The Trent Bridge Inn – Something from the Grill section of the menu please

Trent Bridge Inn Nottingham

The Trent Bridge Inn (The T.B.I) is a timeless classic located next to the Trent Bridge Cricket ground, home of Nottinghamshire Cricket and occasional home of England. There is a long history regarding the pub, the cricket and even Notts County who once played there for a while. You can spend time googling all that so I am not going to put it all here, but I will relate my personal history with the pub. Back in the mid 80’s when me and my mates were hitting our 18th birthdays we used to drink half pints of beer in the back room, in those days we had two choices this side of the river at the TBI or over the river at the Town Arms, When the Town Arms became the Aviary I got a job collecting glasses there, and some of my mates got jobs collecting glasses at the TBI. Then our personal rivalries began and I didn’t drink in here for ages, there were plenty of unprintable shananigans that could make an excellent story.

Moving swiftly to present time I find myself living on the banks of river within view of Trent Bridge and but a short walk along the towpath to the door of the TBI. It is like the years have rolled back and I can go back to one of my old haunts. So although these days despite it being one of the pubs in the Wetherspoon’s chain, it is still a pub that I want to frequent.

Trent Bridge Ale

They do serve a lot of standard beers from the Wetherspoon’s pub selection but look past that if you can with me and take heart that they have a dedicated beer from the Nottingham Brewery called unsurprisingly Trent Bridge Ale. This really is quite a decent beer, it is described as ‘A light and crisp golden ale with floral hoppy notes.’ but I think that is a poor description to be honest. I don’t find it to be too hoppy at all, I would say that is a nice drinkable session beer that is light and easy on the palate. But you know what? I don’t work for a brewery so ‘what they said’

Seeing as how this pub should be so much more than the sum of its wetherspoons parts we decided to go big and look at the upper end of the menu into the Grill section where the prices were a little higher and see what the pub could offer us to make it forget that it was a Wetherspoons Menu.

What did we find?

Gammon Egg and Chips at Trent Bridge Inn

The first thing we ordered was the Gammon and Eggs. It was not too bad an effort, the Gammon itself was juicy and had that nice saltiness that I recall fondly when I order this dish. It’s light was slightly hidden by placing two fried eggs on top of it, but that was kind of OK as they still had runny yolks that oozed nicely over the top when cut into. The chips were plentiful but not that exciting, the peas overdone and the tomato was not needed. The small field mushroom was decent and would be benefitted from a few more friends on the plate as it felt like it was almost an afterthought. So we have positive reports on the Gammon and the Eggs, which to be fair were in the title of the dish. The rest was just basic pub food which was to be expected here.

The Surf and Turf

Surf and Turf 

The next choice was the Surf and Turf (Scampi and Steak). I liked the steak, I asked for it to be cooked Medium and it was cooked Medium. I didn’t mind the pub food chips although there were too many for me to eat. The Scampi was plentiful but I was not too excited by them. The first few were OK but they got a bit boring after that. They seemed to fall apart a bit too easily and I was feeling the moment between the freezer and the deep fryer with each bite. I probably should have just had a steak on its own. Overall the meal was kind of OK, if it had just been £9.99 I would have been fairly happy but it wasn’t it was nearer to £12 so a tad overpriced.

So in summary the experience from the Grill section was a bit mixed with highs and lows. The main thing I suppose is that we left full and we had two large meals for about £20.

Despite the average dining experience I am still a big fan of the TBI, I just need to remember where I am when I am planning a dining extravaganza.

Note to self, next time just drink the excellent Trent Bridge Ale from the Nottingham Brewery.

The Trent Bridge Inn is located at 2 Radcliffe Rd in West Bridgford, Nottingham. Right on the South side of the Trent Bridge crossing by the Cricket Ground

Oscar and Rosies at Das Kino – ‘Pizza as it Should be’

Das Kino SignOscar and Rosies |Sign

This past Thursday night we saw the launch night for the Das Kino bar on Fletcher Gate housing the most excellent Oscar and Rosie’s Pizza Kitchen both in the building that once housed the Old Vic right near to the Lace Market Tram Stop. They say that they are Boasting two beautiful bars, a brand new kitchen & four Ping Pong Tables. 

Das Kino BarPing Pong at das Kino

It was true there was a bar and there were ping pong tables. They were encouraging us to “sample our extensive bar selection, have a nibble on some Oscar & Rosie’s incredible food or try your hand at Ping Pong”. I wasn’t feeling too much in mind for some ping pong although it did look like fun, and the lines at the bar were not my scene. I don’t really frequent places where you have to queue, that is so not my scene. I have reached that point in life where ‘my’ in-crowd find that ‘grumpy‘ is kind of expected (and acceptable). Having said that what I AM all about is the pizza, and in Nottingham there is only one person and one place that I want to serve that pizza to me, that my friend, is Olly at Oscar and Rosies.

