The Chestnut Tree is in Portland Street, Derby, it is home to the Panjabi Rams, and it was on the recommendation of a Ram that we decided to pay the place a visit. The Chestnut is a good 10 minutes drive away from Pride Park, so not far for football fans attending a game. If travelling along the A38, get off at Derby, and you are approximately 10 minutes drive away, so quite easy to get to.
Appearance & Entry:
Daunting, the place is big, it has the look of a good old big boozer, large open front, this may be daunting for some, smokers are standing on the front, we know this can be very off putting for lot of people, but we have no issues getting passed and into the venue, will this be as large and old school on the inside?
The place is busy as we walk in, music is on and it seems very lively, in addition to the music there are lots of screens around the place showing sport, so we can see why it has become a favourite for football fans. The artwork is impressive around the venue; the arty images from India across the walls look good and do not feel tacky or cheap.
As we go to order our drinks I notice a few pints of Guinness are being drunk, so we order that alongside our beers, the spirit selection is heavily dominated by flavoured spirits and whiskeys, the selection is impressive. The Guinness seems to be fresh and I am glad that this was a preferred option, the lager was impressive too, and a busy pub means clean lines, cheers guys.
Like many Desi Pubs, we have the ability to see directly into the kitchen and see how the food is prepared, the guy taking our order is happy to point out that everything is fresh and clean. We order our food and take a seat.
The Chestnut Tree is a busy pub, and we are informed that their maybe a delay in getting out food, we are told it will be approx 30 mins, if not slightly longer.
The food was ready in just under 30 minutes, better than we had expected and that means one thing, more Guinness.
Birmingham has spoilt us, the size of the sizzler here at the Chestnut though adequate it is not the largest we have had, but over the next few weeks the rest of Derby will be judged by this!
The chicken tikka chunks are large and colourful, and look impressive, so we dive in, these are good, the chicken is cooked perfectly, and these tikka chunks are working.
The wings are ok, the meat on them is not the best, they taste good, but nothing really hits us as we eat them, they are spicy, we like that.
The sheesh kebab, is cooked well and plentiful, but strangely quite bland, we can see the chilli used is plentiful, but this does not quite live up to how they actually look.
The chicken lollipops are impressive and warm with fresh feel to them, these are good, and these have been the standout of the grill so far.
The lamp chops which we ordered separately were impressive they were not burnt and again the meat was soft and just fell off as we tucked in, the quantity of meat night not be the best on the chop but what we had was impressive.
Butter Chicken: This impressed, damn this impressed, the flavouring was plentiful, and the sauce was very impressive, this has to be on a par with the butter chicken we has in the Prince of Wales in Southall, this really is impressive, the amount of meat is good, the flavours are very distinctive, well done guys, well done indeed, I’ll have another Guinness to soak it up.
Keema: We tried the keema, and you know what, this banged, it was not oily and was not swimming in fat, it wasn’t too dry, it was just very well cooked and delivered, everything about this dish impressed us, the curries have sealed a return here!
This is a lively lads venue, we can see why it is popular with football fans and lads, having said that, just because we have said it is lively, that does not mean it is not welcoming, as it really was, we were pretty much left to our own devices and served promptly with dishes also being collected promptly.
The Sizzler, the tikka was impressive as was the lollipops, but they were nothing amazing, the grill is a good grill and nothing was really disappointing, but it was smaller than we are used to, and nothing really made us think wow, like we said a good effort but missing some magic.
The curries, you know what, these really did us impress us, they stayed warm, and they were just cooked really well, the spice was just right, and not over bearing, not greasy and good portions of meat, the sauce on the butter chicken was extremely impressive, the curries have sealed a return for the team.
A solid venue which is clean and friendly, if you are going out with the lads then this place might just be that place to go grab some food and drink.
So overall, as we start our trip around the East Midland, will anyone serve us a better curry than the Chestnut Tree? And will the mixed grills get bigger?
Check out where the Chestnut Tree sits in the League Table here