Sunday, 11 September 2011

Chino Latino Nottingham - Red and Black Bliss

We've had a couple of weeks break from the blog due to holidays (not mine!) and work pressures (definitely mine!), but this week we were back with a vengeance.

40% off vouchers took us to Chino Latino in Nottingham. Chino is located next to the Park Plaza hotel and is on Maid Marian way. We've been here only once before (in hundreds of Wednesdays) and there's a reason for it - the menu is EXPENSIVE.

The restaurant is done out in a very modern bachelor-pad type style - all black, red and shiny surfaces. Approaching the restaurant from a sunny September evening it takes a while for your eyes to get used to the dark of the interior. 

The food is billed as 'Eastern Fusion', it's Japanese type offerings with both other Eastern (Thai / Chinese) influences and a Western twist. Novel. 

As it's expensive here people tend to treat it as a treat, and even on Wednesday I felt a bit under-dressed in my jeans and top. Never mind. If I come here when their next offer is on I'll make sure to dress up a bit more. 

The staff were very friendly and bore with us as we had a lot to catch up on it took us a while to even look at them menu let alone decide what to eat! My friend had sussed out that there was a dessert platter (my very favourite thing) so we had to bear in mind that we did not want to be too full with mains.

The food is all served tapas style (i.e. put in the middle to share) so we selected dinners with this in mind.

In the end we went for.....

Seafood tempura to start, accompanied by a spicy mixed veg salad.

There aren't many foods that I don't like, but prawns is one of those things, we'd ordered the tempura as I thought that they'd be easy enough to identify and pick out. They were. The tempura was nice, and kept the fish good and firm, but the surprise was in the mixed veg salad. It was crunchy, very fresh and covered in a dressing that was spicily warming and left a tingly feeling in your mouth. Recommended!

Chicken in a curry and peppercorn sauce, and steak on hot rocks.

Part of this place is the drama of the food and how it is served and prepared, so to fully experience this our beef arrived having what looked like its own spa treatment. Served rare on hot barbecued stones, the beef was drizzled with sauce at the table and we were then left to take the meat off when it became suitably cooked for each diner. Great if you and other diners (as here) like meat done to differing levels. This dish was served with chunky sweet potato chips. The beef itself was tender and slightly salty from the sauce, and went very well with the sweet potatoes. 

The chicken was delicately sliced and served with a small salad. As it turned out we'd ordered really well. The tender salty beef went beautifully with the light, cream curry sauce of the chicken.

The portions are sufficient if you're aiming to eat 3 courses, but if you want just two then I would advise ordering a side to go with the mains. Personally I like having smaller portions as you can try lots of different things without feeling bilious.

Dessert platter.

Okay so it's confession time. This was my least favourite part of the meal. For me, that's unusual I generally like the puddings most. The platter consisted of: 

Two sorbets
A creamy torte-like items with fruit jelly on top
Sticky toffee pud and custard
Lots of fruit and chocolate dipping sauce

I think it reflects the cuisine of the East that there was lots of fruit but I think this place could have been very much more imaginative. They also cut the torte (on a sharing platter for two) into three pieces (I absolutely HATE when restaurants advertise things as sharing for two and then cut the offering into indivisible portions, grrrr). The chocolate dipping sauce was nice, but I must confess the fruit tastes better without so we (okay I) ate it with a spoon later. The steamed pudding contained little ginger flakes which was its Eastern twist.

All in all the verdict is:
The food is great, really different and very tasty - I have been surprised and impressed with the flavour combinations both times I have been here. The waiting staff are friendly and helpful. On the downside the decor is dim, dark and slightly off-putting, and the food is really expensive. I think that there are nicer overall packages in Nottingham city centre (Harts, World Service, Iberico to name a few) where you feel more cosseted for similar price points.

Price: We paid £60 including tip for the above, having had two beers and two lemonades as well, with our 40% off voucher. Mains are priced around the £15-£20 each mark.

Chino Latino - I'll see you next time you've got an offer on.


