What's on the menu?

What's on the menu?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Bacon Bad? Not at the Last Chance Saloon

We love bacon so a night of all you can eat piggy was always going to appeal to us when we saw a Facebook advert for the Last Chance Saloon. Their Thursday night offering is Bacon Bad. All you can eat bacon dishes for £9.99. Winner, winner, bacon dinner.

The Last Chance Saloon Nottingham- I Bacon We Trust

Fast forward a couple of weeks and we're sat in the Last Chance Saloon. A basement bar on Plumptre Street within Nottingham's Lace Market area a stones throw from the Ice Stadium It's what you imagine a modern version of a Wild West Saloon would look like with lots of wood and plenty of Bourbon displayed above the bar.

We chose a table pretty much  facing the bar and began to peruse a special meny of piggy related delight. From Bac n'Cheese (Mac and Cheese with added bacon) to Buffalo the Vampire Slayer Wings (Chicken wings wrapped in Bacon). The rule is simple, order 2 items, finish them and you can order 2 more. For £9.99 it sounded like a bargain to us.

The Bar at Last Chance-Plenrty of Bourbon
We started on the #supercoolbaconsushi which sounds more than a little wrong, the wings, Bac n'Cheese and the Bacon Dippers featuring candied bacon with a BBQ dip

The Super Cool Bacon Sushi was ridiculously good with rice cake wrapped in bacon with a delicious barbecue sauce for dipping. The rice cake was nice an chewy with the bacon working well as a wrap. They were so good I wish I had a bag full at the recent Rat Race The Wall Ultramarathon event as they would be very easy to eat on the move and were exceptionally moreish.

Buffalo the Vampire Slayer Wings at Last Chance Saloon
Jumbo chicken wings wrapped in bacon sounds great with a blue cheese dip. The bacon crisping on the outside to lock in the juices of the chicken, keeping it nice and moist.

Buffalo the Vampire Slayer Wings with a serving of Crazy Sauce

We loved the chicken wings wrapped in bacon. Usually served with a blue cheese sauce we also opted for the Crazy Sauce. The wings were great, 2 good sized pieces wrapped in bacon which kept in some of the moisture for the chicken to be nice and succulent. The Crazy Sauce wasn't quite as mad as it sounds. It had a kick but with a very nice sourness added to some smokey tones like a good hot sauce.

Chips and Red Grey Gravy

With a very American feel to the menu the Chips with Red Eye Gravy sounded good. The gravy was lovely and creamy with a nice hint of coffee whilst being topped with cheese and bacon bits. Nice to try though there were certainly better options on the menu. An all you can eat menu is never going to satisfy everyone in entirely.

Frank n'Swine Hotdog

If you love a good hot dog, Frank 'N' Swine will work for you. A bacon wrapped hot dog with mozzarella cheese in a bun with a covering of Funions. Very easy to pig out on.

We also loved the Bac N Cheese. A macaroni cheese with extra cheese and bacon.

Bac N Cheese- Mac and Cheese with Bacon, pure genius
We really enjoyed Bacon Bad at the Last Chance Saloon. Plenty to choose from although after a while it may get a little overkill, although certainly not on the first visit. It's a great variation on the usual all you can eat restaurants in Nottingham and that little bit unique so well worth a visit.

The Last Chance Saloon
A modern saloon style bar- The Last Chance Saloon

Monday, 15 August 2016

Mark Visits Memsaab

We recently sent Mark for an evening event at MemSaab, Nottingham's award winning fine dining Indian Restaurant. Here's his thoughts on the evening

I recently had a chance to visit Memsaab, Arguably Nottingham’s best Indian restaurant. Situated on Maid Marian way the exterior of the building is clean well maintained but not extraordinary in any way. Having never visited before, I was not sure what to expect.
The Chefs Created Some Fantastic Canapes

The interior of the place is very well done even down to the live traditional music being very well played. The decor pays homage to some traditional Indian influences and it all looks very rich and sumptuous. I am greeted by a very pleasant and friendly member of staff who directed me to the  reception to which I have been invited.
Drinks and Canapés and a chance to have a taste of a Michelin 2 rosette restaurant! I am greeted by  staff holding trays of very tasty looking  canapés and rows of glasses of champagne and strawberries. A very smart and professional  looking waiter behind the table greeting customers and pouring drinks, everything looked on point well organised and gave the impression I was more important than I actually am. 
Champagne With Strawberries at MemSaab Nottingham

