Zaap that Thai Street Food

Zaap Nottingham

Zaap in Nottingham, recently opened up on Bromley Place, is another chain restaurant hitting our fair city. It might be just a small chain so far with another outlet in Leeds, but it is a themed restaurant nonetheless (so I apologise for following the crowd, but do not apologise for stuffing my face).

On their website they say that “We’ve started a Thai Street Food Revolution in the UK!”.

OK bold, so lets see what they have to offer

Walking in to the place my first impressions were that I really liked what they have done with the space and how they have fitted it out. Ok so its not exactly like a street in Thailand but it does have a lot of the stuff that you imagine you might see. Perhaps it is easier for us to just pretend we travel instead of actually making the effort. The beauty of the chain for the lazy diner

The question I suppose was now whether it had the food to match the décor. I was keen to see if it did and also was hungry to get some Thai food in somewhere more relaxed than many of the ‘white tablecloth’ establishments that we have been used to in Nottingham. I wanted to come here and I was kind of a tiny bit excited to see if it had some substance and was not just a big gimmic

OK so time to tuck in and see what they have!

Kanom Jeeb

Dumplings at Zaap

We selected a couple of pretty safe starters, the first being a plate of Steamed Dumplings stuffed with a mixture of pork and prawn. Now I love me some dumplings and so I was ordering these come what may.

On the plus side you get Six dumplings for £3.50, and even number which is great when sharing, on the downside they are a bit small and not much better than those I have had as appetisers in a Thai cocktail bar (Yum Yum) in New York.

Having said that I still liked them, they had all the right textures, a soft casing and a chunky inner filling. I would not come back running for these, I like ‘potstickers’ better and I like the ones I cook myself more. But I did like them and they brought back some happy memories

Gai Satay

Chicken Satay at Zaap

Now the Chicken Satay was also a pretty safe choice, I mean we can all get down on a plate of ‘Grilled chicken on skewers with peanut sauce. They were quite decent though, nice flavour, not enough spice, but a fair taste. Sadly not much use for sharing as you get an odd number with three skewers for £3.75, although at that price just order a plate each. I liked the dipping sauce and I liked the scattering of red onion and mango with cilantro (coriander), but not enough to shout from the rooftops and get too excited.

Pad See Aew Moo

Pad See Aew at Zaap

After the fairly safe, but most acceptable, starters, which to be honest we ordered as we were hungry, I reached out a little to try something new to my palate. I ordered the ‘Pad See Aew Moo’ which they described as ‘Originating from Malaysia and Singapore our Thai Street food version is second to none! Stir fried rice noodle in dark and sweet soy sauce with egg”. You can have this with various proteins but we chose the version with Pork for £6.95.

I really quite liked this, wide flat Noodles, copious slices of pork, some fresh cilantro and sliced spring onion, crunchy discs of carrots,  and a kind of dark and yet Moorish sauce.

It is not a spicy dish, but it is a very eatable dish, not easy on the eye, but certainly easy on the palate. Yep I liked this dish

Gang Massaman

Chicken Massaman at Zaap

We love a little bit of Massaman so we ordered there version with Chicken described as being with a ‘rich Massaman curry with peanuts served with Jasmin rice’. It was also quite a decent dish, maybe a little dumbed down, but still pretty eatable. I like the sauce to be a little thicker, but it had all those flavours that I look for in this curry. My rice was good too but could have been ‘stickier’

Inside Zaap

Zaap Thai in Nottingham is currently one of two outlets in the country (the other being in Leeds). If I am honest I would say that I will come again, just for the visual fun factor, and also with friends who just want something to eat and are not that fussy. We did try to share our food, but it wasn’t that easy as the portions and dishes are served up for the individual. If I do come again I will probably be ordering a soup noodle dish and to be honest would not order anything again that I just ate. I want to give it another go though as I really like the idea and the concept.

Zaap is located just off Maid Marian way, next to Oaks Restaurant, at Unit B, Bromley Place, Nottingham NG1 6JG. You can check them out on Facebook, and on Twitter too

Five “New” Bites I had in Nottingham in 2015 that I am still thinking about!

Bites NFB2_png

Instead of telling you my favourite places, or compiling a list of the meals that ‘you should eat’ in the places that ‘you should be seen in’

I am looking back and remembering my five most memorable new bites of the year.

These truly are the bites and tastes that if you ask me (and someone did) I would say you must have or try.

