Lunch At Reunion Deli In Belper
If it’s fairly local (and His Nibs and I can sneak away from the ‘day jobs’) it’s always nice to get out for lunch so, when the invitation came through from Reunion Deli’s co-founder, Jo Black (the other founder is Matthew Bubis), to try their dishes, it was a no-brainer that we’d accept.
We parked in the nearby Co-Op car park (2 hours is more than enough time for lunch) and walked over to the venue. No surprises that the Deli was busy (it was peak time at lunch) but blimey, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so lively!! Those of you with young babies will be pleased to hear that push-chairs/prams are able to be accommodated in the downstairs area -there were 3 there when we visited - and there are high-chairs for those wee ones that can sit up unaided: Family Friendly? Check.
It isn’t just yummy mummies/delish daddies/gorgeous grannies and grandpa’s that are welcomed with open arms at Reunion Deli in Belper; those who work away from offices are embraced too. These workers can avail themselves of a seat in the breakfast bar-style upper seating area, or on a squishy sofa, or on any table actually; Jo even runs ‘Co-Working Tuesdays’ specifically for this demographic! To say Reunion has only been open since June 2022, it’s certainly proving popular with the town residents.
Reunion is relaxed as well as trendy, with upbeat music providing a nice soundtrack to this social venue. Bright Cobalt and warm Terracotta tones lend a cosy feel to what could easily be a bland, open space, and lots of lush foliage and an eye-catching mural on the mezzanine level further enhance the chilled aesthetic. Jo and her team are all brilliantly friendly and we were ushered upstairs to our table and talked through the simple ordering process: each table has a number (make a note of it, you’ll need it!) and a menu on it, so once you’ve had a gander on the scrummy offerings you simply pop back down to the counter and order. Easy peasy.
Well, I say easy peasy; it normally is but, thanks to power outages from the National Grid, Chef Adam Potter was having one heck of a time fulfilling certain food orders, including ours! Originally, we’d gone for the Reunion Deli Breakfast (£12.95, His Nibs) and the Oyster Mushroom Moqueca (£9.95, my choice) but because they required oven/hob cooking and the power was intermittent, Chef couldn’t work his magic. Then the lights upstairs went out….
I always say that when life gives you lemons, you’ve got a choice: either look like you’re sucking one, or crack on and make scrummy lemonade! The Man and I make lemonade, as does Jo; unperturbed, she went and got some pretty tealights and jars, putting them on each table to add a cheery touch and some cosy lunch-time atmosphere. Meanwhile, we had another squizz at the menu; I plumped for the Reunion Deli Flatbread (£10.95) with added Wild Mushrooms, and The Man went for the Huevos Rancheros (£8.45, though he added Chorizo for an extra £2). Jo told us that the Huevos Rancheros/Refried Black Beans were made to a recipe she used to do in Mexico, so we were expecting something rather tasty (we weren’t disappointed either).
Our lovely server brought up a pot of loose leaf, Breakfast Tea for me and a freshly ground Black Coffee for His Nibs so, whilst we waited for our meals, we slaked our thirsts and took in more of our surroundings. To my right was a ‘Book Swap’ shelf, laden with reads for both adults and children – what a cracking idea! Next time we visit, I’m going to take over some publications that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and are ready for a new home and pair of eyes. Since it’s Fresh Basil days, Reunion has had a bit of a re-jig to maximise its space, so gone is the cupboard upstairs and in has come extra seating space; downstairs, the deli counter is smaller and L-shaped, again to welcome in more seating and tables.
At this point our lunches were brought up to us and we tucked in with gusto! Now, some of you may have read the price of my flatbread and gone “how much?!”, but all I’m going to say is that my belly was stuffed after eating it, so it was really good value for money. The ‘proper’ bread was loaded with a roasted veg medley, a thick slice of melted Mozzarella and slices of beautifully piquant Cobble Lane Cured Salt and Pepper Salami, all topped with plenty of fresh Watercress. The marriage of flavours was superb; the sweetness of the roasted vegetables and creaminess of the Mozzarella parried perfectly with the heat and spices in the Salami. Texturally, this was a triumph too; soft, comforting vegetables contrasted with the crunchy outer of the bread, making for a sensorial delight. This might not have been my original choice, but sometimes the world moves in mysterious ways to bring what you really wanted.
Across from me, His Nibs was chomping happily away at his choice: Huevos Rancheros, which is refried black beans, spices, Avocado, Coriander, Fried Egg, fresh Tomato Salsa and Sourdough Toast. You might not think it from the description, but this was actually a very ‘grammable’ dish; the deep rich colours of the beans accentuated the verdancy of the smooth Avocado and the bright cheeriness of the fresh Tomato Salsa. The beans’ spices added a pleasant warmth at the periphery of the palate, added to by the Chorizo’s Paprika content and Coriander’s distinctive bright taste. Bringing a cooling element to this dish was the superbly chunky, fresh Tomato Salsa; the quartered cherry morsels made you take time and chew them so that you got the full effect of the salsa’s flavour. Perfectly seasoned, smooth Guacamole was liberally spread on the thick slice of toasted sourdough and, partnered with the eggs’ rich, creamy yolk, made this a wonderfully indulgent lunchtime choice.
There wasn’t a scrap left on either of our plates, something which made our server smile as she came to take them away. We’d enjoyed every mouthful and for those of you who want to embrace a meatless way of eating, there is plenty of choice to tempt your taste buds at Reunion Deli at Belper. Even better, the deli counter offers you plenty of options to take morsels home to enjoy; we took back an Apple Strudel Parcel (vegan) and a slice of Carrot Cake – both of which were moist, flavoursome and generous in size.
Hot Wings happily awarded to this brilliant, community minded venue, and thank you, Jo, for inviting us along. To find out more visit the website www.reunionbelper.co.uk or give them a buzz on 01773 270968.
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