On to the food, we were served lots of tastes of the cuisine available all looking amazing in how they were presented, fresh tasty and very appealing. So on to a selection of the different dishes we were treated to on the night.
We start with the Dahi Batata Puri - this  was unlike like anything I have tried before and am still not sure what was in it!  The dish was not a spicy one as your would suspect but a crispy samosa style topped with a yogurt.
Dahi Batata Puri

The next dish was the Mozzarella and watermelon with mint. This was a cool and refreshing dish perfect for cleansing your palate after several of the more spicy dishes on offer. This was a great dish that I returned to time and again in between other tastes as is did leave your palate feeling like it had been cleansed and thus allows you to experience the different tastes without them being overly contaminated by the previous dishes sampled.

Mozarella and Broccoli with Mint

Lamb Kathi - this  was served as a wrap of sorts filled with sweet tender chicken or lamb. These were good dishes perhaps to big to be considered a Canapé  in the traditional sense, but nonetheless they were very tasty with a great delicate blend of spices and the veg/salad in the wrap it  gave a different texture with the tenderness of the meat and crispness of the veg.

Next we have the Aloo Broccoli Bonda - This is much like a Bharji in appearance, small and golden in  colour but the taste was one of real spice - probably the spiciest dish of the evening but still not a rocket fuel temperature so I imagine that no one struggled with the spicy nature. This was a good taste and a delicate balance between the broccoli and the potato these were then batter fried giving a nice light but crisp exterior. These were great bite size potions and easily consumed in one bite.

My favourite dish of the evening was the Keema Lamb on a crispy Roti, these tiny morsels had a great balance of spice, flavour and texture that had me going back again and again for more as they were so tasty! Though on appearance they were not by any means the most attractive dish of the evening they were my favourite

Over the years I have grown to love prawns and especially King Prawns! The ones served this night were cooked in coriander, mint these were very juicy and tasty like a king prawn should be. The balance of the flavours nicely held so the delicate prawn flavour was not overwhelmed.
lastly,  well the last dish I tried was the Chicken Murghgola, a more tomato oriented dish with slight spice that was really quite tasty with juicy moist chicken and a decent balance between flavour and spice. 

There were other dishes served but I was not able to  try them all there were number of vegetarian  dishes including a what looked like a tandoori paneer kebab served in a glass with dip!!

Tandoori Paneer Kebab

All through the evening I was impressed by the staff and the presentation of the dishes supplied, there was such a great hub of conversation and it was nice to meet up with some old and new faces all enjoying the one thing  we share in common…GREAT FOOD!!

I had a chance to talk brief with our host and discovered that MemSaab primarily draws its influence for the dishes from the north of India with some dishes originating from southern India and Goa, But where ever the influence does from Memsaab serves great quality food and will have to be visited again  to get a full flavour of the menu.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Taste Testing Faradays- A Food Review

Faradays has been open for a couple of weeks now after a refurbishment from it's former guise as Cape. It's refurbishment cost owners Stonegate £300,000 and it's been transformed into something that little bit special. It's a welcoming place where you could easily sit and watch the world pass by outside or meet friends for chic cocktails on a Saturday night.

Outside Faradays at the top of Hockley

Whilst the cheap drinks of Lloyd's will draw in the drinkers of a weekend, Faradays should draw a slightly different crowd. Whilst drinks may be that little more expensive there's a lot more on offer with a great selection of local real ales. When we popped in they even had the excellent Thornbridge Jaipur on tap so it was a great shame to be driving.

A selection of beers and ales a level above from Faradays

The decor is very much that of a modern pub or bar. Clean lines with a degree of eccentricity to keep things fun and encourage the conversation to flow. There are plenty of cosy points to sit together whether you fancy a booth or a comfy sofa or grab lunch with a group of friends

Clean and uncluttered interior

Upstairs is the Static Attic, The old space previously used for private parties is now a very slick extension of the bar and a great space to mingle late at night. There's a section set up for cocktail masterclasses as well as an area to set up for live acts on a Friday night and a DJ on a Saturday.

