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.