41 Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG1 6GD
0115 947 7444 Website

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Riverside farm, nottingham

This was the venue for a work lunch to wish one of our colleagues all the best for her maternity leave. As they are a big and busy pub they just need a phone call on the day to reserve a table.

The food usually comes really quickly, however two out of out twenty ordered soup and a roll which took an age to come. They must have just been unlucky.

The pub is busy and bustling and there are two main highlights of any visit....

1. A lovely full carvery, a choice of three meats and absolutely all the trimmings
2. The chance of a 'cake away'

I had a mixed beef and turkey carvery which was everything you would expect, and good value at around £7.

The 'cake away' is a slice of a large selection of MASSIVE cakes. You get it in a box to take away. Even the most hardy pudding eater in our midst made theirs last three days. The box weighed very heavily on the way out!

It's pretty much serve yourself and the staff are friendly but busy so there's not really a personal service. The carvery and (usually) quick non car very service mean that you can get a large work group through in only a little over your lunch hour.

Definitely one to try!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

July - forgotten?

Oh yes, I have given up on remembering July!


Must do better on that month's report card :)

Fellows, Morton & Clayton canal history and good grub!

It is a bit odd at the minute with all of these outbreaks of lads burning and smashing stuff up, you read the official, very calm, reporting and feel fine. Then you read someone's private twitter and it's the world ending. There were not enough reports of trouble in Nottingham's city centre to stop me going out for dinner, however town was really quiet tonight so it seems there were enough reports to put others off.

We went to Fellows, Morton & Clayton In Nottingham as I had to pick up some train tickets and my friend wanted to watch the cricket. This pub is both close to the station and shows sports - ideal!

The pub is named after a canal carrying company and is situated on the canal side. There are some outside seats with space heaters and a restaurant and bar area inside.

We had (me) spicy fishcakes and chips (him) steak and ale pie and chips. It's real, hearty, food. Neither of us could finish the dinners! A shame, too, as they do delicious old fashioned puddings (jam roly poly, treacle tart etc). I did note that they also do pudding club evenings for £22.50 (dinner and a selection of puddings).

Main dishes here are about £6-10 each and puddings £4.50. it's a pub so has the usual casual dining experience with serviettes, sauce sachets and mismatched chairs. The service was with a lovely smile and the food really enjoyable. The only disconcerting thing was that a bloke in the bar slapped his hand on the table when his mate made him laugh - I jumped a mile!

I know what you're thinking, a blog post on the same night it occurred! Long may it continue.

I have also been busy making yet more baby clothes! I'll put the pictures up soon as the mum to be has received them now.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Poor neglected blog. Refreshed and updated now!!

My blogging has been neglected this past couple of months- so sorry. I am now trying to rack my brains on where I have been eating recently :)

Here is a summary as far as I can remember....It's split by rough location ;)


Beefeater grill near the Premier Inn Sandhurst. Grill-tastic menu, lots of meat and many sides. Pretty much what it says on the tin!


The Waterside Cut, Shipley, Yorkshire. Advertised on the website as One of Shipley's secrets. They are not wrong. A lovely restaurant overlooking the Leeds and Liverpool canal. They have a menu that changes regularly and a good selection. Lovely waiting staff, comfortable decor and a really good night out. Definitely worth a visit, perhaps after visiting the nearby Salts Mill. It's only a short walk down the canal from Saltaire to Shipley.

I had a really lovely, fresh, elderflower ice cream in the Half Moon Cafe in Saltaire park which I would recommend. I then spent a lovely day reading my book in the park. I love holidays!

After visiting the Salts Mill gallery (a David Hockney gallery, art shop, cafe and historic building) I also had a mid-morning special at Massarellas a lovely little tea shop!

I like a sit-down fish and chip shop, and the classiest I have been to by far is Webster's in Baildon (near to Bradford). It's arranged in tables or booths in a light and airy restaurant. Good fish and chips too!

That's to remember July!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

French Living - but upstairs! Nottingham.

In celebratory mood it's a birthday party today! 

I went for a pre-dinner, after work, drink at Tonic. It's a bit quiet early on but that's okay, at least you can talk to people without yelling their ears off.