The Static Attic upstairs at Faradays
The main reason we were at Faradays was the food. After an invite to check out their menu we couldn't turn down but as always the feelings we express are what we genuinely feel. We rate a bar or restaurant as though we were paying ourselves and Faradays ranked highly for us.

Starters at Faradays

Starters and Tapas at Faradays

Whilst there's no real starters section on the menu, Faradays prefer to concentrate on Tapas and light bites on the menu with a small section. With 3 plates for £9 and 5 for £14 it does appear to offer very good value with a selection of continental style dishes which would work great for sharing at lunch or dinner. There's quite a few options that you wouldn't usually see as pub food so be prepared for a treat.

Chorizo Bites
One of the five plates for £14 was chorizo bites, Plated up were 3-4 decent sized chorizo sausages served with a subtle garlic dip. The chorizo had a soft edge of smoked paprika without the roughness you often taste. It worked great with the garlic mayonnaise dip although the cress served was wilting somewhat and while may have been fresh at the start of the day had lost some of it's joi de vivre.

Deep Fried Calamari

Our second choice was the Deep Fried Calamari and we weren't disappointed. Too often have we experienced rubbery, overcooked calamari but not today. Our Calamari was soft in texture and wrapped in a great flavoursome batter that added to the dish. So good I think I could have requested 5 plates worth for £14 with a portion of chips on the side.

Smoked Haddock and Coley Fishcake
We also opted for the Smoked Haddock and Coley Fishcake. We were persuaded by the promise of it's Applewood Smoked Cheddar as well as an oat and parsley crumb. It's presentation was excellent with the fishcake sitting upon an arrangement of fresh salad items and topped with a piece of lemon for obligatory squeeze.

The fishcake featured a very nice crumb adding a great texture to a very smooth interior. The inside had a lovely creaminess from the cheddar and a hint of smoke from the Applewood and the haddock. Very well presented and well worth trying.

Beef Tomato and Mozzarella

We opted for the Beef Tomato with Mozzarella cheese which was very clean on the palate. It came with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar although we'd have liked to have seen maybe some fresh basil leaves and black pepper to season instead of the previously mentioned wilting cress.

Iberico Ham Croquetas

I was really looking forward to our fifth choice of Iberico Ham Croquetas. Beautifully gooey and very tasty with chunks of ham inside they worked great with the garlic mayo they were served with.

Our Main Meals at Faradays

Meat Feast Pizza

With a big selection it was pretty tough choosing what to have for mains. We opted for a Pizza and the interesting sounding Topped Mac and Cheese although there was a little confusion from our order due to not only having two versions of Mac and Cheese on the menu, but a third option of a Mac and Cheese Pizza which sounds wrong yet right at the same time. Fortunately this was resolved very quickly and without issue.

The Meat Feast Pizza featured a pig lovers dream. Plenty of bacon, Cumberland Sausage and Pepperoni adding varieties of texture, colour and flavour making this dish very easy on the eye. Pizza is nothing pretentious or complicated but the simplicity is complicated when you factor in that you're looking for a nice, light and crispy base, plenty of zest from your tomato sauce and a serious amount of quality toppings. Faradays hit these tick boxes to create a very nice meaty pizza.

Topped Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese I find to be a great Winter comfort food and whilst it's not quite that time of year just yet it doesn't have to be cold for me when you're adding pulled pork on top. The pulled pork had a nice, warming element in the form of a hint of chili. Too often I've had overly dry pulled pork but today it was lovely and moist with plenty of barbecue sauce. Add that to the stodge of the mac and cheese for a classic meal in my book.

Bargain Food Monday to Friday

If you're eating on a budget it's worth considering that Faradays offer a Monday to Friday - 2 for £8.99 menu including Cod and Chips which must be cheaper than heading to the Chippy.

£2.99 Desserts- Seriously Cheap! 

Dessert pricing seems to be an afterthought these days. We've been to plenty of pubs where you can easily part with the best part of a fiver for a pretty standard dessert. We were impressed when we looked at the menu for the desserts at Faradays before we had even seen what they look like. £2.99 is very reasonable indeed.

