31K in Nottingham have always been known for their excellent cocktails and meatballs
Now in 2022 they have decided to take a little swerve in direction
‘downing our meatballs tools for 2022′ and presenting the new @31K.notts tagline – ‘cocktails and kitchen’
Hopefully on occasion there still may be a meatball featured but I get that they wanted to progress the menu options so that the talent in the kitchen can express themselves a lot more.
The menu principle is the same where you select one item from four sections to create your own combination.
The difference now is that you select from ‘MAIN, ‘SAUCE’, ‘CARB’ and ‘GREEN’
so ‘BALL’ now is ‘MAIN’ get it?
With a good selection for the meat and non-meat eaters this is always been a good place to dine with a vegetarian in tow 🙂
The current menu was offering up mains of interest for myself in the form of Belly Pork and Crispy Chicken.
For my ertswhile companion Alison the options were Curried squash or Tempura veg.
We had similar combinations, I having the chicken and katsu curry with fries and kale, Alison the tempura, with plum sauce and the fries with kale.
I have no good photos of the tempura and didn’t have a taste but I have it on good authority from more than one source that it is a top notch main option, so for the purpose of the post I shall just witter on about what I ate 🙂
Basically if I am honest I played it quite safe going down the chicken and chips route when I selected my combo.
Officially the chicken element was ‘crispy chicken in a lemongrass marinade fried in a ginger panko crumb‘
The chips were ‘salt and pepper fries with caramelised peppers and onions‘
To sauce it up a pot of ‘katsu curry – mild coconut milk base with onions, garlic and tumeric‘ (the ever present menu staple these days wherever you go)
Alongside was a portion of the ‘crispy kale deep-fried with cornish sea salt flakes‘(think crispy seaweed from the local Chinese).
CRISPY CHICKEN MAIN
I really liked my selection, there was lot of chicken in my bowl and plenty of fries.
The panko crust on the chicken was crisp and crunchy as promised and I could pick out the ginger gently within each bite.
The marinated chicken inside the crust was moist and juicy, I got hints of flavour but nothing too overpowering.
To be honest once you have dipped a piece into your accompanying pot of katsu curry sauce you are going to disguise any subtle hints of lemongrass or the ginger
I am not normally a fan of the skinnier type of fries but these salt and pepper ones were quite enjoyable and they went well with the slices of sweet caramelised peppers and onions that came with them.
I liked the kale, but it was a bit flaky and I spent more time wiping bits off my face as it crumbled away on my fork than I would have cared for, but it was a good option in the combo so I sucked it up and took the hit on the chin (quite literally)
PORK BELLY BAO
Did I mention that they now also offer a selection of Bao buns that you can order on their own, as a side or as a starter?
I love a Bao and found this to be some small comfort for the demise of the meatballs when I was perusing the menu and pondering my options
The choices today or on the current menu were more or less the same as the mains with belly pork, crispy chicken and curried squash featuring again and a pulled jackfruit option added into the mix
Having picked the crispy chicken for my main, I picked the belly pork for my bao.
The menu described it as ‘belly pork shredded and coated in a sticky barbecue glaze’ it didn’t tell me that it was a right messy beast to eat and that I was going to end up with my hands and face covered in BBQ sauce after the first bite! 🙂
Fair enough though it was actually a really well filled and tasty bao.
There were really big bits of pork inside each one and maybe if they were shredded a little more I could have taken a bite with more poise and elegance.
Maybe I was just being really greedy taking way too big a bite as I stuffed it in my face.
The addition of these bao to the offerings at 31k is a bit of a game changer for me, as while I would be happy enough to come in every so often to try the combo meal for £12, I am way more likely to pop in for a cheeky bao for £4 especially when you can get a side of katsu topped fries for £4 too
SHOULD I GET A COCKTAIL
Originally I was just going to get a beer but when I was reading the cocktail menu my eyes were drawn to one called ‘Meadow Lane‘ and as a lifelong fan of the pies I could not bypass that as a consideration.
Dsecribed on the menu as ‘Citrus green tea and Bombay Sapphire shaken with lioncello, hibiscus liqueur and Lillet Blanc for a floral and fresh long drink. It’s easy, breezy, lemon squeezy.’
The only bit I really considered was that it was a Gin one so I took a leap of faith and ordered one.
Conclusion, it was good, I could have drunk a few on a summer evening, but one was enough for a midweek sup with work in the morning 🙂
I have always been a fan of 31K and have blogged about them before on occasion, firstly back in 2018 just after they first opened (read more here) and then again in 2020 when I was back for more meatball action (read more here)
In the intervening times I have been in on numerous occasions, and as I said up top while I gently mourn the demise of the meat ball I am happy to embrace the new direction ‘Cocktails and Kitchen’
Bar 31K is located at 31 Goosegate in Hockley Nottingham NG1 1FE.