Time Out Cafe – Nottingham

blog, dinner, food, lifestyle, naughtiness, nottingham, restaurant reviews, reviews

One of the many benefits of being with Andy, is his weird habit of needing to go into town to have a ‘wonder around’, every. single. weekend. Personally, trying to navigate my way through Nottingham City Centre, amongst the hoards of teens and yummy mummies is enough to make me want to fling myself from the nearest multi storey car park, but I suppose it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same. It was on one of his grand adventures that Andy stumbled across a sandwich board outside a door way, with a sign above it that read ‘Time Out’. See Exhibit A.

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Time Out is next door neighbours with Poundland, and honestly when we first stepped through the door I wondered if we’d made a mistake and had accidentally stepped into a corridor leading to a teenage band’s rehearsal space or something. But really, as soon as you head upstairs, the slightly dubious corridor just serves to add to the charm of Time Out.

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Life affirming messages in the corridor.

Time Out’s decor is quite frankly, an instagram wet dream. Crisp white walls create a clean canvas for quirky, ‘f you’, style phrases. There’s a coffee table with old Nintendo games for guests to play if they want to. Time Out’s decor really achieves it’s name sake. As soon as I sat down, I immediately felt detached from the rest of the hustle and bustle of Saturday afternoon Nottingham, and like I could relax.

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Time Out feels quirky, but gentle and welcoming – and whilst that’s lovely, I think it would be gross blogger misconduct if I didn’t push those qualities aside to absolutely gush about the insanely good food they serve up. Time Out isn’t just a cool studenty type place. It is that, but it’s also so much more. I can hand on heart say that the food I had at Time Out is without a doubt, the best food that has ever passed my lips whilst eating out. I remember feeling legitimately giddy when I took my first couple of bites, the way you do when you’ve just kissed someone you’ve fancied for ages for the first time. Seriously. It was THAT good.

So, let’s break down the menu. You can go tapas, or you can go regular main courses. Or if you’re Andy and I, and you’re indecisive, greedy little assholes, you can do both. And to be quite honest, the prices are so reasonable that it’s really not going to break the bank either way. Tapas is 3 dishes for £14, and the main courses cost about £7-9 each, if I remember rightly. I was actually amazed at our bill of £37.40 for 4 tapas dishes, 2 main courses and 2 drinks. Bargain!

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Clearly he was chuffed with the bill.

Our order was:  pork gyoza with melty cheesy drizzle, panko crumbed prawns, salt and pepper chicken wings AND salt and pepper fries. Apparently we were very fond of our basic condiments that day. As I’ve been working super hard on warrior training, I tried to be a little more restrained in how much I ate. Moderation, innit bruv? I had e one gyoza, one wing and 2 prawns but let me tell you, that was enough for me to make the technical assessment that this food was bomb AF. Everything was  freshly cooked, piping hot, crispy where it needed to be crispy, never greasy and every single mouth full was packed to the rafters with flavour.My particular favourites were the ebi fry (prawns), which almost bought a tear to my eye they were so delicious.

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For the main dishes, I chose a marinaded sticky beef noodle dish, whilst Andy went for a lime and lemongrass scallop spaghetti – a choice I’m fairly confident he made on the basis that I’m allergic to scallops, so wouldn’t have been able to ask for a taste. After almost 2.5 years of being with me, it seems he officially knows me too well. God damn. Given that I couldn’t taste Andy’s food, you’ll have to accept his review of ‘this is so good’, and just go with it.

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I can tell you with 100% certainty though that my main was an actual, real life, taste sensation. My ramen noodles were swimming in a pool of delicate, 4 hour beef broth, and topped with the most delicious, tender, yet sticky sliced beef in the entire world. It had that perfect umami taste that’s sweet and tangy, and I will never be able to master at home, no matter how much I try. I also had a laugh at how stupidly British I am,  when I took one of the salt and pepper fries to dunk into my egg yolk. I mean. I thought it was funny.

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Salt & Pepper Fries. AKA, Egg Yolk Dunkers.