So here goes, in no particular order,

Five “New” Bites I cannot forget from 2015

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“The Magic Mushroom” Pizza at Oscar and Rosie’s

Mushroom Pizza at Oscar and Rosies

I am a massive fan of the Pizza at Oscar and Rosie’s on Thurland Street and back in September the night before the new restaurant opened I visited to try some of their new pizza toppings and bowls of mac ‘n’ cheese. On that night  I was treated to a slice of one their latest creations The Magic Mushroom made with ‘wild and flat mushrooms, fresh thyme, and old Winchester cheese’. It is such a simple set of toppings ‘Mushroom’ and ‘Cheese’, but the quality of the ingredients makes it like a million dollars on your tastebuds, my memory is that it had such a rich taste of the garden that it was kind of ‘down and dirty’ When I blogged about it I said “From the first mouthful I was sold”  and I have been talking about it to my friends and anyone else who will listen ever since.

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Quail Scotch Eggs at Oaks Restaurant 

Scotch Eggs at Oaks

Now many of you who have followed this and my other blogs will know that I have a bit of a penchant for a Scotch Eggs, so it is with great joy that I can say another one of the great ‘new tastes I had in 2015 was the Scotch Egg at Oaks Restaurant in Bromley Place. When I blogged about the restaurant back in July I said that “I could eat these babies all day long.  Man alive! these beautiful little nuggets of joy were quite simply amazing.”

Crisp and Crunchy coating, well seasoned beef meat and a perfectly cooked quails egg with a runny soft yolk = yum to the extreme. It turned out that I was not the only one that thought so, as they were shortlisted for The Scotch Egg Challenge 2015, the only place outside of London to make the top 15 in the country.

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The Lemon Curd Doughnut from The Nottingham Doughnut Company

Lemon Curd Donut

Even though I do not really like puddings or sweet things, I have fallen in love with the Lemon Curd filled doughnut from the Nottingham Doughnut Co. It is hard to believe how short a time that they have been trading for. I had only just got used to picking up my fill of sweet heaven on the streets and they had opened up their own little basement shop in the Old Market Square. Now their Donut filled with the Lemon Curd is my go to choice, and I hope that they continue to make it in 2016 as it is one of their best creations.

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The Mentaiko Pasta at Time Out Café

Mentiako Pasta at Time Out Cafe

Sometimes you have to take a stretch outside of your comfort zone to find that special little extra something. That was certainly the case on my second trip to the Time Out Café on Wheeler Gate when I ordered a bowl of their Mentaiko pasta. I was so glad that I did. It sounds a bit weird as it is basically mentaiko (marinated cod roe) mixed with butter (or mayonnaise) and hot pasta to create a pink-hued cream sauce. As I ate my first few mouthfuls, I was really surprised as I was expecting quite a briny flavour. It was so different to what my brain said it should be, it was a mild mix of sweet and salt combined with a mild spice heat. I found that the dish was so comforting and creamy. It was so easy to eat, I was shovelling it in, I can see now why everyone in the place was ordering it.

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The 7th Scout Group Doughnuts at Goose Fair

7th Scout Group Donut at Goose Fair

The Donut machine at 7th Scout Group Goose Fair

Ok so I said earlier that I am not a big eater of the sweet treats, but somehow another Doughnut made it into the 5 new tastes I loved in 2015! I could not resist and I have to be honest and say what have I talked about?, raved about? and taken someone else to try this year? and what will I be recommending and hoping to get next year?

Well drum roll if you must, but my last new bite of the year is the doughnuts sold by the 7th Nottingham Scout Group at Goose Fair. I loved the machine that makes them, I loved the lovely folk serving them up, and I could not believe how light. fluffy and yummy they were. I wanted that machine and I have been hunting one down on ebay and other such places ever since. I cannot wait for Goose Fair 2016 to get another one

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There are so many places that I love to eat at in Nottingham and so many great people that I have met while blogging in this fantastic city. In the last few years since I started The Nottingham Food Blog so many new places have moved into the city. There is often much fanfare, invites to openings, covert advertising, and exaggerated social media fluff,  that it is hard to remember the truly memorable bites and tastes that one has been served.

I have eaten time and time again at many places, not always featured on the blog, but every time I find somewhere new I am hoping for that new memorable taste that makes it worthwhile sifting through the dross and that keeps me coming back for more. It keeps me out of trouble (mostly)

Lets hope for more of the same in 2016!

 

The Vat and Fiddle – Excellent Beer and some Good Pub Grub

 Vat and Fiddle

The Vat and Fiddle is the tap house of the Castle Rock Brewery and I would describe it simply as a proper pub serving proper beer.  I have been treading the boards of this excellent Castle Rock pub for many a year and it has become one of our regular meeting up spots, basically our regular Friday night drinking hole.

Many nights we are moving on into the city to look for something to eat of one of MyFoodHunt adventures, but some nights we just want to sit in the Vat and drink our way through several pints of Castle Rock beer.