Olly serving pizza

It was a tough night, the placed was packed and Olly was trying to give everyone a slice of his most excellent pizzas. Everytime he or one of his team left the kitchen with a tray of pizza they were mobbed by the hungry crowd. I am really hoping that they tasted enough to come back for a slice in the future. Actually I have no fear on that score. If you feed them they will come.

Team Pizza

In the kitchen at Oscar and Rosies

Inside the kitchen

Later on in the evening Olly did us proud and brought us into the inner sanctum to meet the team and eat some pizza. The menu sounded really exciting and we will be featuring much more on the blog in the near future to tell you all about it. Apart from the pizzas, there will be an awesome ‘Mac and Cheese’, and some lovely locally made sweets or puddings for us all to try. These were two kinds of mini meringues one was filled with lemon and one with raspberry (to my recollection) they were dreamy. I want to say more but I don’t want to give too many spoilers. We will be back soon to eat and show it all to you and tell you the stories behind some of those dishes.

The Meat Sweats Pizza

Oscar and Rosies Meat Sweats

Olly knows me too well and he delivered on his promise when he served us up our very own and our beloved Meat Sweats pizza. It is not just the fantastic (and new) semolina flour coated crust that makes this a sublime feast in itself, but also the toppings of pepperoni, cheese, and crisp bacon and fennel infused sausage meat ( the last two from JT Beedhams). The pizza oven that had only just made it to the joint that day after a last minute plea for moving assistance was on top form in its new home delivering a sweet charred crust. How good is that crust? Well let me say just this! you will be eating the bits of crust that have no toppings on them and thinking that they are just as good naked as they are clothed in meaty and cheesy goodness. OMG I can hardly type without thinking about that crust now. OK relax and take a minute.

More Oscar and Rosie Pizza

If you want to read a little bit of Oscar and Rosie history well then please just take a flash back with the Nottingham Food Blog to last November when we first met Olly (Read More Here) the full story was also covered in our local paper too all about the Man and his dream (that’s worth a read too). I don’t want to make him blush (under the beard) but when you meet Olly and talk to him the passion for pizza is evident and somewhat inspiring, when you taste it you will be amazed that you can buy a slice for the price! This stuff is fantastic It may just be my opinion, and my Mate, and my Mum, and my other mates who have eaten the pizza and … the list goes on, but once you have tasted it you will not want to go back to chain-store or supermarket pizza.

So more importantly how do you easily find this place? Das Kino is at 22 Fletcher Gate right next to the Cross Keys pub and only a short walk from the Lace Market Tram Stop. You can Follow Das Kino on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can follow Oscar and Rosies also on Twitter and Facebook

A “Full English” at Joe’s Cafe and Cob Shop near Colwick Vale

Joes Cafe in Colwick Vale

During a lunchtime I was out and about in the MyFoodHunt mobile looking for some new places to lunch. For no particular reason I found myself following the bus route  through Colwick Vale towards Netherfield. I hadn’t driven along here for ages and I was hoping to find some sort of café. I was in luck, right on the bend just as you are about to rejoin the main road I stumbled upon Joe’s Café and Cob Shop. A big cheery sign greeted me as I walked over to the Café and a couple more lovely smiles greeted me from behind the counter when I walked in. Whatever was to greet me on the plate I was already smitten with the buzz and warmth within the café from the staff and the patrons lining up for their lunchtime cobs and baps.

The Breakfast Section of the Menu

Breakfast Menu at Joes cafe and cob shop

Without any apology my eyes focused in and onto the Breakfast section of the chalkboard menu. I could have taken the healthy route and ordered one of Salad Boxes which were just £2.50 and filled with a mix of lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, beetroot, egg, coleslaw and cheese. For an extra 50p you could throw in a meat option such as ham, chicken, or turkey. On the middle ground of the menu, apart from the rapidly selling out Hot pork cob with stuffing and apple sauce for £3 you could have chosen from some tempting and more well thought out sandwich fillings. In particular I was drawn to consider the Meatball Salsa Cob for £2.50, the Peri-Peri Chicken Cob for £2.10, and the Chicken Tikka Cob also for £2.10.

As it was though I was kind of still in breakfast mode so I ordered the Full English, found a table and settled down to read the dailies while I waited.

