All posts filed under: Restaurant Stories

Kushi- ya Japanese inspired pop-up

Kushi -ya is a monthly supper club that has been running in Nottingham since late last year, serving up Japanese inspired pub food. Each sitting is small, around 15 tickets are made available and they pretty much sell out within the hour. So the wider Nottingham fooderatti were more than a little excitable when Kushi-ya took over the Cottonmouth Cocktail Bar for two days this month. Kushi-ya¬† is the product of a collaboration between Simon Carlin, head chef at Iberico World Tapas (most people’s ‘go to’ Tapas bar in town), and their former sous chef Tom Clay. And it was pretty marvellous. The menu consisted of snacks, small plates, skewers (cooked on a traditional Japanese Konro grill) and a choice of 2 desserts. Between FWH and myself we ordered 11 dishes, but I could probably have got through the entire menu with a little more effort on my part and perhaps if I hadn’t filled up on a Pornstar Martini at The Alchemist first. We had the “snacks” while we chose the mains – the …

Truffle infused eggs & apple curd, simple pleasures at Crimson Tree.

Heading back to Nottingham’s Mansfield Road for breakfast found us in the recently relocated Crimson Tree. Mansfield Rd has got to be one of Nottingham’s ‘go to’ destinations for breakfast/brunch now, with the superb Bakehouse and Crimson Tree within spitting distance of each other and both offering some seriously great food.   You can’t miss the Crimson Tree’s stunningly decorated pillars which frame the door (I know, I know, crap photo ūüôĄ) and on the bright and sunny Autumn morning we visited the sun shone through the large windows, creating a bright and cheery interior.   The walls of the Crimson Tree are covered from floor to ceiling with Arabic style tiles and with the great baked goods on display, the welcoming bar as you enter, the rustic furniture, and friendly staff, we’d found anther gem.   With daily specials, interesting and eclectic dishes with unusual combinations that make for something of an eating adventure and tea served in pretty vintage crockery, I’d struggle to fault this place, and, as you know, I’m a bit …

Breakfast at the Bakehouse

The Bakehouse on Nottingham’s Mansfield Road in Sherwood probably needs little introduction to local readers as in the year or so since they opened they have gone from strength to strength, nominated for, and winning, a variety of awards and winning plaudits from its customers and foodie types across the city and beyond. The Bakehouse is an artisan bakery using traditional methods to create a range of delicious breads, cakes, biscuits and sweet and savoury bakes. The recipes focus on traditional techniques and ingredients. It is the¬†first solo venture of chef Craig Poynter and his wife Rosea – ¬†a caf√© during the day and a micro-pub¬†and occasional supper club in the evening. We visited for breakfast and it was so phenomenally¬†good, I needed to share. By 9 am , it was already filling up but we managed to grab the last table for 2. The breakfast menu features the old favourites (full English – meat or veggie version, bacon or sausage sandwich – using local award winning butcher Johnny Pusztai, natch) as well as more …

Eating (and drinking) at Nottingham’s most anticipated new opening – Alex Bond’s Alchemilla

There has been much fevered anticipation of the opening of this new restaurant on Nottingham’s Derby Road over the last year. It has been a project of gargantuan proportions by Alex Bond and his backers. Alex (Chef Director) has been overseeing the complete renovation of a former carriage building and stables at the front of a what used to be the grand townhouse of a local lace merchant. The building has been unused and standing empty for around 200 years. I interviewed Alex last year for Great Food magazine and was astonished to the see the scale of his vision. The building was in a state of significant disrepair with tree roots growing through the roof and centuries (quite literally) of dirt, dust and damp to dig out. ¬†¬† And now he has done it. The former semi -derelict Coach House is now an amazing space, retaining the wonderful brick walls and archways, with new sky lights bringing lots of natural light in. Nottingham can probably boast one of the most architecturally interesting and atmospheric …

A super lunch at the Staunton Arms, Vale of Belvoir.

Just had a fabulous pub lunch and felt the need to share the joy. This is a not a Sunday Lunch you understand – as that’s a whole other kettle of fish, as you know. In fact it was a Wednesday lunch and bloody good too. We drove out to the delightful Staunton Arms in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir, we drove out because I can’t imagine there is really any other way to get there, I didn’t spot a bus, but one might exist. The Staunton Arms is certainly rural. I was recommended to try this – always a risk I find – but I was not disappointed. It is a 200 year old pub in a listed building in a small, what would you call it? probably hamlet rather than village, surrounded by rolling countryside. The weather was kind to us and we sat outside. It was busy, we only just found a parking space so full was it and I am glad we made reservations as the place was¬†bustling (in a good …

