Nestled in Lace Market, opposite the Pitcher and Piano, lies a restaurant. You may not have seen adverts for it, nor even be aware of its presence, but it may be (pardon the expression) one of Nottingham’s best kept secrets. It may seem from the very plush looking interior that this is an expensive establishment, but the pricing in their plethora of new menus is pretty student-friendly.
Right, the food. ‘Tomato, basil and balsamic terrine with goat’s cheese cream’ to kick things off. I was fairly apprehensive initially about the latter of these items, but it was smooth, mild, and worked beautifully with the juicy tomatoes and tart dressing. Good start. The tandoori sea bass was up next, and I would suggest it for anyone who reckons they don’t like fish; crispy skin, meaty succulent flesh, and served on a bed of delicately spiced potatoes with an artistic swirl of tasty oil and topped off with little ‘micro herbs’. Despite having a predominantly savoury tooth, the pudding was the crowning glory. This was a “Black Forest” chocolate trifle- mmm- chocolatey (unsurprisingly), gooey and lifted with boozy griottine cherries, this was a sinfully indulgent end to a great meal.
This is all well and good you might be thinking, but what about the wallet-damage? Well, for the Table D’hôte Menu served Monday to Friday, 3 till 7, you’ll get three courses for £12.65 or two courses for under a tenner. For those in search of a mid-week lunch, the Express Lunch offers ‘in and out in under an hour’ service with genuinely surprising low prices such as Moules Frites for just 8 quid.
Booze! Yes, booze: the Living Room is also a cocktail bar; with drinks I reckon easily top that of from other Nottingham cocktail bars. I had the pleasure of trying three concoctions: Traces of Nut, Gin Fondant and a Mae West Martini. The first had a carefully crafted whiskey base, the second an unusual but deeply satisfying combination of gin and creamy stuff, and the last a fresh sweet flavour (a little too so for my palate, although I am reliably informed it is a girl’s favourite). All of these are just £3.95 apiece as part of the Living Room’s new Autumn/ Winter shake-up.
OK, for the average student, the Living Room isn’t going to be standard fare. However, the value for money is superb, and should be at the top of your list when considering what to do for a birthday meal or a place to take the parents when they come to visit. For those of you who think Nandos is the pinnacle of culinary excellence (you know who you are), try this place for a change. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
By William Robertson