Homemade Café at the Forest Recreation Ground

 

Homemade at the Forest Recreation Grounds

I really like going to Homemade in the city centre but it is so popular and busy sometimes it is hard to find a table. So bearing that in mind this Sunday afternoon we took a little stroll across the Forest Recreation ground past all the kids young and old playing football on the park to partake in a little light lunch at another one of their three branches of Homemade in the Old Pavilion Buildings.

Inside Homemade on the Forest Recreation Ground

Inside the Homemade we spent a while checking out their chalkboard menu and brunch menu. If I had walked in a little bit earlier in the day I would have tucked into one of their breakfast plates. To be more specific “The Homemade Mega Weekend Brunch”, for £8 you get a plate of ‘Handmade Sausage, Bacon, Eggs, Black Pudding, Beans, Baked Vine Tomatoes, Hash Browns, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Chunky Toast.’

I pushed that thought and temptation to the back of my mind into the slot set a side for ‘meals to eat at a later date’ and concentrated on the chalkboard. There were plenty of other tempting offerings including a ‘homemade cheddar topped burger with red onion chutney’ and a ‘mushroom and halloumi burger’.

I saw both coming out of the kitchen as I pondered my choices and they looked pretty good. I also saw a rather lovely looking bowl of bright yellowy orange soup on the counter which turned out to be “Butternut squash soup with homemade chunky bread” for just £4.50.

There were quite the plethora of  quiche, salad, sandwiches, cakes and assorted savoury and sweet sundries to be had and it was a touch choice to pick just two things to eat.

So in the end then just what did we eat?

Chicken and Chorizo Stew 

Chicken and Chorizo Stew

The first choice off the Chalk Menu Board was a bowl of the Chicken and Chorizo Stew that came ‘with handmade bread to mop it up’. This was a very tasty bowl packed with flavour, plenty of chunks of chicken, thick spicy chunks of chorizo sausage, crunchy chickpeas, coriander, and a chorizo and tomato flavoured broth. This was declared to be very tasty and excellent value for £7.

Meatball and Melted Mozzarella Italian Mega sandwich

Meatball and Cheese SubMeatball Sub Sandwich

The next choice was one of their “Homemade Meatball and Melted Mozzarella Italian Mega sandwiches with Wedges”. This came with a small green salad and a pot of creamy coleslaw. Based on the fact that the sandwich itself only occupied about a third of the plate I am not sure that the word ‘mega’ was used in context here :-) , having said that it was a tasty little snack. The mini meatballs drenched in a sweet tomato sauce inside the lightly toasted ciabatta roll were a meaty little treat. The melted cheese mixed with that sauce soaked into the soft inside of the bread roll but didn’t make the sandwich soggy the crusty bread held it all together to make a most enjoyable bite. The chunky fries were basically a third of a jacket spud turned into chips, and they sat alongside the green salad to keep it and the coleslaw company as I chomped through my sandwich.

I did like the Meatball sub, but to be honest I wished I had chosen the burger instead, or perhaps the fish finger sandwich, but really if I am truthful I wanted that bowl of chicken and chorizo stew that was sitting next to me in front of my dining companion.

Sunday Food Envy Alert!

Chalkboard at Homemade

I do really like eating at Homemade and I am pretty sure that I am not the only one out there that also loves dining with them. I really like some of the things that they have to say on their website that sum up their thoughts on food;

“Homemade also believes in proper food, that means proper tasty butter not rubbish additive filled margarine, sandwiches made with traditionally baked breads, jacket potatoes fluffy & oven baked and not from a silly microwave, delicious homemade burgers with lovely lean steak mince, sandwich fillings freshly prepared with love and good old fashioned baking.  Basically, we just love real food!”
Homemade on Urbanspoon

There are three branches of Homemade in Nottingham, you can follow them on Twitter and on Facebook to see what they are up to

The original Homemade is at 20 Pelham Street just 5 minutes walk from the Old Market Square and about the same from the Lace Market. I have very fond memories of a rather nice Lasagne with salad that I ate there

The second one to open was in Sherwood at 632 Mansfield Road inside the gift shop ‘A Room Full of Butterflies’ 

Forest Recreation GroundHomemade Forest Rec

This one we went to today is in the refurbished Old Pavilion on the Forest Recreation Ground. It is but a short walk from The Forest tram stop and a nice spot to pause on a walk around the rec. I love a walk that ends or pauses at a nice spot to munch!

Bill’s in Nottingham – Comfort Food in the form of Fish Pie

 

Bills in Nottingham

Bill’s in Nottingham has been open since July 2014, I first came in just after it had opened and looking back I am not sure why I didn’t end up writing a post on the blog about my meal. I think it was because I was not that enamoured with my choice, which was kind of really my fault as I had gambled on one of their ‘posh’ salads; a ‘Smoked Salmon Salad’. So it never made it onto the blog, and the post was lost in the moment.

Specials Menu Bill's Special Salad

Now though in 2015 I was back and so glad that I was.

This Sunday we were walking through town looking for something tasty to eat, something to warm us up, and also for something comforting. In my head I was  stuck in a place between something like Shepherd Pie and something like Fish and Chips. I wasn’t sure what I needed to satisfy my soul until I reached the window at Bill’s Restaurant where we paused for a moment to read the menu board.

Fish Pie Menu at Bills

As we scanned through the menu in the window of Bills, I was sold in my food heart when I saw those magical words on the paper

“Bill’s fish pie”

 This was the perfect compromise, and fitted the bill perfectly, so we were in through those doors quick smart for a table!