On those nights we often find ourselves in need of some food to assist with the beer consumption, so we partake of pub food sustenance as we sup.

I am not sure why I have not written much about those evenings until now, maybe I was afraid to let the blog encroach onto my home patch.

This is more an insight into where we drink when we are not out hunting for food and beer and just want to relax

My Beer of choice

Harvest Pale Ale

Harvest Pale is my personal drink of choice at the Vat, I like pretty much all of their beers but this one has been the most consistent choice over the years and you can find it all over the city these days so it is a really good choice if you are out on a session. In the early years when we drank at the Vat and other Castle Rock pubs we liked their ‘Gold’, known by many names ‘Meadows Gold’, and ‘Stratford Gold’ just to name a couple. Once they stopped making that we moved onto Pale and have been devotees every since.

Eating Food

Checking out the Specials Board

There are plenty of pub classics on the menu to choose from but there are also usually a few home cooked treats on the chalkboard above the bar that tempt me as well.

I like their no nonsense stews and casseroles that they serve up in a big bowl with rice and sometimes with a side of garlic bread, I usually trade that garlic bread with my mate who might have chips or onion rings, this is not my first trip to the rodeo, you have to wheel and deal when you are peckish.

Just a few of the dishes that I have sampled;

Pork Stroganoff

Pork Strogonoff

I have enjoyed their take on Pork Stroganoff, you get plenty of meat and it is a pretty decent rendition of the dish. I like Beef Stroganoff and cook a somewhat healthier version at home, but this was kind of fun too with a nice rich creamy sauce packed with flavour. There is a lot of sauce and this is more of a dish to eat with a spoon. All in all it is Simple yet still good.

Chicken, Chorizo, and Chick Pea stew

Chicken, Chorizo and Chick Pea stew

Another one of the specials I have enjoyed off the board was the Chicken, Chorizo, and Chick Pea stew. I was mocked by my companion for picking something with chorizo in  it, but I like chorizo and even thought it seems to be everywhere these days, it is not as annoying an addition as all that goddam pulled pork.

This is another bowlful packed with flavour, mostly tomato and the spice from the chorizo, there was a lot of chicken, the chick pea seemed to have been mashed up into the sauce. I enjoyed it, maybe would try it again, but perhaps would try another special just to share the food love around

Both of these stews were hearty warming dishes and although perhaps not that pretty on the plate, they gave me a little joy and had plenty of inner beauty.

Giant Yorkshire Pudding

Giant Yorkshire pudding

Another offering from the specials board that we tried recently is a ‘Giant Yorkshire Pudding’ filled with minced beef, peas and mashed potatoes. Perhaps not so pretty but it filled a large hole and I suspect is still sticking to my ribs. It was pretty good value at £5.95 ish and was really quite a plateful. Now OK I know that the pudding came out of a packet, but I still enjoyed it and it allowed my body the chance to soak up another three pints of excellent Castle Rock beer.

Sausage and Mash

Sausage and Mash at the Vat and Fiddle

If I had to pick then one of the meals that I would recommend from the pub menu, then that would be the classic Sausage and Mash. This is another bowl of comfort food, they use some excellent local sausages which are solid meaty and herby. They are nicely cooked and served up with  decent mash, peas, and a good gravy made with some of that excellent local Castle Rock ale.

Warning this looks quite a small manageable dish but it is very filling, and if you eat all that mash you might struggle to drink the next few beers as it fills up your belly

Surf and Turf Burger

Surf and Turf burger at the Vat and Fiddle

I think that the best way to describe the Surf and Turf Burger at the Vat and Fiddle is simple Pub Food. There is nothing here to complain about.  The burger or the turf is just a simple basic patty cooked to be cooked all the way through. The Surf is a trio of deep fried scampi / prawn type of effort. I found it best to pull them out of the bun and just dip them into the sweet chilli dipping sauce. Lettuce and Tomato were the other friends propping up the burger patty in the bun, salad lite would be the name, and I was happy enough with that level of greenage.

Bacon Cheese Burger

Bacon Cheeseburger

 

Cheeseburger

My companion nearly always orders the Bacon Cheeseburger by default. I too have eaten this a couple of times (hence the photos above). It is a basic pub burger that fills a hole (bit of a theme). It’s not gourmet so don’t come expecting the world, come expecting a solid well cooked burger with a good handful of pub chips. Expect to choose your cheese (if you are lucky) and a slice of proper bacon. Expect to get what you pay for, but do not expect to be disappointed. Sometimes you have to eat the salad inside the bun, but you are allowed to pull that out if you are so inclined.

