Pilot at Goose Gate in Hockley occupies the old Nash Interiors shop and is a welcome addition to the independent restaurant sector in Nottingham. I had read a little about the place prior to my visit and although my mind was open I was a little confused by the menu. The extended name is Pilot-Poultry and Prosecco and apparently they are the only place in the country to sell Prosecco on draught. I wasn’t previously aware that the Prosecco crowd were fervent Rotisserie Chicken aficionados but maybe there is a movement that I have missed, after all down in London they quaff Champagne with their Hot dogs at Bubbledogs. I decided that we would just gloss over that whole theme and move on to the menu, but then I saw that they also served Pizza, so it was now Poultry and Prosecco and Pizza.
We just glossed past that for a moment as we were hungry for some of that Poultry, it was time to check out the ‘Rotisserie section’ of the menu and eat some Chicken. I was liking the simple look of all four chicken options on the menu. House (basically just plain Rotisserie chicken with a choice of dips), Lemon, Bourbon, and Jerk (I believe each name is enough to give the idea of what they might taste like). We decided to get two different half chicken plates, I fancied something a little spicy so opted for the Jerk and to counter that we chose the Lemon as we thought it might cool us down if the Jerk was too spicy.
The ‘Jerk’ Chicken
My choice was the ‘Jerk’ Chicken which was billed on the menu thus “Scotch Bonnet Chilli, Allspice, Coriander, Lime & Thyme”. It arrived all chopped up neatly in a bowl, visually it was a most appetising plateful. The chicken was covered in a dark brown glaze, runny ‘gentle Jerk’ sauce, thin strips of red chilli and some unknown micro-greens. The menu online tells us that their “Rotisserie chicken is jointed, glazed & finished in the wood fired oven.” which accounts for the presentation and to be honest made for a much better and easier sharing experience.
The Jerk sauce was relatively mild which is probably OK for most as it leads to a more enjoyable eating experience, if you came looking for some serious Caribbean style heat hit then you might be a little disappointed. I was quite happy though I liked it and found it to be quite a pleasurable plateful. Heat apart the sauce was really well balanced and together with the moist chicken gave me a plateful that I would happily recommend and come back to eat again.
The ‘Lemon’ Chicken
My Companion chose the ‘Lemon’ chicken from the menu which is described as ‘Lemon, Fennel, Rosemary, Honey & Balsamic’. It probably would not surprise you to hear that the overall taste was sweet and citrusy. I quite liked the pieces that I ate and considering that I was eating those while chowing down on, in comparison, a spicier dish I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavour stood up all by itself alongside that spicy chicken.
We added a couple of sides one from the ‘specials menu’ and one from ‘regular menu’ The Tato’s described on the menu as “Crispy Spice Potatoes – Seasonal Mayo” turned out to be more or less what we thought they would be, ‘chunky chips with a pot of mayo’ and the Side of Roast Corn with Chilli & Lime Butter’ was essentially fancy corn on the cob. Ok so maybe I seem to belittle them both but I know that is what you will be thinking that they look like from the photographs.
We liked both, the Corn was really good with a decent hot of Chilli countered with a tang of citrus from that Lime. The Chips were a mix of the solid crunchy chips and crispy potato skins mixed into the chip stack. The garlicky mayo actually worked really well with my spicier chicken and although simple was quite an effective player on my plate.
So all in all this was a really most enjoyable lunch, the chicken was moist and flavourful, the sides played there part and the price point (around £15 each) although on the edge of expensive for essentially chicken and chips was reasonable for the quality of the food that we ate.
So what about the rest of that menu?
As for the ‘eclectic menu’ that includes Pizza as well, even though I am not sure that it works as a concept in my mind I am pretty sure that I may well return to try one. I liked the sound of the ‘Rabbit Sausicon’ pizza on the specials menu and on the regular menu I understand that the one to try for the curious mind is the ‘Lahmacun pizz’a which is topped with “Lamb mince, Ras el hanout, pomegranate, Greek yogurt, and parsley salad.” I think someone in the kitchen is having a lot of fun with the menu.
Another dish that we saw on another diner’s plate was the Cubano sandwich or to give the correct name the ‘Grande Cubano’ described as ‘Our signature sandwich smothered in Montery Jack Cheese’. You can get one of these filled with Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, or Rotisserie Chicken for £9 and from what I saw they are huge and would feed at least two people. It looked good but is really an ode to the Cuban Sandwich or Cuban which is traditionally made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. Still it did look good so maybe I should stop being picky
They are open Tuesday to Saturday so be warned, ‘no chicken for you’ on Sunday or Monday.
We really did like the chicken