What's on the menu?

What's on the menu?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Celebrating Taste of Nottingham with a Food Tour of the City

We Send Mark on a Food Voyage of Discovery Around Nottingham's Best Eateries to celebrate Taste of Nottingham 2015. 

Nottingham BID recently put together a promotional event to showcase some of Nottingham’s best eateries as part of the 2015 Taste of Nottingham event. Mark was treated to a culinary tour of the hottest venues in town and it was a thoroughly amazing night. It was all put together to celebrate the upcoming Taste of Nottingham 2015 event which offers visitors to the city chance to try something different with many establishments putting on special dine for £10 menus and other promotions

If you're out and about in Nottingham and sample something you'd like the world to know please use the #TASTEOFNOTTS and share it with the world

During the week of 21st to 27th September (Next week) a selection of the city’s must-eat establishments are taking part in a special Dine for £10 schemeYou can get your fill of Nottingham’s offerings at 4550 Miles from Delhi, Chino Latino, Carluccio’s, Harvester, Patisserie Valerie, Rub Smokehouse, Wildwood and World Service. 

For more information visit itsinnottingham.com

The evening featured four choice venues with a course in each to tantalise the taste buds and wow our senses with great food and so to the point of this little article!

Starting Our Tour- The Bear and Lace 

The Bear and Lace on Maid Marion Way

We started our tour in the Bear and Lace, a new champagne cocktail bar on Maid Marion way. A 2 minute walk from the city centre the bar has a clean and modern exterior on entry. As you enter the bar you enter a classy and well set out bar modern but also classy at the same time. In the main entrance way 9 great chandeliers hang giving a warm glow and feel to the place.

Inside the Bear and Lace

With introductions made to a couple of the organisers at the door I am shown upstairs – closed to the public for the event – for our first treat – The Bear and Lace signature cocktail the “Angel de la Muerta”

I am not a cocktail kind a guy, give me a good beer or a solid red wine and I’m happy- So when passed a champagne glass with a strawberry on the edge of the glass I am wondering what I am In for!

The Angel De La Muerta in the Bear and Lace

So on the first taste you get the classic taste of champagne then you begin to get subtle taste of cognac and schnapps. It’s a subtle flavor enhanced by the strawberry. For those that don’t know, Strawberries serve to enhance the flavor of champagne.  All in all it’s a great drink simple but enjoyable. It was also a nice informal way to get to know the other guests on the nights tour. So for a good and classy beginning to your night out a good place to start would be the Bear and Lace.

Beer, Sausages and Quail Scotch Eggs in Oaks

All to soon we are ushered on to our next venue- Oaks.

We enter the bar and are greeted by the warm and unmistakable aroma of oak fires and grilled meat.  The decor is all natural wood panelling and then the oak tables. It’s a classic decor for a grill type establishment but well done.

By this time my taste buds having been awakened by the cocktail are beginning to salivate! With the prospect of truly delicious grilled meat!

But first things first, Drinks! From a choice that was selected for our sampling, they had a beer by Nottingham’s own Castle Rock Brewery Harvest Pale – a just simply great flavoursome IPA not too heavy and for a person who likes lager as opposed to beer this is a great beer full of natural flavor and in my view correctly served in a pint jug not a straight glass!

Oaks then start warming up our taste buds with quail egg scotch eggs and the lightest pork scratchings  (with a little kick of chili) I have ever had the pleasure to devour. There were marinated olives – all most a taste overload – then came the home made sausages!!

Quail Scotch Eggs in Oaks

Beef with Gruyere cheese, Chicken with asparagus and ricotta, wild boar with purple broccoli and smoked mozarella, Lamb with aubergine, tahini, rosemary and garlic and by far my favorite of the night pork with pancetta and smoked paprika.

Chicken sausages with Asparagus and Ricotta
Lamb with Aubergine, Tahini, Rosemary and Garlic
Pork sausages with Pancetta and Smoked Paprika in Oaks
Each sausage had its own character, a course texture with great flavors some on the slightly sweater side like the chicken or a richness like the wild boar.

These sausages were simply full of flavor and whether you like all the individual ingredients or not no one taste over ruled another – such a great and delicate balance of flavors’ that will simply leave you wanting more.

