2014 Roundup – Mostly the best and a couple of the disappointments of the year
Best Nottingham Restaurant 2014
I have enjoyed a real diversity of food this year with great Indian, Szechwan, and Japanese a few that stood out. Some stalwarts of the Nottingham dining scene impressed me, Hart’s Sunday lunch offering strong value and solid execution. Tarn Thai I returned to who continue to deliver consistently good Thai food in a beautiful setting. The winner for me though is the restaurant I travel back to as much as I can and that I recommend to friends and colleagues the most. The food, ambience and concept tick all the boxes.
Iberico World Tapas
Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2014
On the fine dining scene I managed to visit a collection of the best restaurants across the UK. Recently, and to date unblogged, I visited the Ledbury and Hibiscus that were great examples of relatively classic styles and flavours with a modern take. Whist these were very strong meals they were beaten to the punch by the older pretender Le Gavroche. If you are looking for something classic it is the perfect setting for the French classics and an occasion. A nose in front of the rest though in 2014 has been Restaurant Nathan Outlaw down in Cornwall and Midsummer House in Cambridge. For me the food included the 2 best dishes I have eaten all year; sea bass with porthilly sauce and duck with coal baked celeriac (pictured below). The savoury courses of these meals were nigh on faultless and as I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as some they were always going to get my vote! So how do I separate them? The stunning location of Nathan Outlaw helped, especially it being one of the warmest days of the year. A pre-dinner drink on the terrace was a relatively unparalleled moment. The service too had the edge with a charming husband and wife front-of-house pair making the experience feel more special.
Best Value 2014
There are a handful of restaurants in this category that represent great value for money when eating out in Nottingham. My most recent fast food post includes some of the more casual dining establishments that I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending if try if you are after good food on a budget. Two new Szechwan restaurants have sprung up in Nottingham and for what they deliver you get plenty of bang for your buck, though they aren’t for the feint hearted! Nada Budaya is a personal favourite of mine… I could eat their beef rendang on a weekly basis! Their set price lunch or early evening menus are fantastic value. The top of the tree though is Yamas with their 3 tapas for £6.95 lunch deal, you have a great range of choice which often isn’t the case on a lunch menu. Stifado, chorizo and patatas bravas are my recommended choices…although it’s hard to resist ordering a further dish too!
Disappointment Of The Year
I never want a poor meal and whilst by trade, I might delve deeper and be more critical than some, but always hope for a good experience. Bill’s I had hoped was going to deliver where Brown’s never has, hearty, flavourful British food at a reasonable price. Sadly it was much more comparable to the inconsistently executed fare of it’s rival. The Calcutta Club was a real let-down on my visit, I was expecting great things and with so much competition out there I thought they would be on their game. The winner/loser depending on how you look at it is unquestionably the Pelican Club. Maybe “clubs” just don’t make good restaurants? I wanted to love it, I certainly felt Nottingham was missing a strong Italian restaurant but service and food both failed to an extent. Both friends not finishing their main says it all.
Best looking food of 2014
You’ve voted in your tens (is there anything less than tens?) for the most beautiful fine dining dishes and Nottingham’s finest. In all seriousness there were many more votes than I expected and I appreciate you voting. And you decided that the winners are: