When it comes to dining out, there is always one fussy eater who has to ruin it for everyone else.
The person who demands for extra this, and a little less of that is as annoying to their fellow diner as to the waiter, who is usually newly employed and always hot under the collar at the indefatigable mutations from the chef’s prized menu.
This person is me, and when I find a restaurant happy to meet my unusual demands, I know it’s a keeper.
Such a place is the newly refurbed The Wingerworth on Derby Road. Formerly the Hunloke Arms, it has had a swanky facelift, and is now all sparkling wine glasses and real ales, with clipboard menus and white-shirted waiters.
The decor is impressive, with tasteful sage branding and clean lines that give an immediate sense of quality. I knew it would have a good meal before I even looked at the menu.
Arriving solo on a Tuesday lunchtime, I was greeted by a waiter in his crisp whites, who showed me to a table and presented me with my clipboard.
The menu draws on classic English dishes, refined with continental flavours and fashionable food combinations. The pork belly and black pudding (£16.45) is sure to be a favourite, as is the Toulouse sausage and creamy herb mash (£10.45) and the hake with nettle puree and fish veloute (£15.95).
I stumped for the fillet steak, the priciest thing on the menu at £23.95, served with chips in dripping, roast vine tomatoes, field mushroom and a choice of sauce.
Except I asked for it without the chips, with a salad, strictly not cooked in sunflower oil and with no sauce.
My unflappable and cheerful waiter, Daniel, took my order with gumption and about 15 minutes later I was presented with my plate.
Cooked to my liking – properly rare – the steak was as tender as a meaty marshmallow, seasoned perfectly so it didn’t miss the forsaken sauce.
I would usually inhale such a delicious-looking plate, but the steak was so juicy, so perfect, that I lingered over each mouthful, not wanting my extravagant lunch to end.
The accompaniments too were bursting with flavour, but with a steak that good, nobody really cares.
This pub is a good 20 miles from my house, but it wont stop me from making a return visit with my family.
To those people who live in stumbling distance of this fabulous new boozer and restaurant, I envy you.
And if you haven’t been, go. Go now.