Alchemilla in a nutshell
After working at Sat Bains and Auberge du Lac, chef Alex Bond ran supper clubs in Nottingham before opening his first permanent location providing contemporary British dishes in a modern yet rustic environment.
Alchemilla restaurant review
Hidden in the middle of Nottingham’s Derby Road is Alchemilla. An ambiguous door covered in foliage leads you under street level into a light and airy space with an open kitchen on show. The modern space has rustic charm – think exposed bricks, stone floors and lush living walls. Dark wooden mid-century-style tables and chairs are spaced comfortably apart from each other under brick arches with large ceiling windows providing warm natural light.
We had the seven-course tasting menu which started with chunks of sourdough complete with crunchy crust and cultured butter served on an ice-cold stone to stop it melting. Each following course came served on speckled crockery made by Sheffield based potter, Alison Wren – each piece unique.
The menu changes almost daily, depending on the seasonal produce that the kitchen can source. Silky salmon was served topped with wafer-thin slithers of fresh, vinegary cucumber and salty oysters. We also tried the vegetarian option, which is Alex’s signature dish. Al dente roasted cauliflower served with a crisp, sweet almond brittle was light and had a lovely balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
‘Hen of the woods, bread ‘n’ gravy, lardo’ was a bowl of sweet, sticky bread soaked in a rich gravy served with earthy pan-fried mushrooms and silky ribbons of lardo, which melted with the heat.
Another plate of irony rich smooth black pudding was topped with a slice of smoked eel and a sweet, earthy beetroot sauce and built us up nicely to the next – grouse. Sweet, sharp blackberries proved perfect plate fellows for the gamey bird and a velvety cep purée. We had a glass of 2016 shiraz-sangiovese, which was sharp on its own but had a velvety texture when drunk with the game.
The dessert selection catered to all palates, with fruit, chocolate and coffee flavours covered. ‘Apple pie’ was an intriguing bowl of cold crunchy crumble that when you bit into it, released all the flavours of a sweet, buttery apple pie. The apple sat underneath was baked with a bit of bite still, and coated in a sticky toffee sauce.
Smooth, rich chocolate mousse was served with salty Jerusalem artichoke ice cream, powdered hazelnuts and crunchy artichoke crisps.
Menu must-order at Alchemilla
The final dessert ended on a high – quenelles of thick, creamy coffee mousse is joined by sweet-sharp raspberries and dots of pungent black garlic purée – it sounds like it shouldn’t work but the bitter flavours complemented the sweet fruit.
Mid-range: The five-course tasting menu is £35, seven courses at £45 and 10 courses at £60.
Words | Ellie Edwards, alchemillarestaurant.uk
Photos by Fjona Hill