On taking Mother to a very unlikely spot for Teppanyaki

Taking the FWM out for lunch is always a bit of a challenge as she lives in a village in Lincolnshire that is a virtual desert when it comes to local pubs¬†(at least that sell decent food)¬†and restaurants. In fact such a dearth is there that unless one is prepared to drive into Lincoln and take your chance on finding a parking space anywhere¬†near¬†where you want to be, or settle for a sandwich at the local garden centre, there is pretty much nowhere to go.¬†So when I spotted a¬†Japanese¬†Steakhouse and Sushi bar existed on the¬†Doddington Road¬† (the Lincoln Bypass, essentially) that also¬†had parking, we decided to¬†give it¬†a go. If one is to imagine a setting (or¬†even a name – Ethan’s)¬†that looks less likely to host a Japanese restaurant I can’t¬†think you could conjure up anything quite as unlikely as this. It is essentially on¬†a garage forecourt abutting the ring road located in a rather odd (or quirky if you prefer)¬†circular building with exposed iron scaffolding on the roof, which it shares with a BBQ grill …

Sicilian Stories, sweat and bruschetta

Love Italy, love Italian food (except gnocchi – just cannot get that stuff) and have had some amazing food on some fabulous holidays. I think I have visited probably 10 times, from the lakes in the North, to Rome, Tuscany and Venice, to Sorrento, Capri and Positano in the South, but never yet ventured to Sicily. So this year’s holiday was a first. Before Sicily though we have Birmingham airport, and I just wanted to share this gem with you. This beaut is a “sausage bloomer sandwich” and it cost ¬£7. Yep. I will leave that with you…. Taormina is perched halfway up a cliff and¬†is truly beautiful, a wonderful old town with meandering ginnels, alleyways and streets, with ancient artefacts (the odd 2000 year¬†old¬†amphitheatre or mosaic) around¬†every corner, mingling with characterful¬†old buildings and all human life, particularly Italians, for whom this is¬†favourite holiday resort. The streets are packed with shops, restaurants and bars and the¬†views from the cliff side over the¬†med¬†are stunning. Alongside the smaller¬†antiquities there is also a truly fabulous Greek amphitheatre which …

Eating out in London – random musings on the great, the okay and the rest

We had some fabulous food on our recent¬†stay to London, Adam Handling’s The Frog in Spitalfields, Smoking Goat in Soho and the Oystermen in Covent Garden were the highlights. We had some pretty good sushi¬†(I am no expert on this, has to be said) at Eat Tokyo in Camden and a fabulous pizza in Neal’s Yard. All these have their own posts on the blog if you have the time. We had some not so good stuff – my taco at Greenwich Market was a particular low-light, soggy, gritty and taste free (see separate post). ¬†and I had¬†a not unpleasant but distinctly underwhelming salt beef brioche in Convent Garden Market. Popped to a couple of nearby caf√© for breakfasts, I didn’t record the names for posterity and mostly I watched the rest of the FWF eat the food, but we had some decent fry-ups, and I discovered that a ¬†“Liver Breakfast” is a thing. I think this is a fry-up with liver (I’m hazarding a guess here, but for sure most of the cafes in …

Passing through Neal’s Yard? Homeslice Pizza- perfection.

So you know, you just wander around a small bit of London and the history and stories of the town never cease to take you by surprise. I know Seven Dials quite well, but not as well as I thought. I mean, how come I had¬†never actually wandered into Neals Yard and Monty Python’s old gaff? Well with a bit of time to spare before a hair¬†appointment, we popped in for some lunch. The sun was shining, the crowd was mingling and the smell of freshly cooked pizza was just that bit too much to resist. It was ages until dinner, in any event. Homeslice Pizza was buzzing, the place was rammed, queues were out the door, the woodfired oven was on full and the pizza smelled divine. Homeslice is rooted in streetfood, starting as precisely that (as so many do now, and it’s fab) and now has 3 permanent sites in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Shoreditch, so not a chain and I think it shows in the sheer¬†quality of the pizza. Do something simply …

The Smoking Goat, Soho

So, here’s another gem, this time in Soho. Nestled between any number of guitar and musical instrument shops that stretch the whole length of Denmark Street is the entirely unassuming Smoking Goat. The ‘Goat describes itself as “Thai Barbecue” but it is as far from the usual fare that this implies as I’ve seen. Moreover, they specialise in using rare-breed British meat. Again, with much owed to Thai street food, (the¬†guys behind this place travelled extensively in the northern regions of Thailand) this amazing food has transitioned perfectly. The Smoking Goat is small with around 20 covers at the front (if you include eating at the bar) and some more space at the rear (10 maybe?). The food is to die for, honestly, the flavours, textures and execution were just fabulous. Like The Oystermen in Covent Garden and, indeed, Rok in Shoreditch, I love the intimacy of these little places, each having a distinctive vibe and located in interesting¬†places and characterful old buildings. I am pretty much done with stuffy formality and reverence when I’m …