The Platform Kiosk – Snacks at the End of the Tram Line at Clifton South

The Platform Kiosk

As I strolled over to catch the tram into the city from the Clifton South Tram Stop,  I was pleasantly surprised to find The Platform, a kiosk selling hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and the odd cake.

I did not expect to find anything to eat or drink at the Park and Ride at the end of the Line so this was a total bonus on the hunt for food along the Tram Line between Clifton South and the Nottingham Station.

Clifton South Tram Stop

If you get there early enough in the morning you can get a Bacon Cob, I was told that they started selling them at about 7.30 am and by 11am they had stopped (well they had sold out). On the bank holiday when I first came up here to the Clifton South Tram stop they also had hot sausage rolls on offer as well. I think that you just need to time it right.

It is early days for trading and the couple running the kiosk were lovely, very chatty, and very hopeful that there would be demand at the end of the line.

All I can say is that if I was pulling in here from the A453 in the morning to park up and get the Tram into the city in the morning, I would be picking up one of those bacon cobs and a cup of tea!

Meal Deal Options

So I missed the Bacon Cob scenario (this time) so I took advantage of one of the Meal Deal Options getting a cob, a cup of tea, and a bag of crisps for £5.25

Meal Deal for Lunch

It wasn’t my usual kind of thing but in the interests of sampling the food from The Platform I could not leave empty handed. I had a Chicken and Bacon in Mayo Cob and it was a decent size for the money and most importantly made fresh that day. The cup of tea was made with a real tea bag, sadly the milk was from one of those little plastic vials. I would have loved a jug of milk on the counter. I gave my crisps to a lad at work in exchange for a biscuit to dip into my tea.

So in the end total bonus to find a place selling food at the Clifton South Tram Stop and a lesson learnt to arrive earlier to get my hands on a Bacon Butty.

Menu

Menu at The Platform

The “In Plaice” on the Tram Line in Clifton, the name is an awesome pun and they have pretty good fish and chips too

The In Plaice

The In Plaice is a Fish and Chip shop (with extras) just next to the Southchurch Drive Tram stop in Clifton on the tram line running between Nottingham Station and Clifton South.

Based on the name alone I got off the tram to try it out, in my heart I knew that it would be one of those takeaways that also sells kebabs, burger and chicken (and it was),

but I choose to ignore all of that and stay in the ‘Fish and Chip Moment’

Fish and Chips Menu at the In Plaice

The menu is your standard affair, to be honest do you even need a menu when you walk into a Fish and Chip shop? To me its just a question of whether you are having Cod and Chips or Haddock and Chips. If you are one of those people all up in my face about Cod stocks then maybe we are looking at Pollock.

But having said that not in Nottingham, here we have just the basics; Cod or Haddock, and Chips with or without Mushy Peas (I like Mushy Peas)

 

Haddock, Fish and Chips at the In Plaice

I ordered the Haddock with Chips and Mushy Peas and it was a really very decent sized portion indeed. The haddock was a good ruler length and filled up and overlapped my plate at home. The chips? well I could only fit half on the plate, the picture above shows about a third of them.

I honestly do not think it was possible for one person to eat a whole portion! I ate most of them in the picture, plus a good handful as I was opening the bag, but even a greedy and hungry man such as me in this moment could not do justice to that which was given to me on this day.

The Fish was good, it was sitting waiting for me on the counter, so I suspect the batter could have been crispier, but the Haddock was tasty, had good flavour and gave the impression that it had been cared for. The chips as I said were over-plentiful and was I like them, soft juicy and crispy / solid at the same time. The Mushy peas had a green vibrancy about them, and helped make each mouthful enjoyable.

One of the things I really loved was when I asked for it all to be wrapped, the lady wrapped my fish separately as she ‘didn’t want to break it’, I like that care and attention for my food, even when I am having a takeaway, that shows class.

The In Plaice Flyer

The In Plaice Fish and Chip Shop is next to the Southchurch Drive Tram Stop (number 20 to be exact) on the route between Nottingham and Clifton South

 

“Quality Fish Bar” on the Clifton Estate – Hunting Food by Tram

Quality Fish Bar in Clifton

I have been checking out some of the places on the new tram routes over the last couple of weeks and so seeing as how it was Fish and Chip Friday, I decided to seek out some of the options on the tracks heading through the Clifton Estate.

Holy Trinity Tram Stop

The ‘Quality Fish Bar’ in Clifton seems to one of the options to eat at the Holy Trinity Tram Stop on Route 2 from the City into Clifton. Officially the address is 360 Southchurch Drive on the Clifton Estate. The Tram stop name coming from the nearby church.

Although it is called the ‘Quality Fish Bar’, it seems to sell a lot more than just Fish and Chips. It is the sort of place that you can get a whole load of those standard takeout options, in their own words “Pizzas, Kebabs. Burgers, Chicken”. It is perhaps not my usual kind of hunting ground, but it is on a tram line and to me that means I have to investigate further.

