This weekend I discovered Boavista, a portuguese restaurant in Nottingham.
It is a pretty simple place, with a portuguese ambiance (much louder than a British restaurant, with TVs showing portuguese shows, and people talking in portuguese) and very good options. I tried the bacalhau a Gomes Sá, a traditional Portuguese dish with salted cod, potatoes, onion, eggs and lots of olive oil. My girlfriend tried spare ribs. Both dishes were very well done and following the Portuguese style of cooking (no sauce on the ribs, for instance).
But the real climax were the dessert: Portuguese custard tart (I cringe just by using custard to describe the filling of these tarts... it is much more than custard!). It was absolutely delicious.
And, to crown the visit, a very good espresso. I would not say it is the best coffee in town (as they state in the front show windows), but it is very very good.
This photo was taken on Poděbrady, Czech Republic, a lovely small city that I visited for a conference during last summer.
The drawing was in the door of a coffee shop that was, unfortunately, closed during my visit.
You may have noticed that I love coffee. Since I arrived in the UK, I started to try several different brands and styles of grounded coffee for my espresso machine (one of those non-especial domestic espresso machines). I tried Costa, Nero, Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose and M&S. The only one I considered acceptable was Tesco Finest Espresso. The solution was to buy Illy (I prefer the dark roast version), but it is quite expensive and sometimes unavailable in grocery stores (even when you buy online!).
But one day, walking in the Covent Garden region in London, my girlfriend noticed a good-looking coffee and tea store. We gave it a shot and voi la: we found Drury.
After I describe my preferences for coffee, the seller recommended the Moka D'or blend. We tried. Several times. We also tried other blends and beans. Some of them are good, but Moka D'or is, by far, my favourite. The taste is amazing: toasted and zero acidity. And it goes perfectly in my espresso machine: fine enough to release the flavour but not too much to get bitter.
I never found a restaurant serving their coffee (only their tea, but I am not a big fan), but it is possible to buy online a big range of coffees for a very reasonable prices. If you don't know, please, give it a try!
First of all, I have to say that I am very Italian when it comes to coffee. I like short espressos and dark roasted beans. Although I can sometimes recognize a good light roasted bean, I usually do not appreciate it.
After a while living in Nottingham, here is my favourite: Nottingham Coffee House. Located in a hidden alley in the city centre, this place is charming inside and offers a big variety of coffees from around the world. I tasted a few of them and my favourite is from Papua New Guinea. My girlfriend prefers the Peru feminino. Their coffee never disappointed me and they will wisely recommend the best bean for your choice of method.
If you search my blog, you are going to find other posts about other places that I appreciated. Just to mention two of them: Boavista, a portuguese restaurant in Hyson Green, and Dolcino, a italian chain in the city centre.
Also, there are some places that I expected to drink a better coffee and got disappointed. Here they are:
1) All classic chains
Costa, Nero and Starbucks. The last is the better between them, but not good enough to worth a visit.
2) Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant
The coffee is just average, what is not acceptable for a place "proud of being Italian".
Some facebook lists included Wired as one of the best coffees in Nottingham. I gave it a try and do not recommend! Very light roast, very acid coffee.
4) 200 degrees
Local small chain heavily focused on coffee. However, they only offer light and medium roasted coffee. Not impressive.
Finally, there are some interesting options for those who like light roasted coffee (more fruity and acid). My suggestions are Outpost (in the Lace Market) and The Specialty Coffee Shop (at Friar Lane).