On Friday evening I embarked on a bit of an adventure. Something I had never done before, something I had been looking forward to for weeks, something to tick off my bucket list. At 8pm sharp Gaz & I arrived at Alchemilla Restaurant on Derby Road for their 10 course tasting menu.
The brainchild of Chef Alex Bond, formerly of Restaurant Sat Bains, Alchemilla opened earlier this year in a building that has stood empty since 1840. It was previously an old coach house, and is an amazing setting for an incredible dining experience.
We headed through the entrance, an unassuming doorway with the restaurant name lit up against a black plaque, and foliage to the left hand side. If you are not looking out for it, you may well miss it. As you enter the restaurant, the kitchen is directly in front of you. It is a great first impression as you see food at the pass.
We were seated in the small, perfectly formed, light and relaxing restaurant and the archways constantly drew my eye upwards. The dark wooden tables and chairs were comfortable enough to spend many an hour working our way through the menu.
Parts of the walls are decorated with moss and although the majority of the decor is stark brickwork, you get the feeling of bringing the outside inside with this addition.
We ordered drinks, a glass of prosecco each and perused the menu. We both opted for the 10 course taster, although the 7 course sounded fantastic too and I would like to go back to try the different dishes. I then ordered a Redsmith Gin and tonic, distilled in this lovely city in small batches. Gaz opted for the wine pairing and so had a lot of variety throughout the meal.
Vegetables were at the forefront of the 10 course tasting menu, making a pleasant change to what I usually eat.
Up first was the BBQ shitake with cured pork fat. This was incredible, the earthy taste of the mushrooms with the smokey pork fat. I could eat this as an entire meal in itself.
Then on to the crab, tarragon and fermented red cabbage. I love seafood and shellfish and this didn’t disappoint. The bittersweet licorice taste of the tarragon against the delicate saltiness of the crab was delicious.
As I try to avoid dairy I skipped the squid carbonara and instead opted for the seatrout with chamomile and bergamot. This was high up there with my favourite dishes and the avocado really bought everything together.
Up next was the onion and wakame with peppercorn sauce. I woke up the next day with this still on my mind. The contrasting textures of the crisp onions with the softness of the main part of the dish worked so well. The mild peppercorn sauce with the taste of the sea from the wakame really was a taste sensation.
Then on to the cauliflower, roasted yeast and almond. I did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I am not a big fan of cauliflower but the dish worked really well. The almond took away the bitterness of the cauliflower and was delectable.
Dish 6 was salt baked celeriac with mushrooms (without the Tunworth cheese for me). Again a winner but I think this is the one I recall least.
Dish 7 was my favourite. Beef cheek with artichoke and miso hollandaise. Tender and juicy, the meat pulled apart and virtually melted in my mouth. The portion was just the right size, any more and I wouldn’t have finished it as it was incredibly rich.
The first of three desserts arrived, an apple pie. This was a mix of ice cold and warm which really confused my taste buds. The apple pie was delicious but I wasn’t a fan of the topping. I am not entirely sure what it was but it tasted a little too creamy for me.
Dish 8 was chocolate with toasted kombu and pearl barley. This was heavenly. Any chocolate dessert gets the thumbs up from me.
I have no idea what my final dish was as I was pretty tispy but I believe it was prunes. I let Gaz finish this off as I was stuffed!
This was the best dining experience I have ever had. Admittedly it was my first taster menu experience but wow, it really awed me. It also impressed Gaz, and I get the feeling that that is difficult to do. Alchemilla is tipped to become a Michelin star restaurant at some point and I really hope it does. Phenomenal food, amazing service and a fantastic addition to Nottingham’s dining scene. Perfect for a special occasion, it is a leisurely meal so don’t plan anything for the rest of the evening (we were in the restaurant for approximately 4 hours in total).