The New Cod’s Scallops in Sherwood – More Fantastic Fish and Chips!

The Cods Scallops in Sherwood

This weekend I visited the newly opened Sherwood branch of The Cod’s Scallops on Mansfield Road. It has only been open for a week or so and I had been excited about visiting them ever since I read that there was to be a second outlet opening.

Outside as you approach it is pretty easy to spot, a lawn filled with deck chairs gives the game away somewhat, we could see it from way down the street as we walked over this past Saturday lunchtime.

Inside it is really well laid out with a pretty large seating area for about 48 people, it feels as though you are in one of those seafront fish and chip shop restaurants at the coast and feels to be miles away from the busy Mansfield Road. I really liked it, it was a lot of fun, with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Menu

Cod's Scallops Sherwood Menu

Just like the original branch of The Cod’s Scallops in Wollaton, depending on the catch, they have a great selection to choose from; Haddock, Cod,  Lemon Sole, Hake, Gurnard, Plaice, Monkfish…the list goes on.

I am a bit of a traditionalist though, so ‘even’ if they had been selling some sort of ‘magical fish made out of edible diamonds flaked with gold’, I was not going to be wavered from my standard selection of Haddock and Chips, with a pot of Mushy Peas and a nice cup of Tea. I am a man who knows what he likes

Haddock with Chips, Mushy Peas

Haddock and Chips at the Cod's Scallops in Sherwood

It was just as good as I hoped and as I remembered from my last visit to the original Cod’s Scallops. My piece of Haddock was on the large size, way too big for the plate, lovely stuff, I wasn’t complaining portion size wise. The meaty white fish, falls into flakes as you cut in, it is moist and juicy, and tastes ‘oh so fresh’. I love the Golden batter that coats the haddock here, it is both light, crunchy and a little bit crumbly, I dare to say that it is verging on perfection.

The other bedfellows on the plate are the Chips which are cooked in Beef dripping (mmm Nice) and an excellently made pot of mushy peas. I am very happy with the chips that they serve at The Cod’s Scallops, they are solid proper chips, a little bit of a crunch and a soft fluffy inside. The Mushy peas are also rather good, a little bit runny, and a tiny bit crunchy also just as I like.

I had a nice cup of tea, although I could have easily drunk another one so a pot would have been nice. The only thing missing was a slice of bread and butter served on a chipped plate.

All in all I was very happy with my meal and I was so stuffed that I did not need to eat again for the rest of the day!

 

This new location is going to be so much easier to get to for me as it is just a short bus ride out of the city up Mansfield Road, or a ten minute walk from the Forest Recreation Tram Stop.

The Cod’s Scallops Sherwood is at  311-313 Mansfield Road, Nottingham Nottinghamshire NG5 2DA  Phone: +44 (0)115 708 0251

Check them out as well on Facebook and on Twitter

Check out my post about the original restaurant; “The Cod’s Scallops – Fish and Chips Friday”

 

Bean by the River – lovely coffee, sandwiches and homemade cake

Bean by the River Bean by the River Sign

Bean by the River is located on the South Side of the embankment just next to the old band stand opposite the Suspension Bridge where you can cross over the River Trent from the Meadows to West Bridgford and vice versa.

I had been looking at this prime space for ages thinking it could make a great café with its location by the bridge and the river, so I was delighted when it opened up on a 7 day basis as a coffee shop.

As it opened I read a lovely article about it in the local West Bridgford Wire (they are reaching over the river a little bit :-) having said that I look at the shop across the Trent from my window, so I guess we both are reaching)

Anyway! They, the Wire people, in their article, told me that it was being run on a daily basis by one of the Owners of the business Shiraz Nawaz, and he really is hand on, every time I have been in, he has made my sandwich and Latte (I didn’t know that until I googled and read the article in West Bridgford Wire). For what it is worth, he really makes the experience and nothing is too much trouble.

Ok so what about the food, come on man, get on with it!

Sandwich filling wise, so far I have seen Ham salad, Egg mayo, Tuna Sweetcorn, Cheese Salad, Chicken Tikka, and Coronation Chicken, basically a pantry shelf of classics.

I ate some of all this;

Chicken Tikka sandwich and Coronation Chicken sandwich

Chicken Tikka and Coronation Chicken Sandwiches

Two of the best things that I have eaten here so far are their Chicken Tikka sandwich and their Coronation Chicken sandwich. They usually have some on the counter as you walk in, but they will also make you one fresh to take away and will pack it up to order.

That was what I did last week as we couldn’t decide which one to get so we had one of each so that we could share them. I am still not sure which one I like best. I loves me a bit of Coronation chicken, but that Chicken Tikka mix makes a great sarnie too. You know what? just do what I did, get a buddy in tow and get both, jobs a guddun!

Chicken Tikka and Coronation Chicken

I know that Chicken Tikka just seems to be spicy chicken mayo, and I suppose to extent it is a little bit but it is so good! basically it is cooked chicken mixed with mayo, curry powder, paprika, cumin, and chilli (very simple).

How about that Coronation Chicken? It’s kind of the same thing; mayo and cooked chicken, but this time mixed with mango chutney, lime, and those raisins or is it sultanas?

Who cares both of these are in my top 5 fave sandwich fillings hitting many core elements: creamy, spicy, meaty, and tangy!

Lets take it back a notch

Cheese and Ham Panini

Ham and Cheese Panini

They also have a panini machine and I tried out one of their efforts, playing it simple, ordering one with ham and cheese. I liked it as a ‘warm’ sandwich but it could have been cooked a little longer until the cheese really started to melt and that bread crisped up. Perhaps a little melted butter on the bread would have made my day? It was good to eat something a little more simple though and I took mine outside to the small seating area with a bag of crisps and a can of diet coke (simples)

Inside the Cafe

Now I am not a coffee expert as I am basically a mug in a tea kind of man, but I could see that they have a pretty good set up coffee wise.

The coffee is Nottingham’s Romano coffee which is fairtrade apparently which all sound good to me. Even though I don’t really drink coffee I will say that I have had a couple of Lattes over the last couple of weeks and I kind of liked them.