Fish Pie at Bills in Nottingham

The pie was in a shallow bowl so as you ate it felt like it was also a light meal, but it has everything that I needed as a plate of comfort food.

 

Bills Fish Pie

Although I had read the words Fish Pie outside on the menu in the window, I had only really scanned  the highlights, and the menu words ‘scallops’, ‘cod’, ‘salmon‘, and ‘prawns’ had won my eyes and mind, I never registered ‘baby onions’ or ‘mustard mash’. If I am honest I didn’t even find out that there were baby onions in there until I was on about my third mouthful and I had been trying to work out what that sweet onion flavour was. I suppose that the ‘flavour of an onion’ should have given it away. But I did have to check on my phone to look at the picture I took of the menu to see what in the pie. I have never put peas or onions in any Fish Pie I have cooked, but they actually made it a little more interesting

Overall apart from that unique taste, the pie was a really lovely dish filled with plentiful chunks of juicy flaky fish, small scallops and tiny prawns. The sauce was quite creamy, but it was not too rich and it was a deceptively filling meal, even though it was an even fish sauce to potato topping ratio. The menu said that the mash was a mustard mash, but it was quite lightly flavoured so did not overpower the fish, a very well balanced combination.

Other Menu Items at Bills

I did enjoy my Fish Pie, but if I was here again I would probably be looking elsewhere on the menu for something a little different. I have heard that the duck pie is something to try. I have heard it was quite a rich dish, which is just how I like my duck dishes. This is quite tempting!

Mac and Cheese

I sort of wanted to try the Mac ‘n’ Cheese but I just don’t know that this particular mixture with butternut squash is for me. If I had a spare £8.95 then I might be tempted to try it, but it does sound slightly off base to me. I am willing to be proven wrong though, so maybe I will come back and try it.

Bills Specials Jan 2015

When I looked around the tables that Sunday lunch, it did seem though that a lot of people were ordering either Steak or the Chicken Skewers from the daily specials menu. having seen their plates I can understand why as well, as they looked to be a couple of pretty competent and straightforward dishes.

Bills in Nottingham enttrance

Bills in Nottingham is located up at 15 Queen Street in Nottingham, only a short walk from the Old Market Square. There is a lot of choice now around here to spend you daily dollar and hard earned pound on. So Bills has quite some competition I guess. It’s up to you if to give them a whirl. 
Bill's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Reds True BBQ – Some Meaty research at the press launch

let there be meatReds True BBQ Nottingham

This past Thursday I attended the press launch of Reds True Barbeque in Nottingham. Now I know that I usually comment that I shy away from such events despite the continual invites, but I decided to break that habit on this occasion for a few reasons.

I could say that I was kind of curious to see what a launch night would be like, but more honestly, it was cold, I didn’t want to cook, and I was really curious to see what Reds had done to my beloved Fopp Record Shop!

I have to disclose up front that I was basically on a freebie here, I wasn’t paying for any of the food I ate and until I walk in through the door as a real genuine paying punter I am not sure that I can give the true impression of the daily life eating BBQ here at Reds.

But hey I am not going to let any of that stop me posting my thoughts, after all it didn’t stop me scoffing at this self proclaimed house of BBQ worship. So even though part of me feels that I am not ready to write a post about Reds yet, part of me feels that it’s worth jotting down some first impressions.

Lets just describe this as a research post then,, if one can call eating food research? The kind of stuff that never normally makes it onto the blog

All the photos I took were awful and do not really give the food true justice, but it was dimly lit in there, and it was the best I could manage. I wouldn’t normally post them and some posts I would have made another trip to a place and eaten all the same stuff just to get a better pic. So until I get here in daylight hours and take something decent, you will have to make do with the following dimly lit efforts, or head over here yourself to eat them in person (if you so chose).

Starters

Starter Selection at Reds True BBQ

 

To make life easier for all, the freebie punters, the kitchen, and the waiting staff, everyone was being given a platter of starters to get going with. This was a good idea and if nothing else it has given me an idea of some of the things that I would eat when I come in with my fistful of BBQ dollars. So what did we sample? Most of the starters were quite decent. The platter did in the end have a lot of the items that I would have liked to try anyway. Not full portions just little nibbles and tasters.

wings at Reds BBQ

There were a couple of wings, drummete and wingette, these were nicely cooked, juicy, a fair amount of meat, with a nice crispy and sticky skin. The actual menu described these as ‘Wood Smoked Jumbo Wings’ if you paid for these a small portion would have set you back £4.95 and you could have them Mild or Extra Hot. Ours were Mild with a blue cheese dipping sauce alongside. I would pay for these.

Reds True BBQ starters

The thing that I enjoyed the most and that I had actually been looking forward to trying were the ‘Burnt Ends’ I am a big fan of these anyway and I had been glad to see these on the menu. What am I talking about? I imagine, that I hear you ask (just so that I can give more info for the sake of the post), “Burnt Ends?”.

The burnt ends are cut off the point of a piece of barbequed brisket, its a Kansas City BBQ kind of thing. In general I like them, and I like them a lot so I was happy to see them on that starter platter. The menu described them as ‘Thrice smoked nuggets of pure brisket gold’.

They were to be one of my highlights of the evening (or hour or so I spent here). Would I pay the £7.95 price point for them? I am not sure that I would, but they were very tasty nonetheless.

starters

The other two items on the platter were a couple of bacon wrapped jalapenos, filled with some sort of soft cheese (I think) which were surprisingly tasty, and a couple of mac and cheese balls for which I was holding high hopes. They came with a kind of tangy dipping sauce, described on the menu as a ‘pickleback BBQ dipper’. They were too mild to stand up against the other starters though, however I am hopeful that on their own they would be fine. Both the jalapenos and mac n cheese balls would each set you back £4.95.

