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Al Fresco Dining at Derby Market Place

Published On Tuesday 1 Jun 2021 by Sticky Beak
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The Man Bird and I were going ‘out out’ again, this time as invited guests at the Derby Market Place celebration event on Friday 21st May 2021. We parked the trusty Jalopy in the Derbion centre and walked over to the venue –well, it was actually more of a brisk trot to dodge the hammering rain. Gotta love the British weather...... not. Only here would I be wearing my thick Cashmere jumper, tweed coat and a hat in May!! C’mon weather fairies, sort it out!

Unsurprisingly the conditions did deter quite a few folks, but there were also plenty of determined diners that were eager to enjoy the hospitality and entertainment lined up for the evening. The lovely team took our names at the entrance and we were escorted to our covered Cabana - we were originally at one of the outdoor tables but thankfully got moved and were joined by a super couple, Kirsty and Adam. Adam is part of the Eagle Market’s management team, so he was as buzzed as we were to see Derby springing back to life post-covid.

We all ordered our first (complimentary) drink from Derby Brewing Company’s selection and began chatting away in between bites of the delicious canapé selection made by The Wonky Kitchen (the outside catering branch of Sadler Gate restaurant, The Wonky Table). Inside the large cardboard pizza-style box was a veritable rainbow of nibbles: Spicy Samosas topped with Mango Chutney, slabs of Pork Pie drizzled with sunny Piccalilli, Baguette slices adorned with Brie, Pear and Caramelised Onion, and Beetroot Puree, Cucumber and spiced Carrot puree blinis topped with tiny black seeds (poppy or onion, not sure which as it didn’t really impact the taste in my mouth).

I have to say that the cheeky red I was supping was hitting the spot beautifully, as were the myriad of flavours from the canapé assortment. When I was ready for another drink (well it was the weekend!) I simply tapped on the Derby Brewing Company app I’d downloaded on my phone and *poof!* a drink magically appeared at the table.

As well as The Wonky Kitchen, other local venues Lorentes, Nando’s, BEAR, The Palfrey and Portobello are working in conjunction with Derby Market Place to provide a pre-order  delivery or collection food service for patrons so that you can have food brought directly to your table if you so wish. The Market Place is covid safe, with a host of safety measures in place including wearing masks when moving around, track & trace (via NHS app or a paper form filled out at the venue), a clearly marked one-way system and hand sanitiser on every table.

Two short-and-Hawaiian-shirt-clad (???!!!!) chaps aka Paul and Ben/ The Lost Boys were comperes, providing  a constant stream of chat as well as introducing the officials making speeches, the Darley Dance troupe and Pure Steel’s Caribbean-vibe steel drums. Perhaps the best/wackiest entertainment, though, came from the pair of walkabout entertainers dressed as French Chefs; their witty repartee and interaction with both themselves and us, the audience, was brilliant. Bonkers, but brilliant!

This was the first ‘Live Session’ at Derby Market Place, and if the weather had been on-side there would’ve been folks having a bop at their tables when the DJ did his set. Fingers crossed that the temperature heats up and the rain does one over the next few months. During the day there is the opportunity for al fresco dining Monday-Sunday Noon-3pm and 6-9pm on Friday and Saturday.

Subject to BoJo’s plan going, well, to plan, from 21st June there will be a marquee in the market place hosting a variety of programmed events. Free events that are scheduled are ‘Rockin’ Robins Live Acoustic sessions’ on 12th June, and ‘Pure Steel’ steel drums on 29th May and 5th June. For £8 per ticket there is a stage adaptation by Toby Hulse of the classic tale “The Wind in The Willows” from 27th June-11th July.

One thing’s for sure: Derby City Council, Smooth Radio, Derby Brewing Company and the other partners supporting Derby Market Place are doing their utmost to ensure that the local businesses get the long-awaited and much needed economic boost they need. So come on folks, get behind your local venues; if you don’t they might not be able to continue trading and Derby will lose that vibrancy, diversity and magic that we all love it for!! Head to www.derbymarketplace.co.uk to book tickets, tables and cabanas.

Huge hanks to Stella and the whole team for inviting us along; despite the weather, we had a fab time.

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