First time I went to Stamford, near Nottingham, I checked my England travel book for hot tips and they recommended a bakery called Hambleton. The website seemed nice, good looking products. nice reviews on TripAdvisor and a god score on Google Maps. So, I decided to try it and it was amazing!
Back home, I decided to do some extra research on it and found out that they are a small East Midlands chain with one store in Nottingham.
Unfortunately, it is far from my place, but I returned there a few times and always enjoyed their products (even though I would be even happier if I could eat them in, warm and with a cup of coffee). My personal favorites are the Eccles cakes, pecan bun and a cheese and bacon wrap.
A couple of days ago I was searching for a goo Eccles cake, since I am going to visit Lancashire in a couple of weeks and the classic "where to find the best..." search on Google found a page titled "The best Eccles cake in the world!". Excited, I clicked and the page was talking about Hambleton! :) Well... at least I know I can cross that off from my list...
I love Beef Wellingtons! The concept of a thick fillet covered in mushroom sauce and encased in puff pastry is very appealing in itself and it is relatively easy to find decent ones in regular supermarkets.
Sometime time ago, I found G. Kemp & Son near my house. A very good butcher selling a impressively good beef wellington,but I always wanted to try one in a restaurant, which is not easy to find.
After some research, I found some places in London. The first attempt was Riding House Café. Great deception. They were not serving Beef Wellington in the time I came, so I had to improvise. The result was an overpriced hipster meal (fancy names and fancy ingredients) with nothing special to offer.
But the second attempt was spot on! The Grenadier pub. I usually avoid Greene King pubs, but this one seemed to be an exception. All the comments and photos suggested it was a place of good food, so I tried. It was amazing! It does not feel as a Greene King pub, with standardized menus and crappy beers. Actually, the menu is very original and they were offering at least two decent real ales.
As planned, my girlfriend and I ordered two beef wellingtons and they were perfect! The meat, the pastry, the sauce and the gravy. Even the regular vegetables on the side were better than usual (not from frozen apparently). The desert was ok, but the main definitely was worth the visit alone.
Although it is a bit pricey and busy, I strongly recommend The Grenadier if you want to try a Beef Wellington.
York is the kind of city that I recommend every time some friend comes from Brazil to visit me in Nottingham. The city is lovely, the streets are picturesque, the walk in the walls is very pleasant, the minster is impressive and there are a range of goods museums available (even though I did not like the rail museum - I apparently am not a train person).
If you are going there, I strongly recommend a visit to Shambles Kitchen, a local independent small "restaurant" located at the end of the famous Shambles street. The menu is reduced, but the two sandwiches I tried there (pulled pork and home-made pastrami) were really good!
The place is small, so not much seats available and do not expect anything special or fantastic, just very good sandwiches for a quick and relatively cheap bite.
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.