Monthly Archives: February 2011

Harts – Nottingham

Perfect slice of cow

Perfect slice of cow

A bright Sunday morning in Nottingham and after half an hour trying to find a parking space near Nottingham Castle we strolled back 1/2 a mile to make it to new restaurant and hotel Harts. Harts has had incredible write ups in the London press including a glowing report from hard to please Times critic A A Gill. Harts is owned by Tim Hart who also owns Hambleton Hall in Rutland. His famous sons Sam and Eddie also run Quo Vadis in London as well as the super tapas emporium, Fino.

We came for Sunday dinner and were quickly lead to a nice table replete with crisp white linen which overlooked the rest of the room. Service is charming and discreet leaving you to enjoy the food and conversation. Rich had a tomato soup to start which was perfectly executed and came with good bread. I had smoked salmon which came with a quenelle of horseradish cream and beetroot puree, it was delicious. We selected a rascally Malbec to accompany our roast sirloin of beed with horseradish hollandaise. It was astounding. The meat was perfectly cooked nestling in a crispy yorkshire pudding. For dessert we had a thoughtfully selected cheeseboard and finished the rest of the wine. A faultless Sunday lunch and we will definitely be back to sample the a la carte menu in the evening.

Score: 9/10

Hart’s Nottingham, Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham, NG1 6GN. 0115 988 1900


New York Roundup

The Woody Allen

The Woody Allen at Carnegie Deli

Final stop of the East Coast trip was to New York. I absolutely love New York, the buildings, the people and ahh the food. I met my Uncle Rod and his super partner Pat. They know New York pretty well so we were in their hands for restaurant bookings.

Highlights Include:

The 21 Club: Cured Steelhead Salmon with marinated cucumbers, sea beans, sesame seeds and horseradish creme fraiche; Smoked cider glazed pork belly with braised cabbage, fried potatoes and grain mustard and a chocolate bourbon pecan tart with caramel sauce for dessert. The restaurant was incredible it had the most amazing buzz, rich and poor rubbed shoulders united by the fantastic food. Even in the toilets you are charmed by a toilet attendant who cracks hilarious jokes as you attempt to relieve yourself. Its definitely a must book for a NY trip but book ahead as it is extremely popular.

Felidias: Elegant Italian food with exquisite service. Felidia has a huge reputation in New York and it is well deserved. I ordered the most amazingly simple chicken soup to start which was assembled at the table. It was quite possibly the best thing I have eaten all year. Light and delicately flavoured I could have eat a whole cauldron of it. To follow I had the Pappardelle with braised shredded duck. It was rich and deeply flavoured, again, finished off by the table. Service was incredibly accommodating and friendly. I can’t wait to go back.

Carnegie Deli: Eating at the Carnegie Deli is like a rights of passage act for a New York Tourist. From the outside it doesn’t look too promising and the service is typical of New York, efficient with no time wasted on over-friendliness. We were crowded into the room, elbow to elbow with our neighbours and tried to take in the huge menu which must have about 200 menu items. Even with all that choice, everyone has the corned beef sandwich which is outrageously stuffed between two slices of rye bread. I had the Woody Allen which had a mix of corned beef and pastrami. For some reason I ordered coleslaw as well, what was I thinking. I doubt if many people finish the whole sandwich, I managed half and the waiter cheerfully offered to bag the other half but I knew I would carry it round for 1/2 hour and then toss it so I declined. So much food must be wasted. It was really delicious but it feels more like a challenge than an eating experience but you just have to do it once!

Magnolia Restaurant – Charleston South Carolina

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Following on from our trip to Washington we went to ‘visit awhile’ in South Carolina with our friends Tony and Betsy in Columbia, South Carolina. Betsy and I had such a great time together swapping recipes and cooking tips. I am fascinated by Southern Cooking and the ingredients and came back with a huge stash from the local Piggly Wiggly.

On a day trip to the beautiful Charleston, South Carolina we were directed to one restaurant above all others as an example of the best of Southern Dining. Magnolias. Before our reservation we went to a super cook shop across the street from the restaurant and I bought the recipe book of the restaurant called ‘Magnolias – Uptown, Down South.’ which later, the waiter happily got one of the cooks to sign. The restaurant is bright and open with large windows and clean lines. We were seated promptly and offered menus. I really wanted to try Fried Green Tomatoes which were huge and came breaded in cornmeal and lightly fried with a cream tomato sauce and salad. They were really delicious though this dish seemed rather substantial for a starter. Other starters around the table were plump and meaty scallops and the signature shrimp and grits.

I’m not sure about grits. I had them for breakfast that morning and even with loads of whipped butter found them to be bland and watery.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

For main course I had the classic buttermilk fried chicken breast served with cracked pepper biscuits, mashed potatoes, collard greens, cream style corn, served with grilled roma tomatoes and sausage herb gravy. It was fabulous. Chicken was almost steamed within its crisp breaded coating and the mashed potatoes and collard greens completed the ultimate in comfort food. I wanted to curl up and have a nap halfway through and was surprised that I finished it but I just couldnt resist devouring it. Wonderful!

For pudding I had the Red Velvet cake which was a rich delicious gateau that was oddly dyed red with food colouring. Fine but not particularly exciting. Service was efficient though rather cold. Perhaps we worried if the English know how to tip in America.

Score 8.5/10

Magnolias on Urbanspoon