Full English

Breakfast at Joes Cafe

The Breakfast at Joes café  came with a friendly smile and an unspoken need for a large appetite. For a rather modest outlay of £4.80 I was treated to a large plate filled with a Full English breakfast, toast and a mug of tea. So what was on that plate? I hear you ask. I had to munch my way through two slices of bacon, two sausages, a fried egg, a hash brown, a slice of black pudding, a generous pile of mushrooms, a scoop of baked beans and a spoonful of tomatoes. The verdict? well it was good value and a competent effort at this price point. This is a good solid breakfast and I would happily attempt another plateful on another day. It was all cooked to order and there was not a hint of a microwave pinging away in the background like you may see at other joints. I liked my bacon and my black pudding and even my basic sausages were on point for the plate.

Joe’s Café and Cob Shop is located at 17A Chaworth Road, Colwick

 

Big Burgers in Bingham at The Chesterfield

The Chesterfield Bingham

This Friday we hopped onto the bus and took a trip out to Bingham to visit The Chesterfield Pub and Kitchen. It is a pretty easy trip out from the city just 20 minutes on the Green Line from Friar Lane to Bingham. It did cost £5.50 return which we thought was a little bit steep to be honest, but it turned out to be a very worthwhile trip.

The Temptation on the Menu

Menu at the Chesterfield

I could have been sensible and just had one of the smaller offerings on the menu but once I read the menu description for the “Chesterfield Burger” I was sold. I knew it was going to be a bit of a big beast, however I was well up for the challenge. The lady taking my order asked me if I was hungry, to be honest my answer should have been ‘no not really I am just being greedy’ but instead I just said I would give it my best effort. I was of the mind that if the pub wanted to name a burger after itself then I had to make it my mission to see if that was a bold statement and a worthy representative for the pub. Yeh? I wasn’t fooling anyone, was I?

The Chesterfield Burger

The Chesterfield Burger was a thing of beauty, was it overwhelming? well yes but no more intimidating than walking up to the most attractive woman at the bar (standing next to her, ordering two pints of Harvest Pale and then walking back to your table (with Beer!) ok epic fail but I kind of still win ). I knew I had this one covered right from the first bite. The beef patties were exceptionally well seasoned, nice and peppery with a good solid bite. The meat was a little crumbly and you could tell it had been freshly ground and formed ready for the grill. There was a plentiful covering of molten and melty cheese oozing from the bun and draping itself seductively over the top burger in the bun. There were a couple of super slices of smoked and crispy streaky bacon criss-crossing themselves over that pattie as well. They were most excellent. I do love a slice of smoked streaky, it reminds me of burgers in the States and it also adds a lot of really great smoky and salty flavour to the bite.

Inside the Chesterfield Burger

To delve a little deeper into this beast I cut her in half to get a nice cross section photo. You can see that the meat has been cooked perfectly so that was still nice and pink. The bun on the bottom layer was also part of the party with a nice layer of some sweet perhaps lightly pickled onions and a layer of crisp lettuce.

Chesterfiled Burger Chips and Salad

Although the star of the show (or the plate) is that stacked Chesterfield burger, I really do have to talk a little more about the other members of the plate party. There was a really fantastic side salad, a salad worth eating and a salad that I would have happily eaten on it’s own as a meal in itself. It was made up of a decent selection of crunchy salad leaves, tomato quarters, peppers and a nice sweet and tangy dressing. The barbecue sauce was quite acceptable with a light smokey and sweet back note, the chunky chips were good too, way too many to accompany a burger of this size, but lets be honest here I have already ordered way too much burger so I shouldn’t say anything.

A special mention has to be given to the onion rings. They were nothing short of amazing, it is so rare to get an onion ring that is crispy and crunchy and with a light bite. The coating stayed on the onion with each bite. I think it must have been some sort of tempura style effort. I will have to check out the menu next time I come here to see if they sell these on their own (hopefully in some sort of massive bowlful.

The Chesterfield Sign

I loved my visit to the Chesterfield pub and kitchen. Should I have eaten that massive Chesterfield Burger? Well the demon on one shoulder said ‘no’, and the angel on the other said ‘yes’. That’s how my angels and demons roll. Just in case you didn’t twig! the burger was named AFTER the pub, although it is possible that you may be confused thinking that it was slightly crooked like the Chesterfield spire, or that it was named after a Chesterfield Sofa just because after eating one you really need to just slump upon one in some sort of food coma.

You know what if you are all over the burgers at Annie’s Burger Shack in the city? (Who I am totally in love with) then you should hop on that bus out to the Chesterfield in Bingham as I can assure you that the burgers here are pretty good too.