And so that concludes our eating at Time Out. I’m not sure that anything I could write would really do my experience justice. It was just phenomenal, and I wish the owners, staff and chefs all of the success in the world – although selfishly, I hope it stays my secret little hide away a little while longer. Just in case it does becomes a jam packed foodie haven in the near future, Andy and I have decided to visit again on Friday lunch time. In our defence, we’re not usually this frequent or decadent with our eating out, but we’re both on annual leave this week so it seems only fair that we….blah blah blah, as if I need a justification. Just know this. On the menu, there is Korean carbonara that I think I need to investigate for reasons of science.

SO. Scores are in!

Ambience: 9/10

Food: 10/10

Bang for Buck: 10/10

Would I Go Again: If I could guarantee no weight gain or financial implications, I’d visit every week for the rest of my natural life.

 

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Sushi Wars

food, japan, restaurant reviews, sushi

There’s an ongoing battle between my boyfriend and I, that is likely to never be conquered. Ahhh, the great war of who’s home city has the best sushi. Given that our home cities are Derby and Sheffield – not exactly Sushi central, it’s actually quite a feat that we both have such high quality sushi to argue over. My vote is for Moon Sha in Derby, his for Yama Sushi in Sheffield. In the interest of full disclosure and fairness, I will say that both places make fresh, delicious food that I would never ever complain about eating. I think the thing is, the two restaurants just have very different vibes.

Whilst Moon Sha is a big building which has lovely black glitter effect granite tables, expensive looking table wear, a huge teppyanyaki station in the centre of the restaurant and karaoke booths upstairs; Yama is so small and casual it feels more like a cafe than a restaurant. Clearly the physical appearance of the restaurant means nothing if the food isn’t up to scratch, but as both places provide sushi and other Japanese fare so mouth watering it could bring you to tears, I do factor in the details.

Pictured are a couple of the dishes we ordered at Yama. (Apologies for the poor quality photograph!) Although I don’t remember the name of them, our usual sushi ordering habits suggest that they were crab/salmon/avocado based. Overall, I’d say Yama pushes the boat further out in terms of menu creativity, with the addition of a sushi specials board with more experimental flavours. Moon Sha tend to stick to the recognisable classics –  but they do have significantly more options to choose from, including bento boxes, ramen and katsu. The beauty of Yama is that due to its casual vibe, you can rock up in the jogging bottoms and band tshirt you crashed out in last night if you really want to. As somebody who has grown up with countless insecurities about not fitting in or being good enough, I really appreciate that. Lucy no like pretentiousness. Moon Sha is more up market, but warm and welcoming all the same. You can expect to have a full, eating out ‘experience’ as opposed to just a dinner there, with waiters who go out of their way to provide you with second to none service.

I still maintain that Moon Sha make marginally better food overall – the rice they use for their sushi rolls is a freshly flavoured, sticky but not gelatinous thing of beauty. I don’t know whether it’s down to geographical loyalties or genuine preference, but the other half is having absolutely none of it and is sticking to his Sheffield rooted guns. But honestly, if you have the opportunity to go to either establishment, you absolutely should, I can promise you won’t regret it.

Foodie Recommendation – Moon Sha, Derby

food, sushi

A couple of days ago, time hop informed me that this time last year I was eating this glorious meal. This is sushi from a place called Moon Sha in Derby, UK. Now, Derby doesn’t have a great deal going for it, but if there’s one thing that would keep me going back its this sushi. I mean, I suppose i might go back to see then ole’ family but… Them and this sushi!

The building itself is spread out over two floors, although the top floor caters more to those night owls who might enjoy a spot of tipsy traditional Japanese karaoke after their dinner. The ground floor is my own personal heaven though. The teppenyaki chef’s station is central to the room, surrounded by a square bar where diners can sit and watch their dinner being made in front of them.

The sushi is some of the best I’ve ever had, with the rice tasting fresh and sticky, rather than rubbery and bland like the sushi you’re likely to find in supermarket packets. I also really love that with a lot of Japanese food, you’re able to eat really healthily without losing out on flavour.

I think a lot of people are still intimidated by sushi, and assume they’re going to be served a concoction of raw fish fillets and not much else. Trust me, it’s far more than that.

If you’re in the midlands, I would 100% recommend you give this place a go!