Bacon and Brie Baguette

Baguettes at Vat and Fiddle

If you just want a snack they have plenty of filled baguettes (hot and cold) that usually come with chips and a tiny salad. My companions baguette of choice is the one filled with bacon and brie. I have found them all to be pretty decent. Other options include a Roast Beef and Stilton, and another with Home baked Ham, Cheese and Tomato, all pretty good value for just under £6

Castle Rock Beers

More often than not, half way through a Friday afternoon I get a text “Vat? usual time” and I find myself wistfully looking forwards to ending the week with a pint of  Harvest Pale ale.

So what seems to have happened over time, is that in between those pints, I have sampled a lot of meals, and just to share,

sometimes all you need to find is a pub with good beer and a decent plate of pub food to keep ones soul happy.

Castle Rock Brewery

The Vat and Fiddle deliver the beer and as you can probably see they deliver plenty of good decent pub grub as well.

Come for the beer, stay for a snack, leave because it got dark outside and all the lights got turned off

The Vat and Fiddle is located at 12 Queensbridge Rd, Nottingham NG2 1NB. It is just a few minutes walk down from the Nottingham Train station and the Tram Hub.

It is the brewery tap for the Castle Rock Brewery which is just around the back and if you want you can get a tour around the brewery.

Handmade Burger Co, sampling one of the latest burger offerings in Nottingham

Handmade Burger Co Nottingham

Another Day, Another Dollar, and Another Burger Restaurant hits the city.

Handmade Burger Co has opened up in the back of the Victoria Centre serving more burgers to the good people of Nottingham. Now I don’t know if we need more burgers in Nottingham? after all we do have Annie’s if we want a serious fix, we have Five Guys if we want to get a quick fix USA style, we have Reds if we want pit style BBQ burgers, Oaks for English BBQ, and plenty of pubs serving up burgers with mixed success. So yep lots and lots of options.

So does Handmade Burger Co offer us anything different or anything new?

Jimmys Farm at Handmade Burger Co

Now I was not planning to rush over to Handmade Burger Co but once I had taken a good look at the Menu online and I found out that they we serving Burgers made from Jimmy’s Farm, well that was the thing that drew me in through the door.

I don’t know if you watched that series about the Farm run by Jimmy Doherty where he was farming rare breed pigs? We did and enjoyed it, and we also got used to hunting him out at various farmers markets and food events such as the Good Food Show at the NEC. We sampled enough of his produce to know that it was worth seeking and sourcing, so when I saw his produce would feature in this chain, well I put scepticism to one side and headed over during a respite to Christmas shopping.

Jimmy’s Beef Cheese Classic

JIMMY’S BEEF CHEESE CLASSIC

 

Well most of the time I favour a cheese burger so as I was looking at the Jimmy’s Farm section of the menu, I opted for the “Jimmy’s Beef Cheese Classic” which was described on the menu as being a burger topped with “Mature cheddar, caramelised red onion relish, mayo, lettuce, tomato & red onion”.

The prose at Handmade Burger Co regarding the burger patty itself is that; “Our exclusive Jimmy’s Farm burgers are made from rare-breed, free-range beef, marbled & slowly matured for at least 3 weeks to create a distinctive taste that you’ll just love.”

Well this burger combination has a lot going for it, but also a few things going against it. The flavour of the meat was really good as you would hope from well aged beef, the burger was rough cut and had a nice char, there was way more flavour than many burgers. There was an option to get a naked burger without the bun and I think that the burger could stand up on its own flavour wise if you just had the burger sans bread and toppings.

Jimmy Beef Cheese Classic Burger at Handmade Burger Co

On the downside, for me, the burger was overcooked and a bit dry, if you didn’t have the toppings to keep it moist I think it would not have been as easy a bite.

Toppings wise the caramelised red onion relish is a winner, if I am honest, without having tasted it, in a ‘build your own burger’ situation it would have got nowhere near my burger. However, in this set-up it works realty well with the mayo adding a really good combination of sweetness and a tiny bit of tang, plus it keeps the sandwich moist which as I noted you really need as the cook on the burger itself needing something to save it.

Jimmys Farm Beef Cheese Classic at Handmade Burger Nottingham

I liked the simple salad toppings, a slice of tomato, some crisp and restrained slices of red onion. I like that they have learnt the secret of placing the single lettuce leaf on the bottom bun to stop the juices making the bun soggy. I like that the bun was toasted. They had structured this burger quite well

I did not like the pitiful slice of cheese that was placed almost begrudgingly on the patty. If I had a cheese burger I expect that the cheese is a feature, it needs to be plentiful, it needs to be ‘melted’ and it needs to have a chance to be a feature ingredient. I felt that it was almost an afterthought on my burger and was a big of a let down.  If I am honest I would just order the beef classic if I came again, it is not worth paying another pound for a square slice of this processed cheese.

