All posts tagged: foodie

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 café 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 …

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 …

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 café 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 …

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 …

There is no “r” in the month. But what the hell. The Oystermen, Covent Garden.

As you know, I’m an ostreophile. I love a good oyster (and, no, no chewing, just a push up against the roof of the mouth and a swallow, see earlier posts and please God, don’t cook them), so the opening of “The Oystermen” in Covent Garden just the week before our most recent visit to London put this squarely on the “hit list”. The Oystermen is small, like the Smoking Goat (more of that superb place later), located on Henrietta St just beside Covent Garden Market. Small, as in, maybe 20ish covers? but perfectly formed. Simple, fresh, seafood, trendy, bearded owner and chief shucker.  Not only am I a fan of oysters, I love a fresh boiled crab. I can dissect one with alarming alacrity, even if I do say so myself. Keep your boring, expensive lobsters and give me a good old fashioned brown crab.  I was at home the moment we walked in. I started with the oysters, (natch). Half a dozen, 2 of each type (the FWD can’t cope with the texture *rolls eyes* so she passed). Maldon Rock, Blackwater …

Adam Handling’s Frog in E1

As you may know (check out my blog post from 2015) I have been a fan of the lovely Adam Handling since the evening before the first airing of Masterchef, the Professionals (in which he featured) when I tweeted my view that he looked like a winner (he didn’t win, but still emerged the star of the show). The FWD would almost certainly dispute that I am a fan, and would probably suggest I am more of a rather embarrassing, aging groupie, with an inappropriate crush on a late 20 something year old chef… and this is probably fair.  We first ate Adam’s food at the Caxton and it was amazing even then, and we tried again when he opened the Frog last year but events intervened and we couldn’t make it. However, last week we rocked up to the rather cool The Frog in Spitalfields.  It feels like a pop-up but isn’t. It’s not what you’d necessarily expect  – after the slightly stuffy formality of the Caxton – with it’s graffiti-style logo and scribbled billet doux to Adam (and his food) on the walls. It’s kind …

Dry Ice and Petit Fours – a culinary “masterclass” at Ye Olde Bell

I was delighted to be invited to a “culinary masterclass” recently at Ye Olde Bell in the rural village of Barnby Moor on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The ‘Bell is a 59 room hotel which dates back to the 17th century. It  has a fascinating history, rising to prominence as a stopping place between Edinburgh and London for the new postal service established in 1635. It has also served as stables, a chapel and the HQ of the 1st Cavalry Division during WW2. Its a bit of a hike out from my side of the county, but I didn’t know this venue at all so my curiosity was piqued. The hotel has been fully renovated by the current owners, Paul and Hilary Levack, combining modern and traditional features and now also has a multi-million pound Spa attached. Unfortunately, as I had an excruciatingly early morning the next day, an option to stay over and try out the spa wasn’t possible. Maybe next time. It is clearly a popular venue for a wedding, banquet or …

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 …