So starter platter munched we were than given the free run of the menu to pick a main course. To be honest that didn’t really work for me, I just wanted a sample of something that was going to give me a good impression of the sort of food one might be able to sample here at Reds, I didn’t want to have to think too much about this. Just give me more stuff on a tray please :-)

So in the end we just ordered the Brisket Plate and the Pulled Pork Plate, one did not want to appear too greedy.

The Main Events

Reds BBQ plates

 

Brisket Plate at Reds True BBQ

The Brisket Plate was basically a slice of white bread onto which slices of soft brisket had been lain, on top of that some green chillies and sliced onions had been piled. I was just interested in the meat though so the rest of the stuff was kind of pushed to one side. The brisket was quite soft, tender and had a nice light smoke taste. I found that this went well dipped into the Kansas City sauce (just one of several excellent house sauces).

The menu described this a the “Prime USDA Beef Brisket Plate” – ‘Texas-style salt and pepper rubbed, freshly carved, 9 hour smoked Black Angus brisket’. It was a good bit of barbeque but I probably wouldn’t order this plate again and not for £13.95 anyway. ( In my head I sounded kind of ungrateful just then)

brisket sandwich

If I was going to have the brisket here at Reds BBQ I would probably order the Smoked Brisket and Burnt Ends Sandwich as I think that would be a winning combination. So you see I did like the Brisket, just not that combination.

Pulled Pork n Slaw Plate

Pulled Pork with Mac and Cheese

Reds True BBQ NottinghamIn general I am really rude about the proliferation of Pulled Pork popping up all over the British Isles. That is not to say that I don’t like Pulled Pork, I do, in fact when it is done properly or really well I absolutely love it. I just seem to have eaten a lot of poor efforts recently. So it was with some hope that we took a chance on the Pulled Pork platter here at Reds, also as I said at the top I wasn’t paying for it so really I had nothing to lose.

I am very happy to say that I like their pulled pork. It was very tasty had a really, and I mean, really good smoke to it! The meat we had was tender and juicy and was really good barbeque.

I would not choose to have the plate with the slaw again though, for me that was just a total mismatch on the plate, just give me the meat and a decent sauce alongside, that is all I need. If I was to re-write there menu listing I would just say “Pulled Pork from the smoker”, that is all you needed to say.

reds

So to summarise, I liked most of the meats that we ate on this occasion, and not just because it was free, the cynical side of me says that I paid for it in kind by telling y’all about it. I will be coming back to try quite a few things and so that will take a while as I will need to rest up between each feast or ‘act of worship’ as they suggest with their promotional materials. I have my eye on the Ribs, more specifically the St Louis Ribs, and also on the Pit Burger.

It is going to be a challenge and I may be far more objective when there is an exchange of cold hard cash.

My first impressions though were most favourable!

Reds BBQ sauces

One last thing. They have nailed some of the sauces

Kansas City BBQ sauceNorth Carolina Sauce

I could have bathed in both the Kansas City sauce and the North Carolina Sauces

Reds True Barbeque in Nottingham is located at 11 Queens Street next to Georges Fish and Chip Kitchen and inside the space formerly occupied by Fopp Records. You can follow them (if you so choose) on Facebook and on Twitter

#lettherebemeat

 

The Pop Inn – A Bacon Cob please

photo_1 (7)

Today we had a Bacon Cob at The Pop Inn. There are mornings and moment when I cannot resist the call of a bacon roll, a bacon bap, or a bacon cob. Whatever you choose to call the bacon holder there can be no doubt that there are times when that crispy grilled or fried slice of meat is a ‘cure-all’ both for the mind, the stomach and the soul. I am with the actress Gwyneth Paltrow (not literally) who was quoted as saying “I’m not sure how healthy bacon is in general, but I know it’s incredibly delicious.”

The Pop Inn manu in window

It was in search of such a hand held bounty that I found myself strolling up St James’ Street from the square up towards the castle looking for divine bacon driven inspiration. In my mind I was heading for Brown Betty’s but I kind of knew that I didn’t have the room for one of their big and excellent sandwiches.

So I was delighted to find The Pop Inn crossing my path with it’s promises of breakfast cobs.

Bacon Cob at the Pop Inn

I walked in and just played it simple with a Bacon Roll for £2. It was a straightforward and simple affair, a nice fresh soft white roll, buttered by choice and filled with several slice of crispy bacon. Very good value bacon wise for the price. If I worked in the city centre and was walking down or up St James’ Street first thing in the morning then I reckon this place might be a useful place to have mentally stored on the list for those mornings and moments of need.

The Pop Inn

As you might expect there are plenty of breakfast possibilities at The Pop Inn including all the standard breakfast rolls with bacon, sausage, eggs and so forth. If you want something on toast you can get a slice of granary or bloomer for 60p and a topping of jam, marmalade, marmite, peanut butter, or chocolate spread for 20p more. Beans, Cheese, or Fried Egg on toast is just £1.10, now that seems pretty good pricewise to me.

If you want to splash out on a Breakfast Tray you have a few options; The Works, The Pitstop, and The Kickstart, all piled with different levels of breakfast items. The Kickstart is a vegetarian option of 2 Veggie Sausages, 2 Hash Brown, a Fried Egg, Mushrooms and Beans for £4. Not for me, but nice to see an option on the menu.