The Chesterfield Pub and Kitchen is located in Bingham Nottinghamshire at Church St, Nottingham NG13 8AL.

We rode the Rushcliffe Green bus line to get here (it was quite painless)

 

The Pilgrim Oak in Hucknall

The Pilgrim Oak

It has been a while since we took a trip to the end of the line on the Tram so we rode up to Hucknall to see what we could find for supper. It turned out that The Pilgrim Oak was the place to be on a Friday night. The pub name is apparently linked to Lord Bryon somewhat circuitously as you may or not know Lord Byron was buried in the nearby St Mary’s Church in Hucknall in 1824 and Byron’s ancestral home was at Newstead Abbey which is near Hucknall. There was a famous tree called ‘The Pilgrims Oak which once stood outside Newstead Abbey, and it is after that tree that the pub was named. I told you it was a bit circuitous! It was said that the monks at the Priory fed the poor and that “Each week 14 loaves and seven flagons of ale were set aside for the poor” and that “each day flesh and fish enough for one man had to be given away”. Now that I have read that the pub name makes a bit more of a story.

Friday Fishday

It was another Wetherspoons and another Friday night, it also happened to be Fish Friday and although I was slightly doubtful as to the outcome of this venture I put my £5.99 on the table (Table 14 to be precise) and ordered the daily special. To be honest while I am usually quite rude about eating in Chain pubs, I had seen this deal leaflet on a number of other Fridays (late on in the evening) and had been curious to see if the food would be anywhere near the way that it looked in the picture. I had said that if I found myself in this particular chain early enough on a Friday and we hadn’t eaten then I would roll the dice and see what fate dealt me. So on this particular occasion as I supped my rather good pint of beer from the Nottingham Brewery I was reminded of that fact, so I kept my word and gave it a whirl.

Fish and Chips Wetherspoons

What can I say? Well? It was pretty good value for the price for £5.99, you got a plate of Fish, Chips and Peas with a pot of Tartar sauce (sadly no slice of bread and butter though). You also were entitled to a drink as part of the deal, now I could have had a pint of one of the beers on special, but instead I had a glass of Gin and Tonic. Seemed to be a good idea at the time (and it still was). As for the quality, well maybe I was unlucky but my Fish seemed to have spent just a little bit too long in the fryer and the frozen peas had spent a bit too long defrosting as well. The Chips? well they were one side of cheap and cheerful. I did get enough to eat and with the drink thrown in I wasn’t too disappointed as I honestly didn’t expect too much more from the experience. In the interests of fairness I am going to try the Fish Fryday special at a different Wetherspoons on a different Friday, just for quality control comparison purposes and not just as it is a good cheap deal and that there could be some beer or gin involved.

Bacon Cheeseburger at Wetherspoons

I wasn’t sure but I kind of felt that I had the last laugh on the table as Martin my erstwhile accomplice on many a food hunt occasion through Nottingham, Chicago and New Orleans decided to just have a the bacon cheeseburger with chips. I can honestly say that the plate arrived as pictured. Those are not large chips and the burger really was that size and the number of chips was as pictured. It was almost a diet burger and chips and I did question if he had ordered off the Children’s menu by mistake. Martin did say that it was quite tasty though. At least it was an honest plate, usually all of that empty space would have been reserved for some sort of unloved side salad.

Thinking about it there was probably just about “flesh and fish enough for one man’ so those merry monks had fulfilled there end of the bargain.

Hucknall Tram Stop

All in all we saw that there was life at the end of the line and most of that seemed to be in The Pilgrim Oak. Located at 44-46 High Street it is another member of the Wetherspoons family. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Tram stop onto the high street.

 

 

East Midlands Chilli Festival at Newark

East Midland Chilli Festival

This last weekend we ventured over to the outskirts of Newark to visit the East Midlands Chilli Festival 2014 at the Newark Showground. While we were looking for a little bit of heat to get our taste buds tingling, we were also hoping for some tasty street food and to meet some old foodie friends as well.

box of chillieschillie box

You would be forgiven for just thinking that the East Midlands Chilli Fest was just going to full of stalls laden with box after box of chilli’s. To an extent it kind of was, only many of those stalls had food, sauces, dips and rubs all inspired by the Chilli. At this fest they were there on occasion in your face but also playing nicely with your tastebuds by cosying up to their fellow ingredients with some more gentle offerings.

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So what and who did we find?