After drinkies off for dinner, and what better than a lovely French restaurant? Not much, that's what! SO off we went to one of Nottingham's 'top 3' French restaurants, French Living.

I really like French Living, as do many, but it has (in the past) been a fairly small restaurant in the basement. I know some people who didn't like the basement aesthetic. For you, they have now opened up the upstairs deli-cafe in the evening.

So you can now have delicious French Living cuisine, but in the light and airy upstairs section.

To be honest, the day we went upstairs was fairly empty - everyone having chosen to go downstairs for their dinner - but in the spirit if trying out new things we valiantly selected "Upstairs".

The food was cooked beautifully and served by waiters who are actually French (not faux-French) and the French chatter as they were hanging about with not much to do upstairs added to the ambiance. They do have evenings where you can go and speak French, to brush up your skills before you go on holiday perhaps?

I had a couple of courses, a duck main dish and Ile Flottante (who doesn't like Meringue floating on cold custard, yummy). The duck was beautifully cooked and served with fragrant vegetables.

One of the delights of French Living is that the seasonal menu changes every three months so you can rest assured that if you don't like the menu now, you will surely in a few weeks time.

The rating
French Living is one of my 'top 3' French restaurants and remains so, good for dinners with friends and intimate meals for lovers. I prefer the more rough-and-ready downstairs section, but I know that the light and airy upstairs will appeal to those who don't. Definitely worth a visit - go!!

A seasonal menu changing every three months. You're sure to find something! French food done nicely and served nicely, but no pompousness.

Main courses around £12 but a three course fixed price menu at a very reasonable £18.50.

Depends on your taste, for me, better downstairs in the basement. If you like light and airy, better upstairs. It's nice to have the choice.


French Living
27 King Street

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tarn Thai in Nottingham and farewell to Pretty Orchid

Okay so I have been away for a while! What that does mean is that I have a lovely selection of restaurants to tell you all about so I will update this in the next few days.

Beginning at the 8 th June.......

Uncertain of where to eat for a usual Wednesday night out we headed off to the Pretty Orchid. Unfortunately we found that the restaurant has now closed. It is a real shame, but the tucked-away location ( made worse by the extension of the shops in front of it) seems to have finally been terminal. Goodbye Pretty Orchid. Thanks for all the dinners.

Thwarted in that direction, we headed on up to Tarn Thai.

Tarn Thai is quite a special place to eat, the service is attentive, decor lush and the meals pricey.

There us an extensive menu and options for set menus. Being awkward we liked the look of two of the main dishes from separate set menus but neither of the set menus themselves ( my dislike for mushrooms and seafood hampers me here more than most places). So we decided to create our own dinner based on the set menus. We are food sharers so ordered two mains, but in the knowledge that we would both eat both. There was a chicken dish and a fish dish. We plumped for a starter platter and a bowl of rice and one of noodles.

The verdict, nicely served and decorated with those pretty carved vegetable things we had a lovely dinner. The starter selection was plenty, but not over filling. That said we both agreed that next time we would only order one rice / noodle dish between two as there was too much in what we had got. The noodles were very good, fresh and slightly salty -so it would probably be just the noodles!

No space left for puddings, just the two courses was plenty.

The rating
It's a luxe place, good service, lush decor and plenty of nice food. Great for parties with the set menu and with a smartly dressed clientele. Nice for a special occasion to take your time over your food.

Food - clue's in the name! it's Thai / Asian specialities

Price - set 2 course menus just over £20, create your own just a touch more

Atmosphere - calm, with background tinkling of water features. Dressed up diners.

Link -

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Bistrot Pierre, a Nottingham French favourite

Tonight was a lovely evening, a sunny and clear day leaving the evening light and warm ( well, not cold anyway). In order to celebrate this coming of summer I am now attempting to be good ( both for my health and the environment) and cycle into work. That meant I also had the bike with me in town so I needed to be fairly near a parking spot.

We both thought that the recently redeveloped area at the back of the Cornerhouse in Nottingham would have some bike stands - wrong. But there were at least some handy railings to tether the beast to.