They also sell homemade cakes, things like Lemon Drizzle cake, also Piper crisps (I like the chorizo ones), ice lollies from “The nice lolly company” and even though I cannot claim one you can stop in with your kid in tow chasing and playing ‘pokemon go’ to pick up a Children’s picnic box containing a drink, sandwich, crisps and a toy for just £3.75 (at the time of writing) I like that!

Bean by the River is located on Victoria Embankment just a 100yds away from the Suspension Bridge. At the moment it is open 7 days a week, so please stop by to make sure that continues

 

Check them out on Facebook

The Bread and Bitter – Great Beer, Classic Pub Grub and a little Caribbean flair

Handmade Burger at The Bread and Bitter

Burger at Bread and Bitter

The last couple of weeks or so I have found myself supping my beer on a Friday night at The Bread and Bitter up on Mapperley Top. This is a totally different part of Nottingham for me to hang out in and a welcome change, brought about partly from the arrival of twins to one of my partners in crime and the need to stay closer to his nest (Congrats to Martin and Kate)

It has also been my gain as The Bread and Bitter is an excellent pub in the Castle Rock Stable serving good and decent real ales, including my staple sup of Harvest Pale. They do some pretty tasty food as well and I have made it my quest to sample one or two things from their menu, all in the aid of the MyFoodHunt family

Now Normally when in a decent real ale pub serving pub grub I am clamouring all over a traditional pub classic and this last week was no different as I went for one of my go to favourites ordering the “Handmade Burger” which proved to be a pretty good decision.

It is a pretty simple affair executed really well, for your money you get a juicy burger patty served in a glazed brioche bun with a slice of gouda cheese, slice of tomato and a bit of lettuce.

In amongst those basic layers there is a nice relish which I should have paid more attention to when I was reading the menu I think it is some sort of aioli, so lets just say that it was a bit of a grown up mayonnaise.

The chips were once again those great big chunky ones and if I am honest I will say that they are too chunky and too, well, kind of healthy for me. I like mine fried not baked. They are solid enough though and sit on the plate in their special tin alongside a really nice simple side salad.

There are plenty of pub classics on The Bread and Bitter menu and plenty of specials on the board, classic wise I almost had the “Homemade beer battered fish, chips, and crushed peas” for £9.95. I heard someone on another table comment that it was really nice but overpriced for what it was.

It did sound nice on the menu; “Harvest pale battered fresh cod loin, with homemade chips, caramelised lemon, crushed peas and homemade tartare sauce” Yum to the max!  maybe another time?

Caribbean Curry – a little bit of home spun flair

Caribbean Chicken at Bread and Bitter

On an earlier visit to The Bread and Bitter I stepped out of my pub classic comfort zone and ordered “Nuldas Caribbean chicken” for £9.95 mostly because this was described as being “made to our own chefs traditional family recipe”

It was basically a plateful of chicken breast, sweet potato, sweet peppers in a Caribbean style sauce

This was not as spicy as I was expecting, I was anticipating a little big more of a punch of flavour wow, but having said that it did leave a little bit of gentle heat on the palate and an intriguing backnote on the palate. It was a little bit sweet, probably a combination of that soft red pepper sauce and those soft sweet potatoes.

There was a smaller amount of chicken than I would have liked for my 10 quid, but enough to fill the dish and leave room for a few more pints of Castle Rock. There was a big ring mould of rice on the plate, what I would call “posh Uncle Ben’s” and a pretty nice mixed salad.

It was all very eatable I wouldn’t mind sitting having a never ending bowlful from a steaming pot on the stove for my tea at Nulda’s kitchen table. I would have just like a tad more spice and a bit more seasoning, it was all a bit subtle for me, maybe all it really needed was salt and pepper? (which I could have added myself)

We also ate some chips when we got peckish

Chips at Bread and Bitter

 

I really liked the sound of a lot of the items on the menu at the Bread and Bitter, but I really think that you need to pick your way through to get a good pricepoint. They have Homemade Gnocci which sounds great but £10.95 seems a lot so perhaps have it as a starter as that is just £5.95

If I was feeling more adventurous or perhaps on a real intrepid MyFoodHunt then I would be really keen to try the Boss Eggs for £6.95 which is described as “Feta and truffle scrambled free range eggs served with avocado, prosciutto or smoked salmon and sourdough bread

The Shalshuka sounded interesting, “a smoked red pepper ragout served in a pan topped with a poached egg and served with warm ciabatta bread and fresh houmous“; You can get that for £5.95 as a starter or for £6.95 from the breakfast menu.

Talking of breakfast, 0ne of MyFoodHunt companions comes up here a lot at the weekend and heartily recommends the “Full English Breakfast” which is favourably priced at £6.95 or £12 for two. I liked the sound of this too, even pre recommendation; “Sausage, bacon, fried egg, hash brown, beans, grilled field mushroom, grilled tomato, toast and butter, and served with tea or coffee” now that sounds like a real bargain!

The Bread and Bitter is located up on Mapperley Top at 153-155 Woodthorpe Drive (NG3 5JL). I rode the number 45 bus up from the City Centre up here and got off at the Mapperley Top shops. My mate with the twins staggered up the road all sleepy eyed from somewhere a bit closer:-)

 

Munching Sweetkins’ Chicken, Fat Breads’ Kofta, and Dim Sum Su’s Bao at the Travelling Gastronome – Life is tough

Travilling Gastronome

The Travelling Gastronomers  ‘the pop up food market galloping around the UK’ made another visit to Sneinton Market last weekend. I love a bit, or rather a lot, of Street Food so I was delighted to see them back!

They had a whole load of Street Food vendors lined up for our delectation, and promised us ‘a one off magical weekend celebrating the best street food, produce and brews’

There was a great selection of vendors including; Fancy an Indian, Fat Breads, Dim Sum Su, Sweetkins, Hartland Pies, The Big Red Baker, Magpie Brewery, Jerk Station UK, and Stewarts Coffee

Sadly I only had enough room in my belly on this visit to sample from a few of them.

