Everyday People – Nottingham
We haven’t had much to shout about in new openings since Covid but with Mesa, and now Everyday People, things are on the up. This new venture opened this week and is led by Pete Hewitt, creator of the Homeboys streetfood outfit. It has been the most anticipated restaurant probably since Kushi-Ya at the end of 2018. Byard Lane now really is a buzzing little street with this introduction alongside the likes of Barseca, Coco Tang and The Tap House. I enjoyed the styling of the modest space they have created, clean white tiling and neutral colours in what is a characterful old building. The kitchen is entirely open but was a picture of calm throughout the evening alongside some good modern tunes through the speakers.
The menu is a, now seemingly ubiquitous, selection of little plates, bigger plates and sides. No complaints here though as you can choose to enjoy a main meal style experience or come with a group and share most of the menu. As with Homeboys there is a strong influence from South East Asia. There’s lots of interest in the drinks options too, great beers by the bottle and on draft as well as an entirely natural wine list. The Sauv B / Chardonnay I tried would have been enjoyable to most white wine lovers but other labels may be a bit more challenging!
One thing to note was the speedy service, mostly in a good fashion, but our first dish did arrive before the drinks! We started with a small plate of ham hock nuggets. They were pleasantly meaty, rich and salty as you’d expect. The sauce really bought them to life though, the dipping pot of “Kimchi BBQ” was deep maroon and glistening. It was smoky but with a bracing whack of acidity to cut through the nuggets. I might have liked a touch more fire from it but I do like it hot. The Korean wings (£8) followed a similar pattern, their glaze a little sweeter but still packed with flavour. The wings themselves a good size and succulent. I was again looking for a punchier spicing especially alongside the ranch dressing, it was nice but muted the fairly subtle flavours from the wings.
Tater tots (£5) were the ultimate indulgence although perhaps the least in keeping with the rest of the menu, but I cant envisage many complaining. Light and fluffy insides, crispy shell and served with shavings of parmesan and tangy burger sauce. I want these after work with a beer every Friday! The other “side” we tried was the antithesis of the carb fest that went before. Market greens were fresh cabbage, wilted but still crunchy with bags of chilli and a palate drying addition of black beans.
We had been building up to two of the larger dishes. It was a crescendo both standing out from what went before despite an already good meal. My dish of the evening was “Sausage and Clams” (£12). The Thai red curry sauce was the best I’ve ever had with the natural juices from the clams, fragrance from the Thai basil, depth from the ground sausage and a great underlying heat. The sweet Dorset calms were the icing on the cake, the sort of seafood I love but we see little of around here. My love letter aside the most popular all round dish was the Claypot Rice (£14). The star, you think, is the pork belly as you lift the lid and spot your reflection in the prefect glistening glaze. And it is stunning. Soft, sweet, salty and fatty all in harmonious measures. Its served alongside a couple of accompaniments I ashamed to not have the full details for, some minced spring onions and choi sum do bring a welcome lightness and freshness to the rich meat. But what you soon discover is this could be the best rice you’ve ever eaten. The beauty of the clay pot is that the rice has started developing a crust and the combination of the chewy, crunchy grains with the flavours seeping into them is really a memorable experience.
There aren’t any in house desserts available (at this stage at least) but an option is “Ice Cream Sandwiches” (£5) bought in from Happy Endings. We tried cookies and cream which was quite refreshing and with crisp biscuits sandwiching the milky ice cream, almost milk sorbet like. The second was much more of an acquired taste. Miso caramel ice cream was sat between squidgy slices of Guinness cake, this was grown up stuff. I could have had something half the size given how powerful those flavours were but a pleasant surprise when I wasn’t expecting much from these desserts.
There was plenty to get excited about from Everyday People and despite a small menu there were dishes we didn’t get to try that are equally as exciting as these. It also felt like good value, the above selection plenty for 3 hungry people. You could easily come for one of the larger dishes with a beer and leave with change from £20. It was impressively running like clockwork in its first few days and is already getting booked up for the weeks to come. You can try and get a table though, I recommend it: https://www.theeverydaypeople.co.uk/