Twisted Chilli

Twisted Chilli Ltd Keep Korma and Curry On Sign

One of the first stalls that caught our eye was that of The Twisted Chilli Ltd from Wetwang ‘The Curry Capital of the Yorkshire Wolds’. Now I am not really one for English-style Indian Food or pre-packaged mixes but I have to say that the Twisted Chilli won me over, well long enough to make a purchase anyway. They had a very brightly coloured stall and a few curry dishes made using their spice mixes to try. It was your typical selection for the English late night curry seeker including a Korma, A Jalfrezi, and a Tikka Massalla (the most non-Indian Indian curry of them all).

Tikka Massalla Curry MixShashlick Marinade

The sauces were really quite tasty and although I usually like to cook my food from scratch I still bought a couple to take home and try for a lazy rainy day.

They claim that ‘we aim to provide top quality fresh ground spices for you to create your own flavour packed authentic curries at home.’ I’ll let you know how the mixes work out.

Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter

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The Sauce Shop

The Sauce Shop The Sauce Shop Range

The Sauce Shop team were here fighting the winds to keep the gazebo up and selling their excellent home produced sauces. We are fond of their ‘Nottinghamshire Sauce’ for our bacon butties in the morning, and their Caramel Sauce for sploshing all over our ice cream after tea. They had the full range there on the stall and the ones most geared to the festival were their ‘Really Hot Sauce’, ‘Buffalo Hot Sauce’, ‘Fiery Chilli Sauce’, and their ‘Smokey Chipotle Ketchup’ . Check them out on Facebook and Twitter

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The NowNow Food Company

Durban Chicken Curry Durban Chicken Curry

We were starting to feel a bit peckish walking around the place and figured it was best to eat something otherwise we would be buying everything (you know how it is). I had my eye on the ‘Durban Chicken Curry’ that was being served up ‘Bunnychow’ style by the NowNow Food company. For £5 you got a decent portion of the spicy Durban Curry in a hollowed out breadbowl (A Bunny Chow). It came with a nice chutney salad and a chilli sauce dip. This is a typical Durban Street Food Dish, hot spicy and flavourful. They were also selling a Bunny Chow filled with Bobotie another South African Classic. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter

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Andy’s Low and Slow

Andys Low and Slow

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork

Next stop on the MyFoodHunt lunching munch trek was at Andy’s Low and Slow an American Inspired BBQ stall. We had been given the tip from the Sauce Shop guys but I had already heard of Andy on the grapevine (or is that the twittosphere?). Andy describes his offering as “Birmingham based BBQ done how I like to eat it. No.3 at midds street food awards. Best beef ribs in town. No rules, no games, just honest home cooked BBQ by me.” Sounds nice to me. They had a couple of choices on the go including a very tempting Beef Brisket but I had to try the ’18-hour hickory pulled pork’ which was ‘served on a light brioche bun with fresh mustard ‘slaw, homemade ‘Sweet Heat’ BBQ sauce and pickles’ . It was pretty tasty with a light and subtle smokey note. I would like to try his 12-hour beef brisket chilli next time our paths cross. Andy’s Low and Slow can be found often at the Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham on a Friday night, but to see if he is in our County check them out on Facebook and Twitter  for more details.

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The Real Pie Company

Thai Pies at East Mildands Chilli Fest

Thai Pies

The Real Thai Pie Company were also there in the midst of the street food vendors selling their “Award Winning Handmade Thai Pie’s”. They had a pretty good deal on the board selling 5 pies for £10 or just one for £2.50. I was intrigued by the ‘Devil Curry’ filled pie all I could find out about this one was that ‘the paste for this pie is bursting with a secret blend of chilli & other spices’. It was mixed with chicken, potato and onion all cooked in a spicy stock made from that paste. The kicker that I expect would mean no cooling respite from the chilli was that the curry sauce contains ‘No coconut milk.’ and since they describe it as “The spicy one!” I think this may be where the chilli and the devil made a pie pact!

Thai Pie Mussaman Curry Pie

Thai Pie Pies

The pies were looking good on the counter but I was getting too full by now to sample one, luckily they were available hot to eat or frozen to take home and cook. I picked up one of their Massaman Curry pies as that is one of my favourite Thai curries. The board told me that the curry contains ‘beef, potato & onion which is slow cooked in a blend of exotic herbs, spices & coconut milk.’

I am looking forward to eating this one. I’ll tweet you when I do! You can check Thai Pies out on Facebook and on Twitter as well

What else did we find?

