Alex Bond Supper Club (At Wired Café) – Modern British – Nottingham
Having previously worked at the 2 Michelin star Sat Bains before more recently moving to Head Chef at Turners in Birmingham, Alex Bond is now focussing his efforts on renovating a building in Canning Circus which will be a permanent home. In the meantime, he is plying his trade doing a number of supper clubs, mostly after hours at Wired Café in the city centre.
Little changes in the coffee shop on Pelham Street for this night-time pop-up, it is a casual affair with about 16 of us packed into the small space. The close proximity does mean you can watch the chef plating up in your eyeline. Observing the precise presentation had a certain hypnotic quality to it. There is only a 5 course tasting menu with the odd change for any vegetarians in the house. Because of the lack of a real kitchen in the café most of the food was without any “cooked” items, leading to quite a different, but interesting, meal. Things kicked off impressively with cured scallop, elderflower and caviar. The subtle flavour of the shellfish was supplemented well by the fragrant elderflower and a bit of zing from some pickled cucumber and the odd pop of fishiness from the caviar.
From the pretty pale colours of that plate we transitioned to a bright, beautiful dish of tomato tartar and pine emulsion. The flavour of the tomatoes, which can so often be variable, were good. This was further enhanced by the pile of greenery that added that little something different with every mouthful. The pairing with the pine was more delicate than I had expected and worked remarkably well.The ‘main’ course of the evening was a slow cooked Ox cheek. It was served with some crunchy home-grown vegetables and an oyster tartar. The meat was supremely tender and fell apart on eating, the oyster did bring something to the dish, a richness probably the best way to describe it. That said I felt this was the dish most in need of an extra element to bring it up to the same level as the other dishes. An extra course was then presented in the form of a little goat curd, candied walnut and honeycomb. Good balance between the neutral flavours from the curd and sweetness from accompanying items.
2 desserts were then up, something rich then something fruity a good mix to end the meal. The first was reminiscent of combinations that I have enjoyed at Sat Bains and that I assume influenced this dish. A dense, rich quenelle of chocolate sat alongside a blob of miso and something akin to banana custard, but thicker. This was another accomplished dish the showed not only technical skill but a deft hand with some bold ingredients. The same couldn’t quite be said for the final dish. The ambition of it was admirable, early season strawberries with black olive and fennel. Regardless of the balance of these bold flavours there will likely get a decent number of people who just won’t like it. I was almost in that population; fennel / aniseed is one of the few tastes that doesn’t float my boat. Here though it was surprisingly subtle and carried itself well with the fruit, the same could almost apply to the black olive – but not quite. There was just too much of it and it sadly dominated the other elements on the plate.
Overall you couldn’t fail to be impressed with what was achieved in such limited surroundings. Equally my thoughts turned to what might be when Alex has a proper kitchen to play with. For £35 it places it amongst the more expensive foodie evenings in Nottingham and the surroundings are less than luxurious. Despite this if you are looking for something different and ambitious, then almost nowhere will rival what I enjoyed here.
Restaurant website: n/a