This time around these guys tempted me the most;

Sweetkins Chicken

Sweetkins Chicken

Sweetkins were here serving up their Tennesse styled Fried Chicken Tenders and they were the first thing on my list of things that I needed to eat! I took up the offer of three Free range fried Chicken Tenders for £6. There was a ‘hotness’ choice of naked, hot and XXX,

I wasn’t sure what to get! I wanted to try them plain so that I could taste the chicken and the coating without distractions but I also wanted to try something a bit spicy. In the end they gave me a bit of a mix and dribbled a whole lot of spicy sauce on the top one and just in case that was too spicy they added some nice cooling mayo.

My thoughts in the moment as I munched through my share of the box was about how moist that chicken was and how amazingly that buttermilk fried coating was. It was so light that you could not really believe that it had been fried, it was crunchy and tasted ‘oh so good’. The spicy sauce and the mayo were the perfect accompaniment, I even ate the pickle.

There was no downside to this dish! I was even drawn to get all fried chicken star struck on  MyFoodHunt Twitter feed; “Amazingly tender and juicy buttermilk crusted chicken tenders “

Sweetkins Menu Board

Sweetkins are based locally here in Nottingham so Follow them on Facebook and on their Twitter feed to find out when and where they will be next

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Lamb Kofta from Fat Breads

Lamb Kofta from Fat Breads

Fat Breads from the West Midands were here again and I was all over them getting my hands on one of their Lamb Kofta served up in a flat bread with salad and yoghurt. The highlight was the kofta itself which was seasoned with paprika, garlic, coriander and cumin.

There were two reasonable sized sausage sized pieces in the box and it really was well flavoured, they had the blending of the spices just about right, I could have easily just eaten a whole more of that meat!

I liked the refreshing salad and yoghurt that topped the dish and there was a lot of that flatbread. I would have liked a bit more filling or maybe a smaller bit of bread (I know that makes no sense).

Fat Breads Sign at Travelling Gastronome in Notts

They had plenty of other options all of which looked pretty good. One of the people sharing our table had ordered the Falafel which was made with chickpeas, cumin, chilli, coriander and garlic. They seemed pretty happy with their lot and just like us were sharing their large filled flat bread.

I could just as easily have had the Chicken Shawarma and the Lebanese Beef Kebab as both sounded mouth wateringly tasty. I resisted temptation though as we needed to try some other stuff too.

Fat Breads describe themselves as a

 “Street food vendor serving fresh Flat breads with Eastern Flavours”

You can follow them on their Twitter Feed to see when and where they will be popping up next

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Slow Cooked Belly Pork Bao from Dim Sum Su

Belly Pork Bao at Dim Sum Su

I also had my eyes on Dim Sum Su and was especially keen to try one of their Bao’s. The one with filling of slow cooked belly pork was always going to be the winner as I stood wondering what to choose.

The pork was nice and tender and it was quite lightly flavoured, it came served in a pillow like bun which was just a little bit too soft. It was topped with a scattering of crushed toasted peanuts, chopped spring onion, and what they describe as a secret sauce. I was getting a little bit of sweetness from whatever was on that pork, but would have liked a lot more flavour.

Overall I loved all the toppings and I loved the tenderness of the meat but it was a bit pricy for what you got (if I am honest)

Dumplings from Dim Sum Su

Last time the Gastronomer’s came to Nottingham I was straight over to Dim Sum Su’s to get some dumplings and it was enough to make me want to come back again for another look.

This time those Chicken Tenders from Sweetkins are the reason that I have the next visits of The Travelling Gastronomer’s Street Food Festival to Nottingham   in my diary.

I wonder what I will find next time?

The next markets are planned for the weekends of 22nd – 24th  July and 26th-28th August

Check out The Travelling Gastronomer’s on Twitter and on Facebook for day to day updates

Well priced Hot and Cold food at the Wilford Lane Auto’s Café – Cobs, Spuds, Toasties and Brekkie – You can’t go wrong

Wilford Lane Garage

The Café at Wilford Lane Autos in West Bridgford serves up a lot of your standard truck stop and greasy spoon café favourites. They have cobs, burgers, toasties, jacket spuds and to my delight and joy, an all-day-breakfast.

I was not expecting too much when I walked into their café last week to get a cup of tea so that was a pretty nice surprise. Tea, coffee and perhaps a cob was the best of my expectations. How wrong I was to be!

The Menu

Wilford Lane Garage Menu

There is no actual menu, all the options are written on stars stuck on the wall behind the counter. I suppose that makes it easy to update. The first thing that struck me was how reasonable the prices were.

Toast for a quid! A jacket potato with 1 filling for £2.20, hot and cold cobs from between £2.20 and £2.95 depending on how many fillings you had, a burger for £2.20! do I need to go on?

On a different day I would probably have walked out with a Toastie for £2.50, or in the cooler months Soup and a Roll for £2, but of course being a greedy little so and so my eyes alighted upon the most expensive item on the menu and the only item that wasn’t under £3.

Breakfast

Breakfast at Wilford Lane Garage

You are not going to be surprised to see that I ordered the Breakfast with a cup of tea, for just under a fiver you get a plate filled with a lot of fried delights and a plate of buttered toast.

It wasn’t that pretty but most of the breakfast players had been invited; two sausages, a couple of slices of bacon, two fried eggs, beans, tomatoes, and some mushrooms all entered the fray before entering my stomach.

I will concede that the breakfast is not one of your gourmet efforts but it certainly is a hearty filling affair.

 

Jacket Potato

Jacket Potato from Wilord Garage

I popped back a few days later to try out one of their jacket potatoes mostly because it seemed to be such great value. I mean how can you go wrong with  price point of £2.50 for a spud with two toppings? I don’t think that you can? I chose to get my spud with cheese and baked beans, but you could get most of the classic toppings as well, tuna mayonnaise was a close second when I was contemplating my lot.

