Denby Eats: The Lilypad Cafe


Opened at the end of last year, The Lilypad Café is a café cross restaurant in the centre of Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Run by locals Emi Chapman and Iain Woodhead, The Lilypad exemplifies delicious food and fresh ingredients in a contemporary environment that gives you a taste of the latest movements in food and drink.

Inspired by their time spent working abroad in Australia, Emi and Iain always dreamed of having their own restaurant. With Emi’s experienced background in hospitality, and Iain’s natural skill and passion stemming from years spent as a Chef in various establishments, The Lilypad is able to excel in both service and food.

The interiors of The Lilypad are modern, fresh and inviting, dominated by shades of pistachio green and natural cream. Emi highlighted the importance of keeping the space open, and ensuring that there is enough room between each table, as well as providing plenty of leeway for pushchairs. This gives the café a relaxed and comfortable feel, and enables visitors to enjoy their own allocated space. The inclusion of a mirror, pared-back lightbulbs and hints of greenery add to the relaxed and modern appeal of the space, whilst the blackboards take centre-stage positioned at the front. Updated on a daily basis, the blackboards show the range of drinks available, including speciality coffees and any daily specials.

With the impact and increased interest in coffee recently, The Lilypad invested time in sourcing the best supplier of beans. After extensive research Emi and Iain chose Arden Coffee, a local supplier boasting numerous blends and single estate filter coffees. On ordering a coffee, The Lilypad team use a filter to extract the coffee flavours into a beaker for you. The tea available is also approached with the same care and expertise; the tea is brewed and is only served when the flavours are at an optimum level.

The menu is a refreshing mix of enticing dishes including homemade bircher muesli, eggs benedict, steak sandwiches, smashed avocado on sourdough toast and home cured salmon. A labour of love, the menu takes influence from Emi and Iain’s time spent in Australia and the various food trends that they experienced whilst they were there. Notably, the rise of the avocado, gluten-free options and the advancement of coffee. The presentation of each dish is also an area of importance at The Lilypad; the ‘pour-over’ coffee is served on a slate board, with a mug and beaker and local favourite ‘eggs and soldiers’, is showcased on a slate board with the eggs served in an egg box, alongside neat portions of sherry glazed black pudding, Parma ham and thyme sourdough. There is attention to detail within every dish, and the flavours are enhanced by the use of a coal fire oven.

The Lilypad has also introduced homemade doughnuts with decorative syringes containing sweet sauces and Australian inspired ‘freak shakes’ made up of aerated cream, sauce, marshmallows, popcorn, oreos, dark and white chocolate, depending on the flavour. Since launched, both of these sweet treats have created a buzz on social media leading to them selling out within hours. Only available during selected months, Iain works late into the evening to keep up with the demand for these distinctive desserts, using the finest ingredients available.

Open from Monday to Friday 8:30-4:00pm, Saturday 9:00-4:30pm and Sunday 9:00-3:30pm, The Lilypad is also open in the evening on the first Friday of every month serving tapas style food. With a cocktail menu as well as a range of fine wine and beer, The Lilypad promises an evening of wholesome food and quality drink. For more information on The Lilypad Cafe, visit their site here.
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