A Belper restaurant has been served with a top national award for its combination of fine food, ambience and independent spirit.
Nourish at No 44, on King Street, claimed top spot in the restaurant category of this year’s Great Food Club awards.
Ali Nadin, who runs the business with husband and chef Perry, said: “It was quite emotional to hear what the judges had to say, and to be recognised for the hard work put in over the last six years.
“The whole team works tirelessly to make Nourish a special place to visit. We are all still buzzing.”
The Great Food Club celebrates the best independent sellers of food and drink in the country, and produces a guide for connoisseurs.
The awards shortlist was selected by an online vote for club members, before a panel of experts visited each one to reach the final decision.
The judges said: “Nourish at No 44 works incredibly hard to beat gravity and rise above the status of generic town centre café to become something far classier.
“By day it is a pleasant cafe but on weekend evenings it really shows its quality through local sourcing, impressive cooking, excellent service and a wonderful atmosphere.”
They added: “The team show just how much can be achieved by hard work, passion, an eye for detail and a love for well-cooked, locally sourced food.
“This heroic effort to do something special and do it with pride convinced us it should win.”
Ali and Perry have had long careers in commercial catering and high-end restaurants, but decided their hometown of Belper was the perfect spot to create a place of their own.
Ali said: “We love everything about Belper, and what Derbyshire has to offer. We are very lucky to live and work in an area with amazing suppliers and artisan producers.
“When we took over the Imperial Vaults pub in 2011, there was a lack of places in the town for real food lovers.”
She added: “The town has gone from strength to strength and small businesses like ours have helped regenerate the high street.”
After major renovations last year, the restaurant now hosts 82 covers, live music, masterclasses and events.
Ali said: “We try to offer our customers a journey from the moment they arrive though atmosphere , friendly service, lighting and music, with added attention to detail.
“Feeling the buzz on a busy night, and seeing people having a great time enjoying food is an amazing feeling.”