Grace Dent ‘A restaurant at the start of a long and important journey’
Almost all new restaurants claim to be a labour of love, hewn from an unswerving chef’s blood, sweat and tears. Chefs are really dramatic people. However, the opening of Alchemilla in Nottingham is a gargantuan feat by any measure.
Alchemilla lives below-ground in a crypt-like space, formerly an abandoned coaching house on the Derby Road. The premises sat unloved and festering for more than 100 years, full of rubbish and rot. It was the sort of loveless hell portal over which Kevin from Grand Designs might become quite animated. Especially if chef Alex Bond had told him he planned to spend part of spring 2017 renovating the place himself.
But I rejoice in people who have this type of vision. Because now Alchemilla is quite gorgeous. It’s a sort of House Stark Game of Thrones vault with a capacious, open brushed aluminium kitchen, serving a veg-centric menu, that’s not remotely vegetarian, sitting at least two miles outside the main Lace Market area to which Nottingham tourists generally flock. The sheer chutzpah of it all meant I felt warmly to Alchemilla even before I ate a bite.
Bond has worked previously in places such as 42 The Calls, Auberge Food
Service ○ 192 Derby Road, Nottingham NG7, 0115 941 3515. Open lunch Wed-Sat, noon-1.30pm; dinner Tues–Sat 7-9.30pm (6pm Fri & Sat). Set menus from £50 a head, plus drinks and service