Neighbourhood – Cafe / Pizza – Nottingham
Despite living near Neighbourhood I was alerted to its existence by one of my Twitter followers, some PR appears to have kicked in since as I have seen it advertised through sponsored adverts on Facebook. It is at the city end of Castle Boulevard, and I believe has replaced Café 101 that was previously in this unit. It is perhaps a curious location but with The Park having no shops or cafes and other flats in the surrounding area I imagine there should be a plentiful supply of patrons.
Inside it is pretty basic, some ramshackle tables in a decently sized split-level dining space. There were lots of plants, usually a good thing, but they were all still in the brown plastic pot that you buy them in. The succulent on our table had certainly seen better days. They have been open for at least a couple of months so I would expect more polish, even from a casual restaurant. The menu is appealing, they do brunch and cakes but we were here on an evening where pizza’s are the main attraction. It is also BYOB which can be a positive or negative but it does offer something different, and good for value.
I chose a mushroom and truffle oil number (£9) and shared sides of paprika fries (£3) and a caprese (£5.50). Sadly they didn’t have any of the mushrooms for the pizza, they had other mushrooms but not the “right” mushrooms. As I am not a man to compromise on his funghi I asked the chef (open kitchen) creating the pizza’s what he recommended. After an uninspiring reply of “have what you want mate” was returned I made a snap decision to have The Green Machine. A little wait did ensue but a table of 6 ordered just before us and for a small place I can excuse this.
The first thought when it did arrive was that of disappointment at the mound of (unadvertised) rocket. To my mind it is unnecessary and hides the real beauty of the pizza underneath. Had they of asked if I wanted it I’d have declined but thought it was a nice free addition. My Green Machine was pretty nice overall, a decent base and sauce. The toppings I was a bit less convinced about. Halloumi, broccoli and artichoke were the main ones, apparently some basil too but I struggled to detect any. Halloumi as well as mozzarella is a bit weird, not bad but just fighting for your attention, mostly on texture. Artichoke was the most traditional element and turned out to be the best, the broccoli’s problem is that it’s unwieldy and an unusual texture for pizza. I tended to go for a bite and end up having to eat the whole stem at once, tricksy little buggers. My girlfriend’s goats cheese and caramelised red onion was on safer footing with its ingredients but did suffer from a thick base in parts.
Sides were a let down. The caprese was unforgiveable really, simply a low quality unripe tomato. I get pretty good tomatoes from Sainsburys so I don’t know how they managed such a dismal effort. Rocket was a needless addition, maybe to offset the fact they didn’t have any decent basil. It also needed some salt and oil to bring it to life, frankly anything to inject the merest suggestion of flavour. Chips weren’t much better, a decent portion but the paprika was so token they may as well not have bothered. I advise them to go and try Five Guy’s Cajun fries and achieve something closer to that. Very bland and a bit oily.
Service was ok, it was a student waiter’s first night and he was a bit clueless but in an affable way . The only redeeming feature might be the value, it’s not to pricey but I can see why people would go to the chains of MOD and Inferno for a pizza at a similar cost. I wanted to like Neighbourhood, it is really my local after all. I just can’t overlook the simple mistakes and laziness of the food.
Restaurant website: https://www.facebook.com/neighbourhoodnotts/