Up north from where I hail, Friday night supper usually includes fish. This tradition has stuck with me since I was yay high (think Macaulay Culkin’s height in Home Alone). Even today, my weekly meal plan has fish as the starring dish every Friday.
I was therefore Tigger excited to hop along to Belgo Bar & Restaurant on a Friday, prepared to check out the restaurant’s acclaimed offerings. Belgo specialises in moules, frites and boasts a whopping 62 Belgian bieres. The location on Weekday Cross is the first opening outside London. I fell in love with Belgo when I used to frequent the Holborn bar whilst living in London (ahh those heady fashionista days living the dream in the big smoke). Now, the Belgo brand is a byword of goooood moules and excellent beer.
It’s a cosy space, although the split-level restaurant makes it seem more expansive. Vintage wood and fairy lights make for a warm and inviting décor. Seated at our table, we sat statue-still for a few minutes to take in the atmosphere. And that’s one of the things I love about Belgo. It’s a nice space to hang out. It was a busy restaurant (our booking was at 7:30pm), which got busier as the night progressed, but it was never, thankfully, raucous loud.
Belgo have a good menu, and much like the Spice Girls back in the day, there is something for everybody. Love seafood? High five, you’re in the right place! Craving a carvery? There’s rotisserie chicken just for you. On a diet? The super salad will have you grinning faster than you can say “Lean in 15 my eye”. We ordered the meaty sharing plank (potted pâté, cured meats, duck croquettes, home-made coleslaw, dill pickles, dips) to get a flavour of a few dishes in one hit.
It’s a generous sized board, pretty too. My favourite was the crispy, zingy dill pickle wrapped in salami, although I think the duck croquettes could have benefitted from a little more seasoning. This board is great if there’s a few of you, I think you’d get away with 3-4 sharing.
I had the whole lobster for my main (grilled, garlic and herb butter), which was pleasing to the eye and stomach. Again, I would have enjoyed a little more seasoning, but the dish was delicious post sprinkling of salt. I was missing a claw cracker or crab mallet, meaning I had to use the brute force of my bare hands to get into said claw with a little twist and shout. The gorgeously sweet lobster flesh was heavenly enrobed in a garlicky river, which was lip-smackingly good. I had chosen double cooked frites to come with this dish, although health-nuts can order a mixed salad and coleslaw.
My dining partner had the traditionelle moules pot (garlic, celery, onion, butter, white wine). I tasted this, it was good, but I had to really search for flavours on my palate. Mussels were cooked well, and eventually the hint of onion came through. I sipped the broth that had collected at the bottom of the dish, and this was very tasty.
Yes we were stuffed. No we don’t approve of skipping dessert (tantamount to blasphemy), hence us splitting the dessert of Speculoos cheesecake between us.
I loved this cheesecake; the base was soft with a slight bite, the filling dense yet creamy and light. Again, I wish the flavours were a little more pronounced of the Speculoos, which is a caramelised, slightly spiced cookie.
It was a pleasurable dining experience. I love the Belgo brand, and next time, I’ll be trying stronger moules flavours (Belgo kimchi moules sound amazing and a dish I would probably kill for). I’m also very excited about Belgo coming to Manchester, so do keep your eyes peeled about more news on that.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 8
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Restaurant name: Belgo Bar & Restaurant, Nottingham
Owner: Casual Dining Group
Open since: Nottingham open since 2016 (first location Chalk Farm open since 1992)
Covers: 220 over 2 floors
Address: 9 Weekday Cross, Nottingham NG1 2GB
Closest train tram stop: Lace Market
Opening: Sun – Thurs 12pm – 11pm, Fri – Sat 12pm – 12am
How to make reservation: online & telephone
Call: 0115 924 1765
GM: Dan Murphy
Whilst in the area check out: Delilah to stock up your larder, and Old Market Square, which usually has food and craft stalls.