It was a decent sized spud and the skin was pretty well cooked, it looked as though it had seen the inside of an oven at least. The toppings though were heated up one by one in the microwave before I had it in my clutches, which made them a bit too runny. Perhaps I should have just had the beans heated and poured over some grated cheese. Maybe next time

Wilford Lane Garage Sign

I quite liked this café, the girls behind the counter were welcoming, there is a well priced basic menu, they have tables inside that you can eat at and read your paper, and it felt pretty relaxed. I would be interested to stop in on my way to work to get a cup of tea and a bacon cob, even though it is in the opposite direction to my office.

Located on Wilford Lane it is right slap bang on one of the main routes into the city, so it is really well situated. You could if you so chose walk here from the Wilford Lane tram stop in about 5 minutes, you could also walk here from the nearby gym if you wanted to undo all your efforts.

Address: 140 Wilford Lane West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7RL

Breakfast at The Crafty Crow – Great Pub, Great Food

Crafty Crow in Nottingham

The Crafty Crow up on Friar Lane is a great real ale and craft beer pub. It is the tap house for the Magpie Brewery so you should expect to see a good selection of their beers, but you can also expect to find a really good selection from all across the country.

They also do some pretty tasty scran as well with Coal and Lace their partners in the kitchen serving up ‘locally sourced seasonal food’ some of which features that Local Magpie Ale.

The Breakfast Menu section

Breakfats Menu at the Crafty Crow

I walked in at midday and I was in need of something to help my brain with a situation it had found itself in this morning post Saturday night.

So essentially it was going to be all about some sort of All-Day-Breakfast situation.

“Full Cooked Breakfast”

Full Breakfast at The Crafty Crow in Nottingham

This was a serious plateful of food! I was pretty happy when it arrived even though I was feeling a little bit over-faced. I mean this was massive, it was so big that I could not even see everything that was supposed to be on the plate! My mind was in overload!

The Crafty Crow menu describes this officially as “Locally Sourced Sausage, back bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, baked beans, fried eggs, hash brown, toast, and field mushrooms – vegetarian sausages are available”

OK so it might not look that pretty, but it was really very satisfying. Lets start with the most important item on the breakfast plate, the sausage. These are pretty decent; big chunky solid and very meaty would be the story. I liked them a lot and Bonus you got two of them! Are they too herby for some? Not for me, but maybe they could be a little plainer for the basic peeps.

I loved the slice of black pudding! It was a great big half inch thick disc of soft rich decadence, and I loved the great big juicy field mushroom which made it’s own earthy sauce on the plate as you cut through it.

Full Breakfast at the Crafty Crow

I was very happy with the slices of fried back bacon, although the fat could have been a bit crispier, there was also a nicely done fried egg with a very yellow yolk.

Yes I have to say that it was all going swimmingly well as I munched my way through lunch.

If I am honest I will say that for my personal preferences you could have left the crispy fried hash brown off the plate, I would have preferred some proper breakfast potatoes instead.

I didn’t need the fried tomato either the beans were enough for me, and the toast would have benefited from a bit of salty butter.

It is though, a really good breakfast, there is a lot of really excellent stuff happening on that plate and it certainly should keep you going all day. Price wise it is pretty good value at £6.95!

Magpie Beer

Magpie Ale

What I also like about this pub is that they really try to make sure that you get the beer that you want. We all know that disaster when we pick a beer and wished that we had only picked a half.

If you want to try lots of different beers from breweries near and far then this is the place for you. On their website they boast that they have 24 beers and cider on tap at any one time.

Last time I was at The Crafty Crow I wasn’t sure what to pick and the very helpful barmaid guided me through a few samples until I found the beer to make me happy. Excellent Service.

I ended up with this rather tasty pint of from the Magpie Brewery, the chalkboard listed it as a ‘hoppy pale’. The brewery website describe it as having a “Citrus Fruit Hoppy Nose with a balance of hops and malt in the mouth with a smooth hoppy aftertaste” It went down well with my breakfast but was a bit hoppy to make a session out of.

Other stuff to eat!

Crafty Crow Menu

I was quite pleasantly surprised as I read through the rest of the menu at The Crafty Crow. The first time I wrote about this place it was mostly serving up bar snacks and simple fare, now it seems to be a lot more grown up and there are some really interesting dishes on there that I honestly do feel the need to pop back in to sample.

In particular I have my sight set on those “Magpie Ale Braised Beef Cheeks” described as “Slow braised red tractor sourced ox cheeks in a Magpie dark ale sauce with seasonal vegetables, creamed celeriac and creamy mash potatoes”. This feels to be quite an adventurous item to put on a pub menu. Lots of kudos and praise to them for doing so!

Chances are though that I will probably end up getting that Crafty Beef Burger!

I do come here quite a lot for a pint or two, but realised that it was about two years ago that I last posted about their fare “The Crafty Crow – Real Ale and Craft Beer and Local Food”.

I am glad that I made another MyFoodHunt trip through their doors!

 

The Crafty Crow is located at 102 Friar Lane about a 5 minute walk from the Old Market Square Tram Stop.

You can follow them on their Twitter Feed and see what they are up to on their Facebook page.

Cochin Fort for South Indian Food on Radford Road

Cochin Fort Hyson Green

Cochin Fort in Hyson Green is a Halal joint serving up some pretty good Southern Indian food. It occupies the space on the corner of Gladstone Street and Radford Road that was formerly the Scotholme Hotel (another one of Nottingham’s Lost Pubs). In more recent times it was Chennai Spices another Indian Restaurant.

When we first walked in at 7pm we had the place to ourselves and I was wondering why it was empty. Then within half an hour the place was jumping inside, it was packed out with diners, and there was a real buzz about the place. It was lucky we had booked our table!

The menu was predominantly Southern Indian based with a few of your more recognisable favourites. Sections named ‘From Kerala’s Vegetable Backyard’ and ‘From our Fisherman’s net’ captured the essence of their fare.