I think I would probably just be happy enough with my Bacon Cob and some Brown Sauce.

The Pop Inn is located at 6 St James’ St in Nottingham and its pretty easy to find. I could tell you how but they tell you in more detail so lets use their advice.

Pop Inn directions

 

 

Junkyard Bottle Shop and Beer House – Elevated Bar Food and some Fantastic Beers

Junkyard Sign Junkyard Nottingham sits unobtrusively at the top of Bridlesmith Walk, on the cusp of the Lace Market just yards from the busy road that acts as a boundary between the centre and the Lace Market district. It is not more than 100yds from the Lace Market Tram stop and only really 5-10 minutes walk from the Old Market Square. They describe themselves as ‘a neighbourhood café bar’ combining ‘the laid back feel of a North California bar and eatery with a specialist craft beer shop jammed full of bottles and cans of craft beers for drinking in or taking home.’ Now I have no significant experience of a local Californian bar, but in Chicago and in some parts of New York, I am adept in the workings of the neighbourhood bar, or perhaps it is more honest to say that I am a regular paid up member of the bar stool? (translate I have a local and they know my name and what beer I like). I guess what I am saying is that I like the way that they talked on the website at Junkyard, I wanted to find out if it was just talk? I like a good ‘neighbourhood bar’  So ‘Purely for research'; “cough, splutter, ahem” and in the need of a cool refreshing drink, I walked in on a Friday night (right in the middle of the peak moments around 8pm), and then again on a Sunday afternoon (around 1pm) just as the bar people world is starting to wake up, to fully road test this place. To be honest, I had already ‘clocked’ the place some weeks earlier and was just waiting for my moment to pounce on a “myfoodhunt” session, so all that stuff I just wrote is my personal justification for heading out with my mates somewhere new for a beer (works for me).

Beer on Tap

photo_1 (8) On the Sunday lunchtime visit we sat up at the bar right opposite the chalkboard beer list and the taps dispensing all of those Beers. On the Friday night it was a table by the window. The main thing to note was that we had a seat. I felt comfortable and at ease and kind of wanted to stay, it was as I hinted a real US neighbourhood bar vibe. I tried a few of the beers off the chalkboard and on draft and enjoyed them all. I even took a few gambles trying the Uncommon Siamese Twin which was described as having notes of lime, coriander, and lemongrass. It was surprisingly good!

Odells 5 Barrelodell Beer

In the bottle there were plenty of options, but on this particular Sunday, my companion Dan from Chicago was given a real treat when we found one of his favourite beers from one of his favourite breweries. It had to be fate, he had turned up for the day in a T-shirt that he had got at the Odell Brewery when he had been on a beer hunting trip over in Fort Collins, Colorado. As we walked in he had clocked the bottles of 90 Shilling in the cabinet and judging by the smiles I knew we were going to be for a good lunch! The irony that you can’t find a pub in Chicago serving this beer was not lost on me.

What was going to be a quick stop on a pub crawl around some of Nottingham’s Finest turned into a beer sampling session at Junkyard.

To assist with our ‘sampling’ We felt the need to check out the menu

The Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Borad The Charcuterie Board was a bright and flavour packed affair. I am not a massive fan of the pickle, but I do like the vibrant offerings that they add to the plate (or board) here at Junkyard. In some ways this dish teaches me that it is not just all about the meat. while the salty salami, the spicy chorizo, and the herby slices of ham are nice, when cut with the tang and sharpness of the pickled cornichons and beets they are so much better. It was fair value at  £6.50 I suppose based on it’s quality, but it did need some bread and you had to pay extra (£2.50) for the plate of bread with rosemary and confit garlic oil. I think that this would be better value if you got the bread as well. Still a nice snack to get started with.

Hot Wings

Hot Wings When I picked the Hot wings, I was given that age old ‘That’s a good choice’ feedback from the chap behind the bar. Now sometimes that means nothing and sometimes it is heartfelt from someone who had also favoured a plateful. I am happy to report that this was the positive one of the two responses. These were ‘good’ wings, actually they were a bit too hot for our liking but I can live with that. You get the whole wing, the ‘wingette’ and the ‘drumette’, so it is good value, and in that deep pan in the photo you get four of those meaty morsels. Were they really hot? erm yes they were, I had a nice warm or was it hot sting to my lips and tongue. Too spicy? maybe but I kind of liked it and I was responsible for dispatching 3 out of the 4 wings. Please note I am not ashamed of that gluttony I was, in the moment, merely satiated. More seriously I would recommend ordering these.

Cuban Sandwich

Cugan Sandwich Two days earlier on the Friday night I came in with Martin my usual Friday night  partner in crime for a couple of beers and a bite of food. I ordered the Cuban Sandwich and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a somewhat huge affair and one of the closest sandwiches size-wise to the sort of meals you would get over in the states. Described simply as “Cuban Sandwich: ham, roast pork, Swiss Cheese, dill pickles, salami, French mustard” for £8.50. It was pretty big and damn good. I was kind of expecting a pressed sandwich, a cubano if you like, but this was a fair effort on my board. It was so large that I had to cut it in half to even have a chance of getting my chops around the top and bottom slices. Packed with flavour it was a real shout out to many a Cuban sandwich I munched on over in the states. I would most certainly come back to eat another one of these bites.

