After a successful 16-year tenure, Kathryn and Jonathan Hobson sold Darleys on 9th December 2019 to an experienced, local father-and-son team: Lee Bebbington and Robert Ellis. The new co-owners aim to continue offering the high-quality food that the restaurant has become known for, and have a vision to serve classic British and European dishes with a modern twist.
“We want everything we send out from the kitchen to have that ‘wow factor’,” explains Lee. “Our dishes will be as pleasing on the eye as they are on the palate, with an emphasis on natural colours and flavours.”
“We’ll also be offering breakfasts — from simple individual plates like drop scones with seasonal berries, crème fraiche and maple syrup; to a decadent five-course sparkling English breakfast.”
The pair are joined by Executive Chef, Chris Marshall, who is Michelin-trained and has 19 years’ experience in kitchens across the UK and Europe. “Derbyshire is a great county filled with some of the finest, fresh produce,” says Chris. “I am a firm believer in using the seasonal, local and fresh ingredients that are on our doorstep to create sublime food.” Chris will be working alongside experienced Head Chef, James Harrison, who has been at Darleys since 2016.
The new team will be simplifying and modernising the offer slightly, by offering a great value lunch/early evening dinner menu as an alternative to the a la carte menu, as well as dedicated vegan and vegetarian menus. “Darleys will remain the place to come for a ‘special occasion’ meal, but we also want to offer something for everybody, all the time,” says Lee. “Diners can still expect high standards of service with a real attention to detail but the atmosphere will be relaxed and friendly.”
Lee also has strong ethical principles so he’s signed up to Carbon Free Dining: a United Nations backed scheme, which will plant a fruit tree in the developing world every time a Darleys diner makes a small, optional donation (99p).
It’s the first venue of its kind in Derby to implement the initiative, but it’s in good company — celebrity restaurants such as Marco Pierre White in Nottingham, James Martin in Manchester, and Tredwells by Marcus Wareing in London, all use the scheme too.