Lunchtime Fish and Chips Special for £2.90

Fish and Chip Special at The Quality Fish Bar

Fish and Chips at the Quality Fish Bar

Whichever way you look at it, it is hard to complain at the value of getting a tray of chips and a piece of battered fish for £2.90 for your lunch. In the evening it seems that a ‘small fish and chips’ will set you back £3.10. I think we have to take it in turns to put 50p in the meter to pay for the lights. OK so all joshing aside, I know that you want to know if it is worth making the effort to get off that Tram and try eating the Fish and Chips? (once the tram starts running that is).

Well I liked the chips, they are pretty much in that moment between crispy and soggy, which is where I like my chip shop chips to be. In a restaurant or a pub I would be asking for something finer, but from a place where my meal comes in a tray wrapped in paper? well I like them like this. I didn’t get quite enough salt and vinegar to my liking, but then again I do like to douse my chips in tramp juice, so I am not your atypical diner.

How about that fish? Well now here is the thing, the batter started off OK as it was quite crispy with a nice crunch ‘on the top side’, but when I flipped it over, it was really pretty greasy underneath where it had rested on my chips . It might be Ok if I got it fresh from the fryer at a peak time, but maybe I just walked in at the wrong time of lunch, it also had a bit of an aftertaste from the fryer oil.

As for the fish, well I would say that it was moist, but really it was a bit wet, and didn’t have that much flavour. I still ate it though, I know I didn’t get a freshly cooked portion, so just be aware that I am being a bit critical in the knowledge that perhaps I didn’t hit the “Quality Fish Bar” at the optimum moment in the day. That is probably why it is a cheap £2.90 for a lunchtime portion, and a whole lot more coinage in the evening rush?

I tried to find a website or more information about the place, but all I could find was their posting on JustEat.co.uk

I did ask one of my friends in Clifton what he thought and he said he liked it. I asked if he ate the fish and chips and he said “no, I like the Chilli con carne with chips”

The Test Match Pub, an Art Deco Classic, for Fish and Chips Friday

Test Match in West Bridgford

The Test Match Pub on Gordon Square at the end of the High Street, run by the Greene King Pub Company, is a true classic in West Bridgford.  They describe themselves as ‘a beautiful Art Deco building situated at the end of the High Street in West Brigford. Great food, a large range of local ales and a relaxed courtyard area make this a place to visit for brunch, lunch or anytime of the day whatever the weather’ 

It doesn’t really matter who runs this pub, once you step in through the revolving doors at the front of the pub (not always in place) you are struck by the Art Deco interior. It used to be a hotel and it still has that feeling and vibe as you enter. The front room is like the area that you might expect to be served a cup of tea and a sandwich on a fine china set (you still can have a small bite and a pot of tea with a cake), to the left a grand staircase sweeps up in a curve to the upper function room. To the right is a dining area set aside like a fine hotel restaurant from times gone by, white tablecloths adorn the tables and I imagine the west bridgford set dining in style through the years.

I love this place, it seems to be just the same as the first time I came here 30 years ago for a slightly underage drink. I think I was about 16 and it was just a half a pint of beer in those days, or maybe a shandy, basically whatever we could get away with.

Further inside it is more of your traditional hotel bar, it is very Art Deco, and perhaps what would be described as the Saloon Bar some years back.  There are a number of raised areas upon which I have seen bands and singers set up in front of a lovely wooden floor which I understand is the original wooden sprung dance floor from 1938. On the wall behind is a big angular / rectangular art Deco clock which set the scene and vibe of the pub.

Out the back is one of the best and well hidden beer gardens in West Bridgford, I am not sure that I really meant to tell you about that! Lovely tables surrounded by gravelled paths, hanging baskets and flower beds adorn the nooks and crannies, basically a quiet spot to sup your pint. At the front of the pub is another more seasonal beer garden and it was there that we set up camp to drink and consider our food options.

The Main Event Menu

Fish and Chips Friday Offer at The Test Match

It was a Friday so we took advantage of the daily deal which was Two Fish dishes for £11.99. This was a choice of the “Whitby Scampi & Seasoned Chips” usually £7.49, the “Signature Fish and Seasoned Chips” normally £8.99 or / and the “Salmon Fishcake” which would be £7.99. We went for the Classic Fish and Chips option getting two plates full for just under £12, a saving of about £6. Not bad at all, as that bought us a couple of pints to go with our meal (for the record that was Screech Owl by Castle Rock Brewery)

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips at The Test Match in Wwest Bridgford

The menu at The Test Match described our choice as “Hand-battered Fish & Seasoned Chips – Cod fillet, freshly hand-battered. Served with seasoned chips, mushy peas or peas and tartare sauce. A traditional favourite!”  The Fish and Chips are pretty average, nothing amazing but there is nothing wrong either. You will have no complaints if you have these as part of the two for £11.99 deal as £6 is a great price. I wouldn’t pay the everyday price of £8.99 though.