Chips at Handmade Burger Coin Nottingham

I was very happy with the square bowl of chips that we were served. These are what I would consider to be proper chips, not fries, just hand cut proper chips. These are almost good enough to be worth coming here for on their own. they say on the menu that they are  “Made from our farm fresh potatoes, our fresh cut chips are peeled & cut here, before being double fried to make them fluffy on the inside & crispy on the outside“. That sounds great but surely all chips should be cooked like that?

All in all I enjoyed my meal at Handmade Burger Co. I am not sure if I will be coming in a lot, as I said there are plenty of options for burgers in Nottingham, but I do like that the burgers are handmade and made fresh each day, and I do like the chips. I have to say that the flavour combination of that aged Jimmy’s Farm meat with the caramelised red onion relish and mayo is one of the best I have had for a while, I just would like it to bigger so that it filled the bun, and that it was cooked a little less intensely, then I would be most happy with my lot.

handmade Burger

Handmade Burger Co in Nottingham is based in the back of the Intu Victoria Centre in Unit R1 looking out to Milton Street.

You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

OK Diner, An American Diner at Carlton on the Northbound A1

The OK Diner

The A1 Diner

The OK diner chain are a small group of ‘American-style’ Diners serving up their take on the American Diner experience alongside some of our main routes snaking up and down the country. I first spotted one when I was heading North up the A1 on my way to Newcastle. I had just joined the A1 from the A46 and a few miles later the OK diner popped up into my side vision as I passed Carlton on Trent. On that day I had a long way to go so it was too soon to stop, but I made a mental note to come back one weekend to get some breakfast.

Uncle Sam was there to greet us

Uncle Sam at the A1 diner

So the weekend on Saturday we planned a detour here en route to Welbeck via Ollerton, it was a bit of a long way around to take the A1 to get there but we figured it was worth it to try out the American Diner. The first thing we noticed was that the place was rammed, it was packed out and we had to wait with a few other diners to get a table.

This should be a good sign, well I hoped that it was a good sign.

The Yankie Doodle Dandy

The Yankee Doodle Dandy at A1 Diner

I opted for the most classic American sounding breakfast dish on the menu at the OK Diner and that was “The Yankie Doodle Dandy”. This was described as “Two eggs sunnyside up, strips of crispy streaky bacon and hash browns served with pancakes and pancake syrup on the side”. So what did we think? well first thoughts were that it was a bit pricy at £7.35, but lets skip past that for a moment and talk about the food.

The pancakes were pretty reasonable and I enjoyed piling them up in a small stack mixed with the streaky bacon and the syrup. The bacon could have been a lot crispier, it was a bit soggy and not at all like you usually get at a diner in the states, the eggs were pretty good with the yolk still nice and runny. The big disappointment was that the hash browns were those crispy fried one that you get out of a packet, more often than not from the freezer. I would have been happier if they were not on the plate. I was expecting something more akin to the sort of hash browns you get in the states which is basically like a pile of fried potatoes all mixed up with onion or pepper. I suspect that this dish has been tweaked quite a lot to accommodate the English Diner who just wants a greasy spoon breakfast in a diner that looks a bit like an American Diner. 

The All Day

Breakfast at A1 Diner

My companion chose The All Day which was described as being ‘Two eggs sunnyside up, two rashers of bacon, two pork sausages, griddled tomato and fried bread or buttered toast.’. This is basically just your standard English Breakfast. There is nothing ‘American Diner’ about it. The bacon is what would be described as ‘Irish Bacon’ in the states, and they don’t sell those cheap sausage over there either. There was nothing wrong with it, just not diner style, unless you count being cooked on a flat top grill. This also seemed a bit expensive for what it was at £7.35, I suppose though as in with many of these main road and motorway cafes the prices are often higher. The place certainly was getting the trade as there was a constant stream of people stopping by to eat.

The Bill at A1 diner

I quite enjoyed coming to the Ok Diner as it was nice to eat in this American style place, the ladies busied themselves around with their pots of coffee and the two lads on the hot plate cooked mostly everything to order. I wasn’t amazed by the breakfast, perhaps another time I might prefer to stop at one of the truck stop cafes, but it was still a lot of fun.

You can check OK Diners out on their Twitter feed and on their Facebook pages

 

This particular OK Diner is located at,
A1 Northbound,
Carlton-on-Trent,
Newark,
Nottinghamshire,
NG23 6JF

Danni’s Restaurant on Mansfield Road for some Caribbean food

Danni's Kitchen on Mansfield Road

Danni’s on Mansfield Road has popped up in the last month or so inside the space that was once filled by Deva. It is a small restaurant specialising in Caribbean food cooked by a Jamaican Chef. I popped into town this week to try them out as I really love this style of food and locally is seems that I am so lucky to be hunting down more and more places serving it.

