The Michelin rated 1877 sits imposingly at the top of Derby Road, giving the impression of being too upmarket for the student audience. However with the introduction of their Wednesday student night, with 25% off food and drink, it’s moved itself closer to our price range, allowing the student population to sample what life would be like if our pocketbooks were a little fuller.
Traditional English restaurants often seem a little hard-pushed to find appetising ideas from our national cuisine. Let’s face it – England isn’t normally associated with culinary genius, but 1877 have rescued high-class cuisine from a nation known for chippy vans, greasy breakfasts and overcooked cabbage.
The wine list was a little pricey and clearly aimed at those who know their wine – it was organised by grape type rather than price! We went for a wine from the ‘unusual choices’ section, which was not too expensive and very enjoyable, despite not being a wine we’d come across before.
To begin, I had pan-fried sea scallops, black pudding, pork belly and pea purée. A strange sounding starter, but I just had to see how they would serve such an assortment of food. I was somewhat wary as black pudding has never been a favourite of mine. However it was actually very nice; quite delicately flavoured, thinly sliced and crispy, avoiding any of the chunks of fat or gristle that often plague black puddings. As long as you try to forget the ingredients, it’s actually very tasty. The scallops and tiny slices of pork belly were also very nice; although it sounds like a large starter, there was only a small amount of each animal, very artistically arranged. Still, perhaps not the best starter to get if you’re on a diet. My dining partner had a healthier option of celeriac soup, which was thick and creamy without being stodgy.
For my main, I had the seared salmon, which was perfectly cooked and, again, presented so beautifully I felt somewhat guilty for ruining the artistic effect. It was perfectly coupled with a beetroot caper relish, the sharp flavours adding to the taste of the salmon. My dining partner had the ‘posh chicken dinner’ – a name that initially seemed to confirm my doubts about the array of food an English restaurant can offer, but the perfectly cooked, tender chicken, alongside pot roast potatoes and bread sauce, was definitely far posher than the image normally conjured up by ‘chicken dinner’. Both were served with generous sides of vegetables, including the cauliflower cheese, so amazing that even I, a sworn enemy of cauliflower cheese since primary school hot dinners, was a fan.
English desserts are generally quite heavy and fatty (as all the best things in life are!) but 1877 offers such a mouth-watering selection that you should just loosen your belt and pig out. I had the chocolate puddle cake, a delicious sponge filled with dark chocolate sauce. My dining partner had the sticky toffee pudding, which – although not a very adventurous choice – was a lovely conclusion to the meal.
I’d definitely recommend 1877 to anyone, as it’s nice to sample something a little different from the legions of Italian restaurants throughout Nottingham. By sticking strictly to the idea of being ‘traditionally English’, 1877 have perhaps narrowed their options, but what they do with the national dishes available is admirable. 25% off for students is really generous offer, especially considering it also applies to wine (or even champagne if you’re feeling extravagant), a better deal than you’d get at many other restaurants.