Piedaniels, Bakewell, Derbyshire Restaurant Review

Sir Richard Fitzherbert reports on a well thought out and perfectly executed luncheon held in a small corner of France in the centre of Bakewell.

The recently refurbished interiors of Piedaniel's were the venue for the Derbyshire Life Summer Luncheon. Situated on Bath Street in the heart of Bakewell the restaurant has been run by Eric and Christiana Piedaniel for the last 14 years and the new stylish decor is fresh, cool and comfortable. Eric and Christiana had given up their normal day off - a Monday - for our luncheon, so we made our way through the bustling streets of Bakewell on market day. Although in the centre of town, the restaurant proved a welcoming oasis.

Our French host first became interested in cooking at the age of six and gradually developed a passion for food. Fortunately Eric's talents were soon noticed by his teachers who arranged for him to go to the world-reknowned La Avalasse Catering College in Southern France a year early, such was his enthusiasm. At college he came top in his course for three consecutive years and left with full catering honours. Eric came to England gaining a position at the Great Fosters Hotel in Surrey where he first met Christiana (who had similarly gained top marks at her catering college at Cauldon, Stoke on Trent) and it was there that their love for glorious food blended!

After a spell in London the couple relocated to Derbyshire with Christiana working as a chef at Fischers restaurant in Bakewell and Baslow and Eric (subsequent to his year in the French army as private chef to one very lucky Colonel Perollaz) at the Cavendish at Baslow. They moved to Bakewell itself in 1994 and opened Renaissance (as the premises were formerly called) and decided to change the name to the eponymous Piedaniel's earlier this year.

Arriving early on a glorious day for touring the Dales (and the Peaks), guests were greeted with a sparkling Blanc de blancs from the Loire that was quaffed in the pleasant surroundings of the restaurant's garden, also part of the family's home.

Delicious warmed bread rolls were served and the couple's expertise and flair showed as we started with an avocado and tiger prawn terrine on a roasted plum tomato and red pepper coulis. It was soft and delicious, melting on the tongue. This was ably accompanied by a Sauvignon 2006 from Ch. Meriguet, Bordeaux that had a tangy smoothness complementing the dish superbly.

Our main course was a delight in its conception. The chicken timbales were hiding a core of ceps served on a thyme-flavoured potato pancake with carrot and sweet potato mousse between and a tasty jus drizzled over. Succulent and light, the dish caused ripples of rapture as we celebrated with a fragrant Sangiovese/Merlot 2006 blend from the Colle Forte vineyards in Veneto, Italy. The fruity bouquet of the blend opened up to leave a full rich finish that was beautifully balanced.

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For dessert there was a real treat for the chocophiles amongst us. An iced white chocolate gteau topped with chocolate copeaux and white chocolate sauce! A sheer delight that our sommelier for the afternoon, Patrick, from Le Bon Vin celebrated with the unusual choice of a ros� 'Armagnac' style wine from the Floc de Gascogne - a wine that as well as being delicious with deserts could also be served as an aperitif.

Eric and Christiana run their eponymous restaurant with an air of friendliness, charm and efficiency. Not only do they run the restaurant, their services are available for outside catering and cookery classes that they run from the kitchens in Bakewell. Their wealth of experience has created a menu that is exciting, fresh and innovative. They serve a lunchtime weekday menu at �12 (or 2 courses for �10) that is excellent value for money, with such delights as egg mollet baked with creamy leeks, a superb double mushroom souffl� with tomato sauce and a warm Normandy apple pancake gteau. And of course they source their ingredients locally from our wonderful suppliers in Derbyshire.

Our lunch was not only delicious but also great fun. Visit them soon.

Piedaniel's, Bath Street, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1BX

Tel: 01629 812687

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