Bottle & Thyme brings a touch of summer to a dark night for Phoebe Seymour
It was a miserably dark and rainy weekday evening when I arrived in Chesterfield town centre; the perfect setting for the opening of a gothic novel (certainly not for a night out).
But when my partner and I reached new bar and restaurant Bottle & Thyme, it was like a ray of sunshine.
Vines and flowers hung above the bar, upbeat 60s soul music was playing and low hanging lightbulbs lit up the room. So what better way to enjoy the summer-like surroundings than with a round of cocktails?
My partner ordered the passionfruit and cloudy apple mojito (£7.50) – a delightful combination of 12-year rum, fresh passionfruit, lime and sugar, topped with cloudy apple juice. And as I was driving, but didn’t want to miss out, I went for a strawberry and basil cooler mocktail (£3.50) – a mix of real strawberry puree, basil syrup, cranberry juice and fresh lime, topped with soda.
Like their cocktails, everything on Bottle & Thyme’s rustic menu is created using fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. As I looked at the mouth-watering options, I couldn’t wait to get tucked in.
To start, I had my eye on the blue cheese, spinach and garlic stuffed field mushroom topped with bread crumbs (£5), but not being a blue cheese fan, our waitress kindly offered an alternative – a sharp and tangy Sussex Charmer mature cheese – a worthy substitute.
My partner meanwhile, had the soup of the day (£4.50). Always a great indicator of a good chef, it did not disappoint. It was a rich, roasted tomato soup topped with croutons and accompanied by locally sourced artisan bread.
For mains, I had the salmon, chorizo, tiger prawn, tomato and lemon dressing skewer (£11.50) with a side of sweet potato fries and my partner had the 8oz rib-eye steak (£18.50) served with chips, a field mushroom and spinach puree.
Each morsel on my skewer was mouth-watering and grilled to perfection. The lemon dressing was thick and zesty and complemented the other flavours wonderfully. The sweet potato fries were chunky and served in rock salt – an irresistible combination.
My partner’s steak was medium-cooked with a tender pink centre, beautifully balanced by the bitterness of the spinach puree and the juicy, sweeter flavour of the mushroom.
There were some delicious looking cakes on the counter, but I couldn’t resist ordering the salted caramel chocolate brownie (£5.50) for dessert, while my partner went for a British classic with a twist – the rum and vanilla sticky toffee pudding (£5.50).
Like all good British desserts, his came with a thick vanilla custard (although you can opt for cream) and my gloriously crisp on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside brownie was served with a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream - both absolutely flawless.
Back outside, we hardly noticed the miserable weather. We were still basking in the warm atmosphere and deliciously fresh food.
Bottle & Thyme, 15-17 Knifesmithgate, Chesterfield, S40 1RL
Tel: 01246 768283