The Fish itself was moist and the batter was crispy, excellent job of taking it out of the freezer with the chips into some sort of fryer situation and then moving them both a short time later onto the plate. My mushy peas were green and mushy, my tartar sauce was in a pot, and my lemon slice was hoping to be a garnish in someone cocktail.

It was good, tasty, and fair enough for the price and a decent honest meal. I had no complaints!

Should we have had the “Dirty burger”?

dirty burger

To be honest if it had not been a Friday with the whole “lets have Fish and Chips deal” I probably would have counted out the coins to just under a tenner for the ‘Dirty Burger’. now they describe it as “Our new signature burger. Succulent beef burger, gherkin and salad, covered with a mound of chilli con carne, topped with sauteéd red onions, jalapeños and French’s American mustard in a seeded brioche bun. Served with seasoned fries.” I describe that, or rather, I imagine that as a down and dirty mess of a burger that is going to end up burning my lips, my chops, my tongue, and possibly my senses, while also being a total mess that is going to end up everywhere from my cheeks, to my fingers, and probably all down my shirt and my tie.

Having said that lets be honest, you and I both know that I will be coming back at some point to order this burger, but when I do, I will not be wearing a white shirt!

Menu Options at The Test Match in West Bridgford

Ok so I know that officially the Test Match Pub here at Gordon Square in West Bridgford is owned and managed by a chain, but you know what it is such a lovely building and design that you can just forget all of that and feel as though you are just in a local hotel bar. It is also great to see the mix of people of all ages and circles. It is not just an old mans drinking pub, or a young student crowd, there are both of those sets of people enjoying the place, alongside families and groups made up of several generations. Just what you want in a pub, everyone is welcome and everyone feels welcome.

If you would like to see what is going on at The Test Match you can follow them on their Twitter Feed and see what is happening on their Facebook page as well

The Embankment at Trent Bridge for Castle Rock Beer and Pub Food

The Embankment Club

The Embankment on Arkwright Street just a few minutes stroll from Trent Bridge has recently been taken over by Castle Rock Brewery. As a devotee of the beers served by the Castle Rock Brewery this news was music to my ears, and salivations, or is it salutations? to my taste buds. I can remember coming in here when it was the old Boots Social club and more recently the public pub that followed on. Castle Rock Brewery took over the reigns in June 2015 and at the moment they are working on redeveloping the interior.

From conversations with some of the team there, I found out that they will be extending the bar to have 10 pumps all serving more and more excellent Castle Rock Brewery beers, and some Guests too. They are also converting the big space at the back where the snooker hall was into a restaurant. They have more detailed plans on the website where they tell us;

“The Embankment is Castle Rock’s biggest site and project yet, set over three floors with eight distinctive areas and four separate bars. Plans include the creation of the ‘Dispensary’ located in the former Boots Store 2, the ‘Basement’ sports bar, and a new beer garden. Upstairs, Jesse Boot’s office will remain as it always has, and the current function room will be enhanced to create a beautiful wedding and private event venue.”

The Embankment Chalkboard

For now though the most important thing for us is that they are still open and serving food and beer,  so on that basis we have been popping in to take sustenance and water (erm maybe I mean beer).

Over the last couple of weekends the doors were flung wide open to invite the good people of Nottingham visiting the Riverside Festival on the first weekend and then the last week they continued the warm welcome for those heading to Trent Bridge to watch the Ashes.

Outside Bar at The Embankent

I spent quite a few evenings sampling the beers, sitting outside on the benches,  and enjoying the Castle Rock welcome.

Sunday Lunch – Roast Beef

Sunday Lunch at the Embankment Club

On the Sunday I popped in for a planned pint of Harvest and I fancied something to eat. Even before I had really perused the menu I was sold on having a Sunday Lunch after the Barmaid told me that they had Roast Chicken or Roast Beef Dinners as well as the standard menu. Even though it was baking hot outside I found myself asking for “Beef Please!”

Now Ok to be fair it isn’t the most photogenic plate of food, but it was a good decent plateful filled with tasty and honest home cooked food. For about £5 I received a plate filled with plenty of slices of Beef in a Peppery Gravy, a pot of Cauliflower Cheese, a nicely risen Yorkshire pudding, Roast Potatoes, Roast Parsnips, Proper Carrot and Proper Cabbage. All in all it was a good find!

Some Menu Options

Menu at The Embankment Club

The menu is your classic pub menu with many of your favourite dishes on the list. After having had that pretty good Roast Dinner I am thinking that I may well pop along here to try some of the other classic options, especially as it is not more than 15 minutes walk from my pad.

