Thursday, 11 November 2010

Top 3 French Restaurants. Le Mistral - but wintry!

Brrr. Brrr. Brrr. Cold, wet, dark and definitely winter!

Okay, it's not that cold yet. But I am sure it's coming soon. Perhaps we'll have lots of snow like last year. I don't mind snow hanging around as long as it's not that horrid, dirty slushy stuff.

My turn to choose last week after the impressive forethought of booking in last week, not sure why it was my choice as I booked it. Hmm. I believe I have been had on that one!

Anyhow I chose one of our top 3 French restaurants in Nottingham. Le Mistral. Regular readers will realise that this is a return visit to a place we went to in the summer. This time since it was howling a gale and pouring with rain we did not sit outside (perhaps not really a surprise!).

The usual lady wasn't there and they were busy. Fortunately we sneaked in the last available table for two. Apparently 6 weeks before Christmas you start needing to book in, as it gets very popular.

I went for the winter veg risotto from the specials board, and my friend went for his usual (Moules et Frites). To be honest with you I am not sure that we have been to Le Mistral without him having this dish, maybe he's had a steak once. My risotto was lovely. Moist and succulent. The usual problem I have with risotto was also neatly avoided. Even with the tastiest risotto I tend to get bored halfway through as it's all the same flavour / texture. The winter vegetables in this one made for a varying taste experience with every mouthful. Lovely. The great big bowl of moules sitting opposite me also disappeared completely so can't have been bad!

Bustly and relaxed in atmosphere, even though the waiter was clearly dealing with a full restaurant we didn't spend too long waiting for anything, so they get good marks there too!

The rating:
Good food, comfortable atmosphere. An all occasion go-to restaurant.

The summary:
Food: French, not fussed or primped.
Price: Mid range (Mains £8-£15, puddings around £4-5)
Atmosphere: Busy and comfortable

Treated to Tarn Thai

This Tuesday I had the good fortune to be treated to a business dinner at Tarn Thai in Nottingham. This is a first visit for me and I was keen to experience it.

The decor is opulent and has plenty of incorporated water features to ensure that it feels appropriately exotic. The service was good, and ensured that you did not have to pour too many of your own drinks.

This was a treat dinner out so we went for one of the set menus - basically a starter of various selected kebab, fried and vegetable goods and a selection of main courses with rice.

All of the food was good, but the red chicken curry was particularly tasty, chilli warm and creamy. Dishes included mild as well as spicy items in the selection.

The rating:
Excellent selection of food in the set menu, great service. Definitely worth a visit.

The summary:
Food: Excellent selection in the set menu, very tasty.
Price: Sorry I was lucky enough to be treated so I don't know.
Atmosphere: Exotic and chatty

9 George St
Nottingham NG1 3BH
0115 959 9454

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Royal Oak, Evesham

The Royal Oak has a dual bar. We walked in and tried to get the barmaid's attention. Despite noticing our presence we had to walk around a wall to get a drink served to us. This should have been a sign, however we continued as we were hungry and the food on the tables looked good.

We were served (grudgingly) by the surly barmaid and instructed to take a seat where our food order would be taken. 10 minutes later, after others had come into the bar and been served we asked again to order food.

After the long long wait for a bacon and brie sandwich and a bowl of soup, the food was good.

We did, however, in the meantime have to endure intermittent loud pop music and people playing quiz games round the food table. This is one of those pubs that is furnished like it would like to be a restaurant but can't quite tear itself away from having the fag machine, quiz machine and fruit machine.

The decor is not great  but you could get away with it being 'shabby chic', however what really ruins this pub is the can't be bothered attitude of the staff.

The rating
I don't often make a recommendation to avoid, but here is the exception. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

The summary
Food English
Price Medium (Sandwich & crisps £5)
Atmosphere Surly, loud music and altogether not good

On this one, I really wouldn't bother.

Loch Fyne - Yes We Booked This Week

Armed with a booking and the Loch Fyne voucher we made it this week!


Lovely, fresh fish dishes were consumed in a light, airy and modern restaurant.

Our service was friendly and efficient.

My pud was great (chocolate torte) and the only downside was that the mango cheesecake did not taste of mango and was not that pleasant - just sweet cream cheese flavour.

Otherwise we had a nice dinner. I had the ginger and chilli option this week after eyeing up my friends dish last week at Sinatra's. I didn't regret it. Warming without being overpowering it was a very good dish.

There is a voucher on the website at the moment for £10 off a £30 spend on food - which makes it extremely good value.

The rating
Fresh fish cooked and served nicely, go elsewhere for pudding. 

The summary
Food Fish (but they also do meat dishes)
Price Medium / High (Mains from £10 up)
Atmosphere Modern


Loch Fyne
17 King Street, Nottingham, NG1 2AY
Tel: 0115 9886 840

Swingin' @ Sinatra's

We were intending to eat at Loch Fyne this week (bearing a handy money off voucher). It was not to be, as they had an hour wait on for food. Boo. But a lesson learned - when Loch Fyne is doing a voucher - book early!

So....we had to think on our feet (quite literally) and decided to pop round the corner to Sinatra's.

Classy decor crowded with photos of the stars, the menu is usually good containing some staples (such as their fish in beer batter with chunky chips and posh mushy peas - it's good and I can recommend it).

From their current menu we went for a fish, ginger and chilli dish and I had a chicken and bacon carbonara pasta. When the plates arrived we were pleased, normally the portion sizes in Sinatra's are small (enough so you don't go away hungry - but so that you can comfortably eat 3 course). Not so last Wednesday! I had a mountain of pasta! It was delicately flavoured and beautifully creamy.

When we came into the restaurant it was busy in the bar but fairly quiet in the restaurant. As we were nearing our pudding we found ourselves surrounded by courting couples holding hands. All together now - Ahhhh. Sweet.

Puddings were ordered and consumed and were exactly what they said on the menu - cheesecake and chocolate cake, nothing bad - just nothing really to add!

The rating
Gilded loveliness and today, surprisingly large portions!

The summary
Food Modern European
Price Moderate (main plates around £14)
Atmosphere Cosy, ideal for couples (come early if such sights are not for you at the moment)


0115 941 1050
8-16 Chapel Quarter, Nottingham, NG1 6JQ