Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Sobar, Nottingham

Sobar is quite a new bar that has opened on Friar Lane, near Market Square in Notts city centre. The name comes from the fact that there is no alcohol served in this bar at all! Although that may be off putting to some, I think it is an ideal place to go for a light lunch as there is a vast range of smoothies, juices, cordials and other soft drinks to tickle your fancy! Not only is this a bar, but they frequently have themed nights held there, such as comedy nights and poetry! It's just something a little different!

Mario and myself like different, so we decided to give Sobar a go at lunchtime! The atmosphere of the bar is lovely. It's so light and airy, full of bright colours! Each table has some upcycled flowers on them, made from drinks cans.

Photo taken from Sobar Facebook Page

I decided to go for a Fentimans fizzy orange drink, which tasted like a delicious version of Orangina! For food, I opted for a BLT - they are the king of all sandwiches after all! There are several bread options to have this on and I chose to have mine served on a baguette. The sandwiches all come with salad and tortilla chips on the side. I also chose to have some chips on the side with my baguette.

The baguette itself was delicious. The lettuce and tomato were fresh and crisp and the bacon was cooked to perfection. The tortilla chips on the side were also tasty, although nothing to write home about. I wasn't a huge fan of the dressing that the salad was drenched in. It was quite an oily texture, that really wasn't that lovely! The chips, although they had been forgotten about initially, were a disappointment. Because they'd not come out with the meal, I feel like they were slightly undercooked and not crispy at all.

Mario had the ploughman's platter, which came with ham hock, pate, stilton, cheddar and a pork pie. This was served with a variety of chutneys and bread. 

Mario was disappointed with his choice, that was clear to me! There was very little in the way of green. We both feel that the platter could have benefitted from some celery or tomato. The chutneys were delicious, as was the cheese, but we just felt as though something was missing! The drink he chose to accompany this was a liquorice cordial, which he loved! It was a little too strange for me to get my head around, so I wasn't so taken with it. To me, liquorice shouldn't be liquid!

Something that I observed that there weren't enough waiting staff working on that day and the manager had to chip in to help the two other waitresses. Having worked in several cafés before, I know how stressful it can be! I also know that you can't appear stressed in front of your customers and this staff really were. There were several people serving randomly and there was no system. It wasn't even particularly busy when we went!

I would definitely recommend this bar to anyone. The burgers and pizzas look amazing, and part of me wishes that I'd have had that instead! The food isn't expensive at all compared to a lot of other places in Notts city centre.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Pan Asian BBQ, Nottingham

It’s been a long time coming but finally I’m taking the pressure off Hannah and writing a blog entry myself.
Fairly recently, a new restaurant opened up on Upper Parliament Street under the name of Pan Asian BBQ. As soon as I saw the name, I knew this was somewhere I wanted to eat. It took us a while to get round to it, but we eventually went.

You walk in Pan Asia and are greeted by welcoming staff who sit you down quickly. The décor is extremely fitting for the theme of the restaurant but doesn’t feel cheap or tacky. Each table has a circular metal disk in the centre which houses the BBQ (sadly this was not on during the time we went).
Shortly after entering you are handed a menu. At first look, the menu can seem daunting, especially if you are unaccustomed to East Asian food. Staff are friendly and can offer excellent suggestions for those who are struggling.

We quickly ordered our drinks, both choosing iced tea, and continued to look at the menu. We finally settled on our choices and placed our order.

To start with we went for Japanese Starter Selection; this was meant for two and consisted of 2 tempura prawns, 4 satay chicken skewers, a cup of miso soup, 4 samosas, 4 vegetable spring rolls and 2 gyozas. There was very little I could fault about the platter and a lot I could praise. The satay sauce is one the best satays I have had and is something that I would definitely go back for. Gyozas were tasty and exactly what I was expecting. I would recommend this starter, especially for those who are a little nervous when looking at the menu.

I had then chosen the Korean Kimchi Beef Hotpot. This came with a side of rice and was absolutely delicious. Within the pot were strips of beef, tofu, mushrooms and kimchi cabbage – this was then topped with a fried egg. All of this was surrounded by a delicious soup that took a lot of its flavouring from the kimchi. I found this spot on, not too hot but a really nice heat running through the entire meal. Subsequently to our first visit, we took some friends to Pan Asia, two of whom chose the Kimchi Beef Hotpot on my recommendation and both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hannah chose a vegetarian option from the menu. This was from the Big Bowl Noodle Soup section of the menu and consisted of large udon noodles and sweet tofu submerged in miso soup broth. This sweet tofu was delicious and we could have only wanted more. The stock used for the soup was overly salty, especially for the amount that had been given. This dish was definitely missing something. If this was to be ordered again I would recommend an accompanying dish to be ordered simply to give a change in texture and flavour.