Nothing on the menu was more than £6.50 which means that I can get a meal and a decent pint for under a tenner. Other things on the menu that I fancy trying are the ‘Preservation Steak Pie’ for £6.50 which was described on the menu as “Prime Beef, Slow Cooked in Preservation Ale, topped with Pastry” (as pies tend to be), and “served with Peas, Homemade Chips and Gravy”. Sounds like a solid dish.

If you just want a smaller bite you can get a plate of ‘Homemade Chips with Two Soft Fried Eggs’ for £3.50, or a Club Sandwich with Chips for £4.50, or even just a Chip Butty for £2.50. They also have a range of your standard sandwiches for a couple of quid or so, including the Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Castle Rock pub classic

The Embankment Chalkboard – Beer Options

Chalkboard at The Embankment

On the beer front they are serving a mixture of Castle Rock beers on the pumps with a few guest beers. When we have been in recently they have had the Classic offering of Harvest Pale, Elsie Mo, and that rather tasty Preservation Ale. The board also give a hint of upcoming beers in the cellar. I suppose if there is one there that you fancy you need to come in and help empty one of the other barrels so that there is space for the tipple of your choice.

The Embankment Pub

 

The Embankment can be found at 282-284 Arkwright Street just near to the Trent Bridge on the North Side (The City Side) of the river by the Meadows. You can find a map and directions on the Castle Rock Brewery website and also a little more about the history of the place too.

If you want to keep up to date with what beers are on the tap, and what events are taking place then you can also find follow them on their Twitter feed and on their Facebook page too.

 

Jo’s Pancake House – Bacon and Maple Syrup? On Pancakes? don’t mind if I do!

Jo's Pancake Hosue

Jo’s Pancake House on Ilkeston Road is another great find for me as a place to indulge and fuel my search for American themed food in Nottingham. It was also quite a random find as I was just driving around the city over in the general direction of Canning Circus to see what I could find for lunch. Sometimes that is the joy of myfoodhunt and a good reminder to look for something different amd not to just follow the blogger crowd in the city centre where pickings are easy.

American Style Breakfast Menu

American Menu at Jo's Pancake House

Four Amazing Words called out to me from the top of the Chalkboard; “American Style Pancake Breakfast”. Oh my this could be just what I am looking for? Now I am a recent convert to the mix of sweet and savoury, salty bacon with sweet maple syrup.

Before it all seemed so wrong?

But then I tried it and found out why so many of those folks over the pond find this to be a breakfast staple, “so wrong and yet so right” I believe is what they say.

The Traditional

Bacon Egg and Maple Syrup pancakes at Jo's Pancake House

I pondered my options here at Jo’s Pancake House and figured that I really was in the mood for both Bacon and Egg. That led me to choose the “Traditional” from the chalkboard, a somewhat simple classic from the American Diner, for a moment I wondered if I was reading the menu from Denny’s.

So the Traditional is essentially a small stack of pancakes (supposedly just two but I was given three! bonus), topped with a Sunny Side Up Fried Egg, Four Slices of Streaky Bacon, butter, and a pot of runny sweet Maple syrup. Lovely Jubbly!

The Bacon was crisp and salty just as I like it, the fried egg was just right with the egg yolk nice and soft. I found myself pouring more and more syrup onto the stack, surprising myself at the needs of my tastebuds. It was really quite a pleasure.

The only downside was that I could not eat the whole stack of the pancakes, it was just too much!

But at just £4 for the whole 5 yards on a plate, Oh my gosh, that worked for me!

Full English Breakfast Menu Chalkboard

Breakfast Chalkboard at Jo's pancake House

On another day and in another mindset I would have probably just stayed with the food of my island and stuck to a traditional English ‘All Day Breakfast’ option.

As with all good cafés you could explore the whole gamut of breakfast emotions veering  from the modest Number 1; humble plate of bacon, sausage, egg and bean with toast for a modest £2.80

All the way up to the mammoth Number 5 , which is a plate piled with 3 slices of bacon, 3 sausages, 2 eggs, 2 hash brown, 2 slices of black pudding, beans, tomato and mushroom with toast

AND a cup of tea for a princely sum of £7.

Gosh I feel full just reading that!

That will have to wait though for another lunchtime and another trip out with MyFoodHunt.

Jo’s Pancake House is located at 149 Ilkeston Road just near the junction with Rothesay Avenue (at least that was what the bus stop said)

Day out at Welbeck Farm Shop

Welbeck Farm Shop Sign

When we heard that the Welbeck Farm Shop had been named the Farm Butcher of the Year in the FARMA awards 2015 we really thought that we needed to get in the car and drive over to Worksop and the Welbeck estate to check them out. It turned out to be a pretty good idea. Here is just a little flavour of what we saw and found.

They describe their aim better than I can on their website saying that;

The Welbeck Farm Shop is dedicated to showcasing the very best in regional produce. We aim to support the local farming community and minimise food miles wherever possible.