Spiced Lamb Burger

Burger

Somewhat predictably my “P.I.C” ordered the Burger. It was declared to be a ‘good’ burger, somewhat messy as I saw tomato juice, mayo, and molten cheese dripping out of it onto the board, wrist, and imaginary shirt sleeve. The menu describes it as a “Spiced Lamb Burger: feta, oregano, cumin & mint mayo with sweet potato fries” for £9. Yes I know that does sound kind of awesome does it not? I am not sure I would have played it as safe as picking a burger from their menu, but if I had then I don’t think that I would have had anything to complain about if I had eaten this one Junkyard bar

It is maybe to soon to say it is a ‘Hidden Gem’, but if you are on some sort of a ‘Craft Beer Treasure Hunt’ then I would suggest that X may well end up marking the spot. It might just have found it’s way onto my ‘bars to go to list’ when I am heading up towards the Lace Market for a night out or a Sunday afternoon relaxation session Now all of this was based on my expectations of a bar that I have brought with me from my Stateside experiences and not really on my thoughts about what an English bar should offer. I will be honest and say that I have started to tire of this fad to make everything ‘American’ from menu to beer.

If I want that then I will take the old fashioned approach and get on a plane and fly to New York for some pastrami on rye, or to New Orleans for a gumbo, perhaps St Louis, Kansas City, or Austin for some BBQ. I don’t need some ‘johnny come lately’ following the trend in the UK trying to give me the good stuff. It kind of annoys me. One of my recent overused quotes when I read about people and buying their smokers is that “I could buy a piano and tell you about it, but can I play that piano?”

Now I will,  back track on that statement when I tell you my final thoughts about Junkyard. It is not just my thoughts, but also the thoughts of several of my beer swilling and food loving mates from America.

We were delighted by the beer offerings at this little backroom outpost, an excellent range of beers and menu full of simplicity and authenticity. I could stop now and tell you that I like it, and maybe that would be enough, but you know you have to make your own mind up, I just had to tell you a little bit about myfoodhunt experience, and I may have been somewhat ebullient. Located at 12 Bridlesmith Walk, Nottingham NG1 2FZ, you can either pop in for a glass of beer, or just view from afar on their Facebook page and on Twitter

Junkyard on Urbanspoon

Rub Smokehouse and Bar – Get the Platter, Be stuffed and Regret it, but still be glad that you did.

Rub Smokehouse Rub Smokehouse Sign

Rub Smokehouse and Bar has been open up on Adams street next to the Lace Market tram stop since late November 2014. I have popped in a couple of times to try them out but this time I came in with the intention to try everything properly. On their website they tell us that they are a BBQ restaurant with its roots firmly in the South of the USA. All of their meat is cooked in their smokers which they have named ‘Hank & Marvin’ overnight after being marinated with their secret ‘Rub’ blend of spices. They say that their Brisket and Pork Shoulder is cooked low n slow for around 16 hours. This is sounding good already.

Rub Platter

There only seemed to one way to try this place out properly and that was take one for the team by diving right in and simply ordering their ‘Taster’ plate. Could this be a mistake? Would this be too much food? Well the clue was there, right in front of our faces with that hashtag menu section title! #HungDrawnAndQuartered. It does say “The amazing MEAT taster plate which feeds 4 people or 2 Hulks”. Perhaps this was over ambitious? lets just wait and see how this plays out.

We only opted for the HungDrawnAndQuartered for Two, but even reading the description we should have know it was going to be a food coma inducing plateful!

#hungdrawnandquartered at Rub

The Tray was piled so high and so deep that on first inspection it was hard to see what was really on there. Before I tell you if it was any good or not I suppose I should try and break this plate down for you so you can see just how much bigger our eyes are than our stomachs. Just on the Meat front you got Four Buffalo wings, Half a smoked chicken, Half a Rack of Ribs, a Pile of Pulled Pork, and a Pile of Brisket. Then to add to that for some reason you also get a couple of sliders, and a couple of corn dogs.

Sides at Rub

If that wasn’t enough food? well you also got to choose four sides to add onto that gigantic platter. We chose (knowing full well that we probably would not eat half of them) the skin on fries, corn on the cob, the dirty rice and the onion rings. I would not be surprised to hear that you feel stuffed just reading all of that!

Rub selection

I tried to start gently with just a few items on my plate. The corn dog if you have never had one is essentially a hot dog on a stick dipped into corn meal batter and deep fried. In this case although I did like that they had smoked the dog it was just there as a filler, and on this plate a filler isn’t what you needed to be honest. If I was here at Rub looking for a starter they would be OK but not something I would be relishing or yearning for.

I would however be pretty happy to order as a starter the next bite that I had which was one of the BBQ chicken wings. On the menu they are called Red Bull wings and described as “chicken wings smoked over hickory and coated in our special red bull BBQ sauce“. These were really very good indeed, if you were to order them as a starter they would set you back £5.95 and I would say that was good value, I would order these again.

The sliders looked good with a nice pink tinge to the burger, but sadly they were a bit dry and were a bit disappointing, I don’t think that I would order those on their own. I have had the burger here before as well and that also was a bit on the dry side so I think it may be one to avoid, at least until they really get going and have got the menu down to pat.

Rub Smokehouse Platter

We felt that we needed to make some space on this mammoth platter so we started moving the sides onto our plates so that we could get a clear run at the meat. I suppose we should talk about them as well so lets start taking a few bites and getting a feel for this bad boy of a plate.

The onion rings described as ‘Anchor Beer Battered Onion Rings’ were really excellent, to be hip with the kids (and probably failing) ‘they were the bomb’. If you ordered these on their own you get 3 for £2.75. I would order ‘like a whole pile of these just for myself.’ You can tell a good onion ring on the first bite (and I did), the batter should be crisp and crunchy and the onion soft, and a bite should take a bit of both and leave the rest intact. These did just that, well done indeed.

