Studio23 Café and Kitchen on Heathcote Street in Nottingham is the latest venture and location by Timeout who were previously located up on Wheeler Gate. They have taken up residence in Hockley in the space that was formerly occupied by the tapas restaurant Tapestry.
It was a welcome sight to find the Timeout guys here as I had seen a closed sign at their old place and it had all gone quiet on social media, then I realised that they had just rebranded. I was happy to see that they were still serving up Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese inspired Street Food and have pretty much the same menu.
Today I was in the mood for something soothing and comforting so I had headed inside looking for a bowl of some kind of noodle soup and it was to come to pass that I was to end up ordering a bowl of Pho. Lets see how that all panned out 🙂
The Pho at Studio 23 is one of the better ones that I have slurped down in Nottingham. It has a lot going for it, they say that the base pork broth is cooked for four hours, now I am not sure that is long enough to get really deep flavours, but it was enough to deliver a nice light satisfying bowl on this occasion.
I was getting some of that fatty and kind of satisfying porkiness which I like, I suppose some people like a clearer broth but I am not ‘some people’. ‘I like that as you stir the beef and the aromatics into the broth, that bits and pieces of ‘flavour’ mix their way into the soup.
As the broth cools you can pick out the subtle yet most welcome back-notes of cinnamon and star anise, they are more like undertones or perhaps pho undertow drawing you back into the bowl for more spoonfuls.
There was a lot of beef in the bowl, perhaps it could have been cut into smaller slices as it is hard to fish out a slice the size of a fried egg with chopsticks, I could not even manage to get it on my fork without a few dribbles on my T-shirt 🙂 The main thing to note is that you get a lot of it.
Pho is a most individualistic meal, some people cherish a light broth when feeling perhaps a little under the weather like when in a ‘chicken soup for the soul’ moment, some people just get all fired up hunting out that rich broth stock made from bones cooked for a day low and slow on the stove. It is kind of like your bowl and you should just enjoy it for what you need from it.
They always seem to stick that bottle of Sriracha on the table and a bottle of Hoisin sauce too. Now I like to add a little bit of both but you do need some caution especially with a lighter flavoured broth as the hot sauce can be a bit vinegary sometimes and the Hoisin can make it too sweet.
On this day I added in a lot of the mint, sliced chilli and a good squeeze of that Lime that came on the side plate, then I let it all steep for a while in the broth to let the flavour release and that really seemed to do the trick.
I also bunged in most of the beansprouts, which while they add little flavour wise, they do add a lot of crunch which balances nicely with those soft noodles. I really liked the balance as well of the slivers of onion and slices of scallion (green onion) too.
All in all this quite a heartening bowl of Pho and I know that it is just one of the things on the menu at Studio 23 so it is not their only speciality. They do have a great big sign outside saying ‘What the “PHO”!’so they kind of must really want you to come in an try it 🙂
I was glad to try it and glad to see some of their other stuff from the TimeOut Kitchen still on the menu.
Some of the meals I had eaten there and blogged about include The Bulgogi Rice Bowl and The Mentaiko Pasta both of which were excellent and will hopefully be just as good here. I have a lot more stuff that I want to try as well.
Studio23 is located at 23-25 Heathcoat Street in Hockley.
Some of the Menu