Cafe in the Park, Matlock

In my home town of Matlock in Derbyshire there’s a big park – it has swings and slides, a paddling pool, a pond with ducks, a band stand and a cafe. We all grew up getting ice creams from the cafe in the park which was akin to a green shed with an ice cream freezer and a till in it. In recent years the cafe has undergone somewhat of a transformation and has become a favourite lunch spot amongst the girls in my office.

They serve afternoon teas, jacket potatoes, salads and all other kinds of delicious homemade yummy-ness. It’s reasonably priced with the cutest setting and on a sunny day you can sit outside under the trees – perfect for a doggie walk lunch stop.

They’ve also started to do their own bistro nights once a month. Serving the cuisines of different nations, from Italian to American BBQ, they serve a set menu which I think is an awesome idea if you can never decide what you want from a menu! Because I like everything, I sometimes do find it difficult but I guess this isn’t really the place for you if you’re fussy.

Bearing that in mind, I left Mr P at home on taxi duty and went with two of my besties to their Caribbean night. To say the bistros are popular in Matlock is a bit of an understatement. I booked this two months in advance and we couldn’t get in to the previous bistro nights as they were all fully booked. I’d heard such good things from so many people that I booked into the first one I could!

Cafe in the Park starter

Inside, the Cafe in the Park is really small and intimate. For drinks, you can bring your own bottles for a small corkage charge (£1 per person). This is pretty awesome as it saves money on overpriced restaurant drinks and means that you can bring the wine you actually like instead of playing wine roulette and hoping you get the sweet rose you were after. However, this did turn out to be a huge mistake for me as we brought a bottle each and went for cocktails afterwards which was a bit of a recipe for disaster once I got home.

Jerk Chicken Wings

The food was really delicious. For starters we had chick pea and spinach soup and crusty bread (I was strictly off the diet for this night) and jerk chicken wings with a really delicious coleslaw. The staff were super attentive making sure that everything was ok and that we were enjoying ourselves. It was really relaxed and we were there for a couple of hours – I really love it at meals when you have plenty of time to chat between courses and you don’t feel rushed or pressured to leave.

Caribbean Pork

For the main course it was pork chops with a Caribbean sauce and sweet potato mash. I’m not usually a massive fan of pork but this was really cooked to perfection. It was so tender that it literally just fell apart when I put my knife through it and pretty much melted in my mouth. For dessert it was banana bread and butter pudding and to be honest this was the only bit of the whole meal which I wasn’t too keen on. I’ve never liked the taste of banana so that really was never going to work out well!

Banana Bread and Butter Pudding

The one thing that I would have changed about the night was that not much was made of the Caribbean theme beyond the food. I would have loved to hear some steel drums and Caribbean decorations – not least because it would take me straight back to the Bahamas!

All in all, it was a great night with delicious food and really nice to try somewhere different – we’ve already booked in for the Spanish tapas night in September!

Bistro nights at Cafe in the Park, Matlock, cost £21.95 per person with a £10 non-refundable deposit to secure your place.

Find out more about the Cafe in the Park and their themed bistro nights here.

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