We adhere to the following sourcing policy:

  1. Firstly we will source products from the Welbeck Estate
  2. Secondly we will source products from the tenants of the Welbeck Estate
  3. If the products cannot be found on the Welbeck Estate we will source from the surrounding counties of Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire.
  4. We will look outside this sourcing zone only if products are not produced locally

Sounds like a pretty decent mission statement to me

 Inside Welbeck Farm Shop

Its quite hard to get distracted by all the great stuff that they have on sale in the shop. Around the back of the shop and the sides you have the counters filled with meats, cheeses, cakes, and pies. While in the middle of the shop table and benches are laden with produce such as these local seasonal strawberries. We bought a punnet of these to go with the meringue that I am just about to buy in the next paragraph :-)

 

Boutique Aromatique at Welbeck Farm Shop

Boutique Aromatique Meringue at Wwelbeck farmshop

At the back of the shop you will find Boutique Aromatique described as “Nottinghamshire’s first independent fine chocolaterie, patisserie and sweet pantry.” They say that “Every recipe is handcrafted, using only the finest artisan chocolate and ingredients from around the world”.

The first thing that caught our eye were these magnificent looking Chocolate and Rasberry ‘Giant, Chewy’ Meringues. Apart from being mouth-wateringly attractive they were just £2.20 each. We snagged one pretty sharp into the basket. Later on that evening we were to chomp down into these with some of those fresh strawberries and a little bit of cream.

Pastries at Boutique Aromatique

The pastries and cakes were also looking pretty good too, the most attractive to me were the Passion Fruit and Lime Meringue Tarts. I was loving the little meringue peaks rising up like little towers on some sort of magical cake castle. You can also find the Boutique online soon and follow them on Twitter too.

The Butchers Counter at The Welbeck Farm Shop

Welbeck Farm Shop Butcher Counter

Sausages at the Welbeck Farm Shop

The Meat counter was filled with lots of great looking stuff. I had my eye on the sausages, but I managed to be restrained. I am going to save these for another visit when I know that I am going to need them. I know that you can put them in the freezer, but it just isn’t the same if you don’t eat them fresh.

Black Pudding at the Welbeck Farm Shop

Smoked Streaky Bacon from the Welbeck Farm Shop

I wasn’t that restrained though as I walked away with a small package of smoked and cured streaky bacon, and a small slice of black pudding. Neither were to make it into the pantry, the closest they got was the kitchen counter enroute to the cooker for a late breakfast plate (a tea time breakfast plate to be honest)

Welbeck bakery bread at the Welbeck Farm Shop

Welbeck Bakery Bread at the Welbeck Farm Shop

For that very late late brunch I was needing some bread for my toast, and what better to choose for the task than a slice of sourdough from Welbeck Bakery?

I picked up a small loaf for just £2, it was really good, tangy sour bread, with a chewy crust. Sliced fresh it is a bit too chewy for me, but toasted it was perfect for the job.

I loved looking at all the breads, their sourdough was something that I could only dream of baking at home.

Eggs at Welbeck farm shop

My eggs from Welbeck Farm Shop

To add to that late breakfast brunch I was adding in a pack of eggs. I liked that you could choose a selection from all the eggs on offer.

I had three brown eggs from Burford Brown hens and three white eggs from Arlington White hens. Nice!

Pie Counter

Pies at Welbeack

Pork Pie

Pork Pie at Welbeck

The Pies and pork Pies were looking pretty delicious on the counter. I liked the way that the pies had little baked letters on them so that you could tell them apart. The Rabbit was looking pretty tempting but they only had big ones left and I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it all.

Instead, just because I could, I had a small pork pie, which was consumed pretty quickly when I got home.

The Pork Pie didn’t have as much jelly in it as I like, but the meat flavour were pure and good, and the pastry casing was not at all greasy, not heavy and was a pretty light bite. A good solid effort of a Pork Pie

Sausage Roll straight from the oven

Sausage Roll at Welbeck Farm Shop

There was a definite bonus moment as a tray of freshly baked sausage rolls arrived as we were looking at the pies. Total distraction ensued and we bought two to eat straight away.

Inside my Sausage Roll

It was pretty good, nice flaky pastry and a light flavoured meat filling that was still all moist from the oven. I will be honest and say that I kind of stuffed this down as opposed to savouring it!

The Cheese Counter

Cheese Counter at Welbeck Farm Shop

They also have a pretty good cheese counter at the shop featuring quite boldly the excellent Stitchelton made in the dairy. I bought a couple of bits of two of my favourite cheeses; a slice of Comte, and a slice of Ogleshield. I really liked the fact that they really did not mind that I was just buying basically a small sliver of 100g, no fuss and a great big smile from the cheese man.

Welbeck Farm Shop Sign

So all in all a pretty good reccy mission to the Farm Shop. I can see many a weekend drive coming up over to the estate!

