Derbyshire Life Luncheon – Cardamom Club, Derby

Talented Cardamom chef Harrie Haran

Talented Cardamom chef Harrie Haran - Credit: Archant

A talented team cooked up a treat for guests at the first Derbyshire Life Luncheon held exclusively for Platinum Club members

Cardamom is the third most expensive spice by weight in the world, beaten only in market value by saffron and vanilla, so if the Cardamom Club’s name was anything to go by, guests at the Derbyshire Life Luncheon were always going to be in for an exotic treat.

The distinctively modern venue, with designs by Harris Byrne Interiors, incorporates a cool and contemporary dining area, flanked by huge windows along the curved exterior wall with a stunning water feature at the entrance. There’s also a dazzling Champagne and Cocktail Bar.

Located just off Derby’s Pentagon Island next to the County Cricket Ground, the venue was opened in March by brother and sister team Suki and Paul Lalli, whose vision for the venue as a luxurious place to enjoy both Indian fine dining and sophisticated entertainment is aided by manager Edwin Lobo and his efficient front of house team.

As the county’s business and professional men and women arrived, gentle grand piano music played by Martyn Tite provided a backdrop to conversation and canapés were served with chilled Italian Prosecco.

Once seated, a light-hearted yet informative introduction to the luncheon’s wines was given by Simon Grayson of merchants Matthew Clark. Carefully sourced and expertly matched, each promised to underline the talents of head chef Harrie Haran, whose innovative culinary skills are aiming to put the restaurant firmly on the county dining map.

Starters were quickly served and the trio of kebab – comprising Tandoori single bone lamb rack, free range chicken tikka and poached sea bream wrapped in green herb masala – encapsulated all the colour and character of Indian cuisine. A fruity Flagstone Word of Mouth Viognier complemented the course beautifully.

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Indian dining is all about sharing and the lively atmosphere was enhanced by the swift arrival of the main courses; vibrant curries of chicken tikka butter masala, lamb bhuna salli, subzi mandi, dal bukhara, pilau rice and naan bread, accompanied by pomegranate raitha (a deliciously sweet curd). The tender meats were testament to the Cardamom Club’s commitment to using Derbyshire produce where possible and smoky Writer’s Block Pinotage and the elegant Torres Viña Esmerelda were fine matches.

To finish, a fresh Vendange White Zinfandel accompanied an inventive and intricate dessert of profiterole swans filled with fresh mango mousse on a sweet white chocolate and coconut cream.

Just as we were all beginning to feel that we had been transported to more exotic climes, freshly brewed coffee brought the memorable occasion to a close. All agreed that return visits are in order and this sleek venue, with its unique Indian offering, is the perfect place to enjoy some sparkle and spice!


Canapés of chicken tikka in pastry baskets and curried chickpeas in miniature cones

Kebab trio of Tandoori single bone lamb rack, free range chicken tikka and poached sea bream in green herb masala

Chicken tikka butter masala, lamb bhuna salli, subzi mandi, dal bukhara, pilau rice, naan bread, pomegranate raitha and salad

Profiterole swan filled with fresh mango mousse on coconut white chocolate cream

Wine Notes

Fantinel Prosecco

Extra Dry

A fresh, dry, fruity sparkler made using the Glera grape and packaged in a stunning skittle shaped bottle

Flagstone Word of Mouth 2008/10

Lovely aromatic flavours of watermelon, peaches and spice – a deliciously fruity cool-climate South African white wine

Torres Viña Esmeralda 2011/12

Blending aromatic Muscat with the spicy Gewürztraminer results in this popular dry white which is both floral and fragrant

Flagstone Writer’s Block Pinotage 2011/12

Intense concentrated aromas of wild blueberry and ripe cherry, supported by smoky, spicy undertones with blackberry and plum flavours

Vendange White Zinfandel, California 2011/12

A delicious, medium-sweet rosé made using Zinfandel grapes from the North Central Valley. Allowed only a short masceration on the skins to impart the beautiful salmon-pink colour and then cool-fermented to retain freshness and acidity. Off-dry, fresh and zingy

Photographs: Andrew Eyley