The Faradays Nottingham Dessert Menu- £2.99 bargains
We opted for the Lemon Meringue Pie with ice Cream as well as the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Bar and were very impressed with what we got. 

The Salted Caramel Bar was a chocoholics wet dream. A chocolate biscuit base, smeared with salted caramel and topped with a rich chocolate fondant to create a little piece of heaven for me. It worked very well with the smooth vanilla ice cream to balance out the flavours.

The Amazing  Salted Caramel and Chocolate Bar
Almost as good was the Lemon Meringue which was certainly a more modern take on the classic. Featuring nice crumbly pastry with a zesty lemon filling topped beautifully with crushed meringue. It came with a lovely tart raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream.  

Lemon Meringue 

We really enjoyed our visit to Faradays. The service was excellent with some great enthusiastic staff. There's a great choice of food which would suit everyone in the family, desserts are exceptional value for money. As a venue the changes made seem to really open it up as somewhere to consider to draw you higher up Hockley or out from the Lace Market too. You'll certainly be seeing us in there again soon.

Faradays is at 44-48 Pelham Street, Nottingham NG1 2EW

Friday, 12 August 2016

Free Pizza This Monday at Inferno Nottingham

If you love your pizza you must have tried Inferno and if you haven't there's an opportunity this coming Monday 15th August for Free
The Infernover at Inferno Nottingham

Inferno offers you the opportunity to create your own pizza, the way you want and how you want it. On Monday they're giving away 100 of their Infernovers from Midday so you'd better be quick.

Whether Monday is your #CheatDay after a heavy weekend training or you just fancy a free lunch whilst out at work.

Visit their Milton Street Restaurant to grab your free lunch.

Inferno think random acts of kindness make the world a better place. They also think the people of Nottingham make the world a better place. So they've done the logical thing and decided to combine the two to reward everyone for being such wonderful, pizza-loving people.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Oriel's Honey Emporium- Don't Worry, Bee Happy

Local Nottinghamshire Honey at Oriel's Honey Emporium
Sometimes you stumble across somewhere or something you hadn't expected to find on a trip out. Recently we headed up to Floralands on the lookout for some new paving slabs. Unfortunately we didn't come away with the paving slabs but we came away with a lovely jar of local honey made by the River Leen in Bobbersmill right in the heart of Nottingham.

Plenty of sweet selections at Oriel's Honey Emporium
Within one of the outside cabins is Oriel's Honey Emporium. A treasure trove of honey and related products with plenty from local producers. There's plenty to sample from too. We've been at a number of sports events recently and producing our own sports nutrition instead of buying so we're always on the lookout for a secret ingredient for our flapjacks.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Tasting the New Menu at Thaikhun Nottingham

Great news for Thai food lovers. Thaikhun has launched a new menu

Street food is a way of life in Thailand, as it seems to be across Asia. We love our Asian cuisine, especially with a bit of a kick. Traditionally Thai food is often cooked outside, stopping houses getting even hotter and slowly but surely creating the food scene for which Bangkok is renowned. 

Thaikhun Nottingham within the Intu Victoria Centre

We love the opportunity to see what's on a new menu and when we were invited to Thaikhun for their latest offerings it was hard to refuse. We're keen to head out into South-east Asia at some point in the not so distant future so some food education before we go is necessary and where better than the street food inspired flavours of Thaikhun Nottingham.

This was Jem's first visit to Thaikhun and being one of the best weather days of the year so far it made sense to head out onto the terrace area for some al fresco dining. There's certainly a character to Thaikhun's terrace area with oil cans made into tables and chairs alongside up cycled furniture all bright in colour. Whilst the views will never take your breathe away there's a feeling of calm despite being above a busy part of Nottingham.

Thaikhun Nottingham's Roof-Top Terrace

Exploring the New Menu at Thaikhun- Starters

We love our quick eats and Thai starters come across more as snack foods that would make a great lunch if you chose a selection of 4-5 dishes in a similar way to Spanish Tapas. From previous we definitely recommend the Sukumvit 38 platter which remains on the menu as a house classic: featuring some of the best selling items from the Bangkok market by that name. With Fishcakes, Honey Pork, Steamed Vegetable Dumplings and Chicken Spring Rolls there's plenty to sample.

