All posts filed under: Latest News – a little bit of foodie serendipity

Quite curious, but damn good. Mr P’s.

On a day out in York a few weeks ago, I decided to take up a recommendation from a fellow Great Food Club editor in Yorkshire and try out Mr P’s Curious Tavern (no relationship so far as I can tell to any “Curious” parlours, taverns, townhouses or manors in Nottingham). I am very glad indeed that I did. I’ m getting a bit weary of the parade of tapas, world tapas, cuban tapas, small plates thing there seems to be one popping up every few weeks, so few really do them well and honestly please don’t present me with another bowl of square chips puroporting to be patatas bravas and charging me a fiver for the privelege. No, I am becoming a little jaded with the whole tapas thing. But Mr P (the eponymous Mr Perkins is Andrew Pern, executive chef and chef owner at Michelin starred Star Inn at Harome and The Star Inn the City) is in another league though, offering a range (and I mean a range) of small plates with …

Visiting the glorious Welbeck Estate (in inappropriate footwear).

The beautiful Welbeck Estate nestled in Sherwood Forest is in the heart of the ancient royal hunting grounds – the Dukeries. Welbeck Abbey was founded in 1153 and when dissolved, the Estate became the home of the Dukes of Portland and it continues to be privately owned to this day. Apart from the beautiful natural setting and the stunning buildings it is perhaps best known for the labyrinth of underground tunnels and rooms (including a ballroom!) constructed by the 5th Duke and for its time leased to the MOD for an army training college until 2005. It is once again lived in by members of the extended family who have transformed it into a thriving working Estate which provides inspiring, creative spaces for artisan food businesses, education and the arts. Although the house is private there is much to see to in the open parts of the estate and I was invited along to meet some of the fantastic artisan food businesses which operate out of Welbeck and to visit the Farm Shop. As well …

Kimchi, Sauerkraut & Pickled Lemons – a day of pickling at the School of Artisan Food

I love the School of Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire. It is an absolute gem. It is set on the wonderful Welbeck Abbey Estate, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Portland in the heart of the ancient Dukeries. The Estate remains private but is now also home to a number of thriving artisan food businesses (of which more in a later blog) and the superb School. On this occasion I attended for the Great Food Club. Below is a version of the article, which can be found at greatfoodclub.co.uk “Fermentation is, let’s face it, a staging post on the road to rot” so said our tutor for the day, food writer and cook Lindy Wildsmith, as we began a day of Pickling and Fermenting at the fabulous School of Artisan Food. If you don’t know the School, it is situated on the beautiful Welbeck Estate at the heart of Sherwood Forest and is surely is one of the jewels in Nottinghamshire’s culinary crown. Established in 2006, the School is housed in the former Victorian …

Street Food, but not on the Street. Chef Jugz and the Homeboys

We local foodies all got a bit excited at the prospect of a street food market opening up in Nottingham when word broke a few weeks back and much speculation was had as to where this might be. There are lots of side streets and lanes which emanate from Nottingham’s central Market Square that could host such a thing, and already there are plans to close off to traffic some of the streets in boho Hockley to encourage people to spend time there in the evenings. So, it was a bit of surprise when the location was announced as being in the food bit of the large Intu Victoria Shopping Centre, the posher of the two Centres in town. Not exactly what you’d consider to be “street” by any stretch. Still we rocked up with our e-tickets for the opening Saturday, nonetheless. (Did anyone actually check anyone’s e-tickets or was it just a cunning wheeze to get our details..call me an old cynic). Anyway, sure enough in a back room of the foodie bit (which …

The Flying Childers at Chatsworth House

The Flying Childers Restaurant at the glorious Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is the latest foodie option to open on the Estate and it is not what you might expect. The Flying Childers (named after a prize winning stallion acquired by the 2nd Duke of Devonshire in 1719) offers only Afternoon Tea (and I use the word “only” advisedly here) and now brunch. That’s it, a brunch and afternoon tea restaurant. I recently visited for the Great Food Club  – check out the website greatfoodclub.co.uk Open for only 4 weeks when we visited, the Flying Childers is tucked away in the corner of the House’s magnificent stable block. I say tucked away as, although there is seating outside (as there is in much of the stable yard) when we visited the signage was so low key as to be almost invisible. Don’t let that put you off though, once inside the large glass doors you are greeted by a portrait of the eponymous Childers and find yourself in an elegant, refined and relaxed space which combines …

