Lime's Bar & Restaurant, Derby, Derbyshire Restaurant Review

Amber Locke discovers a new dining gem and is served one of the best meals she has eaten in Derbyshire.

It's a golden moment when you realise that you've discovered a dining gem and this is what I believe we have on our doorstep in Derbyshire. Despite it having been open for six months prior to my visit, I'd heard virtually nothing about it on the grapevine - either good, bad or otherwise. I put this down to it being slightly tucked away and possibly still unknown to many.

Limes Restaurant opened its doors last July. It sits on the first floor of a handsome and imposing Georgian building (the old Cooper Parry building) at the apex of Ford Street and Friar Gate. The lively and popular bar and bistro on the ground floor opened at the end of 2006 and both this and the restaurant have been immaculately and stylishly decorated by the owners Nick and Mandy Brammer.

The restaurant is presided over by a young and vibrant team and on the night of our visit we were admirably looked after by Abbas, a charming, knowledgeable and entertaining young chap. The first floor restaurant houses a bar, different levelled seating areas, a glamorous private dining room tucked behind a hidden door and even an open kitchen.

The d�cor is striking; hardwood floors give way to black and white tiles, black and white striped wall paper on one wall contrasts with a black flock type paper on an adjacent wall, black chandeliers, fresh lilies in wall hung glass sconces, palms, a piano and a huge wine fridge all create a busy, glamorous feel with plenty to look at! In fact whichever way you sit, either facing into the restaurant or looking out over the street below there's something to catch your eye. Often in restaurants some unfortunate person is left facing a blank wall with only their companion to gaze at, but this is certainly not the case here.

The restaurant is pristine and with glinting glassware, subtle lighting, candles on every table and low-key music it successfully creates an ambience of relaxed elegance. The evening we dined here it was surprisingly quiet but it was a mid-week January night and, as I said before, I'm sure this restaurant is still relatively undiscovered.

The menu is refreshingly simple in its organisation with six different choices for each course and a two or three course pricing structure: �24.95 and �29.95 respectively. The head chef Ian Boden and his team certainly know how to cook - our meal was superbly executed from start to finish and presented with imagination and flair.

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We started with glasses of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and a bottle of water both served icy cold (as I prefer) and it was great to find a local restaurant using proper ice buckets. To nibble on we were served slices of a lightly textured bread while we perused the menu and when we'd chosen our courses, a shot-glass appetiser of confit chicken, smoked duck and a piped grain mustard mousse was served.

This was a good start as the flavours and textures of each ingredient were clearly apparent and presentation was precise. Our hopes were raised and not disappointed for our starters were fabulous too. I chose rillettes of fresh crab, yellow fin tuna and green beans with a sesame dressing and my mother, who accompanied me, had the diver-caught scallops, crispy belly pork and pumpkin pur�e. The scallops were perfectly cooked (so often over-done) and the belly pork (so often highly fatty) was THE best either of us had ever tasted - crisp and so flavoursome, truly delicious!

My dish included a little disk of seared tuna lightly encrusted with a five spice powder and a rillette of creamy and delicately flavoured crab. Although the mouthfuls were tiny the tastes were refreshing and defined and the presentation picture-perfect. Not much to fault here unless you were ravenous!

For my main course I had herb-crusted haddock set on a circle of crushed new potatoes with artfully arranged tiny spears of purple sprouting broccoli and drizzled and dotted with a chive beurre blanc-style sauce. This was gorgeous and my mother's dish of slow cooked lamb equally laudable. Her dish comprised succulent slices of organic lamb, a piece of rolled shoulder topped with a green olive tapenade, thin ribbons of blanched carrot, cherry tomatoes and beautiful meaty jus. The lamb had a melting texture and we both decided these were two of the best dishes we'd eaten out locally in a long while.

We were next served a pre-dessert - not one of my favourite courses as after these my sweet tooth is normally sated and I'd happily settle for a coffee rather than follow with my ordered pudding - but these were small and delicious: a soft, grainy fan of red-wine poached pear with a fluffy bay leaf cream and a sprinkle of chopped pistachio.

My chosen dessert was a rhubarb crumble souffl�, beautifully prepared and perfectly risen in its little ramekin with a side serving of delicate pink poached rhubarb topped with a ball of vanilla bean ice cream, a sprinkle of crumble mixture and a sliver of vanilla pod. This was a great dish and the only thing I can complain about was the cutlery - the spoon I'd been given was a large dessert spoon which seemed too big and cumbersome for the delicate souffl�.

My mother chose hot chocolate fondant with griottine cherries and a natural yoghurt sorbet. This came as a thin slab of soft, warm chocolate sponge oozing with a rich chocolate fondant, a little circlet of tuille biscuit filled with a chocolate mousse topped with small Kirsch-soaked griottine cherries and a palate-cleansing ball of natural yoghurt sorbet.

Coffee and petit fours(a lemony Madeline, a macaroon and a little chocolate cup filled with chocolate mousse) are priced at an additional �3.95.

I can easily say this is one of the best meals I've eaten in Derbyshire and I really hope that this restaurant goes on to make its well deserved mark on the local culinary map.

Limes, 102 Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1EX

Tel: 01332 613664

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