Mesa in Hockley, Nottingham is the newest restaurant in town. Located on Goose Gate in the old Pizza Express building, it is almost unrecognisable. The place has been decorated beautifully with an industrial theme, with plenty of plants making the restaurant feel bright and airy. There is a new open kitchen so you can watch your food being prepared, and a large bar in the centre of the restaurant. There is plenty of seating, and will easily accomodate large groups inside when restrictions lift.
The ‘fusion’ menu is set to change every couple of weeks, enticing people to keep returning. The menu comprises of snacks, mains, sides and desserts. There is also a small wine, beer and spirit menu.
With dishes such as smacked cucumber, sichuan cumin lamb flatbread and spring onion with honey ponzu, garlic and ginger, this is no ordinary menu. Marcus Lewsley, head chef, is bringing a different feel to the Nottingham food scene. It feels unique, relaxed and fun. This is unpretentious, great food at a really reasonable price. Just a quick glance at Marcus Instagram page (@marcus_cooks_) and you will see the dishes pop. The presentation is beautiful and I was truly excited to dine.
Now on to our choices. We had everything come at the same time. The food came out of the kitchen very quickly. I expected an almost tapas style of dining, dishes coming from the kitchen whenever they were ready. This was different. Everything came out at once and we didn’t wait more than 15 minutes from ordering. Because we dined so early, we were one of only 5 tables in the restaurant at that time. By the time we left the place had filled up nicely.
We had made our choices for mains and it was right at the end of the ordering process that I decided to chuck in some smacked cucumber with peanut crumb. OH MY GOSH. I am so glad I ordered this. A relatively simple dish, the taste exploded. It was a really light, fresh dish with a Thai taste to it (probably just the peanuts).
Mesa Main Dishes
Next up was the Sriracha caramel wings, Eleanors choice. Covered in a spicy crisp coating along with sesame seeds these were perfectly cooked, absolutely delicious. There were 5 really big wings on the plate. More than enough with a small side plate to fill you up.
My choice of main was the Sichuan cumin lamb flatbread with slaw, sumac, coriander, pomegranate molasses and I opted for the harissa yoghurt on the side. This was divine! The amount of lamb on the flatbread was ridiculously good value. At £14 I had expected maybe half the amount of meat on the dish. It was succulent, tangy and again really fresh. The hint of citrus was delicious. The lamb had been slow cooked and was so juicy, at some point I was covered in delicious lamb juice. I didn’t really taste the pomegranate molasses, expecting a more syrupy/sharp taste. It was hands down the best dish of the night. I would happily just have this without any sides or snacks (although why would you??). It was very filling and a little messy to eat. I recommend just rolling the bugger up and shoving it in your face like a wrap.
Mesa Side Dishes
For sides we opted for tenderstem broccoli and spring onion dishes. The tenderstem came with lemon, chilli and fried onion. It was served with a crunch and was delicious. The spring onions were charred and served with honey ponzu, garlic and ginger. They were ever so slightly burnt rather than charred and so I discarded the tops and ate the rest. No real complaint from me, but I preferred the broccoli.
Lastly we opted for the only dessert on the menu, Yuzu white miso cheesecake. I am not usually a cheesecake fan due to it being too creamy, but half of this was the perfect portion. It had a creme brulee type top and was tangy, rich and delicious. I would definitely order this again.
Overall the dishes we chose were fantastic. The variety of the menu was fab and gave us a chance to order a range of totally different dishes. The presentation was beautiful and it is no surprise that Marcus’ instagram account is loved by so many. At under £60 I thought it was a bargain for a beer, gin and tonic, one small plate, two mains, two sides and a dessert. We left full and happy. One thing to note is that there isn’t a vegan or veggie menu specifically. There is a note at the bottom of the menu to state that some dishes can be vegan or veggie if required.
Even though we booked well in advance, the only table we could get was at 5pm. The place filled up fast! It is worth noting that if you want to visit Mesa Hockley, book as far in advance as possible. Saturday evenings are already pretty booked for the next couple of weeks and there is only limited space on Fridays too. Daytimes don’t seem to be too much of an issue. I can see this being a very popular restaurant moving forward… and for good reason. Also, the staff are brilliant. Really knowledgeable about the dishes, confident in making recommendations, and very attentive. I can’t wait to go back when the menu changes!