 

I’ll just leave you to with a few more  pictures to whet your appetite and give you thoughts to ponder :-)

Produce Counter

Produce Counter at The Welbeck Farm Shop

The Meat Counter

Inside the Welbeck Farm  Shop

More Meringue!

Aromatic Boutique Meringue

 

You know what there really is too much good stuff on offer here at the Welbeck Farm shop, you really just need to drive over and take a look for yourself!

Located at

Welbeck Farm Shop
Welbeck
Worksop
Nottinghamshire
S80 3LW

Tel: 01909 478725
<!– Fax: 01909 478725
–> Email: farmshop@welbeck.co.uk

Follow them on Twitter and Check them out on Facebook too

 

Oaks Restaurant – Local English BBQ cooked on the Embers

Oaks is Open

OAKS in Nottingham finally opened its door to the general public on the 16th July and I for one was quite excited. I had read about its concept and plans a couple of months ago in the Nottingham Post, and since I have been waiting for ages to come and dine there.

More recently I had been fed titbits of information through the usual Social media and from Tank PR, who along with Oaks, had helped me with the chance to come along to try out the food.

The press release told me that Oaks will be “serving locally-sourced produce, cocktails and craft ales”

and that “OAKS specialise in home-made sausages and meats cooked over wood embers” 

with all of those logs being the “natural by-product of sustainable coppicing by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust”

Local food, Local produce, and even locally sourced cooking materials? Sounds good to me already. This I have to see, or rather taste for myself.

Beef Scotch Quail Eggs

Beef Quail Scotch Eggs

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 would be no surprise that they would be the first thing off that menu at Oaks that I would order. So glad that I did, I could eat these babies all day long.  Man alive! these beautiful little nuggets of joy were quite simply amazing.

There really is nothing like getting a Scotch egg hot from the kitchen, it is a game changer. What makes these so good and different from all the other Scotch Eggs out there? Well to start off the meat is a beef mince and not your usual sausage meat, so you get a much more powerful taste and a better more solid texture. The coating is crisp, and as you tuck into each half, it has a really great crunch of a bite. To add to that you have a lovely rich and silky yolk from that soft and perfectly cooked quail egg.

The last piece of the jigsaw is that perfectly balanced seasoning which just tips the whole thing over the edge from a scotch egg ‘life less than ordinary’.

Sharing Platter at Oaks

Sharing platter at Oaks Restaurant Sharing Platter Menu at Oaks in Nottingham

So just so that we could both sample as much as possible of what was being cooked up at Oaks we chose to tuck into one of their Sharing Platters that would cost you £30. The platter is made up of your selection of one beef or fish burger, one half chicken, one sausage and two sides. Thinking about it since, it did seem a bit strange having to share a burger between two, a couple of smaller sliders may have been easier to juggle between two hungry diners fighting over the pickings. Having said that we often share burgers, but usually that is when we have ordered two different ones though.

You could if you so choose and were really, and I mean really hungry take on their larger platter for £59 which is; Two sausages, a Whole Chicken, some King Prawns (not sure if they live locally in the Trent :-) ), Two Bavette Steaks (I saw someone order one and they did look really good), and Four (yes I said 4) sides. That is a lot of food!

Angus Beef Burger

The Beef Burger at Oaks Restaurant Burger Menu

Lets start with the story of the Burger, mainly because that was where we started, as we were cutting it into two to share, and also to open up a nice photo opportunity. I liked the combination of ingredients with the bottom bun layered with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Some people might say that the burger patty is not cooked enough, but I personally like the patty to be cooked medium rare, so I liked it like this.

In the states they would treat you with disdain if you asked for it well done. Having said that we are not in the states we are in the Midlands of England so I can kind of see where they might be coming from, its just not so normal, but luckily with the invasion of so much BBQ it is becoming the norm. I am sure though that you can have it cooked however you want at Oaks.

It was good to see a decent vegetarian option on the menu with a Portobello Mushroom as the burger. I reckon that is going to be a big juicy, and meaty affair, I love that mushroom and it can easily give you everything that the meat lover loves in a burger, the avocado and aubergine will be interesting. Another great vegetarian substitution for a meat burger is a big slice of beetroot. I might suggest that to the Oaks Team.

The Sausage Link on the Platter

Burger and Sausage Sausage Menu at Oaks

The star showing on the platter for me was the sausage link. We chose the one filled with a mix made with Beef, Gruyere Cheese, Red Onion, and Red Wine, and we made a good choice. I don’t want to sound like I am overselling it but the best way I can describe this is like a beef, onion casserole in red wine gravy inside a sausage. If it was a casserole in a bowl I would be in dream land, stick it into a sausage with cheese oozing out of it and I am getting to be a pretty happy chap.

I loved this particular sausage and would like to try it with a side of mash potato and some gravy, not sure I want to pay £7 for a regular sausage, but you know what? I actually might for this one.

