This weekend I finally made it over to Missoula ‘Montana Bar and Grill’ in the Lace Market for lunch. I have been trying to find the time and the space in my stomach for a while. I had a chance to come in on the Opening night and had other invites to try but sadly was just not free to accept them. Having said that I kind of like to come in under the radar as it feels more honest and I can eat just as I always do as just another punter.
I had been reading the menu and I will say that it does read very well, I just hoped that the food could match the prose. It does seem quite extensive being split between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sadly this time in, I was just too late to sample something from the ‘Breakfast Menu’ as that finished at 12.
The picture of the ‘American-Style Waffle’ in the menu booklet on the table was hitting the spot mentally, and even though I spent much of my time in the states avoiding the sweet and savoury combo mixes, today I was a little sad not to be able to recall a food memory eating waffles with bacon and maple syrup, topped with two ‘sunny-side’ up eggs.
The Breakfast menu did show a lot of promise, almost enough to get me up and put of bed early enough on a weekend to come over to sample something from it. ‘On paper’ I would be ‘all-over’ the “Classic American-Style Breakfast” which is simply described as “Crispy Bacon. Home Fries, Your Choice of Egg and Toast” for just £5.25. That sounded good to me.
Whoever wrote the menu deserves some praise as it does sound unique and a little different (I reckon that they have O’ levels in both English Lit and English Language – #showing my age). I liked the bold names of the Burgers that they had on offer. The trick though with a menu, comes once someone has been in more than once, and can tell if the words and description match the experience. Lets just see, I hope that there is a match, as the menu does sound good in many places.
As I pondered the burger section of the menu a work colleague and a friend walked in fresh from a 10K run around Wollaton Park to join me, and I wondered (albeit briefly) if my burger thoughts were a bit out of synch with the moment perhaps not healthy enough? I had no worries though it turned out that everyone on the table was thinking of a Burger, some perhaps had earned it through effort and sporting industry, others (myself) required one purely for some continuous and admittedly imaginary quality control kind of reason. I can stretch a reason / justification as far as I need on these occasions.
Bear Tooth Mountain Beef Burger
When selecting my burger sandwich combination from the menu I was drawn firstly to the name, ‘Bear Tooth Mountain Beef Burger’ named I assumed after the Bear Tooth Mountains of Montana. I liked many things about my burger, it was tasty, the cheese, bacon and beef melded together in a way that made each mouthful enjoyable. It was good enough to tell the waitress that it was ‘very nice thank you’ when asked if I enjoyed my meal, but that was also based on the company with whom I had enjoyed a very agreeable lunch combining good conversation and good food. If I had to be strictly accurate I would say that it was ‘very nice, but not amazing, and I kind of need ‘amazing’ now to come back time after time.
Inside Bear Mountain
The burger itself was basically your bacon cheeseburger with crispy onion fries, you know the ‘shoestring type’ and it was a pretty decent effort, very tasty, perhaps a little on the small side, even with a side it was basically a snack as opposed to a meal. Officially the sandwich is described as the ‘Beartooth Mountain Beef Burger with Swiss cheese, crispy bacon and home-style crispy onions’
The fries come in one of those standard and to be honest ridiculous metal tins, “just put them on the plate already”. Oh yes I forget to mention as with nearly everywhere now the whole meal comes on a bespoke wooden board with a cut out hole just for that tin. What is wrong with a real plate anyway? I might just stop eating at places that don’t have crockery. The fries are described as ‘seasoned’, and I was kind of expecting more, but if seasoned means ‘lightly salted’ then fair enough, but to be fair and unfair at the same time all you get here is one step up from your McD skinny fries that have the feel of a frozen effort. If I am wrong and they are hand cut daily and cooked fresh to order, then maybe someone needs to make them a lot better presented as in don’t just stick them in a metal bucket, make them proud and let the world see them on a shiny plate :-)
Big Sky Burger
My companions both went for the Big Sky Burger which was topped with Swiss Cheese, Crispy Bacon, BBQ Pulled Pork, and more of those home-style crispy onions”. To be honest I kind of wished I had chosen this topping selection, it did look really good and based on the contented faces I could see it was a winning Burger Sandwich combination. If it wasn’t for the feeling that ‘Pulled pork’ has invaded our culinary shores and crept onto every menu then I would have had this burger. Perhaps I need to just eat what I fancy then and let my mind take a rest.
Missoula in Nottingham is owned by the Stonegate Pub Company who have 640 pubs nationwide including The Major Oak on Pelham Road, The Horn in Hand on Goldsmith Street, The Ropewalk on Derby Road, and The Willow Tree in West Bridgford, Plus a lot of other Slug and Lettuce’s, Yates, Living Rooms, and many other Missoula Montana’s. It is always interesting and often revealing to see who owns what bits of the cityscape and Nationscape.
Although this is part of a pretty extensive chain and brand, I kind of liked what they had done with the place. They describe the place thus “Situated in Nottingham’s popular Lace Market, Missoula Montana Bar & Grill brings the authentic American feel to the city of Nottingham. The historic Lace Market was once at the heart of the world’s lace industry, Missoula’s building itself functioning as a showroom for lace manufacturers to parade and sell their designs. Today, it is a sophisticated, stylish American bar and restaurant cultivating a chic, upbeat atmosphere.”
As I already said I like the content and sound of the menu.
I kind of wish that breakfast extended through brunch, but I suppose I ‘could’ drag myself out of bed early one weekend morning to make it on time?
You can find the Missoula Nottingham up at 7 High Pavement, in The Lace Market, Nottingham just 5 minutes walk from the Lace Market Tram Stop
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