They also were serving up a whole lot of Tandoori and as we sat contemplating what to order at least five steaming hot Full Tandoori Chickens sped out of the kitchen to multiple hungry mouths at other tables.

So what did we all eat?

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 at Cochin Fort

Chicken 65 is one of my all time favourite snacks,  I first found this dish while living and working over at Cyber City in Hyderabad back in 2010 where we had it quite often as a bar snack. Legend has it that it originated at the Buhari Hotel in Chennai in 1965 and was simply added to the menu as Chicken 65. In later years other chicken recipes were added to the menu such as Chicken 78, 82 and 90 (read more here).

This dish was described very simply on the menu at Cochin Fort as “Chicken breast fried and marinated with ginger, garlic and pepper chutney”. In Hyderabad we had it on the bone, but I kind of liked having it as little nuggets of chicken breast, it was much easier to scoff.

Without exaggeration, everyone on our table who tried it said that they would come back to Cochin Fort just to eat this one dish.

Potato Bonda

Potato Bonda at Cochin Fort

The other starter that we chose at Cochin Fort was Potato Bonda, this was described as “Potato cooked in turmeric water and mixed with chopped ginger, coriander leaves, cashew nuts and curry leaves“.

I was not sure what I thought about this starter, I loved the sound of all the stuff that was supposed to be inside, but flavour wise it was a bit subtle and maybe it underwhelmed me a bit.

It was well cooked, the coating was light and not at all greasy, the filling of the potato was soft and fluffy, and it ‘did’ pair well as they described with their “ginger flavoured coconut chutney“.

You know what I think it is? It was always going to struggle to compete with that Chicken 65!

Lamb Uluva Kootu

Lamb Uluva Kootu at Cochin Fort

For our main course, since we had chicken for a starter, we chose one of the Lamb dishes . The one that looked the most interesting was the ‘Lamb Uluva Kootu’. This dish is described on the menu as being “Pieces of lamb cooked with sautéed fenugreek leaves, cardamom, garlic, ginger, and green chilli” and as being “Finished off with coriander and curry leaves to make this a medium hot dish”.

The sauce was excellent fresh and vibrant with a great punch of spices, it was creamy and almost silken, but it wasn’t as hot spice wise as I had expected. Perhaps the Southern Indian definition of a medium spiced curry is different? There was a slight downside in that the Lamb could (in my opinion) have been cooked a little longer as it was just a little bit chewy and I like mine a bit more tender and soft.

Flavour wise though I loved this combination and I will be searching through my cookbooks to find the recipe to replicate this at home.

Bombay Potato

Bombay Potato at Cochin Fort

To accompany our Lamb we chose the Bombay Potato which was decibed as “Stir Fried Potatoes cooked with peppers, tomato, cinnamon and finished with coriander leaves”.

It was quite tasty but a bit too full of tomato for my liking. If I am honest I was a bit surprised when it arrived as it seemed to be ‘a bit wet’ especially because it was chosen from the “Dry Vegetable” section of the menu. It was more like ‘potatoes in a tomato gravy’.

I would say that it was a good option for the vegetarians.

Saag Aloo

Saag Aloo at Cochon Fort

Someone else had ordered the Saag Aloo which was described as ‘Freshly chopped spinach and potato cooked with ginger, garlic, green chilli, all spiced with turmeric and coriander powder’.

We traded a bit of this for some of our Bombay Potato. It was quite a decent swap, I like that it was a pretty even mix of spinach and potato and that there was not too much of the green stuff on the plate. It was lightly flavoured, a little oily, a little salty, but a good addition to go with our creamy curry.

I would have preferred this to the Bombay potato that we had ordered. Luckily on a big table and a group like ours  you get a bit of everyone else food anyway so just order and if it all goes wrong steal something better. Note that only works on your own table, strangers don’t always like it.

Garlic Naan and Pilau Rice

Garlic Naan at Cochin Fort

Pilau Rice at Cochin Fort

To go with our Lamb and Potato dishes we had a really nice well cooked Garlic naan and some really good rice. To be honest I didn’t need both but you always seem to end up ordering way too much when you are in a group in an Indian Restaurant!

What did everyone else order?

Fish Molly

Fish Curry at Cochin Fort

I was advised that you really should be ordering one of the Fish options when you are sampling some Southern Indian Cooking. I ignored that advice but I do have to say that the Fish Curry that my friend next to me ordered did look particularly good. The bright yellow sauce made it look pretty vibrant and they said that it was a nice light dish to eat.

I think that the dish they chose was the Fish Molly which is described as “King fish marinated in turmeric sauce, cooked in coconut milk with curry leaves, onion, ginger and fresh lemon juice and cubed tomato”. I like the sound of all of that but I would be worried about the potential spillage possibilities with all that yellow sauce!

Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biriyani at Cochin Fort

One of my vegetarian friends ordered the Vegetable Biryani which was a large plateful but I was not convinced that it was any better than a big bowl of baked fried vegetable rice. They seemed to enjoy it though and I will say honestly that the few spoonful’s that I ate were really quite good.

Lots of Vegetarian Options

Selection of Vegetable Curries at Cochin Fort

Five of our group ordered a whole selection of the different Vegetable dishes to share between them, something that we did regularly on a recent trip to India. I took a picture of one of their plates before they mixed it all together and I will admit that it all looked pretty decent.

Some of the highlights on the plate were the “Aubergine Thiyal” which was “chopped fresh Aubergine cooked in tomato onion and coconut with ‘home made’ south Indian spices” and the “Beans Thoran” described as ‘chopped green beans stir fried with onion, coconut, cumin seeds and garlic and tempered with black mustard seeds and finished with a hint of turmeric powder’.

Cohin Fort in Nottingham Address Details

I was pretty impressed with the food at Cochin Fort, I had walked in with no great expectations, but I think I have uncovered a little gem where I may well be back to eat again.

My highlight was that Chicken 65 and that is a dish that I will be coming back for.

Next time though I am seriously tempted to try the whole Chicken Tandoori plate,

I might have to bring a few friends to help though

They don’t serve alcohol but I can recommend the freshly squeezed fruit juices that they make from the juice machine behind the old hotel counter.

