Nottingham – The Working Lunch – Part 1
I was speaking someone recently who lamented the lack of knowledge of Nottingham’s lunch options for the busy city worker. I thought they were quite right. Almost a year ago now I started working back in the centre and have been sampling and refining where I choose to pop out to. Here the focus is on things you can pick up and bring back to the office so no eat-in lunch deals.
Taste of Korea
The selection of street food vans along both Clinton Streets weren’t new to me but I didn’t appreciate how many great vendors operated there. I’ve eaten Taste of Korea’s food at the Street Food Club but it passed me by that they were also available in van form. A spicy pork bimimbap was one of the most pretty lunches I have had and at £6 came in at good value. Bulked out with a lot of rice but the spicy sauce carried enough flavour that it never got boring.
A real disappointment. I went to the one on Clumber Street but the real estate was the only prime thing about it. Rather than the competition that cook their noodles to order Chopstix have trays of items already made for you to create a box with. The noodles were dire, rubbery and containing overcooked green beans for some reason?! You get 2 toppings, I went for chilli prawns and barbecue chicken. Both had some flabby batter attached that I suppose meant it was filling at least. I won’t be back.
Philpotts – Sandwiches etc.
A staple of Nottingham’s lunch team for some time. It’s polished brass home on Parliament Street always gave me the feeling of emptyness, as if something was missing in what is quite a big space. Food-wise it’s your usual stuff, not terribly exciting but there is a good element of customisation with their make to order counter. At £3.50 for one of them premium sandwiches it’s not bad either but stick a bag of kettle chips on at the counter and approaching £5 it starts competing with the hot food options across the city. There aren’t many decent sandwich options around in Nottingham so it does remain one of the best, it’s just not that exciting.
Bar Burrito –
I would wager that this is the most frequented lunch spot for our office, primarily due to the location. Their model is a counter of options that you pick as they move you along the conveyor of salsas and embellishments. A classic, which should be enough to fill anyone up, is £7 and does perform well on flavour, aforementioned salsa coming in different heat levels, my favourite is the hottest which manages to pack a punch even through the carbs. It is amongst more expensive options and whilst there are a few choices of fillings its hard to discern the quality of the meat with so much else going on. For the health conscious a burrito “bowl” option without the wrap is a popular choice too.
The most polished of the food vans, some proper branding and a bright pistachio green was catching the eye of a few passers by. Anyone tempted to take the plunge would find pleasing results. Firstly the menu is small. I always like that, do a few things well. The day I went was a choice of chicken, beef or salmon . Didn’t spot any veggie or vegan options but I could very well be wrong. The chicken offering I had was “Brazilian” with some “paella”. I won’t dive too much into the authenticity of these but I think I’d have preferred they weren’t so aligned to different cuisines. Perhaps chicken and rice wouldn’t sell so well. It was also drizzled with mint yogurt and served with a lime, introducing even more influences?! Fortunately it was delicious. The chicken and rice both had plenty of flavour and were well cooked. The dressings and salad added to the party too, flavours ultimately in harmony despite my misgivings. A total of £5 for this vibrant box? Somewhere I’ll definitely be back to!
There’s a few of these places now but I just don’t get it. I haven’t been and don’t have the desire too. Having entirely chips, for lunch I can’t get my head around. Please let me know if I am missing out!
No 12 Houndsgate –
I like this café, and the philosophy behind it as they are a fully vegetarian affair. I’ve had a couple of boxes now and whilst they are definitely tasty I didn’t get enough to fill me up. A recent visit I got an extra topping which took the cost to £7 but even then I had the raid the cupboards for some crisps (pictured). I am sure that this might be plenty for some people but I am clearly greedy!
Reds BBQ –
Their lunch menu surprised me. Options that include both fish and vegan choices come in at a fairly reasonable £7.50, although it’s still more than you would want to spend apart from a treat. For my takeaway I had pulled pork and chicken sandwich with chips. The little sub itself was great, the embellishments of crispy onions, pickles and their mustard BBQ sauce really making a difference and overall one of the most polished lunches I had.
Part 2 is already under construction but get your suggestions coming in!