The restaurant was full of pre theatre diners when we arrived, taking advantage of the prix fixe early bird menu so we had to go and get drinks before returning. Not a problem as the food is generally worth a little wait.

Once seated my friend had a mixed salmon and salad starter on a blini. It looked nice. I was trying to save space for a pudding so did not have a starter, just a few pieces of bread and butter. My main was a £14 slow roasted lamb dish served with garlic potatoes, red cabbage and broccoli. The meat was topped with an unusual and tasty herb crumb. The meat was cooked nicely so that it fell apart rather than needing to be cut at all. It was a deliciously rich dish. My friend's special bavette steak was also apparently good.

After decent sized portions and a look at the dessert menu I was, unfortunately, too full. Never mind.

In order to fully appreciate the start of summer we retired to the top of the city in Saltwater to sit with the bright young things sipping cocktails and watching the rooftops sink into a pinky purple sunset. Ah, lovely! Cheers everyone, and good night. Restaurant details to follow after I have had a good night's sleep!

Added: Bistrot Pierre, locations in central and northern England.

Monday, 30 May 2011

A night out on the vouchers!

As regular readers of the blog will note, I am quite a fan of the restaurant voucher. Vouchers themselves have been around for many years, but in the last two years it has been markedly less seasonal. Previously vouchers were available only at slack times in the year, like just after Christmas, but now you can find a voucher somewhere any time of the year. I think it's a result of people in general choosing to spend less of their cash.

So armed with my vouchers where did we go?

First, dinner. I had buy-one-get-one-free tapas at La Tasca. In Nottingham it is quite a cosy restaurant. The atmosphere was warm and lively too. We had friendly waiting staff. The dinner consisted of 10 dishes between the four of us and a pitcher of sangria rosé. Ten is about as many as you can comfortably squeeze on the table! The various plates were all good, however it did lead to the question......if tapas plates are generally served to even numbered groups of people why are some not divisible by two? It takes sharing to a whole new level chopping three croquettes into four portions!

Post dinner we all had coffees / hot chocolate and a variety of chocolate themed puddings. The melt in the middle puddle pudding was pleasant with a delicate spiced chocolate orange flavour, chocolate brownies were rich and gooey and I had a huge pile of profiteroles. Each dessert was comfortably large enough for two to share.

After a voucher-tastic dinner what better than a free cocktail? I thought the offer was almost too good to be true but it was definitely worth a try. Free mojito at pitcher and piano just for registering on their site, you get a code and take it in to the bar. Even on a busy Friday night with the bar area like a poorly organised rugby scrum the voucher codes were duly accepted and our lovely cocktails dispensed. No less impressive for its use as a bar, the converted church is a wonderfully vaulted venue for drinks.

The rating
La Tasca offers a bustling restaurant great for a catch up with friends. Pitcher and piano on a Friday is loud, and busy, exactly what you would expect of a city centre bar on a Friday night!

The summary

Food: Spanish style tapas dishes, create your own mix.

Price: two courses, sangria and coffees for four £55 with my lovely vouchers.
Link to vouchers:

Atmosphere: wooden floors and basic seating, lively, warm and chatty environment.

La Tasca

Pitcher and piano

Saturday, 21 May 2011

I've found it!

A while ago when out I was too full for a pudding. I know - unusual!

On the table there was a little card advertising a mini pudding and a cup of coffee. I had one - it was great, just enough pudding and a smooth milky coffee. The trouble is I forgot where this was.

Ever since then I have been trying to find out where it was, and this week we've done it!

It's Pizza Express Hockley, Nottingham. The King Street Pizza Express doesn't do it as we've looked there before.

So this week's voucher was courtesy of Tesco. You can swap your points for restaurant vouchers. They cover food, and you only pay for drinks so it can be free if you want it to be.

I had my favourite pizza, the Fiorentina. It's got spinach and an egg on top. The Sicilian lemonade is also good, still, tart and refreshing. It's a good change from over-sweet soft drinks. For afters, a lovely coffee with dough balls and.......Nutella spread to dip. Unusual, and possibly a bit like Marmite in that I think you either love it or hate it. I love it!

