So Friday was a day for lunch and a bit of art. A pretty nice day as it panned out. Elizabeth Frink is on at Lakeside Arts on the main Nottingham University Campus. It is free and on the tram-line so not excuse not to visit really…
Frink is one of my favourite artists, I like ‘big art”, that fills spaces and changes your perspective. Frinks sculptures are frequently life-size or bigger. It is hard to capture the perspective on a camera phone, but the standing horse was horse-size, and the dogs were dog-sized and the standing figures are probably 7 foot tall or more on their plinths.
The idea had been to have a bit of lunch at one of the two cafes at the site, but they were packed, and I think, given the proliferation of name-tags it was probably a student open day for the Uni. So we headed over to West Bridgford and, on a whim, dipped into Escabeche for tapas.
I’ve heard a lot about this place, all good, I am not sure why it has taken so long for me try it out. We opted for the menu del dia at £9.95 a head, 2 tapas dishes, flatbread and a side. More than enough for lunch.
We started with a couple of beers – a really interesting selection and beers we have never tried before, the husband’s was made with Sea Water from the Med, apparently (not sure that is actually a winning strapline…😳) while I chose the artisan Desiderata. Both were really nice, and really different. I think mine had the edge.
The flatbread was lovely, warm and fresh with just enough salt and rosemary not to overpower it. Dishes don’t all come at once (not unusual for tapas, I know). Oddly the husband’s choices all arrived first – still… I am not taking it personally.
The lentil salad (which it would appear, I inexplicably failed to photograph) with chilli, piquillo pepper, feta and coriander was really well prepared and we fought over the last lentil. The husband’s choice of charcuteri plate was replete, with a good selection of cured meats – for me it was a bit “same old” but he enjoyed it and we both loved the fresh capers.
The lamb kofta (a surprising choice I thought for the husband) were absolutely superb, well flavoured and with a just perfect amount of charcoally crust from the grill. Pretty much spot-on I would say (and, as you know, I am not one for hyberbole).
My carrot and courgette fritters were crispy and very moreish, if I am being picky I think they could have been removed from the fryer just a few seconds earlier, but they were nonetheless good and we could have nibbled on them all afternoon.
My warm salad of calf’s liver with spinach, crunchy bacon and new potatoes, sherry vinegar, tomato & sage dressing, was just fantastic, really well cooked. One minor grumble, one piece of the (very generous) portion of liver still had a sinew in it. Too chewy to eat. Really a shame as the dish was otherwise really lovely.
My side of Padron peppers with sea salt was perfectly nice, I think I would have preferred them with a little more heat. But they were fine.
We were cheerfully and efficiently served by a very smiley blonde lady and all in all Escabeche provided us with a really rather nice lunch, and great value at just over £30 with 3 beers. What a fab place, we’ll definately return.