A review of the first half of 2014 in food – mostly Nottingham

As we hit the end of June I thought I would take a look back on the first half of 2014 and review the hi and lo lights of the year in food so far. Including a few thoughts that I haven’t blogged for one reason or another.

January started with some hearty Sunday lunches, the best of which were at Hart’s and Larwood and Voce. Very different but equally good; the main plate of roast beef at Larwood being excellent, the all-round polish and quality of the three courses of Hart’s shining through.

A meal I didn’t blog was a mixed affair at the Larder on Goosegate, a city staple for good seasonal food and local produce. Starter and dessert on this visit were distinctly disappointing but the main course more than made up for it. A saddle of rabbit, stuffed with black pudding, remained remarkably moist helped by a good jus.

Rabbit stuffed with black pudding - Larder on Goosegate

Rabbit stuffed with black pudding – Larder on Goosegate

February and March saw both excellence and disappointment.  My first Shanghai Shanghai experience came about and the restaurant was an instant hit. Although shell-on prawns in a sauce did prove to be the most frustrating plate of food to eat you can imagine! I also ate at the 2 Michelin starred Midsummer House which lived up to the high expectations I had.  Celeriac and quail dishes impressing amongst others at the pretty venue on the river in Cambridge.

Celeraic and Duck - Midsummer House

Celeriac and Duck – Midsummer House

My most disappointing meal of 2014, to date, has to be Calcutta Club. A curry of such grey insipid sauce will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons. A warming bowl of Ramen from Bonzai saw me though to the warmer month of April.

A recent favourite, Pan Asia BBQ, arrived in the city in Spring and the first of many visits I really enjoyed and have been back several times since. I also had an very good meal at Iberico. My blogged visit was, unfortunately, the least inspired of the many times I have been. On the visit this year a number of strong dishes stood out (against the low lighting!) and it remains one of my go-to restaurants for a top meal in Nottingham. An excursion to London saw April out with a bang and a very good value lunch at HHK where I would definitely revisit.

Scallops - Iberico

Scallops – Iberico

A new friend’s house saw me venture to the relative wilds of Chilwell to dine at Haveli. An enjoyable meal, quite traditional Indian fare but nothing that would see me favour it above the many good Indian restaurants in the city centre. I had visited Cumin not long after, off-blog, and had a great meal. Shared a huge mixed grill for 2 and a fresh chicken tawa, for me one of the best Indian’s at the moment.

Mixed Grill - Cumin

Mixed Grill – Cumin

Brown’s got a second chance in May after a poor showing last year but it failed to redeem itself, a particular lowlight a dry brioche butter pudding dessert with luminous custard. The Cod’s Scallops maintained their position as my top fish and chip outlet in Nottingham with a great takeaway one Friday. The quality of the fish surpasses others, with big pearly flakes of cod under wonderfully crisp batter.  Finally, amongst the other Asian offerings of Miss Korea and Temple of Heaven, Annie’s Burger Shack deserves a mention. It was third time lucky to really see what it was all about, although I still think Nottingham lacks strong burger or hot dog options.

Brioche Butter Pudding - Browns  -Yellow and Dangerous

Brioche Butter Pudding – Browns -Yellow and Dangerous

So having looked back I am looking forward to the second half of the year, let me know your thoughts and if there is anywhere I should be trying.