Chillihydro

Chillihydro

If you needed advice or supplies for growing your own chillies you could talk to the guys at Chillihydro they were selling equipment for growing chilli plants.  Judging by the size of the plants that they had on display they must work quite well. Check them out through Twitter

Chilli Devil

                                                       Chilli Devil                                              Yorkshire Ketchup

Chilli Devil from Hull were there selling a wide range of mild to hot sauces and also a Yorkshire Ketchup. I like the tagline on their website that says

Here you’ll find all manner of chilli goodness, from chilli sauces so mild you could give them to grandparents or grandchildren alike, to raging monsters that will melt your face off…”

Caribbean Fusion

Caribbean Cooking

Other food to be eaten was being served up by Caribbean Fusion who offer ‘tasty traditional and authentic food from the islands of the Caribbean‘ and according to their banner ‘Mouth-watering classic Caribbean dishes’. You might not be that surprised to know that they were selling Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, or Curried Chicken and Curried Mutton all of which smelt and looked ‘mouth-watering’. I was however quite surprised to see a jambalya on the stand (but hey ho why not?)

Edible Ornamentals

Dans Chilli

Everyone seemed to be getting in on the Chilli Act with Edible Ornamentals selling jars of ‘Dan’s Hot Sauce’.

They say that “This sauce is not for the light hearted and is only sold to the extremely brave!”

Bags of Chillies Chillies

They were also selling bags of Chillies at 2 for £2 as well as lots of chillies bagged up to order. They had a really good selection including Ghost Chillies, Habanero’s, Cherry Bomb’s, Dorset Naga’s, Jalapeno, Poblano, Seranade, and Padron just to list some of their offerings. This was a great stall for a chilli lover!

I like their tagline that says “Chillies are like love – you’ll always want more no matter how bad you got burnt the last time.”

They seem to be at a lot of these Chilli Festivals across the country so if you want to track them down try their Facebook and Twitter Pages

Last Purchase of the Day – Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s

Goan Vindaloo Paste

The Last purchase of the day was a small jar of Goan Vindaloo Paste from Velsi’s who specialise in ‘Goan style Pickles, Curry Sauces and pastes.’ We had a taste earlier in the day and went back to buy it as it was so tasty, not as hot as you might expect so plenty of flavour to go with the heat. It was interesting to read that “Goa’s regional flavours combines a mix of Portuguese and Indian culinary expertise.  Even the well known dish Vindaloo (Vin d’alho), literally means ‘wine of garlic’, is from Goa”

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All in all a pretty good day out in Nottinghamshire up in Newark.

It helped if you liked Chilli but it was not essential

I had an Ice Cream!

 

 

 

 

The Company Inn by the Nottingham Canal another Wetherspoons affair

British Waterways BuildingThe Company Inn Chalk Board

The Company Inn is based in the large and imposing Trent Navigation Company warehouse on the north bank of the Nottingham Canal, the one that you can see from the bridge crossing that has the big British Waterways sign on the top. It is the last in the line of pubs that span that stretch between the Station street bridge crossing and the Wilford Street Bridge crossing. I will be honest and say that I do favour the other pubs in the line; Fellows, Morton and Clayton pub, and the Canal House above the Company Inn, Even Via Fossa has its merits with the Cask Bar. The main reason that it comes fourth on my list it that it is just another Wetherspoons pub. Now I have already conceded in the past that they do have their place and do keep open pubs and places that might have closed down. My only real reason is that it is the same menu everywhere and when I walk into somewhere looking for some food I do like to get a little bit excited that there may be some nugget of joy on there to tantalise my taste buds.  So it was with a little soulless joy that I opened up the menu at the Company Inn on this day.

The Brunch Burger

The Brunch Burger at The Company Inn

I had the Brunch Burger which based on it’s list components ‘should’ have been a winning dish. The menu describes it as the Brunch Burger-6oz beef burger, with mature cheddar cheese, bacon and a fried egg, with chips” . Sounds fine enough and that why I ordered it as I was in the mood between breakfast and a burger. In the end it was a curious matter. A stack so high that it needed it’s own scaffolding in the form a of long wooden skewer. There was so much air floating around in the gaps I didn’t know if it was a burger or some sort of Jenga kitchen game to see how high we could build without a collapse. Conceptually there is nothing wrong with this burger, in reality it was a bit of an epic fail. It cam far too quickly from the kitchen, that may sound strange but I am not even sure that there was long enough for the sound of the microwave ping to reach the ears. It was almost as if someone had just assembled the tower from a selection of pre-pre-prepared ingredients. Now I am not daft enough to not realise that in a busy kitchen on the line that is pretty much how it works, but at least wait a while and give us an illusion that someone has lovingly crafted my dish.

What did I like about this burger? well I liked the fact that it filled me up, I liked the fried egg, and I liked that it was better than my mates Club Sandwich.

the Club Sandwich

Club Sandwich at the Company Inn

the Club Sandwich was a bit of a sad affair, ok if you really just wanted a sandwich to fill you up, but not amazing if you had your heart set on a glorious tasty snack from the Club sandwich family. It had most of the components that you expect, a reasonable amount of bacon and white meat (possibly chicken, possibly turkey). Someone had even managed to take the toast to the brink of being burnt, impressive stuff, even more impressive that no-one had suggested that perhaps they should start again after all the toast breaded is quite a major feature in a perfect club sandwich. We were not fans of this dish here on this day, but we know it can be better as we have had better in other members of this chain in the past. Perhaps it was just not our day.

The Company Inn is next to the canal and served beer, lager, wine and other alcoholic beverages. They have a fair range of real ales and ciders on the bar. If you want food we somewhat reluctantly would suggest walking back along the canal to the Canal House or to Fellows, Morton, and Clayton.

 

Meadow Lane Cafe – An ‘all day breakfast situation’

Meadow Lane Cafe

Last week I found myself over at the Lady Bay Industrial estate at the Meadow Lane Café in the search for a brunch type situation, to be more exact I was in the mood for an all-day-breakfast.

Meadow Lane Cafe Chalkboard

I was pretty sure that this was the sort of place that I would be able to achieve my aim especially when I saw the chalk board outside advertising a Large Breakfast for £4.95.  Once inside and across the threshold I only really had one decision to make and that was the size of the breakfast that I was aiming for. A Small breakfast, a Large Breakfast, or a Full Monty size breakfast, there was no ‘happy medium’ sized option so I ‘told my brain’ that the one in the middle, even though it said ‘large’ was really the average sized option.

All Day Breakfast at Meadown Lane Cafe

So what did I get for that £4.95? Well in reality a very large Cooked Breakfast that needed two plates. I am pretty sure that you can see it in the picture but just to break it down for you the first plate was covered in two slices of bacon, two fried eggs, two sausages, mushrooms, beans, and tomatoes. The second plate was two slices of buttered toast, and the mug of tea that was also part of the deal was in my hand being raised to my lips to take a sip.

So was this any good then? OK well positives first, the tea and the toast were good, and I was happy with my fried eggs. I was a bit disappointed with my catering style sausages but then again that is par for the course at most greasy spoons these days, you will do pretty well to get a gourmet effort for the price point. I didn’t like the sloppy tomatoes from a tin they made my bacon taste tart and tangy in a tinny way, and the mushrooms seemed to have seen much better days which made me a little sad.

Volume wise I had nothing to complain about, this large pile of breakfast fare kept me going all day and that was the aim of my focus when I had walked in through the door searching for sustenance. It isn’t a breakfast though that I will be dreaming about next time I need an all-day-breakfast situation, but I suppose it is good to know that there is an emergency greasy spoon location if I find myself at that industrial estate once more

The Meadow Lane Café is located at 356 Meadow Lane in Nottingham just alongside the Lady Bay Retail park. It is on the corner where Brand Street joins the lane.

 

Oscar and Rosie’s – Best Pizza in Nottingham is coming back. Check out their Kickstarter Campaign

Oscar and Rosies

 

It is hard to believe that it was only back in November last year that I first tasted  Oscar & Rosie’s Gourmet Pizza when they were undertaking a 6 month pop-up at the Picnic basket on Carrington Street. It is great to know that they are coming back to the city in September!

Gourmet Pizza - board sign

Back then when we visited I wrote that;

“The menu is filled with a lot of tasty sounding combinations, all well thought out. The menu lists are filled with quality ingredients,…(even the vegetarian options sounded good)”

Pizza with all the slices

Pizza with all the slices

We didn’t know what to choose on that first visit so we just had a pizza divided up with the different menu toppings in different sections. A quarter each of the “Meat Sweats”, a quarter of the “BBQ Chicken Combo”, and  quarter of the “Sausage Party”.

In my mind I recall fondly that all the toppings were good but the star of the show back then was the “Meat Sweats” pizza, which had the best combination of toppings on the menu; Freshly made home made tomato sauce and hand cut mozzarella, topped with slices of pepperoni, All the way from Wales from Gorno’s Speciality Foods crisp bacon and fennel infused sausage meat from JT Beedhams.

Ooh it was really good, check out the review here. It was good that we came back several times during that pop-up season to eat more of it.

