Nottingham’s Best Dishes 2019
2019 has been a quieter year for me here at Frusher on Food. Anyone following me on Twitter will be very aware that I have really gotten into wine over the last 12 months. My food writing hasn’t ceased in favour of propping up bars but instead doing a qualification in wine (WSET level 3) as well as joining a weekly group of wine enthusiasts for regular tastings. Alongside this I’ve generally been putting in the hours for my day job as well some changes in my personal life that have affected things. 2020 could be interesting though with a potential national TV appearance I am currently under consideration for….watch this space.
Despite all this I have still eaten some brilliant food, new and old in 2019 so here are my favourites:
Sample was the up and down experience of the year. There was no doubting the talent on display here, sometimes the victim of their ambition and occasionally execution not meeting that ambition either. As I reflected in my review their most successful dishes were when they kept it simple. The best of which was a mutton chop, the meat with a wonderful depth of flavour and still tender like spring lamb
I am a huge fan of Chinese food from the excellent, cheap Dim Sum on a Sunday at Man’s to the fabulous Sichuan cooking at Shanghai Shanghai. The little, miss-able, ramshackle U-Canteen is closer to the interesting regional style of the latter. Yes you can get some standard chow mein or beef in black bean sauce but a little more adventure will see you rewarded. My hunan chicken had a warming, smoky chilli oil that coated each fibre of the dish. Fiery and memorable.
Dosa and Chutney has probably been my favourite Indian opening over recent years. A recent meal at Burra-Khana did little to persuade me otherwise and whilst Mowgli is pleasant enough I continue to be amazed at how popular it is. But back to D&C and the Dosa is the dish that puts this place above others. The range is wide and really reasonably priced, I’ve enjoyed a really simple one with chopped onions and another that was a meal itself with potato and lamb. The accompanying dips are also fantastic all with their own distinctive flavour.
The most consistent award winner over the last few years in Nottingham has undoubtedly been Bar Iberico. The food has been top drawer across breakfast / bunch and menu changes over the seasons. I have only been a couple of times this year and am happy to report their crispy chicken is still top notch. The real stunner on my most recent visit though was cod cheek. It wasn’t much of a looker but my low lighting photo skills needed some work that evening. The cheeks were in a spicy sauce with fino sherry and haricot beans. The acidity from the sherry and heat from the chilli worked better than I’d imagine with the meaty fish. An unexpected dish of the meal is always memorable.
I have sadly failed in my attempts to try the hottest tickets in Nottinghamshire’s pub scene, namely The Radcliffe and The Railway. However making do with Ruddington Arms is not too much of a chore and they delivered my Sunday Lunch of the year a few months ago. I generally find it a lottery of a meal as so much comes down to personal preference of accompaniments. That said the beef here is so good and so perfectly cooked that I could have forgiven a multitude of sins.
Those on Twitter may have observed my most eaten at restaurant of the year was Kushi-Ya. Whilst its menu is fabulous at any time you would wish to go I have taken advantage of their excellent lunch deal on many occasions. The regular favourites of Tsukune and Beef with black garlic mustard have been supplemented by recent outstanding additions like their own take on prawn toast. I look forward to continuing to support them in 2020.
Only when preparing this list did I realise I hadn’t written a full post about Sarangbang Cafe when I visited earlier in the year. Kimchi Ramen was fabulously fragrant and spicy, bubbling away looking like pure lava. I also tried some crispy chicken there that was just as good. The coating not quite as crispy as you’d expect but the flavours were lovely.
So Happy New Year to all my followers and readers. Please let me know if there is anywhere you feel I should visit in and around Nottingham in 2020!