The rating:
A reliable option, the food is always tasty and a consistent standard, the Hockley location is more refined and much quieter than it's King Street cousin.

The summary:
Food: Pizza, done well.

Price: Free! Well, nearly. Pizzas are usually around £8.

Atmosphere: Modern, light and airy restaurant with attentive staff and adult clientele. Quieter and more intimate than King Street.

Pizza Express Hockley

24 Goosegate
Tel: 0115 912 7888

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Gourmet burger kitchen is a fairly recent addition to Nottingham, having been around in London for some time. There's often a deal on in the voucher tables, so this week I thought it worth a try. The deal was two burgers for £10, not bad. 

You choose your burger, either light or classic size, and my voucher included most burgers - just not the create your own topping ones. I had a cheese and bacon burger - cooked medium. As the burgers wandering about looked fairly sizeable we went for a large chips to share.

What was a wonderful discovery for me, as anyone who has read my OK Diner post will realise, was the lovely milkshakes on offer here!

The burgers were great, big, moist and yummy. My advice is to only share a regular chips, though, as we struggled to finish them.

We did note that the pesto and mozzarella burger was a pestorella burger, which sounds like some kind of disease. Lets hope they never do a salmon and mozzarella burger......

The rating:
A definite recommendation! Good food, good milk.

The summary:
Food: Tasty, well cooked burgers.

Price: Around £8 for full price burgers. Meal for 2 with voucher was £22.

Atmosphere: Relaxed, canteen-style. Not sure why there were shoes on the wall though!

GBK Nottingham

Unit 10 Trinity Square, Nottingham, NG14AF
Phone: 01159 474167 Fax: 01159 242322

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Recent diversions - the sewing machine

Right, now that I have caught up on my food-related posts I will explain my recent diversions from blogging. 

My husband bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. I have therefore been learning to sew. Just so you get the idea here, I have not even looked at a sewing machine since I was about 14, and in my term of home economics I managed to do half (yes, half) a patchwork cushion cover. In my school you had to queue up for the iron and then share a sewing machine so none of it could ever be described as quick. To be fair we did also do some free machine embroidery, but still it's not a lot of experience.

It turns out that there are loads of blogs out there which help with learning to sew. I have also joined Burda, who have an online sewing community, and Made by Rae's lovely tutorials have also been great.

So, whilst I haven't been blogging I have sewn (with my own fair hands!)....

5 baby bibs (using my own pattern drawn on a bit of paper and made to be a reasonable bib shape on me!)
Baby trousers (a Made By Rae pattern that I played with to make reversible
Baby dress (a version of the Retro Re-do dress by korpfan on Burda)
denim handbag for a little girl (a version of the Jordy bag)
1 felt belt
3 luggage tags
1 post organiser
1 kitchen cupboard organiser
1 cotton top (PJs)
Cotton PJ trousers (bit of a disaster I had to unpick the seams 3 times)
1 felt corsage
Lots and lots of various flowers using the fabric scraps, turns out I hate throwing pretty bits away

In a mild fit of creativity on a long car journey I also crocheted two Pidge scarves, one for me and one for my husband.

Written down like that it looks like a lot of stuff, so I am more content that I haven't blogged for a while. At least its been constructive!

Some pics....


Retro Re-Do dress

Rae's newborn trousers, made longer, with lining and reversible.

My floppy re-cycled denim version of the Jordy bag. I later added some embroidery to jazz it up for my colleague's little girl.

OK Diner - A1 Northbound

Okay, as a treat for me doing lots of DIY work round the house my lovely husband said he would take me out to dinner somewhere different.

We went here....

The OK! Diner on the Northbound A1!!!

What this chain does is re-create a 1950's American Diner that's all neon and milkshakes instead of the generally dreary motorway food joints we normally get in the UK. And for all those technical folk - WIFi enabled!

