As a self-confessed foodie, the Instagram images of food first got me to notice new Darwen Restaurant CDJ, they were bright, colourful and looked delicious! Fast forward a week and I took myself there for lunch and to have an arranged chat with Chef Dan Jolley. Here is what I found out…
CDJ opened on 16th July and is situated in Darwen, 193 Duckworth Street. It offers fresh food that is healthy, nutritious and of an exceedingly high standard that Dan holds himself and his team to. Absolutely nothing is bought in, everything is made on site – well, aside from the black pudding and sausages which are made to Dan’s very own recipe by a trusted supplier! You can expect freshly made bread, nut butters, chips and the list goes on. The menu is almost entirely gluten free, with the exception of the tortilla wraps. There is a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options too.
Whether you are looking for coffee and lunch with a friend, or an evening out with good food at the heart of it; CDJ is the place to be. On the menu; Small Plates such as Fish & Chips, The Burger, Battered Marinated Halloumi and The CDJ Pizza Ravioli. Brunch includes items such as Full English, Breakfast Burritos, Muffins, Build me up Waffles, Focaccia Flatbreads and Salad bowls. I enjoyed a Focaccia Flatbread with beetroot hummus with avocado and rocket salad.
Friday night is steak night, which has become very popular, regularly selling out! Think Bavette, Rump, Ribeye, Tomahawk or cauliflower Steaks with sides. Bottomless Brunch is also going down well, choose the meat, fish or no meat Weekender then enjoy Waffles to finish with a selection of drinks that can be enjoyed with in the 100 minute sitting. Bookings are essential well in advance when you want a table on event nights or weekend brunch! On a Friday and Saturday there is live entertainment whilst you dine, which adds to the chilled out vibe of the restaurant.
So how did CDJ end up here in Darwen?
Dan is originally from Blackburn and started his 18 year (so far) culinary career at local Michelin starred restaurant Northcote, as an apprentice. He proved to be a talented chef and his thirst for knowledge took him to kitchens in London, Paris, Manchester, The Lake District and even to Thailand. Dan explained how he immersed himself in this experience, sitting with Thai women in their 80’s and 90’s learning the art of Thai noodles and broths. More recently Dan worked as Head Chef at Anfield, before running his own private chef business and restaurant in Liverpool, and now he has returned to live and work in Darwen.
Dan’s love and passion for food is evident when you talk to him. To develop his skills for his private chef work, Dan completed a nutrition course during lockdown. A number of Dan’s clients are professional athletes and this requires a specific type of diet for elite performance and recovery. Dan is a mentor to 2 chefs that work at CDJ and there are 8 other members of staff employed from the local area. He is all about healthy eating and good quality food and CDJ delivers just that.
Dan is really pleased with how things are going at new Darwen restaurant CDJ, but he has more big plans for the future including tasting menus, food meal preparation, private dining and even a trailer at Glastonbury next year! Keep an eye on all his socials for more information; Facebook: @CDJ.Darwen, Instagram: CHEFDANJOLLEY or at the website CHEFDANJOLLEY.CO.UK
CDJ is open Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 5:30pm, Friday and Saturday 10am – 8pm (drinks until late) and Sunday 10am – 5:30pm. Book early to secure your table!