For the last three weeks, Brits have been simultaneously living their best lives and freezing their tits off in pub gardens up and down the country because hallelujah food & drinks venues have finally re-opened!
In honour of the occasion, I’ve put together a list of my all-time favourite places to eat out in Nottingham so you can enjoy a spot of al fresco dining and also show local businesses some much-needed love and support.
Whether you’re hankering for a burger or it’s some sushi you’re craving, you’re guaranteed great-tasting grub at every stop on this list. Happy eating!
Hockley Kitchen — 21 Carlton Street, Nottingham, NG1 1NL
I love the vibe at Hockley Kitchen — cosy, relaxed and unpretentious. It’s the type of place you could visit with your bestie for a coffee but also take your dad for a hearty Full English. There’s lots of variety on the menu, including breakfast cobs, lush leafy salads and homemade cakes. Hockley Kitchen is my go to place for lunch when I’m with a veggie or vegan friend, as there’s always a good selection of food catering to different dietary requirements.
Annie’s Burger Shack — 5 Broadway, Nottingham, NG1 1PR
Annie’s Burger Shack is the only place you should be headed if you’re in Nottingham and fancy a burger. They have more than 30 different burgers and four types of chip to serve on the side (including the best chip in existence, the curly fry). Every burger on the menu can also be ordered as a veggie or vegan version. If you’re an adventurous foodie, there’s several wacky flavours to try, like ‘The Johnny Vegas’ served with toffee apple butter, black pudding and a Guinness flavoured doughnut!
Bonzai Sushi & Noodle Bar — 11-13 Carlton Street, Nottingham, NG1 1NL
Since April 12th, I’ve treated myself to sushi on five separate occasions. So you could say I’m something of a sushi fan, which means you should trust my judgement when I say Bonzai make the best sushi in Nottingham hands down. My best friend introduced me to this place last year and I’ve been in love with it ever since. A small venue with an intimate atmosphere, fast service and decent prices. What’s not to like?
Tier — 38 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EG
Their grilled mac ‘n’ cheese toasties are out of this world. I know what you’re thinking — a pasta sandwich?! I was hesitant too until I experienced the taste sensation that is Tier’s ‘Mac Daddy’. Imagine gooey, cheesy goodness layered with bread that’s crispy from the grill. If that doesn’t sound like heaven to you, there’s fries on the menu as well and Tier sell a variety of insta-worthy cocktails if you’d prefer a liquid lunch instead.
Hungry Pumpkin — 38 High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HN
Hungry Pumpkin is a family-run business and that’s what gives this deli café the homely feel that its regulars love. The venue may be small, but the menu is far from it and includes unique breakfast meals like the ‘Pumpkin Special’ — chorizo, eggs, mushrooms and peppers on a toasted ciabatta. The highlight for me is their range of homemade pasta dishes. Pasta is my desert island dish, I never tire of eating it, so any place that serves a pasta bake as tasty as Hungry Pumpkin’s has my seal of approval.
Pudding Pantry — 27-29 Trinity Square, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4AF
I regular day-dream about the loaded pancake stacks at Pudding Pantry. These guys are specialists when it comes to scrumptious sweet treats and luckily for us Nottingham folk they have two stores, one in the city centre and another in Sherwood, with a third set to open in Beeston later this year. I love going for brunch at Pudding Pantry (mainly because it gives me a socially acceptable excuse to eat cake for breakfast) and highly recommend it to anyone with a sweet tooth.
The Cod’s Scallops — 170 Bramcote Lane, Nottingham, NG8 2QP
The chippy tea’s had a classy upgrade. Voted ‘Fish and Chip Shop of the Year’ at the Fish & Chip Shop Awards 2020 (the chippy equivalent of the Oscars clearly), Cod’s Scallops has 20 different varieties of fish and sea food on the menu. Its flagship store is in Wollaton but there’s also restaurants in Carrington and Long Eaton. This month they made local news when they pimped up the humble cheesy chips by replacing cheddar with Stilton. A controversial move, but I can’t wait to try it!
French Living — 27 King Street, Nottingham, NG1 2AY
My nan would never forgive me if I missed her favourite restaurant off this list. French Living offers you the authentic taste of France without a costly trip across The Channel. As well as exceptional cuisine, there’s a deli counter and cabinet kept well-stocked with wine, cheese and classic French grocery items, like the popular Petit Buerre biscuits. Their menu features appetisers and entrées in addition to main courses, perfect for smaller appetites.
Oscar & Rosie’s — 8 Stoney Street, Nottingham, NG1 1LP
Another much-loved Hockley haunt of mine! Oscar & Rosie’s are renowned for their award-winning pizzas, gourmet by name but with a palatable price tag. Lesser known but equally mouth-watering are their mac ‘n’ cheese side dishes. This pizzeria is another great choice for people with dietary requirements, especially vegans. My fellow dairy-free folk will know the struggle of trying to find a vegan cheese that doesn’t taste and smell like unwashed feet, but the cheese on Oscar & Rosie’s vegan pizzas is foot-funk-free and as close to the real deal as you’ll get.
Homemade Cafe — Forest Recreation Ground, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG5 2BU
A short stroll up Mansfield Road will lead you to Homemade Café, found at the heart of the Forest Recreation Ground in the Pavilion building. The cakes are incredible and a visit to Homemade isn’t complete without one of their thick and creamy, extra indulgent hot chocolates. From May 7th, they’ll be opening a brand new outdoor terrace area for customers to enjoy their food and drinks in the sunshine. Four-legged customers are also welcome!
If you’re a regular reader of Luce in Lockdown, you’ll know that I love writing about Nottingham food & drink, from my favourite brunch spots to the coolest cocktail bars. With lockdown restrictions finally easing, I can’t wait to share more of my recommendations with you all. Watch this space!