Eating out in Shoreditch – Pitt Cue, Rök & Som Saa, and breakfast at Ruby’s

So, I pretty much ate my way round around Shoreditch over a couple of days last week. In order to justify such excess, I offer this as my recommendations should you find yourself kicking your heels in the City of London and in need of sustenance. My hit list had included Pitt Cue, Fish (at Borough Market) and Som Saa. Two of these feature, Fish was replaced with the sublime Rök, which I stumbled upon when heading somewhere else and there were a couple of random additions. First up  (and a random addition) Busaba Thai, on Old Street, this is a chain, it seems there are 16 of them. This might explain the service. This was a “we’re tired and starving, what’s close?” choice, rarely a good basis for a restaurant decision, but needs must and all that. Spacious and dimly lit, with large shared tables, the interior is clean and modern with the odd nod to Oriental style, (paper lanterns) but it is subtle and not in your face. As there was barely anyone …

Spare me your side of despair. Sunday Lunch in Shelford.

The Earl of Chesterfield in Shelford is an odd sort of pub. For a start it doesn’t look like a pub, it looks like a house with bits added. Secondly, it has had an odd couple of years, being a pub then closing then being bought by the village as a community owned asset and then latterly by a partnership that includes the ex England cricketer Chris Board. It is a fairly popular place – particularly good for dog walking and horse-riding types who can get straight to the door from the surrounding fields and down a quick half before ambling, or trotting, off. But how is its Sunday Lunch? I wish you hadn’t asked, because I really, really wanted to like this odd little place. I’ll keep it brief. Service was fine, although there seemed to be too many staff for the number of customers and we were asked perhaps 5 times by different people if wanted a bottle of wine with our meal – even while we examined the wine menu. One poor …

This sexy mamma and that Sexy Mamma…

It takes a lot to impress me. This may be because I am old, cynical and jaded, it may be because I have very high standards or perhaps a bit of both, or maybe I’m just picky and difficult, I’ll let others decide. But just occasionally something comes along that surprises and delights and reminds you why it’s good to be alive. And it is. And Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti is one of those things. Nothing is perfect of course, and I can find a few grumbles  – we were right by the door and it blew open several times and there was sharp wind on that corner, and perhaps, well, no, actually, I’m not even going to bother because this place is absolutely superb and it would be churlish to mention such issues in the scheme of things. SMLS is the third opening in about a 100 yard space in Nottingham’s trendy and bohemian creative quarter, Hockley, by Bosnian chef Edin Gondzic (him of the cool Patisserie, see my earlier blog post ). It …

My day out with the “Snobby Butcher”

Sharing a version of my Great Food Club article on one of Nottingham’s most famous (possibly infamous) Butchers.. “So, what have you got on today, mum?” “Well, I am going to have breakfast with a Master Butcher and then meet his pigs.” “Cool, see ya.” That was kind of how my day with the award-winning Johnny Pusztai, the Master Butcher of Nottingham’s Mansfield Road, started. You know how sometimes you come across a place and you think “how come I never knew how amazing this was?” That was how I felt when I stepped inside the unprepossessing J.T. Beedham’s (Johnny’s butcher’s shop) on a damp January morning. Beedham’s, has been selling quality meats on the Mansfield Road in Sherwood since 1884, and the small shopfront nestled between cafes, pubs, healthfood shops and delis is the front for an Aladdin’s cave of butchery, smoking, curing and drying that makes the most of all the nooks, crannies, cellars and yard of this turn-of-the-century building. You need to visit somewhere like Beedham’s to remind yourself what real butchers …

Sunday Lunch – hold the red cabbage and don’t pretend your Aunt Bessie didn’t make those Yorkshires.

As you may know, I get properly fed up with poor Sunday Lunches in pubs and, God forbid, “carveries”. So poor had many of these offerings become that I pretty much stopped eating Sunday lunch out, especially since my own version made at home was, even if I do say so myself, pretty damn good. Anyway, in the interests of research I have begun to venture out again on a Sunday, not least because I had a fairly good one in a local pub and, so surprised was I, I decided the time had come to bite that bullet (which pretty much was my former experience of most pub roasts). I always go for beef. I do this because I think it is the hardest to cook well and the hardest to keep well during service. I know, mean eh? Anyway, I am going to give a shout out to two of my local pubs, the Chestnut and the Royal Oak Pub and Kitchen (part of the Moleface Pub group) in Radcliffe on Trent. All …