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Hickory's Smokehouse
Derby, Derbyshire
01332 978690
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Trying The Brunch And 'Sub-and-Soda' Menus At Hickory's Derby

Published On Sunday 5 May 2024 by Sticky Beak
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You may recall that The Man and I attended the opening event at Hickory’s Smokehouse in Chellaston, Derby last summer - and the food was seriously scrummy. Fast forward a few months and this fab team are now offering a [mainly] smokehouse-inspired Brunch, which is available until 2pm every single day of the week, as well as a ‘Sub-and-Soda deal available Monday-Friday until 2pm. We were kindly invited along to try the new kid on the block, so we mosied on down.

We were greeted warmly by the venue’s GM, Nathan, and shown to our table. Seems that word has already got out about how good the brunch session is; there were plenty of tables already occupied, and several were celebrating birthdays. Children of all ages are welcome at Hickory’s Smokehouse and it was lovely to hear their chatter – they can always escape to the cinema room if they get bored of their ‘rents company! Having been seated and settled in, one of the serving team brought a bottle of chilled water over for us, and Nathan followed with those dinky paper bags of complimentary Popcorn that every customer gets. With absolutely no preamble whatsoever, we both started munching away on this light snack as we perused the brunch offerings.

As soon as I spied the French Toast Bacon Stack (£12.50), that was me done; I didn’t need to see anything else! The Man opted for the Hickory’s Classic Burger and a Raspberry/Mint Soda from the Sub-and-Soda section, and all the options are priced at £11.99, whether you go for a hot burger or a cool baguette. Not that we need any persuading, but Nathan encouraged us to be naughty and order a couple of sides, so we grabbed some Brisket Mac-n-Cheese (£8.25) and some Magic-Dusted, Dirty Tater Tots (£5). If you’ve never tried Hickory’s Magic Dust, a) where’ve you been?! and b) you need this multi-talented minx in your life! We have a jar at home (it’s available for £6) and slap it on everything to zhuzh the flavour up, and it works pretty niftily as a meat-rub or marinade, too.

Anyhooo, back to our visit… Whilst we waited for our food, another member of the team, Josh (the Assistant Manager), came over with dinky baskets of Hickory’s Iconic low-n-slow cooked Texas-style Brisket, complete with the super-tasty Bourbon Gravy for us to reacquaint ourselves with – hello old friend, good to taste you again! I’d made the rookie mistake of having a large coffee just before we’d begun our journey and my old-lady bladder was letting me know about it, so off I trotted to the powder room before my meal arrived. The facilities are lovely and clean and, pleasingly, well stocked with sanitary products, hairspray and deodorant; nice to see a company going that little bit extra for their female guests.

When our food arrived it was simply, but nicely, presented. Portion-wise, it was perfect for the middle of the day; no afternoon carb-coma’s here, thank you very much, but no hunger either. His Nibs’ burger bun was unseeded, lightly toasted, and super-fresh and contained a flavoursome, satisfyingly dense Beef Patty.  Tangy pink pickled Onions, Gherkins (which got passed straight over to me), zingy burger sauce and an oozily melted slice of American-style cheese completed the main ensemble, with a stack of Corn chips and a carton of creamy, crunchy Coleslaw also being on the platter. His Nibs was a jolly happy camper with his choice and, I have to say, it looked and smelled delicious. I’d been tempted to have the Pastrami and Pickle Toasted Sub but, when French Toast is on the menu, nothing else gets a real look-in.

I’m a huge fan of comfort food and, to me, French Toast (bread dipped in a mixture of egg/milk/cream and any variation thereof) is a fine example of it. Hickory’s kitchen team had pan-fried the soaked bread until it was golden brown and had a gentle hint of crunch to its outer that contrasted nicely with the soft, pillowy centre. Loads of pieces of Maple Smoky Bacon Bites were hiding under the Magic Dust-pimped ‘Sunny Side Up’ egg - that’s an un-flipped, fried egg to you and me – and slices of Bourbon-glazed Streaky Bacon were wonderfully salty and crisp. If, like me, you’re a fan of proper, bona-fide Maple Syrup, then you’ll be yee-hawing with happiness at Hickory’s Smokehouse; a jug of the amber nectar also forms part of this dish. No worries either if you’re butter-fingered; the jug has a nifty sliding lid that means you get a perfectly controlled, drip-free pour every time. This dish really does have it all, in my mind: soft and crunchy, sweet and savoury, protein, carb and fats. Get in my belly!!

Another fine example of comfort food is Mac-n-Cheese, and the Brisket enhanced version at Hickory’s is the bulls’ bits, to coin a phrase. Tender, velvety Brisket is shredded and liberally scattered throughout the three-cheese laden pasta tubes; short on flavour this madam isn’t, let me tell you! As we ate our way through the cast-iron skillet of Mac/Cheese, the grins on our faces got wider and wider…some things just hit the brains’ pleasure centre, don’t they?

Just as marvellous were the Magic Dusted Tater Tots! You all know that I’m not the world’s biggest spudophile (that crown belongs to The Man Bird!) but these treats were excellent; brilliantly crunchy, crisp outers that revealed ultra-fine shredded Potato centres that were soft and satisfying. Magic Dust goes blooming great with spuds; next time I have a jacket potato at home with the usual filling of Baked Beans and Cheese, I’m going to add a scattering of this intensely tasty spice mix.

Whilst we’d been filling our tummies, several members of the serving team kept an eye on us and ensured that we were happy with our food. I remembered from our visit last year that one of the things Hickory’s does well is look after its guests, and we certainly were well looked after on this occasion, too.
Introducing Brunch is a genius move by Hickory’s Smokehouse, and what’s not to love about this meal: Late out of bed? Brunch. Meeting up with friends and some have to travel a bit of a way? Brunch. Needing a ‘morning after the night before’ refuel? Brunch. Even better news is that Hickory’s Smokehouse chain is continuing with its expansion; Nathan told us a few locations that we can’t divulge right now, but Nottingham is going to be getting another one - Yay!

Hot Wings given for the Brunch and Sub-and-Soda offerings; we both loved our respective choices. To book a table ring 01332 978690 or visit the website www.hickorys.co.uk and hit the ‘book a table’ button. The website also has details of all the menus. Hickory’s is open Monday-Friday Noon-11pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10am-11pm.

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