The Orange Tree – Pub – Nottingham – Review by Sarah
Ooh. It’s a lovely pub, the Orange Tree. The whole place exudes relaxation. And plaid. Everyone in this faux-shabby wooden den has designs on being Alexa Chung or Nick Grimshaw. Except us. The extent of our thinking about clothes pretty much stops past the, “have I managed to not be naked when I leave the house?” We are standing out from the hipster crowd, their Topshop dressing up box, but pleasingly, no one seems to be Snapchatting us with the slogan ‘sore thumbs’ (I’m referencing Snapchat here, because I found out today what it is, and I’ll probably have forgotten by tomorrow, which is how life works these days).
What does this have to do with dinner? Well, when you feel uncomfortable, you could be eating filet mignon cooked by Ferran Adrià but end up wishing you were at home burning the roof of your mouth on a Findus Crispy Pancake. There’s a world of difference between venues that are trying to be hip, and places that are just cool and chilled. This is the latter – I haven’t always thought this of the Orange Tree, but I am willing to change my mind.
There must be something up with me today.
So, the food. Nothing on the menu goes North of £10 unless you start faffing around and adding more things to dishes that are generally full of things already. The menu is pretty much all main courses and focuses heavily on things in bread: hot dogs, burgers, tortillas, sandwiches. And when it’s not in bread, it’s on bread. They’re not mugs at the Orange Tree – bread based meals means prices can stay low while profits can stay reasonable, and everyone knows that students live off bread. Veggies are well catered for, so appetisingly so that the hunter-gatherer who is my husband went for a Faux-Dog (£6.95), a vegetarian sausage hot dog with all the trimmings and some skin-on fries. I went for the burger, but they didn’t have any, so I went for the chipotle chicken burger (£8.95), although I wish I had spied the beef brisket chilli on the specials board before committing.
The food took about 15 minutes to arrive, during which time I supped on an OK-I-suppose house Sauvignon Blanc and the husband pounded down a Rekorderlig the colour of chemically dangerous bathroom cleaner. When did this become acceptable? Drinks are many and varied, and there is an extensive but navigable cocktail list. Unusually, the happy hour(s) is late in the evening (8-10pm Sunday to Thursday), with £1 off cocktails as well as cheap house wine and beer. Non drinkers are well catered for too, with mocktails and lots of teas and coffees, and a book swap zone for when their drunken friends get really tedious.
Ah yes, the food. Nothing complicated was ordered, but everything that was ordered arrived with a smile, was hot and fresh and really tasty, and how many bar meals fail on at least one of those fronts? The hot dog just looked brilliant old skool, and the fries got a massive thumbs up, although they certainly weren’t freshly carved from an actual potato.
My chicken burger was strangely presented, with the flattened chicken breast sticking out of either side of a cartoonishly round brioche bun; perhaps slicing it in two and fitting the pieces in the bun would have been a tidy idea. The bun has been toasted on the grill pan and despite my general aversion to brioche, this was a tasty bun with a dome to rival a Tunnock’s tea cake and an egg glaze that would make a challah bread tie itself in envious knots. The chicken had been pasted with chipotle sauce with the texture of pesto but the kick of tabasco. The salad sitting alongside was fresh, if fresh from the bag. Sadly, the salad was in an ugly rectangular dish sitting on a rectangular plate, with less room for manouvere on the plate than a cat stuck in a drainpipe.
It’s slightly odd that so little is on offer in the dessert department, but what is there keeps up the bread-based mains concept – either sweet stuff on biscuits (cheesecake) or sweet stuff on waffles (er, waffles). And that’s it. And we didn’t want that, so we drew a line under things, but this is the kind of place we would have stuck around and had dessert if there had been a few more options.
Overall = 6/10
Value = 6.5/10