If we could we'd have ordered everything from the starters menu and worked our way through it all slowly. Dumplings are a classic Thai street food so we decided to try some of the Ka Nom Jeeb. Steamed Dumplings with Pork and Prawn filling.

Ka Nom Keeb- Steamed Pork and Prawn Dumplings

The dumplings came out with a nice selection of salad alongside them, beautifully fresh and complimenting the dish. The Ka Nom Keeb were very nice, a lot lighter than they looked but filling at the same time. They came in a bowl with a soy based sauce that really worked well. We'd love to tell you what the sauce was flavoured with however we sadly couldn't quite grasp just what it was- very nice though!

As we love a bit of piggy and so do the people of Thailand it seems we also opted for the Moo Dad Deow. Pork strips, marinated with palm sugar, pepper, coriander and soy sauce, before being fried and topped with sesame seeds.

I loved the fried pork strips. The flavour was great with a subtle sweetness from the palm sugar and the slight sour from the soy making them a great snack that I'd happily devour repeatedly. A real highlight was the great chili sauce they came with which was almost like a jam. Well worth trying.

Moo Dad Deow- Marinated Pork Strips, Fried with Sesame Seeds and Chilli Dip

If we could pick more off the menu we'd have likely opted for the interesting sounding Gai Satay. Chicken skewers with a peanut sauce although we also like the sauce of the Sweet Corn Cakes (Tod Man Khao Pod) flavoured with red curry paste and Kaffir Lime leaves.

Main Courses at Thaikhun

When we think Thai food we usually consider red and green curries as well as the earthy Massaman which are classics on any Thai menu. We've had them before but were really intrigued by the Gaeng Som, Deep fried Bream in a sour curry sauce.

The young lady serving us wasn't sure if the curry came with rice (The menu stated curries served with jasmine rice when looking back) so we asked for a sticky rice which was needed for a cooling effect and to soak up the sauce.

Gaeng Som- Deep fried Bream in a sour curry sauce at Thaikhun 

Featuring a deep fried whole Gilt Head Bream, butterfly cut to allow access to the flakes, swimming in a very warming curry sauce with lots of vegetables the Bream curry was very much a highlight of our visit to Thaikhun. For the squeamish the fish eyes were covered with the spicy sauce featuring carrot, green beans, courgette, pak choi and Chinese Greens to really fill out the dish. There was almost enough for it to serve two people which would be possible if you both had a portion of rice alongside.

Moo Yang- Thai Grilled Pork
We also opted for the Moo Yang. A simple Thai street favourite featuring grilled Pork with a chilli and tamarind sauce. Nicely grilled this was a good simple choice which would suit any fussy eater. Whilst the pork was by no means lean, it was full of flavour. I love a bit of fat with my meat so it worked well for me. It was served with a choice of sticky rice or steamed noodles and I opted for sticky rice which came presented in a rather fetching container.

Thai Sticky Rice with the Moo Yang

We would also have liked to have tasted the Phao Kee Mao- spicy seafood noodles with prawn mussels and squid with a chili, ginger, oyster and soy sauce. We've also not had duck for a while so the Ped Phad Prik Pao sounded good with roasted duck slices fried with chilli paste mushrooms peppers and onions sounded right up Jemma's street.

We didn't even have room for pudding!

Overall there was plenty to choose from Thaikhun's new menu which seems to have expanded from our first visit when the restaurant opened. The variety means it's great whether you fancy a sociable snack or full meal

I have to admit that as someone who's a bit of a fussy eater (I never grew out of it since my teens but I'm slowly getting better). I'm always a little wary of what to go for on a menu, particularly with Asian cuisine as the description often doesn't show half of what goes into a dish. Thaikhun does follow this principle which is a little gripe of mine- certainly with their curries as we found with the Bream curry. I'd love to see a little more

If you have children there's a great explorers meal option. 3 courses with a main course selection of Phad Thai, a mix and match Thai tray and Fried Chicken in a choice of sauces to give them plenty to choose from.

Thaikhun Nottingham
R7 Intu Victoria Shopping Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QN
Tel: 0115 838 9950