We found out that all the sausages are being made locally at Tuxfords butchers in Netherfield, so the next day I drove over to the butchers to see what was going on. In the back there were chains of links of sausages all glistening waiting to be collected and on their way Oaks. Love that they are being made so locally.

Honey Dew Beer and Black Pepper Chicken

Oaks Chicken Chicken Menu

I was pleasantly surprised on the Chicken front as the half chicken we were served was really moist and juicy even the breast portion. The only slight downside is that on the platter, the flavours of the chicken do not see to compete well with the stronger flavours of the sausage and the burger meat. Now that is not a bad thing, it is great chicken and I would personally suggest not having the platter and instead having the half chicken with a side of the chips (which are really good). As the chicken cooled down you could really taste the beer and the pepper in the skin.

Now my advice would be to take advantage of one of the homemade sauces to dip your moist and juicy bits of chicken in to. With the chicken I would recommend the Smoked Chili Brown Sauce (well that worked for me).

Homemade Sauces

Oaks Homemade Sauces

Just like any good BBQ the sauces should compliment and here at Oaks they certainly can. I tried, used, and was happy with all three of their homemade sauces. I tried not to talk about them too much until now so that I could give more focus on them, as with all BBQ joints, they should, can, and do add a lot to the experience. I was advised to try the Mustard and Horseradish sauce with the Scotch eggs, and that was a good shout. I do find that Scotch Eggs and Mustard do pair well together, this one at Oaks is quite powerful of you taste it on its own. It is fine with a strong meaty partner. Just keep it a light smear.

The burnt tomato ketchup was good with the hand cut chips that they serve here at Oaks. It is not like a traditional ketchup, it is a bit more grown up, yet still is good as a chip dipping condiment.

The star effort in the box is the Smoked Chili Brown Sauce, I really liked this for dipping my chicken in. It was really hard to pick out the flavours, it was tangy, sweet, burnt, spicy, and a bonus mystery flavour lurked, they was something else hidden. What was it? I really wanted to know so I asked the waitress what was in it, and she bought me a piece of paper (still in my wallet) with the ingredients in it.

I won’t give too many secrets away but the key thing I was getting on my palate was toasted cumin, garlic paste, soy sauce and miso (there were at least 5 other thing in there as well). I would buy this sauce.

Doughnuts

Oaks Doughnuts

Now after eating just half of that platter, most of the fries, some of the rather good naked coleslaw (no mayo),and drinking my pint of Harvest Pale Ale, I was kind of stuffed. So stuffed that I really did not need to have a pudding or a dessert. That was my plan, but not the plan of the executive chef who wanted us to try the doughnuts. To be honest they were actually quite light, and quite delicious.

They are a sugar coated treat filled with a Marsala sauce. The recipe apparently comes from a small village near to Venice. I like to imagine that. More seriously, if you can, and I know it is really unlikely, leave a little room to eat just one of these doughnuts. Oaks in Nottingham

I really enjoyed my meal at Oaks and not just because it was complimentary. I would happily have paid for everything on the plates that we ate. Next time I dine here I will be eating a bowl of those Beef Scotch Quail Eggs, followed by a Sausage link with a side of Truffle mash, or I might have the Chicken and Chips, or maybe the Steak? Oh I don’t know. Just loads more English Ember cooked BBQ.

Inside Oaks Restaurant in Nottingham Oaks Fire place Music at Oaks

To find out more about Oaks Restaurant in Nottingham

just check them out on their Facebook Page and on their Twitter Feed,

Or just walk in through the doors and sample their food, the local beer, and maybe listen to some of the live music that they offer.

You can find them at 2 Bromley Place, just off Maid Marian Way

I am really glad to see the English BBQ fight back against the USA BBQ invasion

  Click to add a blog post for Oaks on Zomato

Suede Lounge Bar and Pizza Kitchen for very good and very thin Pizza

Suede Pizza Bar

Suede Lounge Bar and Pizza Kitchen is located in Nottingham Creative Quarter down at far end of Heathcote Street. First impression were that I liked this place it is kind of quirky with old cassette taps stuck to the walls and outdoor tables inside to sit on. #

I am not sure what vibe they are going for, I think that they hope for hipster but its more like first year out of studentville in my mind.

It is kind of fun though and they seem to be pretty keen on their pizzas so I felt that it would have been a bit rude to walk on by so I stayed for a while, drank a beer, and ate a pizza.

It does seem that perhaps, on the odd occasion, some of us do lead charmed lives, or is it just simply luck and that when a pizza is on offer, a hungry man has to do what a hungry man has to do?

Pizza Menu Options

Suede Pizza Menu

They seem to be pretty proud of the way that they make their pizza saying that they use triple wheat in their dough which is slowly fermented over 24 hours. Is that a good thing? well when we take a bite we might find out.

They have plenty of interesting and mouth watering options on the menu. Their margherita with 100% Mozzarella (is there another kind?), their signature sauce (whatever that might be?), topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil was quite tempting.

