Lunch at Quad Derby Café Bar

[AD – PR invite] I was recently invited to review the café bar at Quad Derby. I’d been to the Quad several times over the years and had always enjoyed eating and drinking in the café, but hadn’t been since before the first lockdown so jumped at the chance to familiarise myself with this Derby institution.

What is the QUAD in Derby?

The Quad Derby is a creative hub consisting of a cinema, café and art gallery. It’s a really inspiring, engaging space in Derby city centre.

Quad Derby

The Café Bar at Quad Derby

The café is inclusive and welcoming. It’s fully accessible – so not only wheelchair friendly but also pushchair friendly.

Supporting the café helps support the Quad’s programme for audiences to engage, develop skills and contribute to the local culture.  

coffee at Quad Derby

Firstly I enjoyed a well-made barista coffee. There are a range of alternative milks available. There’s a range of speciality teas including a tea of the month. Or a small range of beers, ciders and wines, with a soon to be expanded wine list.

The café menu has award winning vegan options, including a new range of vegan milkshakes. There are also clearly marked gluten free and halal permitted options. The café at the Quad pride themselves on being ‘allergy aware’ and nearly all of the dishes can be adapted to suit most dietary requirements on request.

Local produce is used where possible with local suppliers including Jackson’s Bakery and Guildhall Green Grocers. The menu has also been designed to minimise food waste. Single use plastic is being phased out.

The all day menu includes all day brunch options, a wide range of sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes. There’s also a gourmet burger menu and dirty fries, as well as some classic hot dinners such as fish pie, sausage and mash and gammon, and pasta dishes and a pizza menu with gluten free bases available. Everything is cooked fresh.

There’s a great kids menu with the usual options but also crudités with mild tomato salsa and herby cucumber yogurt – perfect for younger children.

vegan burger, coleslaw and fries

There was lots on the menu that tempted me but I decided to try one of the vegan options, since this is something the Quad Derby café has a great reputation for. I ordered the falafel burger which consists of a fried spinach and chickpea falafel patty in a bun with houmous, mango chutney and salad. This was served with a generous portion of perfectly crispy skin on fries and some tasty vegan coleslaw. It was really tasty and made for a very nice lunch. The fries were particularly nice and I noticed that you can ‘build your own’ dirty fries by choosing from skin on, cajun or sweet potato fries, choosing a protein option (ranging from vegan options to crispy chicken and BBQ pulled pork), choose from a range of cheese and sauce options. That would definitely be worth going for, and, like the rest of the menu is very competitively priced.

smoothie at Quad Derby

I also tried one of the smoothies which was really refreshing. ‘The Orange One’ consists of carrot, mango, turmeric and ginger with orange juice.

I was pleasantly full at this point but took home a slice of the delicious looking carrot cake so I could report back on the dessert options. There was an excellent icing to cake ratio.

carrot cake at Quad Derby

Overall I had a really lovely lunch. I didn’t feel at all awkward eating alone, particularly as the service was so fast and the staff were so helpful and polite. It’s exactly the sort of place I would happily come with my daughter. I wouldn’t worry if she was being noisy or creating a bit of a mess.

Art gallery

Now is a perfect time to visit as you can combine a trip to the café bar with a perusal of two really engaging exhibitions. Pictured is a sneak peek of Format’s The Cultural Evolution: Identity, Performance and Fashion curated by Azu Nwagbogu. I really loved the fashion photography and there’s a leopard print photo booth! Upstairs is the equally engaging AMP Voices by Disruption.

Format exhibition at Quad Derby

Both exhibitions are totally FREE to visit (donations welcome) and fully accessible. They’re on until 3rd July.

Go for:

Great value, all day café menu in a welcoming, inclusive, creative space. Perfect for families and also somewhere very safe and comfortable if you’re dining or drinking solo.


QUAD, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AS

By Molly Scott

Derbyshire blogger - bringing you the best places to eat, drink, spa and stay in the wider Derbyshire area. Champion of the most fabulous independents.

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