All posts tagged: food

The Black Bull at Blidworth (Blid’uth)

Sometimes you just find a find, don’t you? The Black Bull is one of them. I had a stunning breakfast at the Black Bull a few months back in the company of Master Butcher, Johnny Pusztsai but this time we went for dinner. Got to be honest, from my side of Nottingham, Blidworth is a bit of a hike – around 30 minutes in a cab, but it is worth every penny. A traditional village pub, stylish and friendly, with absolutely superb food, an imaginative menu brilliantly executed and a great gantry. This may be my spiritual home in the coalfields… The Tasting Menu was very tempting but the dinner menu was just too hard to resist. We started with home-made bread and beef butter with puffed barley – put me in mind of Adam Handling’s chicken butter and crispy skin starter, and it was just as good. I was particularly tempted by the Lobster/Oyster/Cucumber/Caviar combination. I’m a sucker for oysters and caviar (cheap date, I am not) and the FWH went for the lamb …

The Railway, Lowdham

The Railway (formerly the Railway Inn) has had some serious money thrown at it and it shows.  A once tired local pub is now a really rather cool, contemporary pub/restaurant with some great nods in the decor to its railway heritage, a wood burning stove and an open pass to the kitchen as well as some brilliant space outside, including a raised deck. And, it feels great when you walk in. On my continued quest for a decent pub Sunday lunch it seemed worth a punt. I know I get a bit tiresome on the old Sunday Lunch theme, but as I hadn’t eat a Sunday roast in a pub for about 20 years as they had become so bloody awful and my own were so much better, I am now on something of a mission, and I always have the beef – even if the non-traditional Sunday menu looks more inviting, because beef is the hardest to cook well and keep and because its a fairer comparison (I know there is no real science …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Does this crumble look cooked to you?

Oh my word it has been a long time since I was here. Things have been so hectic this last 3 months. Not the least of which is that the Fishwife’s team expanded to include a puppy. This, I have now remembered, is not all cuteness and stolen toilet rolls. Nope, it is also sleepless nights, chewed chairs, ripped curtains and full-on attention seeking. These facts, long forgotten since my last dog, are exacerbated by the fact that the Fishwife’s pup is a Vizsla (known as Velcro dogs for very good reason). Anyway, I have managed to  discover a few gems over this time, and there has been one rather unfortunate pub Sunday lunch. I know, I know, as someone tweeted me recently, I never learn. To be fair, on this occasion, the pub in question had asked me to come along and try their Sunday Lunch as the new owners of said pub had been trying very hard to get the food right and wanted some feedback. So being rather a game bird, I …

The strange case of the Herbert Kilpin

There has been a lot of noise recently about Herbert. He is apparently a Nottinghamshire lad, born in 1870, the son of a Butcher, who lived with his 9 siblings at 129 Mansfield Rd. He was a keen local footballer and when he eventually moved to Turin to work for an Italian textile merchant with links to a local Nottinghamshire lace manufacturer, he continued to play. From Turin he moved to Milan where he helped set up a local football team that was later to become A.C.Milan and he is, as such, thought by many to be its “founder”. This is, apparently, a “big thing” in the world of football. So when a new city centre pub was opened on Bridlesmith Gate (next to its brother-in-arms Junkyard – with whom it shares a garden and kitchen), named after Herbert there was much interest. Moverover, the pub opened in a delightful but neglected classic and rather iconic building down a city centre ginnel. Describing itself as “urban village pub”, I decided to check it out for …

Is it baked? Yes, well, we bake it first, then microwave it.

Good Grief. Ok, I am going to share this tale with you. On the way back from Lincoln to Nottingham yesterday, I persuaded the husband to stop off at The Friendly Farmer on the A46 just before Newark. I say persuaded as he was rather sceptical about a cafe cum farm shop on a major roundabout next to a dual carriageway. But is was lunchtime and we were starving. We parked up and things were not altogether promising. The whole prospect was slightly shabby. A group was sat smoking at a picnic table at the front of the shop right by the entrance (smoke away by all means, but it isn’t the best welcome for a non-smoker looking for lunch), the front doors are distinctly grubby and in need of a serious spruce up and a coat of paint. Inside the large space is part cafe and then a sort of higgedly piggedly mix of farm shop and butcher. We walked up to the counter, which had an array of bain maries keeping food warm …