Saturday, 16 June 2012

French Living

Doubling the blog posts so far is the next instalment.... French Living.

It appears that French Living are making much more use of the light and lively upstairs restaurant now, rather than the basement. I think it's nice to vary the two and whichever you choose the food will be great! They are also open all day which is an additional bonus.

We had selections from the prix fixe menu (offered up-front and centre, top marks!) and had the following:

Starters: Smoked Salmon and Marinated Salmon
Delicate flavours and an attractive plateful, summery dishes unlike the rainy weather outside!

Mains: Hake Basquaise and Venison
A huge slab of venison graced my fellow diner's plate and look well cooked - it certainly appeared to taste good! The hake was well cooked and served with chunky-cut vegetables and rice. 

Puds: Profiteroles and tulle basket
I had the profiteroles, choux pastry with ice-cream in the centre (for the summer touch) and hot chocolate sauce. I'm not normally a fan of deviation from cream in the centre - however balanced with the gallons of hot sauce this was a real winner and the ice cream balanced the sweetness of the sauce well. The tulle basket was chosen as a light finish by my partner and was as expected.

The rating:
Great value for the price with properly French waiting staff and a lively atmosphere. Light and airy upstairs, darkly interesting in the cellar. I didn't want to be anywhere else tonight!

The summary:

Food = Great French food, hearty and with a seasonally-changing menu
Price = A pre-theatre menu, and two set menus (saison £18ish and gastronomique £22) plus a-la-carte
Atmosphere = Busy but not over-loud, feels French

French Living
27 King Street, Nottingham NG1 2AY   
t: +44 (0)115 9585885    

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Signature Steakhouse, West Bridgford, Nottingham

I can't believe it's my first blog post of 2012! I am going to blame it on my usual dinner partner having moved to Bristol and me therefore not having gone out to dinner. I have been out to dinner, but just not got round to writing it up! Oops. So here's an on-the-day live report.....

A special occasion calls for a special dinner and for my husband's birthday we chose a new-ish special restaurant in West Bridgford, the Signature Steakhouse. The note in the window advertised 5 local suppliers in West Bridgford's Totally Locally initiative, so all to the good.

On arrival at 6.30 there were another couple there having drinks, who left whilst we were perusing the menu. That left us as the only people there for a while, which unfortunately doesn't add to the atmosphere. We were seated in the bar to choose our drinks and to have an aperitif. It's a little odd to have a clothing boutique in a bar / restaurant, but we rolled with it, hoping we'd be moved to the dining area at the back for our meal.

We were indeed taken through to the dining area, which (still just us) had a better atmosphere as it was cosier and the music was sufficient to provide enough background to make us two feel comfortable, but so that we could still chat over it.

My husband's starter arrived very swiftly, and was unfortunately cleared away about a minute before he'd finished chewing the last morsel! The salmon starter was presented nicely and was, apparently, tasty.

The main courses arrived following hot on the heels of the cleared starter, at this point I was thinking that we'd be in, out and done in about 45 minutes! However, in chatting over the dinner and taking time over ordering dessert we had a very pleasant couple of hours.

The main courses were beautifully presented, the steak being high-quality and cooked well and my chicken stuffed with goats cheeses, sun dried tomatoes came with mash, boiled potatoes and a selection of vegetables and was filling, varied, and nicely balanced.

By now there were another couple dining, and a group in the bar - enough to give the place a warm feel.

For dessert we had eton mess and chocolate cake. The eton mess consisted of a variety of fruit (blueberries, oranges, strawberries) and was light, creamy and refreshing. The chocolate cake was served with ice-cream and was rich and an enjoyable finish.

We felt a bit exploited when it came to the bill, with a flyer advertising an 'early bird' deal available until 7pm included within the receipt folder, when we hadn't been offered that menu on our arrival at 6.30pm alongside the a-la-carte, nor was it on the collection of leaflets on the table. My husband noted this on our comment card and also mentioned this to our host, who apologised, but it was a sufficient disappointment to negate a tip (the early bird 3-courses with wine was £18, my husband's steak alone was £22 (and my chicken £14) - so a significant difference). I do wonder how long the restaurant will survive, given the lack of diners, this kind of 'oversight' which won't encourage return visits and the price point of the meal, considering its out of city location and slightly strange clothes shop / restaurant combo. Maybe I'll be surprised.

I'm out again tomorrow, so I'll double the 2012 blog posts after then :)

The rating:
A nice meal, but for broadly the same price as World Service - next time I'll go to World Service. 

The summary:

Food = Varied menu, non-steak dish was also good, presented beautifully
Price = Pricey £72 for two (one 3-course and one 2-course meal with wine) bad that they didn't offer the fixed-price menu and then had the cheek to advertise it when they brought the bill!
Atmosphere = Classy decor, laid-back, calm

Signature Steakhouse
100 Melton Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 6EP
0115 981 6249

(and for reference - World Service or Iberico