There is an off licence just up the road by the Tram Stop and they don’t mind if you take your own drinks in.

Price Wise it was excellent value, we had poppadom, two starters, two mains, naan and rice for just over £10 each!

Cochin Fort is located at 384 Radford Road and you can ride here on the tram from Hucknall and from the City. The nearest stop south bound is at Radford Road and the nearest stop Northbound is at Shipstone Street. You can park at Wilkinson Street the park and ride site and walk here in about 5 minutes or less

 

Sunday Dinner at the Curious Manor

The Curious Manor in Nottingham

The Curious Manor located in Trinity Place featuring The Scullery has been calling out to me for a while now.

I know loads of people who have been here and they had described it as ‘A bit weird’, that ‘Mad Hatter’s like Tea Place’, and ‘They do a nice Sunday Roast’.

Guess which one of those descriptions piqued my interest?

I do not often venture out for a Sunday Lunch as I follow the general rule in life that the best Sunday Roast is cooked by your Mum.

The Curious Sunday Roast Offering

Sunday Menu at Curious Manor

Sunday Lunch at The Curious Manor was basically a choice of Beef or Chicken.

We both opted for “Mr Taylor’s Beef Sirloin”

They were offering the roast dinner for £12.95, two courses for $15,95m and three for £17.95 . It didn’t say that you could not ask for three roast dinners for £17.95 (just saying).

I know that  if I have to think about leaving room for a starter and a pudding I cannot do justice to a decent sized Roast dinner, so I just went straight for the main!

“Mr Taylor’s Beef Sirloin”

Topside of Beef at the Curious Manor

First impressions were excellent! The plate arrived in front of us piled high and deep

Look at the lovely glistening slices of beef!”  plus a pretty decent looking Yorkshire pudding, and for me some Cauliflower in a light cheese sauce poking out from beneath

(I loves me a bit of Cauliflower Cheese!).

We had been asked how we wanted it cooking, which is always a bonus in the UK, and was delighted to see it arrive nice and pink just as we had requested.

The topside of beef was really well cooked, it was thick cut which was good, and it was pretty juicy as well. A couple of mouthfuls on the edge were a bit chewy but most was like butter,  I do like my fat so I am going to say that was a good thing.

It is hard to see from the pictures but those slices of beef are pretty generous as they could cover an entire dinner plate.

This is really good beef and well worth coming out for. ‘Juicy’, ‘Tasty’, ‘Beefy’, ‘Meaty’, someone call for a food critic (a real one) to find the words to describe how amazing the meat tasted. Then someone else try and tell me about some posher place that is better.

Don’t bother my phone is on silent and do not disturb, Mum has a smile on her face so all is good on the plate and all is good in the world.

Now what about that Yorkshire Pudding? This is crunch time!

Family Sunday lunches can revolve around and succeed or fail of this beast.

My Uncle Tony from Yorkshire ate his as a starter.

Phew this was very very good. It was well risen, crispy, crunchy and ooh so tasty? What is that I find nipping in and out running around my taste buds? there is something extra here, some flavour transformed it from the ordinary to the extra ordinary? It turned out to be garlic, but it was not pungent garlic, it was a little bit of sweetness in the batter that really added to the experience. We liked it, but Uncle Tony may have wavered.

Lets Delve in!

Sunday Lunch at the Curious Manor

The Vegetables were mostly hiding underneath all that beef, so just to see what I can find to eat and to show you all I slid that meat roof to one side for a moment. I will be honest  and say that I am not really a massive fan of cabbage, but I was quite taken with the lightly crunchy stuff that they served to me here, it was just how think I would like to like it.

There were some decent sized roast potatoes, crispy outside and fluffy inside served together with some excellent carrots that tasted well really ‘carroty’. That is about the best description I can come up with, I guess I am saying that they were really good.

The take home message is that everything on that plate was excellent and I gobbled it all down with a modicum of decorum.

Service wise it was excellent, we asked for more Gravy and it appeared within moments, we were offered water for the table and had a nice big jug full within moments, the slice of lemon we didn’t fancy was dispatched with the blink of an eyelid, and once everyone we had already met asked if the food was ok, we were left to dine in peace.

So much success on the hunt for a really good decent Sunday Lunch and the good thing was that there was so much more on their menus that tickled my fancy for another day

The Burger Menu

Burger Menu at the Curious Manor

I was drooling a little bit as I perused the Curious Manor Burger Menu. I liked the sound of the favour combinations and was very happy to see that they were being supplied by the excellent Johnny Pusztai.

I am not sure which one I will have to eat, but the chances are that I will be back and all over that “Manor Burger” which was’ Pusztai Beef, curious sauce, cheddar and onion rings’.

Well if not that then maybe the “Sherwood ranger” which is also Beef from Mr Pusztai but this time topped with ‘Nottingham Stilton, Sherwood Bacon and onion jam’ Triple Yum.

What Else? Well what about Brunch?

Brunch Menu at The Curious Manor

I was also liking the look of the Curious Manor Brunch menu, in particular some of my all time favorites Eggs Benedict and Eggs royale. I do like a proper fry up but I also like a lighter more elegant brunch plate and anything on a toasted muffin ticks all my boxes.

I was ‘curious’ about their ‘Colombian eggs which is a Poached egg, avocado salsa on a toasted muffin. Sounded good for £6. I also wanted the Steak and hash Brown, so basically I wanted everything!

The Curious Manor in Nottingham

The Curious Manor is located in Trinity Square in Nottingham NG1 4AF.

The entrance in on the corner with a small bar called the Scullery downstairs. Upstairs the restaurant spreads in a curve around part of the square up and above the Harvester.

The place is part of that stable of restaurants run by Brown and Brown Industries that includes Cured and The Parlour in West Bridgford both of which I have visited and enjoyed.

I had a tasty burger at Cured (read more here) and a very decent Club sandwich at The Parlour (read about that here).