More Suede Pizza Menu

Also tempting for all the wrong reasons was the pizza topped with ‘Jack Daniels Marinated Pulled Pork, Red Onion, and Jalapenos’. It sounds like a spicy car crash of  pizza, yet something to be tried or should I say devour.

Anyhow I didn’t go down that road instead I found myself drawn to order the eighth option or numero Otto.

With this topping array I was keeping it true to my Pizza Topping roots by choosing the one with most of those ingredients that I love; Chorizo, Pepperoni, and Spicy Beef.

“Otto (8) Chorizo, Spicy Beef, Pepperoni”

Chorizo, Pepporni and Spicy Beef Pizza at Suede Bar

I have to confess that I misread the menu a little, as I also thought that it came with jalapeno and chilli flakes, but that was £1 extra. Good job really as I was probably going to pick most of the chilli pepper off. I only realised that later when I read the menu properly online.

The picture really does not show you how big and how thin this pizza is. Its a good plateful and the pizza is so thin you wonder if they rolled out the base in a pasta machine or sliced a normal pizza base into three using some sort of awesome meat slicer. Neither of those things happened in the real world, but both happened just a moment ago in my pizza making imagination.

Stop the digression I hear you shout (again somewhere in my imagination as I type) just tell us if the pizza tasted good, already! Yes Ok I will, and it did. The base is very, and I mean very thin. Charred lightly to give it a nice toasty taste, but it is not baked enough to make it over crispy. This is essentially a bit of a floppy pizza slice, which is pretty much how I liked my pizza when I was living over near New York, Seriously, you know foldable slices are kind of the way to go, trust me! Other bonuses I just made up in my mind are that being thin it is almost a diet slice.

What did I have to say at the time as I typed away into the phone notepad? “Sounds spicy but actually quite a light mild heat” (that was because I misread the menu as I admitted) “Sweet and Spicy tomato sauce, very very thin crust” (it really is damn thin) “Not too much topping, so even though it looks big it is not overwhelming”

Looking back that seems fair. This is a really tasty and a really decent pizza, it is up there at the moment in my top three, the other two (just for the record) being Oscar and Rosie’s at Das Kino, and the pizza from the Ugly Bread Bakery.

So basically and simply I am an advocate of this pizza, so tasty and drool worthy.

Mutant Ninja Turtle at Suede

Pizza Poster at Suede

If you venture down the stairs towards the bathrooms you will see a wall covered with 6 foot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I guess they like Pizza too just like all my friends at work who have told me to come here and try the pizza.

Check them out at the Suede Pizza Bar site, and on Twitter and Facebook

 The only downside was some mention of hipster on the menu!

 “extra hipster points” might have been the phrase.

 

 

Homeboys by Pete Hewitt at The Taste of Rushcliffe

Homeboys Sign

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to bump into Pete Hewitt from Clifton of recent BBC Masterchef fame and his “Homeboys” chicken stall at the Taste of Rushcliffe in West Bridgford.

I love a chance to eat a bit of Streetfood, and I love that even more when that food is being prepared by one of our own in this great City of Nottingham.

Tatsuta Slider

I was eating one of the Tatsuta Age Fried Chicken Slider, a relatively small bite in the hand for the princely sum of £3.50. This is basically a Japanese Fried Chicken slider which is no surprise given that Pete spent most of Masterchef cooking Japanese inspired food and that he plans to open a Food Truck selling the same.

I am not sure what Petes recipe for the chicken is, but from what I understand this typically is made by marinating chicken thigh meat in a mix of Mirin, Sake, Ginger juice, some garlic, and Soy sauce before deep frying in a light batter of corn starch, potato starch or if you can get it katatkuriko flour.

I understand that this is also sometimes known as Chicken Karaage, a bite that I had recently at the Time Out Café in Nottingham where they serve up Japanese street food snacks.

Tatsuta Age Chicken Slider

“Homeboys” are serving up their Tatsuta Age Chicken in a lightly toasted slider bun, topped with some tangy pickle, a bit of kimchi? Some spicy mayo on the top of the bun and some nice hot sauce just dribbled over the chicken with the sole intention of dripping down your chin and onto your fingers.

I kind of wished that I had been listening properly to Pete as he was making my slider up, as he did give us a run down of exactly what was in there, my bad.

In the end I will say though that I don’t really care what was in there, it was simply a lovely, delicious bit of street food.

Crunchy well seasoned crispy chicken, topped with some crunchy pickle bits, a spicy and tangy sauce, and just the right ratio of bun to filling.

Good Job Mr Hewitt!

Looking forward to eating from the Truck

 

The Menu Board

Homeboys Menu Board

 

You can follow Pete Hewitt on Twitter and on Facebook, and you may also see him popping up at various Food Festivals near and far as he gets his Food Truck on the road