As I’ve said throughout this review, I was really happy with Pan Asian BBQ and went with some other friends shortly after our first visit, we were all delighted with our choices once again. It is definitely a restaurant that has joined our ‘go to’ list when we are struggling to decide! It is a refreshing change to go to an Asian restaurant that isn’t an all you can eat.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hartley's Coffee & Sandwich Bar - Nottingham

So we had a bit of a "fat day" on Thursday! After going to Sobar for lunch (see post here), we decided it was coffee and cake time a couple of hours later! We were in the Hockley area and the fun and colourful exterior of Hartley's Coffee & Sandwich Bar seemed very inviting! You may have seen the cow that they have outside the café. Don't worry, it's not a real cow, although she does have her own Twitter account!

Mario opted for a regular latte, with a glass of tap water. The latte cost £2.00 and the mug was quite a substansial size. Mario wished that there was a larger shot of coffee in it though as it was a little weak for him. I'm sure if you ask for an extra shot of coffee, the friendly staff will be happy to oblige.

To accompany his coffee, Mario was tempted by a large raisin and oat cookie. For only £1.00, this cookie was huge! It had a delicious cinnamon taste to it. Not too crunchy or too chewy, this homemade cookie had a perfect texture to it.

As I have said in previous posts, I am an ice cream lover. This also means that I love milkshakes and I couldn't pass up the chance to have one! They're a little pricey at £3.50, but they're worth it and I decided to treat myself! I chose to have the mint-chocolate milkshake, and I was not disappointed! It was quite a large drink and even had pieces of chocolate in it, which was a delicious touch.

As for cake, I chose to have white chocolate and cranberry tiffin cake, priced at £2.00 (see photo above). It was so delicious! I wish it had chunks of digestive in for a little added crunch, but the overall taste was so tasty, especially with the odd sour cranberry in it.

Overall, the "afternoon snack" was absolutely delicious. All of Hartley's suppliers are local and the cakes are all handmade. It is an independant, family business and I'd definitely recommend them.

The Orange Tree, Nottingham

I went out for dinner on Saturday to The Orange Tree on Shakespeare Street, which we'd had drinks at before. Unfortunately they stop serving food at 7pm on a Saturday, so there was a bit of a panic and some people were unable to eat there.

Luckily, my friend was able to order for me! I decided to go for southern fried chicken, which came with chips and was meant to come with smoky beans too but they'd run out of them. My meal came with coleslaw instead, which was also tasty.

So when the meal came out, I originally thought that there didn't look like much food. I was very much mistaken! The chicken was absolutely delicious. Not too spicy and gorgeously crunchy, the chicken itself wasn't dry at all and very enjoyable to eat. I love the chips at TOT! They're hand-cut and wonderfully chunky. Definitely recommend going there for the chips alone! The coleslaw that came with my meal was also delicious and tasted as though it was homemade. It had quite a strong taste of onion and it was all I could taste once I'd finished my meal!

The southern fried chicken was only £8.50, and that was one of the more-expensive meals! I don't think The Orange Tree is too expensive at all. It also serves a wide range of drinks and food. There will be something for everyone there! Delicious pub food :)

For more information about The Orange Tree, please visit http://www.orangetree.co.uk/nottingham/ or call 0115 9473239.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Navigation Inn Burger Bar - Nottingham

I thought it only fitting to recommence the A Taste Of Nottingham blog with this post! So the last post was from September, (even if it was only posted the other day)! As you may know, Annie has made the very-clever decision to move her burger shack to the Lace Market area of Nottingham, which means that The Navigation Inn doesn't have Annie's burgers in any more. It was one of my friends' birthday a couple of weeks ago, and she was hoping to get a table at Annie's new burger shack! Unfortunately, this restaurant is extremely popular and is always fully booked! Because there were so many of us, we'd have to book a table.

Long story short, we ended up booking a table at the Nav instead. I think they're making the most of the fame they'd found by hosting Annie's, so are serving some burgers too in their Burger Bar. Some of them are suspiciously similar to Annie's too...

When we went, they had a temporary menu and, usefully, the burger that I had isn't on the new, permanent menu! The Navigation Inn still offers vegan, veggie and meaty burgers, with some chicken and fish options too. We'd booked a table for the 10+ of us, and we preordered our food. We didn't have to wait long at all for the burgers to be brought out! I decided to go for an Italian style burger, called "The Soprano Burger". It was a beef burger topped with pasata, spinach, pancetta and mozzarella cheese. Yum! I opted for curly fries on the side. The burger also came with a gherkin and coleslaw. Delicious!

