Sunday, 27 July 2014

Ibérico World Tapas, Nottingham

Ibérico World Tapas is an atmospheric subterranean tapas place in Nottingham that currently boasts a Michelin “Bib Gourmand”.

You can choose to sit at the bar or in one of the various nooks and crannies afforded by the vaulted ceilings. Seeking a more authentic tapas experience, we chose the bar.

What Michelin say, ‘Lively, well-run restaurant hidden away in the basement of the former city jail and law courts, with a vaulted ceiling, colourful Moorish tiles and ornate fretwork. Tapas menu with 'Spanish' and 'World' sections; skillful cooking is full of flavour. Friendly staff offer good recommendations.

Marinated mixed olives – Manzanilla and Gordal varieties. Sourdough Bread, Arbequina olive oil and balsamic – great bread, quality oil.

Jamón Croquetas, burnt aubergine, Manchego – with a delightfully crisp coating, containing a generous amount of ham and a dreamily thick béchamel, these were the best croquetas I’ve had. The burnt aubergine cream and sharp shallots added an interesting dimension to the dish; although, nice through they were, I found the Manchego wafers a little too strong to compliment. 

Paleta Jamón Ibérico de Bollota Reserva D.O. – the ham was sensational. Worth every penny of the £15.95 paid for the portion – credit to the restaurant for selecting such quality.

Goats cheese stuffed Piquillo Peppers, spinach, hazelnut honey – a good dish, I love the combination of cheese, honey and hazelnuts.

Mushroom Carpaccio, truffle oil and pickled mooli – a lovely way to serve mushrooms. The little discs of pickled mooli were a great addition. Triple Cooked Patatas Bravas – cooked in goose fat. As good as they sound.

Black Cod – as stated on the menu, ‘line caught, sustainable Alaskan Sablefish (black cod) is a richly flavoured dish with a high Omega 3 oil content and satiny texture. Marinated in a spicy miso for 36 hours’ – a dish made famous by Nobu, this best highlights their concept of ‘world’ tapas.

Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib, pickled mooli, soft poached quails egg, miso butter – also making good use of Asian flavours: another disc of pickled mooli, topped with an umami hit from the meat and miso with the indulgence of butter and runny yolk; another top dish.

Churros & Hot Chocolate – in my experience, churros always taste better when eaten in the sunshine and with a silky, rich chocolate sauce and a good coating of cinnamon sugar, the sunshine was all that was missing.

Olive Oil Sponge, lemon, rhubarb – a beautifully balanced flavour combination featuring a dense, peppery olive oil cake with a light lemon espuma and sharp fruits.

We were very impressed – definitely one of the best tapas experiences we’ve had outside of Spain.

Iberico World Tapas on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sat Bains, Nottingham

Earlier in the month, to celebrate my 39th birthday, my wife treated me to a meal and a one night stay at Sat Bains’ two Michelin starred restaurant with rooms.

On my only previous visit, back in Oct 2012 (see here), I dined alone and had since been keen for us to return together. We were given a romantically lit table in the conservatory so I apologise for the quality of the pictures that get worse as the evening light waned. 

Room 5

Once again, the standout dish for me was the Chicken ‘muesli’ (duck last time) made with nitro whisked chicken liver mousse with granola, green beans and an apricot purée.


The overall stay was delightful, we arrived at 3pm and spent the afternoon in the garden with a bottle of Nyetimber and the restaurant’s rabbits. The room was delightful and the service throughout our stay was impeccable. 



Scallop, tomato, strawberry, elderflower mayo

Chicken ‘muesli’

Scottish girolles, watercress, parmesan

Squid ‘minestrone’

Baked potato, soft cheese, smoked roe

Goosnargh duck, melon, feta, mint

‘The crossover’ miso fudge, passion fruit, tomato

Rice pudding, jam, sake

Chocolate, mandarin, cardamom

Tea and biscuits, bergamot, earl grey, grape

Restaurant Sat Bains on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden, Manchester

As a blogger, I usually ‘pride’ myself in not being a blagger, taking freebies or attending launches and “VIP” events – then I saw the ticket price for Grillstock and any ‘morals’ I may have had went out of the window.

Cocktails @ Mr. Cooper's

I emailed the PR company and bagged myself a couple of “press passes”. There was no promise of anything in return but I did “my duty” and posted a few tweets and pictures by way of thanks. 

Cumbrian Rib Steak @ Mr. Cooper's

On the Saturday, I parked next to The Midland Hotel where, walking back to the car, I noticed the new menu for Mr. Cooper’s House & Garden – more specifically, I noticed the ‘raw beef’ dish.

Raw Beef with Pickled Paw Paw @ Mr. Cooper's

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was in full meat lust mode or because I needed something a little cleaner after eating all the charred “bark” (a new bit of barbeque speak I learnt) but something told me that I needed ‘Raw beef with picked paw paw’ in my life… so I booked for the Sunday.

The Sunday roast at Mr. Cooper’s is particularly good and great value but I wanted to try the new dishes on the menu.

We started with two of the new snack dishes Blue cheese puffs, celery & chilli and Pork scratchings & apple gel – neither of these particularly wowed and I wouldn’t order again.

Spinach & water chestnut wontons with sesame yoghurt dip – my stepdaughter ordered these to start. I had half of one and was duly impressed by the wonton texture, the dip and the fact that the flavour of the spinach managed to hold its own. I’ll order these as a snack next time.

Dill marinated salmon on blinis with beetroot sabayon – a delightfully summery dish with classic flavour combinations; perfect for being sat in Mr. Cooper’s ‘garden’ area.

Raw beef with picked paw paw, sweet potato jam & toasted rye bread – the dish I had come for; would it live up to my high hopes and expectations? The simple answer, yes! The beef, pickled paw paw and sweet potato jam went great together – a picky me would prefer a tad more sharpness and maybe a flat crisp bread to spoon the beef onto in place of the croutons.

Grilled sole, ginger butternut, shrimps & bok choy – the food I’ve seen at Mr Cooper’s recently seems a little more refined and confident than when they first opened; this dish is a perfect example of that. Wonderful produce, treated with respect and paired with interesting flavours.

Thai glazed grilled vegetable skewers, herb spelt salad with lemon vinaigrette – having overloaded on Grillstock meat I decided to order one of the veggie options; after all, Simon Rogan is widely regarded as the veg master. These skewers did not disappoint. Cooked on the “Green Egg” the textures were perfectly judged to be crunchy without being undercooked. The zingy vinaigrette and vibrant Thai flavours danced across my tongue, or some such other foodie cliché.

Cumbrian rib steak, truffle pudding & purple potato latkes – my stepdaughter’s choice. When I first tasted this dish I proclaimed it one of the best dishes being served anywhere in Manchester. I’ve had it a few times now and still hold this to be true… delightfully rich.

Carrot & olive oil cake with blood orange sorbet – I love an olive oil cake. A while back, I recall making one for a dinner party and experimenting with a couple recipes and a number of olive oils to find an oil that didn’t overpower. This one had just the right amount of pepperiness with spicy notes that complemented the carrots and stunning sorbet.

In my opinion, Mr. Cooper’s House & Garden remains one of the best restaurants in Manchester. Well done once again Mr. Rogan.

Mr Cooper's House and Garden on Urbanspoon

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