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.
Doughnut, as simple as that.
Although they do not sell the delicious freshly baked doughnut typically found in street festivals, they still do a great job with regular doughnut. And they are not pretentious. Among the options, you can find flavours that could be considered at least questionable, such as Creamy Egg (a chocolate doughnut with a creamy egg hidden in it). However, they really do a great job with the basic and, as a result, the end product are usually very good.
My favourite flavours are Death by Chocolate and Salted Caramel (they have version with and without filling).
It definitively worth a visit! (even though the coffee is not good)
Nottingham is full of breweries. So far, I know the following: Castle Rock, Blue Monkey, Nottingham Brewery and Navigation. If you know any other, please, send me an email telling the name and where to find a good pint of it :)
I intend to include in this list pubs in Nottingham that sells good beer not from Nottingham, such as the Junk Yard. Soon.
1) Blue Monkey
I had a really good first impression, but the last Blue Monkeys I tried were not particularly good. I plan to drink more soon and then form an opinion. Not easy to find in pubs (except by the Organ Grinder, official tap of the brewery) but available bottled.
Their stout, Twisted Genius, is common in pubs around the city and it is my standard option in pubs with nothing new to try. I recommend: not brilliant, but good and for a reasonable price. My favourite is their unfiltered pale ale, Ghost Rider.
2) Castle Rock
It can be found bottled and in some pubs in Nottingham. In my opinion, it is the easiest local beer, maybe too easy, but still a good choice.
4) Nottingham Brewery
My favourite! The book 1001 beers to drink before die recommends their Extra Pale Ale and so do I. Good balance in the flavour. However, my favourite is the Sooty Stout. It is fantastic! The best stout I have ever drunk (and I really like stouts!). Foundry Mild is also very nice.
The official tap is a very local and traditional pub, with kind customers and staff. According to my experience, I would say this is a very typical British pub. They do not serve food, except on Quiz nights (Thursday) when the food is free!
You can find the Extra Pale Ale bottled in some supermarkets and the pub Nedd Lud serves the whole range of their beers in the city center.
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).