The chips are OK  they are well just chips, and there is nothing too much wrong there, way to many for a platter like this though. They do offer more interesting variants on the menu which I might think about on another day; options included ‘sea salt fries’, ‘rub spiced fries’, ‘cheese fries’ and even ‘pulled pork chilli fries’ (although that last one sounds like a meal in itself doesn’t it?)

The dirty rice did look a bit like uncle bens finest, but it was actually really nice with a nice bit of spice and we really liked it. Funnily enough I only chose that when I found out that there was no Mac ‘n’ Cheese, but you know what? I am glad that I did. I could have had a much more of that on my plate and I would order that again

I always like a bit of the corn on the cob (usually nice slathered in butter, but I suppose you cant have everything). It was nice to have something less rich on the plate so I was happy enough with something  quite simple.

photo_2

Now that we had made a little room it was time to try the main event and some of that meat.

The slow smoked ribs are quite decent, the meat is tender and falls easily off the bone with a light bite. Lightly smoked and gently spiced would be fair assessment of these. I would order these again but would perhaps want a few more BBQ sauce options to go with them.

The half chicken was a mixed affair, the leg meat was nice and juicy, but the breast meat was a little on the dry side. It is so hard to keep it moist I know but it did need to be dipped in the BBQ sauce to help it out, the charred skin on the chicken was really good and I would have been happy just with that as a side and no chicken.

BBQ wings at Rub

The big pile of shredded meat in the picture was the pulled pork which had been smothered in BBQ sauce, and while quite rich, it was also a pretty decent effort. The menu describes it thus; “Smoked over hickory stove for over 15 hours, hand pulled and coated in our famous smokey barbecue sauce”.

Next to the pulled work was the real star on this platter; that 16 hour brisket. The menu simply describes it as “Aged Beef Brisket slowly smoked over hickory and coated in our JD ™ BBQ Gravy“. That gravy was excellent and of everything on the platter I would order this as a meal in itself. It comes ‘served with fries or mash & one side’ for £12.95. The chap at the table next to ours was having a bowlful with the mash and some corn on the cob, he seemed pretty content and I felt I would also have been content sitting eating that bowl as well.

Rub Smokehouse Sign

Outside Rub there is a chalkboard encouraging the diner to #Treat Yourself and to #Challenge Yourself. Well I think that we managed both of those by ordering that platter, it was both. I suppose by default if I knew what it meant we may have also completed the last hash tag #RubYourSelfie, but perhaps if I tag this post with that then I really will have done so.

Now I know that you may be thinking that the platter we munched our way through is a bit intimidating, perhaps rather overfacing, and maybe even just downright greedy. You may well be right on all accounts, and if you read my thoughts where it seems that I liked some things and that didn’t like others it may seem that it was a waste getting the whole platter and that perhaps I should have just had one dish.

But what if I chose wrong? would I want to come back?

Whenever I travel to a new city I like to take those open top bus trip that takes you around the place showing you all the key places and perhaps showing you places that you had not even though of going to. That is kind of how I felt about ordering the platter, some places or tastes I will come back to, some I will just be glad that I met just that once. If I was to say right now, then with conviction I would have the brisket with the mash, I would have the BBQ chicken wings, and I would have those onion rings.

Things that I would like to see here is a greater range of BBQ sauces on the table. In my travels I have been to plenty of Rib Fests and BBQ competitions across the states, and all the best people have one or two really good signature sauces, and most have a good range of at least 5 or so, and with smoked BBQ it can really make the difference elevating a good bit of smoked meat into a magnificent meal.

You can read more about Rub Smokehouse and Bar on their Facebook Page and on their Twitter Feed. You might also be interested to read about where their meat comes from? They get it from Sykes House Farm in Wetherby North Yorkshire. On the Rub website they tell us that “Their passion for meat cuts is evident and their farming ethics are second to none. They have years of expertise in butchery of American style cuts of meat.”

Sounds good to me!

Anyhow this place is just about 1-2 mins walk from the Lace market Tram stop at 2-4 Adams Street and although it seems pretty popular you can still get a table if you walk in.

Rub Smokehouse & Bar on Urbanspoon

The Red Heart in Ruddington – Beer, Football, and Breakfast (all day)

The Red Heart Shipstones Sign

A while back we were over in Ruddington trying out the hospitality in some of their local hostelries, or should I just say we were on a bit of a pub crawl?  We found ourselves eventually at The Red Heart Public House on Easthorpe Street.

If you don’t know much about this pub well I can tell you that it is a former Shipstones pub, and still seems to be proud of that heritage as it still has the original iron wrought sign hanging outside as a blast from the past. It also has the old Greenhalls sign on the front presumably from back in the late 70’s when they took over Shipstones.

While we are out and about ahem ‘researching’ for the blog we have been using the re-launch of the Shipstones Beer as the perfect excuse to take a trip back to some of the old Shippo’s pubs to see how time has treated them.

The Red Heart in Ruddington

We headed over to Ruddington to find the Red Heart, outside it still looks to be one of your traditional old school style public houses, inside the layout is still old school with a few nook and crannies to hide away in while supping you pint. Having said that there is one glaringly obvious addition to the modern era, the Sky Sports banner outside may give that away?

I have never seen so many televisions showing the football in one place outside of a dedicated sports bar. In the Main room almost the entire wall was taken up by one large screen, added to that were a host of smaller and somewhat misshapen sized screens adorning the other walls and formerly empty spaces. If you like your sport ‘in your face’ then this may be the place for you.

