*Review by invite*
What is your go-to place for a special visit? If you haven’t got one, read on.
Hart’s Nottingham is one of those places that has been on my radar for some time. Finally I found myself booked in for lunch at Hart’s. The first thing that strikes you, is that everything is neat. From the doors, to the ruler-straight trimmed plants that make any OCD-afflicted individual feel ecstatic, clean minimalism is the order of the day at Hart’s – that’s even before you’ve set foot in the building.
The perfect welcome ensued; warm meet and greet by concierge, smiling Maitre d’ who showed us to our very comfortable booth and swift placement of menus on tables.
It’s a lovely space. I was just happy with the expansive booth and considerately sized tables (I love space and automatically feel at ease in larger spaces).
The lunch menu changes weekly to reflect seasonal produce availability. It’s a good, user-friendly menu that is easy to appreciate but not be flummoxed by.
I kicked off with Devonshire crab (ginger, apple, crème fraîche).
Now, if you’re a scarfer like me, and honest-to-god wish you were more ladylike (I have made my peace with God in knowing that I could never be like Audrey Hepburn), then this Devonshire crab starter is what you need to eat.
It was a joy to look at and tuck into. Paper-thin mandolined apple was refreshing, like eating the most delicate of crisps. Crab meat enrobed in tangy crème fraîche sauce brought out the salty sea flavour in the meat, whilst the warming ginger on the swallow brought all the components together in a mouth-watering morsel of deliciousness.
Dining partner had lasagne (chicken, girolles, broadbeans, grappa sauce), which was plated with finesse. Mushrooms are clunky little things, and I find it difficult to make a dish that uses full mushrooms to look pretty. Not so here; burnished in a butter glaze, these girolles were mini towers of peppery heaven.
My main of stuffed courgette flowers (smoked burrata, san marzano tomato) was beautifully oxymoronic. Light batter yet housing a deliciously dense burrata. Creamy texture abound, yet olive chunks yielding bite were a nice touch to add depth in both texture and flavour.
The star ingredient was the smoked burrata, which was velvety smooth and highly moreish. (Note to Chef Dan Burridge – if he ever finds his prized burrata missing, that’ll be me. I could easily be the burrata burglar, it is honestly that freaking delicious.)
Dining partner had poached salmon (smoked bacon, pea velouté). This handsome dish with butter-soft fish was a very grown-up affair, the vibrant green sauce lifting the dish to provide a pop of colour and sweet earthy flavour.
In a personal bid to eat less sugar, I have a newfound appreciation for cheese. Thus I found myself ordering the cheeseboard, which had a nice selection of English and French cheese. From gorgeously pungent Stilton to squidgy Brie, this was an accomplished cheeseboard which I thoroughly enjoyed. Hat-tip to Chef for peeling the celery (celery strands belong in hell and should be removed especially when served raw).
Dining partner had Knickerbocker glory (apricot, almond, raspberries). It was light and substantial, and it would have ticked all the boxes if ice-cream was included in the make-up, not just cream (as lovely as it was).
Hart’s have an impressive wine list, boasting full bodied whites, mature reds and Champagne. Here are my tasting notes along with the wine pairings:
- Starters: Devonshire crab / lasagne
2017 Simon and the Huguenots, Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon, Stellenbosch
This South African wine with sharp citrus notes is the perfect partner to both the delicate sweetness of the crab, and meatiness from the chicken and mushrooms.
- Main: courgette flowers
2015 The Liberator Francophile Syrah, Stellenbosch
Forest fruit undertones were great to cut through the smoky burrata. I especially liked the peppery finish, that was wonderfully warming on the swallow.
- Main: salmon
2016 Negroamaro, Imuri, Puglia
This southern Italian wine is the perfect partner to seafood and delicate crab. Berries in the background played harmoniously with the salty tang of the crab.
- Desserts: Knickerbocker glory / cheeseboard
2007 Raymond Lafon, Sauternes
Pale golden in hue, hints of honeysuckle, and citrus rind were top notes in this dessert wine. It went especially well with the cream from the Knickerbocker glory.
Hart’s Nottingham is now on my list of top five places to visit in Nottingham. It is a space that you can relax in and enjoy the finer things such as attention to detail, stellar service, perfectly seasoned food, and the world’s best burrata. Yes that burrata was very very good, and over the past week, I have found myself thinking about it fondly. This means a guaranteed visit in the next few weeks.
Vas was a superstar, so if he’s on service, rest assured you will be in very safe hands. Thank you to restaurant manager James Helm, who floats around the restaurant with a watchful eye, never too far away, yet provides discreet, fluid service that will leave you with a smile on your face. Team Hart’s Nottingham, see you again very soon.
In A Nutshell
Restaurant name: Harts Nottingham
Open since: 1997
Address: Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham NG1 6GN
12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.00pm, Monday to Friday
12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm, Saturday
12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 9.00pm, Sunday
Afternoon tea available 12:00 noon – 4:30pm
How to make reservation: Telephone / website
Call: 0115 988 1900
Head Chef: Daniel Burridge
Front of House: James Helm, Restaurant Manager
Wheelchair friendly: Yes
Whilst in the area: Take a post-lunch walk onto Derby Road to gaze at some striking artwork at Hung Up Art Gallery which specialises in urban street art.