So this burger wasn't the beastliest of burgers, but I was definitely full by the time I'd finished it! The pasata gave the burger a delicious texture, not that the burger was dry at all. The recipe for the burger isn't as good as Annie's, but I may be slightly biased! My burger was only £8.50, which is a significant price difference to Annie's. I like that you have the choice of sides with your burger and the addition of coleslaw was a nice touch. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone, and the owner was nice enough to give us 10% off vouchers for the next time we go in!

For more information about The Navigation Inn, please go to http://www.thenavinn.com/ You can also call  0115 8371930 or email info@thenavinn.com

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Annie's Burger Shack, Nottingham

**Please note that this review is from September!! Written but not posted... Oops!**

When my friends came to Nottingham to visit me on the weekend after my birthday, I knew the perfect place to take them before we went on a night out! Annie's Burger Shack is located in the Navigation Inn on Wilford Street. It's out of the centre of town but, after a bit of googling, it's not too difficult to find.

We went on a Saturday and it was very busy! It also got quite loud, but we were able to move tables. There are also tables outside, by the canal, which would be lovely in the summer. I would also recommend booking a table if you're planning to go to ABS at the weekend.

There are so many burgers to choose from on the menu. The first time I went here, my friend and I perused the menu at home so we had an idea what we wanted before we turned up at the restaurant.

I chose to have the Boston Nibbler, although I didn't brave two burgers and just had the one (£10.90).

This is how the Boston Nibbler is described on the menu:

"Double the burgers, swiss and cheddar cheese, two slices of bacon, two onion rings, topped with American style burger sauce, grilled pineapple and garnish on top, along with lettuce, tomato and mayo on a toasted sesame bun. Comes with curly fries, skinny fries or homemade wedges. Choose meaty, veggie or vegan."

Quite intimidating! I was so glad that I asked to have just one burger as I definitely would have exploded. The burgers themselves are homemade and have a lovely red colour due to tomatoes that they use in the patties. The bun was nicely toasted and went well with the burger. This was definitely a K'n'F job as I don't think it's possible to pick it up! It's a very tasty burger, and the curly fries were also delicious. The sweetness of the pineapple complimented the rest of the burger nicely and the "American-style" burger sauce was very tasty!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Soulville Steakhouse, Nottingham

We've been slacking on posts lately, sorry! Time to catch up :)

As a birthday treat, Mario took me to The Soulville Steakhouse, which is located on Queen Street, very close to Market Square. We'd seen the menu before and had tried to go but it had always been full! We made sure to book a table as we definitely wanted to go for my birthday!

The décor to the restaurant is amazing! Full of photos and portaits of Motown and Soul singers with a functioning jukebox in the corner so you can select your favourite tracks!

The menu does have more to offer than steak, but we decided we couldn't go to a steakhouse and not have steak! There was a handy info-sheet explaining the different cuts of meat etc.

Mario decided to have a 14oz T-Bone steak with mashed potato (£19.95) and Jack Daniels sauce (£1.95) on the side.

The steak was huge, as you can see, and it came with a mountain of mashed potato! He asked for his steak to be cooked medium-rare and it was cooked perfectly. It was still pink in the middle and the meat was very tender. The steak came with an onion ring, mushrooms and a side salad. The mashed potato was very smooth with a lovely and rich, buttery taste. For me, the potato was too rich, but Mario didn't have any complaints!

I chose the 6oz fillet steak with chips (£16.95) and a red wine gravy with caramelised red onion and smoked bacon (£1.95).

My steak doesn't look as impressive as Mario's but believe me, it was just as delicious! I also asked to have mine cooked medium-rare and my steak was a gorgeous pink colour inside. The meat was so tender and absolutely delicious! Words cannot describe how good it was. The chips were very tasty, but they weren't as delicious as Mario's mashed potato! The gravy was the most delicious part of the meal I think. It complimented my steak perfectly and also went really well with the chips.

We were too full to have a dessert each, but after perusing the dessert menu, we decided we couldn't go without trying the toffee crunch pie! It is a chocolate flavoured pastry with a sticky white chocolate fudge filling, topped with crunchy dime bar pieces, and it's served with fresh cream, although I asked it to be served with vanilla ice cream. (£3.95)

Look at how pretty it is!! The presentation was very impressive, drizzled with chocolate sauce and toffee sauce. The pie itself was very tasty and very sweet! It's definitely not the dessert for you unless you have a sweet tooth. I felt like the ice cream went well with the sweetness of the pie as it didn't add to it at all, even with all the sauce.

We would definitely recommend this restaurant to meat eaters, although there are vegetarian options available. I would advise you to book a table though to save disappointment. Call 0115 941 2014 for a table or visit the website at http://www.thesoulvillesteakhouse.com/ for more information :)