You can follow them to find out up to date info and offers on their Facebook page and on their Twitter feed.

 

 

Kayal in Nottingham – Backwater Cuisine on the Broadway

Kayal Nottingham

Kayal in Nottingham is an Indian restaurant in our city that I have had my eye on for a while. I have heard good things about it and each time I walk along Broadway I keep on meaning to pause and stop in. Recently on a leaving do at work, we found the opportunity to cross the threshold and dine, perhaps not the best moment to dine as we had sampled a few beers on the way there. However nonetheless we were all up for it and squeezed ourselves in and around the only table we could find.

One of my mates who had been here a few times told us all that we had to get something with seafood as that was their speciality.

Did we listen? Well not really, although I was to order the Fish Soup, was he right? as it happens I think that he was!”

They do say on the website that the restaurant specialises in ‘The Kerala Backwater Cuisine. I have read that Kerala is known as the “Land of Spices”, and that the food of Kerala is spicy, hot and aromatic. This all sounds good to me.

So anyway what did we eat?

“Starters for 7”

Kayal Soup

Kayal Soup

Quite a few of us opted for a bowl of the Kayal Fish Soup, this was a great dish but it almost destroyed me with it’s spice and deep pungent flavour.

The menu described this a soup made of “mixed seafood, flavoured with coconut milk, cumin seed, curry leaves and crushed pepper, tempered with mustard”. I imagined a thin spicy soup broth filled with pieces of seafood, but what arrived was a much deeper and thicker soup with a few bits of shrimp at the bottom,

It was most certainly packed full of fish flavour and it was also hot and peppery, almost more like a rasam. I did enjoy it slurping my way to the bottom of the bowl, but it was so hot I had quite a sweaty brow by the time I had finished and an overwhelming desire to step outside for a breath of cool air and some respite from the spicy heat enveloping my body.

I liked it fine enough but it was not quite what I expected.

Would I recommend that you try it? Hell yeh!

Banana Boli

Banana Boli

One of the group went for the Banana Boli which was described on the menu thus; “Banana slices are dipped in a batter of rice flour with black sesame seeds and crispy fried”.

I would never have considered ordering this but I had a bite and it was actually quite nice. I was surprised as it is pretty much a ripe banana coated in flour and deep fried.

It seemed to be more of a sweet snack to me and that is how you usually find it on the streets, to turn it more towards a savoury starter you need to be dipping it into those pots of spicy dip that it comes with while chomping on a bit of pickle.

Chicken Puffs

Chicken Puffs

Another dish that I would not personally thought to order were the Chicken Puffs which were described by my friend who did choose them ‘as kind of like a spicy chicken sausage roll’.

This is a good reason why it is good to dine with a group as you get to try stuff outside of your own culinary box of tastes.

On the menu they don’t even try to make this sound any less glamorous than it is; “Tasty chicken filling in puff pastry served with salad and chutney”.

As it happens the same ‘salad and chutney’ that you get with those deep fried banana things.

Time for a Main

Thalasserry Chicken Biriyani

Thalasserry Chicken Biriyani at Kayal

I really should have ordered one of the Fish based dishes but I didn’t as I was all over the chance to eat a Biriyani (and not just because I did not want to pay extra for rice) On a recent research trip for MyFoodHunt in India I found myself with a new respect for the humble Biriyani and I was keen to see if I could find something authentic to match that experience back here in Nottingham.

There was nothing that was particularly wrong with this dish, yet it did kind of underwhelm me. I was expecting much more, it kind of felt like a bowl of rice with the chicken mixed into it. Perhaps this has been prettied up too much, it seemed to have lost a little of it’s authenticity. I couldn’t complain about the amount of chicken that was buried beneath that rice, or the way that it had been cooked with a really nice spicy gravy. It was more that it was buried so deep, and that it seemed a little disparate from the rice as if they had only recently met.

To be honest I was kind of expecting to be disappointed, so perhaps I chose the wrong thing from the menu and perhaps my thoughts were already a little jaded before it came out from the kitchen. It was probably really good but the spice of that soup and the ever swelling belly filled with lager was groaning and complaining with each mouthful, I should have had something simple.

Kozhi Kuramulagu

Kozhi Kuramulagu at Kayal in Nottingham

One of the best dishes I tasted on the table was the Kozhi Kuramulagu also known as Keral Style Pepper Chicken. I wish that I had ordered this instead, if I come back I most certainly will!

The description on the menu was very simple “Boneless chicken cooked in a black pepper based sauce with onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and cashew nuts“.

It is hard to describe how much better it tasted. I will try, the bowl was packed with shredded chicken in a lovely thick sauce that was kind of a spicy tangy gravy. It was tart and almost citrusy, which probably comes from the traditional marinade for this dish that includes lemon juice.

Kayal Menu Logo

Despite my misgivings on the things that I chose to eat, I did enjoy eating at Kayal and I would come back better prepared and pick all the good stuff I missed out on.

There are apparently four Kayal restaurants in the country, this one on Broadway in Nottingham, and three others in Leicester, Leamington Spa, and in Surrey.

Kayal in Nottingham is located at

8, Broad Street
Nottingham
NG1 3AL
Ph: 0115 9414733
E: notts@kayalrestaurant.com

 

 

 

Purecraft Bar and Kitchen – Great Burger, Craft Beer, and a Decent Steak

Purecraft in Nottingham

Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, Located in an old bank that I had never noticed before, on St Peter’s Gate is another new venue in Nottingham City centre serving up ‘craft beers’ and upscale bar food. Inside it is high ceilings and spacious, very spacious to be honest or was that actually empty of punters? I went in midweek so perhaps it was just a quiet night.

I had meant to come to partake of their fare a couple of weeks ago, but I was saving the moment to coincide with a visit from my Good friend Mike from the States.

Mike is a big marathon runner and has run one in every state of the USA.  I am trying to get him to turn up for the Robin Hood Marathon this year, check out his blog In The Moment Running.