All Day Breakfast at the Red Heart

The menu that came in the faux leather jacket was filled with your standard pub fare and without any previous review or recommedations it was tricky to know what to choose or rather gamble on. It was then with a semblance of trepidation that we just decided to play it safe and order an ‘All Day Breakfast platter’.

I could just let the picture tell the story, but lets be fair when you order an ‘all day’ you kind of know that you are going to get a great big plate of brekkie stuff and you don’t really care what it is as long as you feel full and happy afterwards. I cant really rememeber how much this cost but it was not a lot about £5-6 from memory.

The plate was piled wide and high with a couple of fried eggs, two slices of bacon, two herby sausages, a couple of ‘out of the bag frozen style’ hash browns, some mushrooms, and a bit of grilled tomato…..phew full now? oh and a slice of toast as well.

We actually quite enjoyed this, all washed down with some of that excellent Harvest Pale Ale.

To be honest I liked all the TV screens showing the football. It isn’t the sort of place that I usually frequent these days, but in my mind I am thinking “What is not to like? they have footy on TV, good beer on tap, and a great big all day breakfast!”

Ugly Bread bakery – Go here and get a pizza (just because)

Ugly Bread bakery

The Ugly Bread Bakery has recently opened up at 39 Pelham Street, sandwiched between the noodle shop and the old bank that now is a pub (you know where I mean). It is just at the top of the street before we drop down into Hockley and looks to be another excellent independent addition to the Food scene in Nottingham. For a couple of weeks I  had walked past on my way to other food hunt spots and had patiently awaited to see what was going to appear from behind the shutters. This week though those shutters were no more and the ‘Ugly Bread Bakery’ had emerged without any pretence of being a swan to feed us good folk of the Town.

Pizza Chalk Board at Ugly Bakery

It was looking good as soon as I saw the chalkboard outside offering Stone Baked Sour Dough base pizzas; “9 inches from £2.45″ OMG “You had me at Pizza“. So OK just for the story I decided I had to try this place out, but lets be honest, both you and I know that I was going inside with or without the magic chalkboard offering. I just cannot resist walking into ‘anywhere new’ and the Ugly Bread Bakery was not about to be the exception to any of my unwritten scoffing rules.

Once inside you are greeted by a couple of large chalkboards behind the counter listing all of their 9 inch pizza combination and their 12 inch combo suggestions. ‘Served in minutes from our pizza oven’ (or something similar) was the message that we were getting as we drooled and contemplated what we should (or perhaps for our waistlines) should not be ordering. Just give me pizza already! On the counter were a whole batch of pizza’s waiting to be chosen to go into the oven, and also stack of sandwiches or were they a Panini type of thing? waiting to jump out and onto your plate. If you didn’t want one of them (how unkind we can be) then you could just choose from the board. I should have taken a photo, but I was in a shy food hunt kind of day when I was just wanting to eat and not be that guy.

I had a quick scan of all the drool worthy offerings and decided to take something simple and yet potentially ‘oh so tasty’ off of the board.

So it came to pass that I was to order a 9 inch Chorizo and Mozzarella opportunity.

9 inch Chorizo and Mozzarella

Chorizo and Mozzarella Pizza

This is where it starts to get real, and I mean real good. I am hoping that the picture does this simple ‘meaty and cheesy sour dough disc of joy’ justice? Now that is a good name for a pizza combination if I ever typed one. It was real simple, thin crisp and slightly charred base, topped with pools of soft and light mozzarella and thin slices of spicy and lightly smoky chorizo. This was ‘so simple yet oh so good’ as a light lunchtime snack. It went down pretty well with my can of diet pop (who was I kidding with that?).

It was enough of a taster to know that I look forward to popping in and trying some of their other combinations, both on the deli counter and from the oven.

 You can check them out on both Twitter and their developing website .

Give them a whirl

“Haddock, Chips, and Mushy Peas please!” at George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen

Georges Fish and Chip Kitchen

George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen in Nottingham is to be I hope a welcome addition to the restaurant dining scene in the city centre. George’s Traditional has been present in and around the city for a while now and has been a pretty reliable place to get your fill of Fish and Chips. If you ask around the ‘town’ (that’s what we locals call it) many people will suggest George’s. I have eaten quite frequently from their takeaway on Melton Road in West Bridgford, and over in the sit down restaurant just outside Chilwell, and have found them both to be pretty good. So when I heard a few months back that a sit down restaurant was opening in the city centre I was kind of getting excited.

The Fish and Chips Section of the Menu

Classic Fish and Chips section

This George’s has a lot more that your basic or classic Fish and Chips on their menu, but having said that, on this first visit I was only ever have been going to order a plate of Fish and Chips. There was a straight menu throw-down between the Cod and the Haddock, but it wasn’t a fair fight as I am a Haddock man, I just love those flaky chunks.

Haddock and Chips at Georges Fish and Chips Kitchen

I had to wait about 15 minutes or so for my plate of Haddock and Chips which wasn’t too bad, but it was a bit weird that the two tables alongside me, who were both there well before I did, all got served at the same time as me. Having said that, I wasn’t complaining as I arrived last, so I think I did quite well there. One side were questioning where their food was when I was reading the menu, which worried me briefly, Once the plates all arrived everyone was tucking in so it was all fine, just early day teething.

