Riverside Kitchen Bakewell is a true hidden gem. It’s exactly the sort of place I love to discover or stumble across on my travels. Ran by husband and wife team Lauren and Ralph, their creativity and genuine love of food is evident from the second you step into their quirky little café.
Situated just outside of the lovely Peak District market town of Bakewell, you’d be forgiven for not knowing about the Riverside Kitchen. Although it enjoys a gorgeous riverside location, it’s essentially a pimped up portacabin on an industrial estate. What that means though is that you can park easily and for free, without getting caught up in the tourist fuelled traffic jams in Bakewell itself. It’s an easily accessible, little slice of joy.
And pimped up it is, in an arty, quirky, relaxed way. I loved the mural by local artist Gina Watkinson, the theme of which is bringing the outside in – the kingfishers and other wildlife that can be enjoyed from the riverside balcony.
If you’re lucky you might just blag a spot on their decking. Space is at a premium, in fact there are only currently five seats, and no tables. This means that you do have to balance whatever you’ve order on your knee but the location more than makes up for it. I find being by water is incredibly relaxing. I’d had a busy, somewhat frustrating morning but within seconds of sitting down I felt my shoulders unhunch. What bliss!
There are plans to hopefully extend the decking area into a much more substantial space complete with a riverside breakfast bar. Lauren and Ralph have lots of other ideas for evening events such as cheese tasting and supper clubs. I can’t imagine many lovelier spots to sit with some quality food and a good glass of wine and watch the ducks go by.
Currently, the café is obviously only able to offer takeaways and the small number of seats on the decking. I loved that I was served on proper crockery though… and (roadmap permitting), inside dining will be back on the agenda soon.
The menu can be summarised as café classics, with a foodie flourish. The emphasis is firmly on quality, local, seasonal produce. The croissants and bread are from Wye Bakehouse next door. I can’t wait to return to try the Spanish tomato toast (sourdough toast with tomatoes in extra virgin oil and a hint of garlic– a gorgeous vegan dish although I would definitely be adding the poached egg, and/or you can add on crispy bacon!) or one of their daily salads or ‘hot tubs’.
For months I’ve been drooling over the specials which regularly get posted on their social media channels. Recent offerings have included ‘Italian braised pork ragu with lemon fennel and cavolo nero with baked pecorino polenta’ and ‘Argentinian wood fired chumichurri chicken (or vegetarian) kebabs with home made chips, cabbage and lime zest salad, pickled chilli and authentic flat breads’. Riverside Kitchen Bakewell know good food and take it seriously. Even the jacket potatoes are given the foodie treatment. Crispy skinned and fluffy centred and married with the most delicious deli style fillings. I’d be choosing goats curd and beetroot relish.
In addition to the café, there is a small shop section with an interesting range of artisan food. The vast majority is from local producers, many of whom Lauren knows personally. Products included Brock and Morten’s cold pressed oils; Chesterfield based, Crooked Pickles’ tasty, inventive pickled vegetables and some really interesting local cheeses. The charcuterie is sliced to order. (If you enjoy a good farm shop, check out my favourites in Derbyshire here)
Even the toilets are lovely. One glorious wall has been painted a green and gold leopard print. I spotted that their toilets are ‘twinned’ with a latrine in Sierra Leone. I always like to see a business with a strong sense of conscious.
Go for: Foodie heaven in a quirky location with delightful riverside seating.
Open 8am-3pm Monday to Friday only. Dog friendly Convenient parking (use DE45 1GS for sat navs, as you enter the industrial site, turn right for a free car park (patrons only) and then walk back past the entrance and down a small industrial road and then the café is on your left) riversidekitchen.uk