Nottingham Post Food & Drink Awards – Winners and my verdict
I haven’t blogged for a while, partly because I’ve been very busy but also beacause the hot weather has meant the thought of getting my heat producing laptop out has filled me with dread. In that time the biggest food awards for our area occurred, and this year I was involved. I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to be a guest judge for one of the categories, Outstanding Service. The Nottingham Post initially ask for nominations from the public for each of their categories, those are then shortlisted to 3 by their panel before 2 judges go out and test each establishment (undercover) to decide on a winner. I’ll give you the final three for each category as well on my thoughts who I personally would pick. I’ve also highlighted any previously reviews of these restaurants.
Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti (Winner)
One of the most competitive categories and the winner was the only one I hadn’t been to (yet). I clearly need to make a visit but it can’t be better than Bar Iberico…surely!? The Bakehouse also goes from strength to strength, not only as a café but now offering full Sunday lunches and themed dining evenings.
Best Asian Restaurant
Chino Latino (Winner)
I was a little surprised at this one, Zaap is a little overrated but always busy and I thought it might clean up. My personal favourite of these is Bonasi, I used to be a regular visitor for its authentic Japanese cuisine at a reasonable price. Chino Latino is certainly good, it’s tasting menu has some really tasty, diverse dishes but it is a little bit more expensive. Thaikhun, Tarn Thai and Man’s would have got nominations above Zaap for me.
Outstanding Service – the one I judged!
The Footman’s Rest (Winner)
Iberico World Tapas
Interesting I got 2 places I had never been before in Langar Hall and the Footman’s Rest. I will go into more detail on those visits in future posts but Langar was disappointing. Iberico was excellent as usual but did not stand out for me with regard to service. The little Footman’s Rest triumphed mainly down to the dedicated service of the owner / manager who used to be a footman to the queen!
Best Indian Restaurant
The Calcutta Club (Winner)
Difficult one for me as I haven’t ever had great meals at either Memsaab or the Calcutta Club! I must be doing something wrong. My most visited places at The Cumin, Kayal and Desi Downtown each offering something quite different whereas this years nominees were all quite similar.
Best Out of Town
Black Bull (Winner)
Another winner I have yet to visit. This restaurant out in Blidworth has really been making a name for itself with its innovative cuisine and I look forward to giving it a go. Another nomination without a win for Langar (a theme from the evening) and Perkin’s was very good on my solitary evening there but is less adventerous in it’s cuisine than the winner.
Iberico World Tapas (Winner)
It is such a board category but hard to argue any of these shouldn’t have been amongst the nominees. The correct restaurant won unquestionably but should they separate tapas into its own category or create another to recognise even more restaurants.
Best Fine Dining
La Rock (Winner)
I was surprised to learn at that World Service had been nominated for this three years in a row as I think they have dropped off their game in that time. La Rock certainly the top of this tree though I have to wonder what Hart’s did to miss out on a nomination? I have had a couple of great visits there recently.
Having been involved this year it seems The Post have got a good, and fair, process in place… even though I dont always agree with them! I would like to see a review of some of the categories, for note I didnt include all of them here as some were focussed on bars and a bit less relevant to what I write about. I think more nominees and wider recognition of restaurants would be a positive thing.
The awards also highlighted a couple of things to me. Firstly that we have a really strong dining scene in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire with pretty good depth in most areas. It also made me think that despite having reviewed well over 100 local restaurants there are still plenty that I havent been to. Work to do!