 

Chalkboard at Danni'sOffers in the Window at Danni's

I first saw it a few weeks back when I walked by on a pub crawl up the road between The Peacock Pub and The Lincolnshire Poacher.  What was it that grabbed my attention? Well apart from a chalkboard outside offering all sorts of tasty sounding dishes, there were little bits of paper in the window ‘Jamaican Chef’, ‘Caribbean Food’, and another one listing scrummy sounding dishes such as ‘Jerk Chicken’, ‘Oxtail’, and ‘Curry Mutton’. I knew that I would have to come back.

Jerk Chicken at Danni's Kitchen Mutton Curry at Danni's Kitchen

By the time I arrived at about 6.30-7pm they were running low on some of the food at the counter. They still had Curry mutton, Jerk Chicken, Oxtail, Curry Chicken, and Stewed Chicken, and a couple of other rice dishes left.

I was told that there was more chicken in the kitchen, but really I was sold once I heard that they had Mutton and Oxtail. So I was being cheeky and asking for a combination plate of both of those two dishes.

£6 Meal Menu box

Menu at Dannis

Size wise you could choose from small, medium, and large for £4, £5, or £6 which was one dish with a side of rice, or ‘rice and peas’. If you eat in they will put it on a proper plate for you which I did. If you take it away it comes in a yellow box, and those boxes are on the counter to show you the size and also doubling up as a menu board. Even the small box looks huge, so a Medium £5 was going to be plenty for me.

Mutton Curry, Oxtail, and ‘Rice and Pea’s plate

Danni's Kitchen Mutton Curry and Oxtail

I ordered a little bit of the Oxtail and a little bit of the Mutton Curry, and a side of ‘rice and peas’ which with a can of pop came to £6.20. I ended up with quite a bit of a mixture on my plate, a tasty combination, yet perhaps not one that I should have put together. Both the Mutton Curry and the Oxtail were very good, but they both had quite a mild flavour and a mild spice, and I should probably have had some Jerk Chicken on their instead to spice it up a little.

The Mutton Curry had that lovely mild spicing and distinctive flavours that I love to look forward to when getting some home cooked Caribbean food. The meat was quite fatty in a good way and was falling of the bone. There was not that much of it and other places I have been give bigger portions of the meat, but having said that I did ask for a mixture so maybe you would get more if you just had the Mutton Curry.

The Oxtail was also pretty good, it was a darker richer meaty treat, mixed with a sauce that was filled with peppers and beans. Again there was not a large portion of the meat and I would hope to get more if I had it on its own. There was plenty of the ‘rice and peas’ though to fill you up, and even though that also is quite mild, you can spice it up a little by adding some of the hot sauce from the bottle on the table

Overall I did like both dishes, there was a lot of that ‘rice and peas’, but would have liked a bit more meat on the plate.

Next time I will be trying the Jerk Chicken, and I will be having a massive plate full of it

Where is Danni’s Restaurant?

Located at 19 Mansfield Road in Nottingham just about a couple of minutes past The Peacock Pub

Danni's Resturant Flyer

“All Things Sweet” serving Japanese Street Food at the Oriental Mart in Hockley

Oriental Mart in Hockley

A week or so ago as I was flicking through a copy of the Nottingham Post I saw an article by Lynette Pinchess about a new pop-up street food café in the Oriental Mart on Heathcote Street. This sounded awesome, I have been shopping at the oriental Mart for ages so this means I can get my Chinese groceries and get street food as well?

I was like ‘eyes wide open’ and ‘myfoodhunt radar engaged’ and I knew I had to come and find out some more and try this place out!  Today was that day!

Chalkboard Action at the Oriental Mart

Chalkboard at the Oriental Mart

I totally love a good bit of Chalkboard action especially ones that start with the words “Japanese Style Street Food”. There are actually three chalkboards outside, and even though I could have eaten everything, I knew that I couldn’t, so I made a plan to just pick a couple of things to try in the full contented knowledge that I can come back again to try the other stuff.

I am a massive fan of the Bao so figured that the best thing to try would be some of the combinations that they were offering in the steamed ‘hirata bun’.

They seemed pretty great value at just £2.95 each! I picked two, one with chicken and one with belly pork, and popped outside to wait, contemplate, and to salivate.

Hirata bun with Crispy Chicken (Karage

Chicken Karage Bao at oriental mart

The first little delight that came out to my table was the bun filled with Crispy Chicken (Karage), cucumber and Japanese mayo. I really liked this combination, the mayo is rich and creamy, the coating on that karage chicken is light and crispy, the toppings of cucumber and spring onion add a crunch and a lightness to the sandwich. There is a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds which add a toastiness and a scattering of some sort of spicy dust which brings the whole thing to life.

