INSIDER: NOTTINGHAM The best places to eat and drink

From south In­dian and Span­ish to fish and chips and fine din­ing, Nottingham is un­der­go­ing a foodie rev­o­lu­tion. Time to dive right in words TONY NAY­LOR

BBC Good Food - - Inside Goodfood - CE, CD

ALCHEMILLA

A ta­ble at Restaurant Sat Bains may be the dream book­ing for any foodie vis­it­ing Notts (see be­low), but, opened last sum­mer, chef Alex Bond’s Alchemilla is a sim­i­larly sin­gu­lar ex­pe­ri­ence – and more af­ford­able, too. Even the build­ing is spe­cial. A 19th-cen­tury garage for horse-drawn car­riages, all vaulted ceil­ings and ex­posed brick, it’s an un­usual and chic co­coon, now aug­mented with liv­ing moss walls and a large open kitchen. A vet­eran of Miche­lin-star kitchens, Bond es­tab­lished his name lo­cally at sup­per clubs which show­cased his fond­ness for cre­at­ing in­tense, com­pelling plant-based dishes. Th­ese are an­nounced with typ­i­cal brevity (cauliflower, roasted yeast, al­mond) on Alchemilla’s tast­ing menus and are punc­tu­ated by con­tem­po­rary meat and fish cour­ses – for in­stance, an out­ra­geously savoury dish of beef cheek, Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes and miso hol­landaise – that are bold and beau­ti­ful. Alchemilla is one to watch. Menus from £35. al­chemil­larestau­rant.uk SO

RESTAURANT SAT BAINS

The lo­ca­tion is un­promis­ing (be­neath a fly­over a good few min­utes out­side the city cen­tre), but RSB is a truly world-class restaurant-with-rooms. Sat Bains still serves his fa­mous 62C duck egg, pea and ham dish from 2007’s Great Bri­tish Menu, but, since then – un­der­pinned by a com­plex kitchen gar­den op­er­a­tion – his two-miche­lin-star food has evolved in a more nat­u­ral di­rec­tion. A kohlrabi tagli­atelli dressed ta­ble­side with a freshly pounded pesto en­cap­su­lates his cur­rent tra­jec­tory. Menus from £95. restau­rantsat­bains.com SO

COD’S SCALLOPS

With its sticks of rock and lob­ster pot light fit­tings, this Mans­field Road fish and chip restaurant may seem like fun – and it is. But its owner, chef-restau­ra­teur John Mol­nar, is a stick­ler for qual­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity. Cooked-to-or­der in beef drip­ping, meaty, Msc-cer­ti­fied cod ar­rives in a peer­lessly crisp, un­usu­ally tasty bat­ter and with stel­lar chips scat­tered (win­ningly!) in scraps. Also has a branch in Wol­la­ton. From £4.20. codss­cal­lops.com CE, KF, CD

THE LARDER ON GOOSEGATE

Part of an ar­chi­tec­turally fas­ci­nat­ing, grade Ii-listed build­ing (it was the first branch of Boots in the 1880s), the Larder en­joys floor-to-ceil­ing views over Goose Gate. You may be too busy to look up from your plate, how­ever. Dishes such as roast salmon, sal­sify, Brus­sels tops and miso or ham hock cro­quettes with sauce gribiche and pick­led pear, con­fi­dently work global in­flu­ences into this modern Bri­tish cooking. Mains from £12.95. the­larderon­goosegate.co.uk CD, SO

KAYAL

Com­pared to a typ­i­cal UK curry, south In­dian food is a rev­e­la­tion. Kayal is a great place to ex­plore this sen­si­tively spiced world of lacy dosas and fresh co­conut chut­neys; fra­grant Ker­alan fish dishes; and veg­etable dishes of re­mark­able depth and nu­ance. The ex­press lunch thalis are an ab­so­lute steal (from £3.95). Mains from £7. kay­al­restau­rant.com CE, CD

HART’S

This ho­tel-restaurant has heavy­weight prove­nance. Own­ers Tim and Stefa Hart are best known for Rut­land’s Miche­lin-starred Ham­ble­ton Hall, while their sons, Sam and Ed­die, run Lon­don’s Quo Vadis and Bar­ra­fina. Lo­cated in a Ge­or­gian av­enue near Nottingham Cas­tle, the din­ing room’s dé­cor is a lit­tle dated, but its modern Bri­tish dishes of, for in­stance, ox cheek with creamed potato, con­fit onion and braised car­rot, de­liver. Din­ner from £25. hart­snot­ting­ham.co.uk CD, SO

DELILAH FINE FOODS

This food hall (‘deli’ is in­suf­fi­cient to de­scribe its breadth and qual­ity) con­tains a mez­za­nine café, which show­cases the in­gre­di­ents avail­able be­low. Plat­ters, Ital­ian sal­ads and up­mar­ket sand­wiches are fore­front at lunch, but, for Good Food, Delilah shines as a week­end brunch spot. Linger over eggs Bene­dict, salt beef hash and a fan­tas­tic ma­ture ched­dar and real ale rarebit with poached eggs and ham. Break­fast mains from £5.50. delilahfine­foods.co.uk CD

THE PUD­DING PANTRY

It does top-notch savoury pan­cakes and brunches, but this coffee shop and diner (com­plete with vin­tage ice cream cart), is known for its deft bak­ing and desserts. Do not miss the salted caramel brownie or plum frangi­pane tart. Its af­ter­noon tea choices (adults from £11.95 per per­son), in­clude a kids’ menu with home­made bis­cuits and milk­shakes. Eat-in pud­dings from £4.25. thep­ud­ding­pantry.co.uk KF, CE, CD

IBÉRICO

The Moor­ish-styled Ibérico has broad­ened its scope in re­cent years. Its high-qual­ity cured meats and modern in­ter­pre­ta­tions of An­dalu­sian tapas are now served along­side global small plates, such as chicken wings with yuzu sweet chilli. Sis­ter restaurant Bar Ibérico is sim­i­larly cre­ative but stays close to the Ibe­rian penin­sula with its plates of chorizo in red wine and braised ox­tail, sherry and lentils. Plates from £3.95. iberi­co­ta­pas.com CD

EDIN’S DELI-CAFE

In Hock­ley, Nottingham’s hip, in­de­pen­dent en­clave, restau­ra­teur Edin Gondzic is a leg­end – a provider of home-cooked food at star­tling prices (e.g. rump steak, chips and salad, £10; two-course lunch, £7). At Sexy Mamma Loves Spaghetti (mains from £10.50; 3 Heath­coat Street) and Edin’s Kitchen (15 Carl­ton Street) – both bril­liantly quirky – he fo­cuses on Ital­ian. Mains from £8. 15 Broad Street, 0115 924 1112.

Pan­cakes at The Pud­ding Pantry

Head to Delilah for brunch Try modern Bri­tish dishes at Hart’s Cre­ative cock­tails at Hock­ley Arts Club

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