The waiters / waitresses are really friendly and the BEST part is they do huge milkshakes. It's at least a pint of glorious ice-cream equivalent. One of those and a burger and fires and I dare anyone not to be absolutely full.

Fun, neon and great milkshakes!

They also do loads of other stuff including ice cream sundaes. If you can hold off having a milkshake you could probably manage to have one of the great sundaes instead. I am not sure I ever will, as I LOVE the milkshakes.

OK DIner website even their website has funky music!!

Loving the diner. It's even better at night when the neon signs light up.

Birthday cake

Not really a huge post, but I shared some of my Goddaughter's first birthday cake today. A lovely jam and buttercream sponge.

Yum, yum, yum!

Happy Birthday little one.


Saturday Lunch - The Maynell Ingram

We went to the stock clearance for one of Britain's great coat manufacturers, John Partridge. Their new owners are taking the company forward in a new style so it was an opportunity to grab an original before they disappear. They make really warm, quality waxed jackets. I already had one, which I have worn this winter and have now added two more to my collection. Lovely - all set for winter!

The sale was held at the marquee owned by the Meynel Ingram pub, so we decided to eat in the restaurant for lunch. Before looking round the sale we booked in for lunch in the dining room, we were told by the staff that they were busy so had to move our slot forward a bit, which was fine.

On arrival at the restaurant we were seated, the chairs are luxe and the decor fresh and modern. The menu available was a snack lunch menu of the full mains. For our party of four we had:

Starters; Scallops (served with a risotto, looked lovely) and warm goats cheese served with bread.

Mains: Pie of the day (steak and kidney) this was okay and served with mash and veg, the pie and mash were a bit dry so after asking for gravy this was a tasty dish

Hot pork cob, apple sauce, potato wedges and salad (lunch menu) this was tasty 3 slices of pork and reasonably filling. Served with gravy.

Gammon topped with egg, pineapple and black pudding served with potato wedges. Okay on the meat and toppings but careless potato preparation meant that around a quarter of the wedges were black or green.

Pork with potatoes, nice but skimpy on the serving size. Two small pork steaks and a bit of potato. No real veg included.

All in all the food was disappointing given that the prices were between £9 and £15 for them. The meal was also rather marred by the service quality. Plates were stacked together in front of us before being carted away. Once we had asked for the bill, no-one came to take the money and even when we'd put our coats on to go and pay at the bar the waitress did not move from her position chatting at the bar, where she could clearly see us.

As for having to move our lunch forward due to the massive volume of diners, there was just one other couple in the restaurant.

The rating:
Mediocre, despite what the website says about them winning lots of prizes I have been to some much better country restaurants for a better price. 
The summary:
Food: Careless food preparation, and a lack of thought about accompaniments. When you pay £15 for a main meal, you expect to get more than just meat and potato.

Price: Around £12 for mains, £5 for starters. Meal for 4 was £60.

Atmosphere: Nice decor, nonchalant service.


The Meynell Ingram Arms
Abbots Bromley Road
Hoar Cross
DE13 8RB
T : 01283 575202
F : 01283 575788

A new curry house...The Cumin

Okay so I have been neglecting my blog for a bit, so that means there are a number of places to catch up on!

This one is unusual - a curry on a weeknight. The Cumin is a compact restaurant, which means that you get a very personal service.

We started with poppadums and chutneys, good - but it's difficult to judge a place by them. For mains we had a chicken curry in a creamy tomato sauce and a lamb dish (Saag Gosht). I am afraid I can't remember the name of the chicken dish. It was served nicely in little dishes over candles. We had one rice and a naan bread between us and there was certainly plenty of food. The curries were nicely spiced but not too heavy on the chilli heat. I had a very enjoyable meal.

The host made every effort to make us feel welcome, and the waiter cleared all our food dishes (including little burners) elegantly and all in one journey. I like that, and am always impressed. This is because for my own foray into the world of waiting tables I really was not good at this.