It was a deceptively large piece of Haddock, it hung over the edge of the plate width ways and it kind of dwarfed the rather small ‘scoop‘ of chips. Yep you read that correctly, they serve those on the plate in a metal scoop, I didn’t ask why, I was just happy that it wasn’t one of those metal bowls, mini-wire baskets, or enamel cups. To be fair this was a new type of presentation that I hadn’t seem before. Please can we make a rule that we just put everything on a plate normally. (insert ‘smiley face with a raised eyebrow’/or ‘I am actually serious but trying not to be mean comment’). There did not seem to that many chips, but maybe that was because the fish was quiet big? It was a fair piece of Haddock, a bit thin to be honest and coated in a plain batter. Texturally and ‘mouth feel’ wise it was probably a really good batter, as it was nice and flaky and airy, but for me I just needed to add a little bit more, or perhaps, even some seasoning to make it more interesting. Having said that though perhaps a plain batter is good as it then doesn’t detract from the fish that lurks beneath its crispy folds.

The sides or condiments

Condiments at Georges

When that plate arrived, for a brief moment I was going to ask where my sides were, but then I found that my Mushy peas were in a jar on the side of the plate (a very hot jar), as was the tartar sauce and some random pickles. I liked the mushy peas, they were more of a mushy pea sauce than a side of peas, but they went well with that small pile of chips. I liked the tartar sauce as well, I would have liked perhaps a little more, but I did not want to appear greedy. I did not even try the pickles.

Altogether the whole plateful worked really well, I had no real complaints, and also I was totally stuffed. I could not have even contemplated having one of their puddings!

The padstow booth

As I sat I stared over into one of the Beach Hut Booths, which looked to be a much more comfortable dining experience I think that you musty have to reserve on of these. The one directly opposite to me was named Padstow and that brought back some happy memories of eating other Fish and Chip meals, in particular from Rick Stein’s Fish and Chip shop (still some of the best I have eaten). Next time I am getting a booth!

I quite enjoyed my dining experience though here at George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen, it is a great big space and was packed out when I visited at the weekend. It will be interesting to see how the Nottingham Public take to the place. It’s a bit ‘fancy pants’ for some (in a good way), and I would like to think that it would be somewhere to come for a nice treat once in a while.

I will be back myself, and already have plenty of people who want to come with me to try it out

George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen is Located at 13 Queens Street just up from the Old Market Square

 Check them out on Twitter and on Facebook

It is not just about the Fish and Chips, they have a quite extensive menu that I took a few picture off  (just for future planning purposes).

Why not have a look;

More Menu Options

Georges Kitche Faves

 

Sandwiches type things

Meals in a Bun at Georges

The Pie Shop Menu

 pieshop

Mama White’s Pancake Parlour – Bacon and Maple Syrup Pancakes!

Mama Whites Panckae House

Mama White’s Pancake Parlour in Newark was a great find this weekend as we searched for “just a little something” to get us through the afternoon. Would you be surprised if I was about to relate a tale of a lunchtime in Newark when we ate a couple of platefuls of Pancake? I guess not, the tagline of the post kind of says it all does it not?

Looking on their website they advise “Take a 30 minute break from your day to be looked after by Mamma White – whether she cooks you the finest fluffy pancakes, brews you a delicious cup of coffee, flips you a perfect crepe or gives the children their lunch. Everyone needs a Mamma White Moment!”

It sound so American, but let me ease your mind it isn’t.

OK food? Yes I imagine that you want to know about that now

Savoury Menu

Mama White's meu

We were only ever going to be ordering from the Savoury section of the Menu, but even that was up for debate when you consider what it was that I did actually order. The “Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup” for £5.95 to which I added a ‘Fried egg for just another 50p”

American Pancakes with Baocn and Maple Syrup

So with much surprise at myself it came to pass and this was my plate of “American Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup” a dish that in the past I have ‘shuddered’ at when considering eating. I mean ‘Who?’ would eat bacon! and something sweet!  like maple syrup? Surely that cannot be right? After 7 years living in the states and continually avoiding this combination it was ironic that I was to finally try it a couple of year later in Newark one of the County’s great market towns in a café a thousand miles away from ‘the place most expected to eat it at’

I have to confess though, I kind of liked this combination, and I am also kind of sad that I did not try it when it was available on every street corner in every neighbourhood that I lived in when I was Stateside. It sounds crazy but it isn’t really that sweet, the maple syrup brings an almost toasty honey element to the dish. I had imagined that the bacon was to be the ‘salty’ contrast and maybe sometimes it is, but here at Mamma White’s it was just ‘meaty;’ That may have been due to the huge pile of really crispy bacon on top of the pancake stack. I am not sure that this was smoked bacon and so maybe it was a milder lighter kind of taste. I am glad that it was though, I am kind of converted now. Dang!

The pancakes themselves were the “American” kind sort of thicker fluffy discs more or less ‘beermat’ sized. I had a stack of three and that was plenty for me. Topped with a fried egg and an inch of bacon there was very little chance of getting a full slice into an English mouth. I did try though. Despite the supposed sweet element from the Maple Syrup this really was a ‘savoury’ dish

So yes, I have to concede, that I have been converted to ‘maple syrup with bacon’ so ‘Mama White‘ whomever you are I thank you!

Mama White Pancake Parlour menu

I am going to be over in New York in just a couple of weeks, and guess what I will be ordering at the nearest diner to my hotel? I feel the need to pursue this flavour all a little further.

However for the rest of us on a normal Nottinghamshire day we can come over to Newark to eat the same thing at Mama Whites.

Located at 40 Stotman Street in Newark they are just a few minutes walk from the Market Square area. Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter