Edward’s Canteen Kitchen – Supper Club Fusion – Nottingham (Beeston)
Edward’s is somewhere that has been on my radar for some time, it’s not a place that has made headlines but their menu is arguably one of the most intriguing around. It lies alongside Beeston favourites Yannis and Café Roya on Wollaton Road and is reminiscent of a café in style as well as space. It is attractive in a rustic way, a shelf of foodie books strewn randomly, a little bar / counter and a couple of quotes on dining are the main features of the room. Their offerings stretch across all 3 meals. Breakfast is a fairly traditional affair, the daytime menu with increasing world, particularly Asian, influences. The evening menu (at £30 per head) is where these influences really come to the fore with 7 diverse and interesting courses.
We started with a pep talk from Ed about what we were in for and his concept. It was nice but not necessary addition as we felt it took a little magic away from the surprises that were to come. We chose a bottle of wine from a decent selection of 8 or so, they also offer a handful of beers and spirits. A decent selection for a small establishment. The first course was a pot of gazpacho served with a little croute brushed with truffle oil. The soup itself had good flavour and a quite serious heat that was perhaps a little much for a opening course. There was also an unadvertised kimichi gyoza that was genuinely delicious but didn’t quite seem at home with the Spanish flavours of the soup. Next up – Sichuan sea bass. This seemed an initially modest portion, partly due to being swamped by the salad and large slate. My fish was a little over steamed (I did enquire how it was cooked) and had become a little dry. The salad alongside was well balanced with a nice dressing and crispy fennel was a little delight in flavour and texture.
A particularly interesting dish of Jjamppong now arrived and I admit to never having heard of it. In essence it is a Japanese seafood both that is usually spicy though this example didn’t have that heat. Its muddy appearance didn’t make for the most visually appealing dish of the night. There was a serious flavour of seafood in the liquid alongside some fishy jewels of calamari and “shaved lobster” (!?) that was a little much for me. There was a ball of slow cooked rabbit that I particularly enjoyed, sticky and sweet. I left some of my broth and it was hastily snaffled and drained by my girlfriend, the fish more to her taste. A palate cleanser then arrived… which prior to 2 further main courses seemed a little odd timing. It was a little pot of lemon sorbet that arrived under a cloche of smoke. The sorbet was excellent and had been paired with some pistachio oil and spiced sugar which added surprisingly little.
Next a Chinese duck croquette was a reminiscent of that famous pancake in fried ball form. It was well made and like the rabbit earlier the meat was sticky, soft and sweet. Accompanying steamed mussels and slice of parma ham added very little, some black pudding scattered around was in such small pieces it gave a bit of depth but not much flavour. The richness of the meat actually needed something to cut through it, pickled cucumber or similar would have complimented well. The last of the savoury courses was a signature dish of sorts as we were told it features on their menu and evening taster at all times. “Chicken 65” has numerous interpretations, on this occasion it was a fragrant batter that surrounded a moist chicken thigh. It was less crispy than the excellent bhaji, crisp and with robust spicing. A mound of rice and chickpeas complemented the fried elements alongside a very good tamarind reduction. It’s on the day menu at £9.50 which seems like good value to me.
Dessert was a selection of interesting fruits and sweet items that included Japanese plum, black sesame ice cream, lychee and steamed sweet buns. It was another dish that was served under a cloche but this time smoke from the mulberry wood. That a specific wood was chosen is remarkable attention to detail but in this case the smoke was quite a strong influence and overpowered some of the subtle components of the dessert. It was a light end to the meal which was a good call after such a substantial amount of food.
There is such ambition in the cooking here that it has to be admired. In some cases I felt that less might really be more to give greater clarity to their dishes. With what they take on in a small kitchen is it no wonder there is the odd missed step like the cooking of the bass. There were also notable foibles like the inclusion of (did you notice?) fried kale on every course despite being rather obviously out of place in some instances. At £30 its more than your average meal yes, but you get 7 courses with interesting dishes and ingredients you are unlikely to have had before. Edward’s is a difficult experience to summarise. It is unique and eccentric which along with some good food certainly makes it likeable.
Restaurant website: https://www.danbycatering.com/menu