The rating:
Good, definitely worth a visit. 
The summary:
Food: Nicely spiced food, not too chilli hot
Price: Around £11 for main dish curries, diner for two can be got for £15-£20 each.
Atmosphere: Intimate and friendly

The Cumin Restaurant, 62-64 Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, NG1 6BJ. 
Tel: 0115 941 9941

Friday, 1 April 2011

Jamie's Italian, Nottingham

An eagerly awaited trip! Nottingham's old Jas interiors has had a sign up for what feels like ages announcing the imminent arrival of Jamie's Italian. It's a chain started by Mr Oliver, the cheekiest of celebrity cooks.

After checking out the website, we were advised (as a party of 2) just to turn up. We needed to wait for a private table, so we did so. There was the offer of a Wagamama-style sharing table straightaway, though, which was nice.

Whilst we were waiting we were given a pager to notify us when the table was available, to be honest I found this a bit pretentious - as the bar is quite small and it was not that busy. There was also a system of locking away your credit card and giving you the key which was just plain odd, too. 

We didn't have to wait long for a table and were seated in a nice spot by the window. The rooms are a bit strange as they are quite small dining areas linked with many doors - it means some tables are cramped up behind the doors so hope that you don't get one of those!

We had pasta, as we felt that would be a good test of an Italian. I had spaghetti carbonara and my friend squid ink angel hair pasta with seafood.

The food was all nicely presented and the grilled meats delivered to the table next door added to my anticipation. I was, unfortunately, disappointed. My pasta seemed like it had been sweetened with sugar and had amaretti biscuits crumbled up over it which really did not work, waaay too cloying and not at all the simple, wholesome "bash, bash, bosh, nosh" I was expecting from Jamie. My friend's pasta was okay but over cooked.

We had pudding, but again nothing to write home about. The prices were reasonable but, sorry Jamie, I much prefer Piccolinos. My work colleague said that they'd tried to get into Jamie's at the weekend and there was a queue out of the door, unless I want to try the meat I certainly won't be joining the end of it.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Loch Fyne, Nottingham, Voucher-tastic

Continuing the January voucher theme this week Loch Fyne had kindly emailed a £10 voucher our way. The restaurant in Nottingham is quite small so its always worth booking into this one as it tends to be quite popular, and even more so when the voucher deals are on.

The bright, light, restaurant has an airy feel and is softened by the wooden floors, chairs and tables. A fresh-feeling atmosphere. I have previously had a gingery dish here with wilted Chinese leaves and I was very tempted to do so again as it was delicious last time, however I thought I would try something different. I eventually chose a monkfish and chorizo risotto. It was a good choice. Sometimes risotto can get a bit dull but this was well seasoned and had sufficient variety in that there were different mixes of the flavours in each mouthful. The portion size was generous.To finish I had a velvety and dense chocolate tart on top of a biscuity base. Yum.

Loch Fyne is on:

17 King St
Nottingham NG1 2AY
0115 988 6840

Tamatanga, Curry in a Hurry!

The last time myself and my wonderful husband went out to the concert hall for a show we'd intended to get dinner beforehand. Unfortunately halfway into town we realised we'd forgotten the tickets! Doh! This time, however, we were not to be outdone. Tickets checked, double checked and triple checked we took ourselves off to Tamatanga before the panto.

Tamagtanga is similar to the Wagamama concept in that you sit at bench tables wherever there is space and the food is freshly prepared and brought out to you when its ready - although with curry rather than chinese food. There's a good selection of curries and they also do dishes where you get a little bit of lots of curries which is great for trying some curries you would not normally order.

I had a lamb rogan josh which was nicely warming and sufficiently filling on this cold winter night. I also had a light, milky and not too sweet Mango lassi.

Tamatanga is not the place you'd go for a long and lingering meal with your hunny but is great when you want to be fed good, flavourful curry quickly. They also do deals at lunchtime which are amazing.

After our dinner we went to the panto at Nottingham playhouse which was absolutely hilarious. Plenty of fun for the kids (and adults) including join-in actions and songs. We laughed so much!