Hirata bun with Belly Pork (Char Su)

Char Su Pork Belly Bao at Oriental Mart

The next delight to alight on my table was the bun filled with the belly pork (Char su). This was quite a different experience, the honey soy dressing adds a nice rich meaty sweetness and the kimchi adds that crunch and spice. Another scattering of that spicy dust and some generous spoonful of chopped scallions make it even better with crunch and heat.

More Chalkboard Options at the Oriental Mart

More Oriental Mart Chalkboard

I know that I just picked a couple of little snacks on this my first visit to the pop-up café in the Oriental Mart but I have plans to try some more.

One dish on my radar is the Arabiki – which is  ‘japanese smoked sausage with mustard mayo’, that sounds pretty good as does the Curry Udon! Actually if I am honest? It all sounds good!

So who is the man behind this food?

What I learnt from reading Lynette’s article was that the guy serving up this food is Yan Liu, the son of the owners of the old Hanson Supermarket down near the Bus Station at the Broadmarsh station.  I used to shop down there and eat at the restaurant upstairs by the bus station all the time, and then it was my favourite Asian shop in Nottingham. It is still quite sad to see that whole area has not been developed and the Hanson signs are still on the building. It was a really great place to go to and when I returned from working at the Chinese Institute in Wuhan back in the 90’s I always went there to get my food memories.

Now though there are many more memories to be had closer to home and I look forward to sampling a few more from Yan on my next visit to this Street Food pop up.

Chalkboard at Oriental Mart

 

Check out the Oriental Mart Shop and the Pop-up Street Food on their Facebook Page and on their Twitter Feed

Oscar and Rosies – Continued Pizza Excellence

Oscar and Rosies Sign

Oscar & Rosie’s is the place to go if you are looking for a great slice of pizza in this fair city Nottingham. I have been a long standing champion of their awesome pizza as they have grown from the pop-up in the Picnic Basket on Carrington Street, to the kitchens at Das Kino, and now to their very own restaurant on Thurland Street. I have been in a few times since they have openend and loved every bit of food that I have eaten each time. In the new place it is not just great pizza that they have on the menu, but also a whole lot of comforting pots of quality Macaroni and Cheese.

Here are just a few things that we have been eating, and plan to continue eating whenever we get the chance!

The Meat Sweats

The Meat Sweats Pizza at Oscar and Roises

The Meat Sweats is my personal favourite of all of the pizza that they sell at Oscar and Rosie’s. I fell in love with this combination of toppings the first time I ate a bite back when Olly was just starting to serve up the pizza magic back in the Picnic Basket when he was just there for a couple of nights a week as a pop-up restaurant.

Ever since I have forgone many opportunities to order something else in favour of having a slice of this pizza topped with ‘award winning meats’, pepperoni, smoked streaky bacon, fennel and black pepper pork on Oscar’s tomato sauce. They casually forget to mention that awesome cheese that they use, and the crust so good that you just eat every bit of, even the bits with no topping.

For the record I have eaten many of the other combinations, but if I had just one choice left for the rest of my pizza eating life? well then it will be the Meat Sweats.

The Magic Mushroom

The Magic Mushroom Pizza at Oscar and Rosies

Even though I do love that Meat Sweats Pizza, I have found myself championing (or should that be champignon) the Magic Mushroom Pizza which is one of the latest creations at Oscar & Rosie’s. Even though it is a pure vegetarian offering, you lose nothing of the meatiness with the chunky slices of portabella mushrooms that lay on that awesome crispy base sliding in and out of the bubbling cheese. It might sound to be quite simple, but it really is ever so good

The Brooklyn Sausage Party

The Brooklyn Sausage Party Pizza at Oscar and Rosies

So what do you order when you walk in just before 10pm and they have no bacon, or chorizo left, AND even though you tell them that the Mushroom Pizza is a must eat dish, your dining companion refuses to eat mushrooms?

Well it isn’t hard when there is such a great menu list to choose from so on this occasion it was time to order the Brooklyn Sausage Party which is another classic offering on the menu. Ordering this was a no brainer as it was also another one of my favourite pizzas here at Oscar & Rosie’s.

