Missoula – Bar/Grill – Nottingham
Missoula recently took over the spot of popular bar The Living Room and has shifted the philosophy to a restaurant where you can have drinks rather than the emphasis on the bar that its former occupant had. A chain with a small number of outlets, Missoula takes its inspiration from the Northern US state of Montana. This background and theme is very much reflected in the surroundings with wall mounted animal trophies and cow (or similar) hide upholstered seating. Our vegetarian dining companion was not in her element suffice to say.
The menu is also what you might expect with plenty of meat, steaks being a speciality, although there is a breath of choice. I rarely choose steak when I am out; I am a fan but feel I can buy a good cut and cook it pretty competently at home. Here they offer USDA beef that the menu claims has “unique marbling…and unsurpassed flavour”. Well, when in Montana as they say. I chose a 12oz ribeye with comes with a choice of 1 side for a rather whopping £25. I ordered it cooked medium-rare and it was competently cooked, although not perfect. The heat balance had come much more on one side so actually ranged from rare to medium depending on which piece you got. The meat itself was quite tender was decent marbling as suggested but the flavour was very disappointing. The best part was the crispy onions I’d chosen as a side. Hardly substantial but a bowl of these and a beer and I’d be pretty happy. Sadly overall I felt short changed at that price point to say the least.
In addition I ordered a side of spicy shrimp (£4.75), apparently another key Montana ingredient. Batter had a decent crisp but lacked any spice, in fact they were mostly lemony which hadn’t been advertised. I actually, by way of comparison, bought a pack of 12 from Tesco for a £1 and the flavour was superior! In the interests of fairness and not having ordered a starter I decided to order a dessert and, sticking with the theme, warm cherry pie appealed. Presentation was a little odd, it being served in a tapas-style bowl with a scoop of ice cream plonked on top. The pasty was ok, not too thick but everything had a slightly artificial taste and I couldn’t help feeling that it was bought-in rather than created by the restaurant.
An underwhelming experience all around where I had expected much more. The dishes I had really lacked the big flavour that I had expected. The decor’s garish American vibe really didn’t do it for me either, the table was impractical too with raised enamel spots which meant plates would slide around the table when trying to cut something. My steak, side, dessert and a beer meant I had ended up parting with £40. In that territory you’re competing with the top end places in Nottingham. In steak terms I maintain that the best venue is The Larder on Goosegate.
Restaurant website: http://www.missoulamontanabarandgrill.co.uk/