So that was then, but what is now? Well as we said at the top they are coming back and Oscar & Rosie’s is due to open up on Saturday September 14th

“in the exciting new ‘Das Kino’ venue in Nottingham city centre. An off beat Brooklyn style bar, set over 2500 sq ft of extensively renovated grade 2 listed landmark building in the Lace Market. It’s to be found on Fletcher Gate, in the building that was previously Escucha, next door to The Cross Keys.”

“We’ll be serving our famous gourmet pizza by the quarter slice or by the square foot. We’ll also be expanding our menu to include deluxe Mac & Cheese varieties, some jazzy salads and mouth-watering desserts, as well as a daily lunch menu. All made with the trademark Oscar & Rosie’s high class produce”

Alongside this they have a Kickstarter Campaign to help raise some of the funds for the new venture. If you have never heard of Kickstarter well it is a sort of social funding where you pledge an amount of money and instead you get a ‘reward’ for your pledge. It is quite cool really. so for example you can pledge £20 and in return you get a 2 course lunch for two. so if you were going to visit anyway that is like a pretty good deal. That is just one example take a look at their Kickstarter page and see if there is something that you fancy.

Well anyway I just backed them and look forward to eating my pizza in September, how about you guys?

 

You can check them out through their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

The Griffin at Plumtree – Roast Beef Yorkshire Pudding Wrap? Oh go on then

 

The Griffin The Griffin Chalkboard

As I walked into The Griffin I was loving the chalkboard action on the pavement. The last time I ventured over this way all I saw was an offer of Sunday Lunch and an occasional bout of Fish and Chips. Today though I was seeing a whole weeks worth of offering from Pies on Tuesday, Homemade Curry on Wednesday and Steak on Thursday night. Then we get onto those Fish and Chips and Roast Dinner offers as we hit Friday and the Weekend.

But it is Monday and there were no offers on the table (or the board if we want to get picky) but this lunchtime that was OK I had a plan.

Griffin Menu

I could say that I walked through the doors of the Griffin without any plan of what I was going to eat, but this time that would not be true. While I was looking online to see if they were serving food at lunchtime I saw a review where someone said that you had to try the ‘Roast Beef Yorkshire Wrap’. I had never had one of those and so I kind of knew that if it was on offer today that I was going to be eating one of those. I like Roast Beef, and I like Yorkshire pudding, so this had to a thing to sample, I just hoped that it would work.

 Roast Beef Yorkshire Wrap

Roast Beef Yorshire Pudding Wrap

When it arrived I was a bit surprised at its appearance, I wasn’t sure what I thought it would look like, but I wasn’t expecting some sort of swiss roll effect. There were things that I liked about this ‘wrap’ and some things that I was not quite so sure about.  I liked the ‘idea’, but I do know that you cannot eat an idea, even though on occasion one might have to ‘eat ones own words’. It did taste good, the beef was thick and had flavour, but for me (and that is just my taste you understand) it was a bit too well done for my liking. I like my beef on the pink side with all of that lovely meat juice. I also like my Yorkshire pudding to be light and airy having risen perfectly in the oven. When you put it in a wrap it seems that you kind of flatten the air out a bit and make it a bit tough I needed a sharper knife to cut through it to be honest perhaps a steak knife

What a Plateful

The Roast Beef wrap plate

Don’t get me wrong here, I am still eating this wrap and I am still enjoying it. It is just my way that I am trying to improve it in my mind. I loved the idea and I loved the gravy that went with it. That really helped to soften it up a little. I also like the sort of twice cooked chips that came with the sandwich and also the plentiful peas. What I liked the most was that this large plate of tasty food was just £6.45 for what is essentially a Roast Beef dinner in wrap form. Excellent value indeed.

Lots of Peas

roast beef yorshire wrap

When I got back I really felt that I needed to work out how to make this dish and also to find out where the idea had come from. As it happened it is not as unusual as you might think. Just a quick Google and I found a recipe on the UK Food Network by Andy Bates his looked a little pinker. Then I looked a bit further along the search results and found versions made by Iceland and by Tesco. I wasn’t sure what to think any more about this dish, but what I do now is that I quite fancy trying to make it myself.

OK so back to the Griffin Inn. I like the spirit of adventure in their menu, I like the welcome and I like the value for money, I like it enough that I will be back again to try something else from their menu, perhaps that ‘Hunter’s Chicken’?

Library Phone Box

The Griffin Inn is located on the Main Rd in Plumtree, South Nottinghamshire. It is the only pub in the village, turn off the A606 Melton Road and head into Plumtree and you will see it on your right hand side. While you are there look out for the red phone box on the other side of the road that has been turned into one of those book lending libraries.