The Railway – Pub – Nottingham (Lowdham)
Since The Railway opened a few years ago its been one of the most decorated pubs in our city’s local food awards. Their successes also saw them open a sister pub, The Radcliffe, last year which has had some similarly glowing reports. Its surprising then it’s taken me so long to pay them a visit! Having lived near the city centre for most of my Nottingham life I must admit to partially neglecting places further out of town, but no longer. The pub sits a little outside the main village area but not far from a pretty stretch of river that flows into the Trent as it winds North towards Newark.
The Railway provides that popular mix of cosy public house with a casual bar/drinking area alongside a couple of slightly smarter spots for dining. I visited recently during Covid so it seemed very spacious but would suspect it would be a little busier usually. For a Saturday lunchtime there was a relatively small menu but plenty to get excited about. They offer a mix of pub classics and more adventurous dishes. I opted for what I would consider to be the latter. Firstly salt and pepper squid with gojuchang (korean chilli paste) mayo and pickled vegetables. It was a seriously pretty bowl, the crockery itself striking with the vibrant colours of the sauce and vegetables jumping off the plate. The most important thing they did get right, the squid being cooked well and remaining really tender when it can so often be rubbery. I would have liked a bigger punch of flavour on both the squid coating and in the mayonnaise, there was a lack of spice coming through but I do like it hotter than most. Pickles provided the biggest kick with their chilli and acidity. The bok choi was perfectly pleasant but didn’t add too much to the overall dish and serving the squid on top felt odd as it made them a touch less crisp.
Main course was a tough choice with favourites like pork belly and fish & chips featuring to try and tempt me. I opted for something lighter with roast hake, and was certainly rewarded for the choice. The curry sauce accompanying it was a vivid orange and more on the light, fragrant side which worked perfectly with the delicate fish. The hake itself was skilfully treated, cooked perfectly with a crispy skin, its pearly white flesh succulent and moist. Butter-lovers would be happy with the content of it in the mash, smooth and luxurious to the extent that I could have enjoyed just that and the sauce! The addition of the mussels was also a nice little touch to bring a pop of salty seafood flavour.
Sadly no time for desserts although with the likes of sticky toffee pudding and treacle tart I have even more incentive to return. On evidence of this meal I definitely should have visited sooner with the main course particularly impressing, it really could have graced a fine dining restaurant. The service was excellent and had a friendly personal touch that you always look for from a local pub. It isn’t a budget affair at The Railway with starters around £8 and mains £14-18. Having done a bit of a comparison to some of my other favourite posh pubs it is a touch pricier than the likes of The Major Oak and The Ruddington Arms but with the quality on show I didn’t begrudge them a penny. In fact in these ever tricky times for hospitality (especially with the introduction of the 10pm curfew) please do continue to support your local pubs and restaurants when you can, hopefully you will have as enjoyable an experience as I did!