Nottingham has a thriving food scene and Oaks is the newest kid on the meat block to throw open its doors on Bromley Place in the heart of the city. This is one place this Derby foodie couldn’t wait to check out.
Oaks is a unique concept restaurant in that meat is its primary focus (herbivores, look away now). Sausages and meats are cooked over burning wood fires in the open kitchen where delighted diners can take a looksee whilst munching on tasty meaty fare. The décor is eclectic and the lighting inspired (check out those bad boy lampshades above). Pretty cool, right?
The first thing that hits you when you enter Oaks are the smiles of the waiting staff. They treat you as if you’re a member of the family, which is quirky cool and lovely in equal measure. It was 7:30pm on a Saturday and the restaurant was already very busy with other diners keen to check out the big news on the foodie scene.
They have a great selection of bubbles, pink and white wines, plus a capsule collection of cocktails. The main draw here is of local craft beers, so if you’re an ale fan, do whet your whistle with their range of over 15 beers and ciders.
The food menu is one of my favourite things about this restaurant. It’s diverse to cater for myriad different palates, yet concise enough not to encourage dreaded procrastination. We kicked off with scrummy Baked Olives (with garlic and rosemary), which were plump and green in all their tangy glory.
For my main, I had the Lamb and Aubergine Sausage (flavoured with tahini, rosemary and confit garlic). There are quite a few strong flavours here, yet the seasoning was spot on. It was a generous sized sausage too and came in a lovely soft pretzel bread bun (the subtle sweetness of the dough went perfectly with the rosemary scented lamb).
The Dude loved the Chicken and Asparagus Sausage (with ricotta, sage and lemon zest). Again, these are strong standalone flavours, yet under the expert eye of the Oaks’ chefs, decent meat is turned into magical meaty manna worthy of Michelin star status.
I think it’s down to the way the meat is cooked (with lots of TLC) and in a beautiful custom-built grill that makes all the difference.
We both had the Truffle Mash (earthy, creamy goodness that I’m still dreaming about and that I’d happily pillage for), which came in a generous piped ribbon on the sausage plate.
To wrap up the meal we shared Doughnuts (with Marsala cream) and the Oaks’ Cheese Board. The doughnuts were interesting – I guess I wasn’t expecting the Marsala cream to resemble cold custard (I had thought I could dip warm doughnuts into a side-pot of cream, if that makes sense). It wasn’t my favourite dessert and I don’t think I’d get this again.
There were a good selection of cheeses, from mild Cheddar to pungent blue Stilton on the board. My favourite part of the evening was my lamb sausage. It was delicious and which I thoroughly enjoyed. So much so, that I’m planning on visiting there next weekend. Just a recommendation – if you go to Oaks, starve yourself and go on an empty stomach, because the portions are wonderfully generous.
I loved Oaks and wouldn’t hesitate recommending it as a lovely place to hang out, for first dates, or family gatherings. Do your taste-buds a favour, get down to Oaks (and keep your eyes peeled for the lamb sausage).