He says that Oscar and Rosie’s make the best pizza he has ever eaten, and he loves eating Fish and Chips at Georges. No pressure then taking him somewhere new and untried!

So lets have a look at what we found to eat and drink; Happily we both found some pretty good beers and some solid tasty food.

Let’s Eat

Menu at Purecraft in Nottingham

The savoury side of the menu offered up at Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, includes Small Plates and Large Plates, if you are here between 12-5pm you can also choose a sandwich or a board, but we weren’t so lets gloss over that section (although I will say that I would have been all over the Reuben if it had been available).

Small Plates wise I really wanted order both the Purecrafted Scotch Egg with Purity Beer Ketchup’ and the Macaroni Cheese with Pickled Reds’ but I know I couldn’t eat both and a main so I put them to one side and continued looking down the Large plates section (actually I could have eaten all three I am just pretending not to be a major glutton)  

There was a tasty sounding selection of things to keep us sustained on the list. I had been told that the ‘Braised Short Rib’  was really good , and I suppose considering that I was drinking a Sünner Kolsch I should have considered ordering the  ‘Pea, Leek & Old Winchester Gnocchi’ because that was the beer recommended to accompany that dish.

I didn’t though I decided to order the burger partly because I really wanted one, and partly because I believe that there are better burgers in this city than the ones that ‘everyone’ says are the best …just because

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Purecraft Burger

Burger at Purecraft iin Nottingham

The Burger at Purecraft Bar and Kitchen,  is ‘now’ right up there on the list of my best burgers in Nottingham. It is described on the menu as a “Crafted Wagyu Burger, Beedham’s Black Pudding, Beauvale, Fries and Slaw” served up for the princely sum of £14 which does seem a tad expensive.

It is however a really good burger and worth most of that money, the star of the show is the meat patty which should always be the main attraction. Here at Purecraft it was cooked perfectly, really well seasoned, moist, juicy, still a little bit pink in the middle, as it should always be! It was just so goddam meaty and tasty!

To add to the story the toppings of Beedham’s Black Pudding and the Beauvale Cheese were like the moments on the mouth that pushed this particular burger experience up from good to verging on great.

Is there a downside? Well yes it was served on another one of those ‘bloody goddam awful’ wooden boards, more seriously, apart from that all I can suggest is that the bread wasn’t strong enough on the base to hold it all together. That is a small thing to correct though as they have the perfect layering construction using the lettuce leaf to hold the sauce away from the bread to avoid sogginess. I think maybe a nice toasted bun would add a little more solidity and it would move this burger up my personal league table. Even though voting hasn’t started, I will tell you that the jury has been dismissed, paid off, and we all went home pretty happy.

It really is time to celebrate a really good simple burger. Sure you can still add a few toppings, basically cheese and bacon, but the burger itself should always be the star of the show. The toppings should be there to enhance the dining experience not to disguise a poor burger.

They seem to understand that at Purecraft, and other establishments maybe should sit up and take notice, I never champion style over substance (ok they threw some black pudding in there but I forgive them cos it was really good).

This might not be cheap, but it is good and it is up in the top five burgers I have eaten in Nottingham recently (maybe top two).

Having said that this is a craft beer bar not a burger joint so I am not hanging all my food scoffing points just on this one bite.

Oh I almost forgot! The burger is topped with one of those fried battered pickles, I hate pickles, but know what? I totally loved this one and I actually ate it! Now that is really something.

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Lets Eat Steak!

Steak at Purecraft in Nottingham

My very good friend Mike from Durham in North Carolina (tweeting at @runnersthoughts) went for the Bavette Steak with ‘Beer Butter’ Watercress and ‘Triple’ cooked chips for £16. It was recommended to be eaten ‘rare’ but he opted to eat his medium (I would have gone medium rare just to hedge my bets). The bavette cut doesn’t warrant overcooking anyway so it was bit of a chance to have it cooked that way.

His verdict was that it was one of the better steaks that he had eaten in the UK, that is pretty high praise, as most Americans I know say that our steak isn’t as good as theirs, we can agree to differ!  It did look really good and I was secretly a little jealous when it arrived, however my burger was so good that I think I won out in the end.

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We also drank some beer;

Sample Beer List from the Website

Beer List at Purecraft

Beer wise I had the Sünner Kölsch from Germany described here at Purecraft as ‘Unfiltered Kölsch; aromatic, spicy & refreshing’. I love the Kölsch style of beer, I first drank this in my mid twenties while working at the University of Koln, there it was served in a third size of glass and they brought it to your table on trays writing a tick on your beer mat for each one you drank. Ever since I have ordered it wherever I have found it. More recently I have been supping the excellent version called Krankshaft from the Metropolitan Brewery in Chicago.

Mike loves his darker beers when he comes to visit this side of the pond so ordered a pint of the Oatmeal Stout from Four Pure. This is described on the list as a ‘Smooth, sweet oat stout’. It looks like a meal in a glass to me, but I was just drinking the pale stuff so what business of mine was it? Me: “Is that Good Mike?” Mike: “Yes”

There is a lot of good stuff to choose from here at Purecraft, just bring a bit of extra cash because it is not that cheap and you can get great local beer all over the city at more competitive prices. I will still be coming back here to drink though because they have some different things to try and I like to live beyond my means on occasion when supping a pint of craft beer.

Chalkboard Action

Brunch Chalkb Board at Purecraft Nottingham

Outside the restaurant on the sidewalk erm sorry I meant pavement was a chalkboard advertising a lot of rather delicious sounding things you can eat at Brunch. Shame that it was only served between 9-11.45am on the weekend though!

I was keen to eat everything on the chalkboard, but I especially I am going to come back for the JT’s Crispy Beecon and Eggy Bread Sandwich. I read about this and learned that it is beef prepared like bacon. Sounds Ace my friends, I want one now.

I will probably though come in for the JT Beedham Breakfast, I love me a good brekkie!

Purecraft Bar and Kitchen is located at 13 St Peters Gate in Nottingham. Apart from the normal method of strolling in through the door, you can check them out on Facebook and on Twitter