Mac and Cheese

Mac & Cheese at Oscar and Rosies

As I suggested at the top of the post, Mac and Cheese has grown up at the all new Oscar & Rosie’s and has started to fight for its right to be on that menu alongside all those glorious pizza combinations. It is only a problem if like me you want to have it all and eat it all. Heck times are tough but a man has to do what a man has to do

Mac and Cheese Menu at Oscars

Getting my Mac & Cheese on at Oscar and Rosie’s

More Mac and Cheese at Oscar and Rosies

It is too easy to fall into a routine, and lately that seems to be ordering Mac and Cheese as a ‘side dish’ to go with my pizza. It is no side dish, it is an enormous bowl that can feed two hungry people or more sensibly at a push 3-4 less glutonous beasts. On the last couple of visits the combination of choice has been the Mac & Cheese filled with ‘fresh ham hock and smoked mozzarella’

This is very simple but also very very good, the ham hock is bountiful and has a lovely gentle smoky taste, it mixes so well in with the cheese and pasta to make a super comforting bowlful that fills your heart with joy and also seeps into every inch of your belly filling up those cracks that exist purely to be filled with yumminess.

It really is very good indeed and you really do need have an order of it to go with your Mac N Cheese.

Other Mac n Cheese options I have tried and recommend are the Serrano Ham which is mixed with dovedale blue cheese and smoked paprika, and also the Mac N Cheese combination of ‘thyme roasted flat & wild mushrooms, taleggio cheese, and fresh tarragon’. That last one is so good you may not be able to stop eating it after you first bite, so be forewarned make an extra notch on your belt buckle if you order that one!

Oscar and Rosies Chalkboard

As always at Oscar and Rosie’s you can rely on a Fantastic Quality Product made up of some of the best ingredients that you can find, but the one ingredient that abounds cannot be bought and that would be the pizza love of the owners and the chefs in the kitchen, that is why this place is and will continue to be so good and to serve the best Pizza in the city.

Osacr and Rosies Flyer

 

Check them out on their Website, on Facebook, and on Twitter, but most importantly find some pizza love in your heart by popping along to eat some fantastic food

Jerk Station at the Nottingham Beer Festival

Jerk Station

Jerk Station are at this years Nottingham Beer Festival for the first time. I bumped into them on opening night as I was hunting around the grounds of Nottingham Castle for something different to eat. I had seen them last weekend at Goose Fair but had not managed to sample any of their food in between fairground excitement so was pretty keen to have a taste when I saw them in amongst the vendors on the path up towards the main beer tent.

On this first night of the festival they were just serving up their Jerk Chicken wraps, on the other days they will also be serving up their Mutton Curry with Rice and Peas.

I am looking forward to sampling that when I come back for the weekend, but for now I was being content with trying the Jerk Chicken Wrap.

Making the wrap

Making my Jerk Wrap

As I was waiting I watched them make up my wrap spreading mayo, lettuce, tomato, and their special Jerk Sauce onto a soft tortilla wrap

Jerk Station Chicken Wrap

Then they were grilling up a whole chicken breast to put in the wrap. I mean “Look at all that Chicken”. This was going to be one hearty spicy feast. One that pile of chicken was added onto the wrap, even more jerk sauce was added on top before it was rolled up and passed over ready for me to eat! Yum!

Jerk Station Chicken Wrap

I walked off into the dark clutching my Jerk Chicken wrap and to find a seat to pause for a moment to wolf it down before my next sample of beer. It was a really good sized wrap, I was initially a little hesitant when I saw the price of £6 for a wrap , but for all the chicken that you get it was actually good value.

It was also pretty goddam tasty! I loved their special spicy sauce, it was tangy and had enough heat to make it worth the name of Jerk sauce, but not so hot that you lose the flavour. I am thinking that there might be some roasted cumin in there somewhere? Maybe I will try and find out what is in it when I go back for my mutton curry!

The only downside is that there is so much awesome flavour, you might need to waste a third of a pint of beer washing the spice away before you get back to some serious beer festival sampling.

So If you fancy something a little different while you are at this weeks Beer Festival then I recommend that you try out the Jerk Station.

And if you are not at the Festival and see them somewhere else in Nottingham, well don’t walk past, stop and try them out!

Stop by and say hi to ‘Uncle Wayne’  @jerkstationuk

Nottingham Beer Festival 2014 – A great day of beer and food

We are really looking forward to the Nottingham Beer Festival which starts this Wednesday evening at the Castle. So much so we looked back to what we found last year. I can’t wait!

The Nottingham Food Blog

Beer Festival Brochure

Nottingham Beer Festival or to give the correct name “The 2014 Nottingham Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival” is one of the highlights of the Nottingham year in our calendars. It features much of which we love in this city Good Beer and some tasty Food. This year we took the day off on Friday and headed over on an early bird ticket (entry before 1pm) to sample as many of the beers that we could manage while attempting to also remain responsible members of sobriety erm I mean society. Located in the grounds of Nottingham Castle this was apparently the seventh Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival held there and the 39th Nottingham beer festival held in the City. I can remember attending the festival when it was held over at the leisure centre near Sneinton Market, it was much smaller then than now, but was just as good an experience…

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