Weekends are for writing, indulging in good food, reading and chilling out with loved ones. The sun was out in a cloudless sky, and the weather was set for a tapas review, and so it was, that I found myself heading to Baresca Nottingham to check out the food a year on.
Nestled on Byard Lane in the heart of the city, Baresca is that quaint mix of bustling café and upmarket restaurant. We had a 1pm reservation, and the 100 cover eatery was busy in all quarters. It’s a deceptively expansive space, sprawling across the ground floor, first floor, and front al fresco section.
The first thing that hits you, is the stellar welcome. Smiles from the whole front of house team was lovely to see, whilst a genuine, warm demeanour from GM Kate made me automatically feel as if I had walked into a dear friend’s home.
We were placed near the window, which happened to be the perfect place for a spot of people-watching. I love people-watching, which is a much under-rated pastime. (I also love watching people eat and sleep but more on that on a standalone post.)
It’s a great menu with a diverse range of tapas, including puy lentil salad and beetroot arancini. It is compact yet comprehensive to warrant gentle vacillation (yes I’m a faffer, bite me).
We kicked off with a Spanish hot Catalan flatbread. Pillowy soft dough that I couldn’t stop pawing, spicy salchichön sausage that left me breathless for a few seconds, tangy tomato and melting mozzarella made a heady combination that was scrumptious.
I loved the spice level of this dish. The clue is in the title; if you have more of a vanilla palette, then perhaps you may not appreciate this chilli flake topped beauty. I loved it and will be getting this every time it appears on the Baresca menu.
Cheese and honey is now a combination that I consider classic. Ever since a girlfriend introduced it to me a few years’ ago, I order from the menu whenever I see it. I recall thinking she was bonkers for ordering a pizza drizzled in honey (pizza AND honey? Utter madness!), but the flavour profile was one of the best I have ever encountered.
I was thoroughly pleased to discover cheese and honey on the Baresca menu in the form of Manchego d.o La Mancha drizzled in truffled honey. The cheese had a gorgeous nutty quality, whilst the fragrant, earthy oil in golden ribbons atop the cheese was pure heaven.
The cheese had been semi-cured for three months giving it a wondrous depth, and with the accompanying torta de aceite flavoured with citrus peel, gave the cheese and honey another level of subtle flavour.
Honey glazed baby chorizo in sherry vinegar were meaty morsels that were moreish, sticky and perfect by themselves, or with a bite of the flatbread soft crust.
Garlic chilli prawns (lemon, parsley) was one of the most colourful dishes, with pops of pillarbox red in the chillies, and emerald green in the peas-shoot garnish.
Lobo beer battered cod (lemon aioli, green mojo) was crisp, exceedingly light, and the mojo topping an excellent addition. I love anything with garlic, and this garlic-heavy sauce with parsley and hints of coriander seed and cumin packed a punch in the flavour stakes.
Churros (salted chocolate caramel sauce) were good; crisp, generous and an excellent end to the meal. We chose the following drinks, to match our dishes.
- Leon (4% ). This 4% pale lager with a smooth, hoppy finish, was a great match with the spicy flatbread and lobo beer battered fish.
- House rosé (Bin 40). This blush coloured wine with a hint of strawberry went very well with the garlic prawns and meaty chorizo (especially the sherry in this latter dish).
- Peinado gran reserva (100 years). This ultra-premium brandy from the oldest distillery in Spain, was one of the best brandies I had ever tasted. The nutty, dried prunes and honey laced aroma was heady and enticing, making this not only the ideal partner to the churros, but also the perfect digestif to round off a gorgeous meal. This brandy was apparently also a favourite of Winston Churchill, and if it’s good enough for this political behemoth, then it’s perfectly fine with me.
Dining at Baresca is a memorable experience, with tapas you just won’t want to share (because you’ll want to scarf it as soon as the delicious morsels arrive on your table). From the colorful décor reminiscent of a cute market-town to the tall shelving cabinets overflowing with treats galore, Baresca is one very special place to be.
A special mention to Gosia, Ashleigh and Kate, whose warm smiles and stellar service have guaranteed a return from me, my friends, family, next door neighbour, cousin twice removed and anyone else who will listen to me (yes I will spread the word that Baresca rocks). Team Baresca, see you again very soon.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9
Restaurant name: Baresca Nottingham
Open since: June 2015
Address: 9 Byard Lane, Nottingham NG1 2GJ
Mon 10am – 10:30pm
Tues – Thurs 10am – 11pm
Fri 10am – 12am
Sat 9am – 12am
Sun 10am – 10:30pm
How to make reservation: Telephone & email
For bookings over 8 people telephone. No reservations accepted between 7pm – 9pm on a Saturday evening, where Baresca operates on a first come, first served policy.
Call: 0115 948 3900
Head Chef: Matthew Adcock
General Manager: Kate
Front of House: Gosia / Ashleigh
Whilst in the area: Duck into Reiss to see what fashionable delights you can pick up. Their Darina Bardot-inspired coral dress in the window is very nice and is currently part of the summer sale. For a novel idea (pardon the pun), hop on over to Waterstones first, pick up a book (The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson is a cracking read – I’m in the middle of it and will report back how I found it) and settle down to an afternoon nibbling on Baresca tapas and reading. Waterstones Nottingham also have a great list of events, I’ll write a standalone post on this asap; in the meantime, here is a sneak peek what to expect in the coming months.