Tamatanga is at:

The Cornerhouse, Trinity Square, Nottingham, NG1 4DB

Tel: 0115 958 4848

Piccolino, Classy Italian Chain, Nottingham

January is great. It's the time of year when all the local restaurants have a deal on and it's fairly quiet in town (at least until the end of the month when the students finish their exams!). Making the most of January's deals and with a £10 voucher for the restaurant firmly in hand we found ourselves at Piccolino.

The restaurant itself is nicely lit with many twinkling lights and has a modern, yet comfortable feel by virtue of the wooden seats and floors. The part of the restaurant that we were in is divided into smaller sections so felt quite personal, despite it being quite a big restaurant. Our waiter was very friendly and willing to talk about the dishes when I couldn't make up my mind.

I had a nicely done, and extremely creamy, spaghetti carbonara. It was very filling and didn't leave me any room for dessert! The pasta was served with just enough pepperings of pancetta to spice it up and make it a lovely dish.

Piccolino can be contacted on:

Piccolino, 7 Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB

T: 0115 947 2169

Friday, 7 January 2011

Ice Skating and a warm up in the pub

Every year for the last few years the ice arena in Nottingham has put on an outdoor ice skating rink in the market square. It's great fun to get out on the ice and have a skate round. They've got loads of pictures on the flickr site.

As I only go ice skating once a year I am always a bit like bambi on ice each year, and desperately keen to end the 45 minute session with all of my fingers intact and without falling over.


I am glad to report that I have got away with it for yet another year!

After the skating we popped over to the Cock & Hoop for burgers and steak to warm up. They've had a bit of a refurbishment in the last year and have a much lighter main bar. The basement eating area is cosy and comfortable. The spicy lamb burger was delicious and I'd definitely recommend it.

Lunch at Iberico, that's my kind of January Sale!

Well that's Christmas and New Year done for another year. The decorations are all down now and my house is feeling a bit bare without something sparkly drifting round.

I'm lucky enough to get the space between Christmas and New Year off work, and as I am not much of a shopper it's no good me going to the sales. So to take advantage of the time we went over to Ibercio for their bargain lunch deal.

Iberico's lunch menu gives you bread, 2 tapas dishes and a pudding for a tenner. It's a classy tapas restaurant owned by the same people that run my hubby's favourite restaurant in Nottingham World Service (although you certainly wouldn't get this much for £10 there!).

The restaurant is in the basement on High Pavement opposite the Cock & Hoop pub. It's quite an an unassuming entrance through metal fence. The restaurant itself feels light and cosy, with interesting nooks provided by the vaulted ceilings.

So back to the deal......

We had yummy garlic-rubbed catalan toast things for starters (like french stick rubbed with garlic and seasoned and then smothered in tomatoes). In order to get a good variety of tapas dishes between us we ordered cod cheeks, patatas bravas (it wouldn't be tapas without!), a meaty kebab dish and a veggie roasted squash dish.

All dishes were full of flavour and well seasoned. I was particularly surprised by the squash dish. I can find squash a bit bland and lacking in texture sometimes, but these were cooked to hold some texture and delicately spiced. Yummy.

Pudding was a pretty standard (and very pleasant) catalan cream.

Service was good, efficient for lunch without being too brisk. Overall an excellent experience, and one I'd be in a hurry to repeat - unfortunately I have a job which gets in the way! A glance through the menu revealed that the prices go up very significantly at night and you could easily spend a lot of money. For me the lunch was an immense bargain and a really good way to spend an hour. We booked, and it is probably wise to do so, and it was quiet when we arrived at mid-day but getting busier when we left.

The lunch menu changes regularly so you're always going to get something fresh and tasty.
As I was on holiday I popped into the art gallery at Nottingham Contemporary, I enjoyed the section making shapes and sounds and the displays of modern design - not sure I got the installation that was basically a pile of earth in layers with grated soap on top. If you do get it please enlighten me!


The rating:
An excellent choice to experience an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Go on - escape for a while! Amazing value in the lunch deal.

The summary:
Food: tapas
Price: Set lunch an incredible £10
Atmosphere: Cosy and classy with interesting architecture.

The Shire Hall
High Pavement
Lace Market

Telephone: 0115 924 2789

Web: Iberico World Tapas