My home city of Nottingham has lots of really nice restaurants, but not many WOW restaurants. You know the kind? The ones that take you on a journey of flavours and get you really excited about the food!
On Friday, two of Nottingham’s top chefs joined forces for their third pop-up event. Hira Thakur, senior sous chef at World Service, a beautiful fine dining restaurant in the heart of the city, and Paul Thacker, a development chef for the Chino Latino brand, which is a collection of award winning Pan Asian restaurants.
We were welcomed with a refreshing glass of Pimms which we sat and enjoyed In the sunshine. The event was a sell-out so there was a lovely buzz and excited atmosphere as people were chatting away and looking forward to the food.
While sat outside the waitresses started to come out with canapes, but sadly they missed our table. Whether it was because we were sat in the far corner I’m not sure, but when we were being seated inside I did pinch a delicious duck sushi roll from one of the waitresses, which was delicious and melted in the mouth, making me want to try more!
I am very happy to report that was the only slight disappointment of the night because as soon as our first course hit the table, from the first mouthful all the way to dessert, every one delivered in both presentation and flavour.
The first course, which was my favourite of all the savoury dishes, was ‘Kombu and yuzu cured seatrout, sea aster panna cotta and compressed cantaloupe yuzu’. The seatrout was the star of the dish, it fell apart and was full of flavour but not overpowered by the curing. The balance of flavours was spot on. Another element I loved was the sea aster panna cotta which had the perfect wobble and complemented the trout. This was a very cleaver dish with each element having its own purpose on the plate.
Up next was ‘Sesame tune tataki, compressed kyuri, squid ink onigiri and wasabi’. This was another dish I adored! The tuna was perfect and I loved the squid ink onigiri (Japanese rice ball). The texture of it really lifted the dish and the wasabi was far from the usual powerful ‘make your eyes water’ wasabi. Instead it was delicate and creamy, adding a gentle heat to the dish.
Our third course was ‘Black garlic and truffle gnocchi, sweet potato and chipotle puree, pickle shimeji mushroom and herb infused oil.’ This was a far more delicate dish than the first two courses. The gnocchi was slightly crisp on the outside with a beautiful fluffy centre. I loved the picked mushrooms as they added a freshness and zing to the dish which was balanced out by the sweet potato puree.
The last savoury course was ‘Duck breast, orange miso, hispi cabbage kimchi pickle orange and tarragon foam’. Mr B and I love duck, but we both agree it is a travesty when it is cooked wrong, which it often sadly is. This one was perfectly pink, tender and juicy! We all know orange and duck is a match made in heaven and the hispi cabbage kimchi added a lovely crunch and freshness to the dish. Mr B said it was his favourite dish of the night!
Dessert was ‘White chocolate, strawberry cannoli, macerated strawberry, chocolate soil and yuzu lemon grass sorbet’. I would never order a strawberry dessert on a menu as I prefer more rich, gooey chocolate desserts, but this one was outstanding! I cleared the plate and Mr B was laughing as apparently I kept making yummy noises while eating it (only slightly embarrassing!). It was just delicious, a truly fantastic dessert. The sweetness from the white chocolate and strawberries was balanced out by the deliciously sharp refreshing sorbet. I’ve never had a sorbet packed with so much flavour, I have always loved the strong citrus flavour of yuzu, but the addition of the lemongrass lifted it to another level. Would I order a strawberry dessert next time I’m out? Probably not, as I don’t think it could be as good as this one!
Both chefs came out to greet the diners after service and received a huge round of applause. It is so easy to see why this was a sell-out event and why many of the diners were returning guests. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next one and snap up tickets before they sell out!
I was a guest of Nakama, but as always all opinions are my own and honest.