I am not good with change. I am always wary of those who profess their love for ‘mixing things up’ because they liken it to adventure of some sort. No, no… just no. I find comfort in the familiar, like an old book that you can dive into after a long day, or that slightly worn jumper that feels right, because all is right with the world and nothing has changed.
I was a little unsure what to make of the news of award-winning Hart’s Restaurant move. Aptly renamed Hart’s Kitchen it now resides in Park Bar, and remains on the Hart’s Hotel estate.
Being a ‘Kitchen’ seems a little jauntier than a restaurant, as if the food offering should be a little more casual and dressed in say, stone-washed denim.
I have dined at Hart’s a number of times, so I could mentally do a ‘before and after test’. Would Hart’s Kitchen excel in its new, intimate setting?
It was a balmy summer evening (translates into me unceremoniously sticking to the leather booth at the previous establishment), and we had booked in to review Hart’s Kitchen.
Hart’s Kitchen is a smaller space, but this is a good thing. We were shown to our table in double-quick time, and handed a few menus to peruse.
These new menus have been created by Michelin Star Executive Chef Aaron Patterson (from Hart’s sister hotel Hambleton Hall in Rutland) and head chef Martin Sludds. Think classic British dishes using seasonal ingredients and you get a gist of what sort of food to expect.
Whilst we were waited for our starters to arrive, we were proffered bread from the Hambleton bakery.
The Hambleton Sourdough owes it subtle sour flavour to the 48-hour fermentation, which I found to have a lovely lingering flavour on the palate.
The White Baton too was very moreish. It had a slight chew, making it ideal for open sandwiches, or just scarfing in unabashed gluttony.
Bread and butter are ideal partners, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed both types of bread with a thick schmear of Elle & Vire butter. (Yes I asked what butter it was, no I wasn’t embarrassed quizzing the front of house, yes I will be ordering a batch from Amazon or Waitrose who are stockists.)
My starter of Hen-of-the-wood mushrooms (sourdough, goats’ curd, wild garlic) was a dramatic tangle of meaty mushrooms, punchy garlic and tangy curd. It was easily one of the best things I have eaten this year.
Dining partner’s soy glazed mackerel (horseradish crème fraîche, compressed and burnt cucumber) was a joy to look at. Gossamer thin cucumber ribbons cradling smoky fish was good to eat. I especially liked the piquant crème fraîche, given spicy depth that was good on the swallow.
My poached sea trout (fillet, pink fir potatoes, samphire, sorrel) was generous in size and big on flavour; I would have liked to have a stronger flavoured sauce, but that’s a personal preference and shouldn’t be construed as a negative.
Dining partner’s grilled rump steak (rocket, Heritage tomatoes, Parmesan) was wondrously succulent. The addition of piped garlic mayonnaise sprinkled with capers was a genius idea which captured the double tang.
My dessert of coconut and raspberry tart (vanilla ice-cream, biscuit crumb) was stunning. Pastry with a delectably short crumb, with sweet-yet-tart burst raspberries nestling in a fragrant coconut base was a stellar dessert which deserves to be regular on the menu.
Dining partner’s warm madeleines (lemon curd) were light as air and easy to wolf down, especially when swiped through zingy lemon curd.
Dining at Hart’s Kitchen feels like a treat, when it really should be your local for Friday night supper. From intuitive and attentive front of house (Vas is a Rockstar who wouldn’t be out of place in The Ritz, he is one of the best FOH I have encountered) to excellent food, I applaud Hart’s Kitchen’s evolution.
Rating: (1: Hate – 10: Love)
Restaurant name: Hart’s Kitchen
Address: Hart’s Kitchen at Parks Bar Hart’s Hotel, Standard Hill, Park Row, Nottingham NG1 6GN
Mon–Thurs 12:00pm – 2:30pm / 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Fri-Sat 12:00pm – 2:30pm / 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Sun 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Caters for dietary requirements: Yes, inform the dining team of your requirements when booking and they will strive to accommodate your request.
Quietest table: 9
How to make reservation: Telephone or online
Telephone: 0115 988 1900
Head Chef: Martin Sludd
Restaurant Manager: Adam Worthington
Front of House: Vas
How to get there: Hart’s is a short walk from the city centre (10 minutes from Upper Parliament Street).
Whilst in the area: Visit Lime Gallery on Derby Road to browse some contemporary artwork.
Chateaubriand & Wine evenings (Friday 5th July Friday | 23rd August, £150 per couple).
Enjoy a three course menu in Hart’s Kitchen with the finest tenderloin fillet to share. The menu has been paired with a delicious bottle of Chateau Violette Moulis 2014. This charming mature claret has been selected to accompany the Chateaubriand as it offers delicious pencil shavings and black fruit character, which goes exceptionally well with the beef.