxury snack. The sauce was a Bramley apple and cream jus that had just the right balance between sourness and sweet. Predictably I finished with cheese.
Jackies main was Coquille st Jacques, well presented and well cooked and for dessert she had a rather indifferent Rhubarb pie which lacked a certain something.
All in all a good experience and we will certainly return.