But I have to point out two of my favourite dishes there; the Quail egg scotch eggs and the pork and paprika sausages. The scotch eggs were small with a crispy exterior the egg was just cooked with a softer but not runny yolk – a testament to the chef’s skill- was simply full of flavor and the creamy yolk adding subtle tones to the flavor of the herbs and spices. A great starter that left you wanting more!

Now for me what was probably the star of the night, the pork and paprika sausages! On the first bite there was the explosion of flavor from the hot spice of the paprika to the blend of the pancetta and pork. The additional seasoning gave a great flavor while the smoked paprika didn’t make the sausage to hot – enough to know it’s there but not over power the flavors. I would have happily tucked in to a large plate of these with possible little else other than maybe a bit of coleslaw to lighten it all up a bit.

All these great flavors the beer and general feel good atmosphere willing and helpful staff make this a must go again place to visit for a proper blog review. 

Going Greek- Moving on to Yamas

Moving on to Yamas in the Lace Market

So onward bound we are ushered on to the next venue Yamas.

The disappointment of having to leave Oaks and move to Yamas was lessened on discovering it is a Greek restaurant – I love pretty much all things Greek – food, wine, culture to me its all good and so diverse.

Again, we`re ushered upstairs which had been held for our sole use. In general appearance it wasn’t as …slick or polished as The Bear and Lace or Oaks but it had character.

So to drinks – I was pleased to see that they have 2 Greek beers Mythos and Keo and a couple of Greek wines- I went for a glass of the Makadonikos a nice red wine fruity with out losing substance and with subtle oak flavors – a great accompaniment to what we were about to be served.

The what was now effectively the main course, was in effect a mezze a buffet of traditional Greek dishes Lamb kebabs, rice pasta with peppers and garlic, garlic prawns, Greek salad, then there were the toasted pitta bread with Tzatziki, a blended feta and chilli dish called Tirokafteri and Houmous.

Part of our Mezze at Yamas, Nottingham

As ever I quickly tucked into the various dishes all I have had in one version or another on my trips to Greece. I would have liked to see a souvlaki or a stifado but there was little room left on the table for more food! It was packed with the tasty Greek morsels.

Kebabs at Yamas
The familiar dishes brought back fond memories of previous trips to Greece, Tzatziki cool creamy and fresh tasting great with the kebab or with Pitta.

The Tirokafteri nice and spicy but again not to much, a great accompaniment to the meal.

The staff were really friendly and so we started talking about my favourite pastries Backlava was one, other I found out was called Karidopita!.

Technically we were not having the sweet here but when offered to try some from Yamas I was delighted. What is Karidopita? I hear you say – well its walnuts, cinnamon and cloves soaked in lashings of honey. A traditional Greek sweet I can highly recommend. I loved it!

The hubbub of conversation that was present all night between the invited guests bringing a great atmosphere to the evening, a sharing of experiences and tastes and a common interest- FOOD!

Our time at Yamas came to a close and we moved to the final destination of the night, Rub.

More Great Food on Our Tour- Rub Nottingham

Here came the gut busting sweets and I mean that literally! so much so they included the kitchen sink! No really! they did!  Not a sink but a stainless steel hand-washing basin used in kitchens complete with taps! It was 4-5 inches deep 8-10 inches wide and the desert was piled 4-5 inches high! You would need an army to eat it! 

Dessert at Rub in a Stainless Steel Basin Complete with Taps
Filled with ice-cream, waffles, cream, sweets and cookies, it was a diabetic attack waiting to happen! It is Weight watchers arch-enemy!

Another looked like a waffle burger doughnut with chocolate fudge sauce, waffles ice-cream and so many other goodies only held together by 2 strawberry topped skewers.

More of the Dessert Selection at Rub, Nottingham

The last was a take on the Italian folded pizza a Calzone! I have to say I never found out what was in that, by this time I was beat and on the verge of collapsing into a food coma! But all around I could hear exclamations to the size and sheer extravagance of the sweets. A truly great outing.

So my take on the evening, all credit must be given to the organisers Nottingham BID and Gemini PR marketing. This was a well run, slick and fun evening out. In my opinion, what a great way to get local people who love food and writing about food together. My thanks also to the venues for making us feel welcome and showing us the delicious fruits of your labours.

Next week sees Taste of Nottingham (21st -27th Sept) it will be a great opportunity to try something new, so go on let your hair down forget the diets and get experiencing some of the venues above and of the many more restaurants that grace Nottingham city.

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