This Japanese hideaway down an alley in Nottingham city centre made it into the Michelin Guide this October and was described by Jay Rayner as his “restaurant of the year” in the same month, so it’s fair to say chefs and co-owners Simon Carlin and Tom Clay are creating something special. As well as snacks, small plates and kushiyaki (skewers) they offer dishes like slow and sticky soy-braised pork shoulder, sauteed wild mushrooms in a nutty butter sauce (topped with a confit egg yolk) and a selection of charcoal-grilled, smoky meat and veg skewers. Their new bar Yokocho, a stone’s throw away down Hurts Yard, does expert cocktails with a Japanese twist.
Lunch deal £14, evening small plates and skewers from £4.50, 1A Cannon Court, kushi-ya.co.uk
Serving the only certified authentic Neapolitan pizza in Nottingham, the guys behind Pizzamisú launched during lockdown by selling pizzas from their home kitchen, then opened a restaurant in 2021 in the cobbled Lace Market area. A wood-fired pizza oven takes pride of place, but the star of the show is their excellent dough, fermented for up to 48 hours for a light and chewy texture. Don’t expect to find any pineapple on the menu – this is a classics-only joint, with most ingredients sourced from Italy (except the fresh veg). –Pizza nerds, rejoice.
Pizzas from £7.95, 9 High Pavement, pizzamisu.co.uk
Cleaver and Wake
Opened in October, Cleaver and Wake brings an additional splash of fine dining to the city’s food scene – with oysters, lobster and ribeye steak. Led by Nottingham-born head chef and 2018 MasterChef Pro winner Laurence Henry, the restaurant is part of a new canalside development called The Island Quarter. It delivers refined modern British food that draws inspiration from around the world, with changing and seasonal evening and lunch menus. Henry also runs the less-formal kitchen at Binks Yard, a bar, grill and pizza house next door.
Mains from £24, 1 The Great Northern Cl, The Island Quarter, cleaverandwake.com
Opening their buzzy ramen joint in August last year (following the success of their Japanese fried chicken street-food truck), the local lads behind Everyday People also offer a range of well-crafted snacks, small plates, homemade sake and natural wines. On a cold nights, this is the place to go for a warming, umami-filled bowl of seriously excellent noodles and soup, with fatty pork belly, or smoked tofu and spicy beansprouts. Starters veer outside Japanese tradition, including a crunchy corn dog, made with a smoked beef frank and mozzarella topped with Gochujang, Kewpie mayo and honey mustard.
Ramen around £14, 12 Byard Lane, theeverydaypeople.co.uk
The sister restaurant to the upmarket (and excellent) Iberico World Tapas five minutes down the road, Bar Iberico is a more chilled-out, casual tapas experience in the bustling Hockley area. Expect all the classics as well as a few curveballs, such as crispy chicken with spicy jerez sauce – a firm favourite with locals. For tables under 10 people, it’s walk-in only. Their newest venture is a Mexican taquería, set to open on nearby Heathcoat Street next year.
Tapas around £4-9.50, 17-19 Carlton St, baribericotapas.com
Alchemilla has been turning heads since its launch in 2017. Rapidly earning a Michelin star two years after opening (and retaining it this February), it offers five-, seven- or 10-course veg, vegan, pescatarian and meat tasting menus, with a focus on seasonal and often foraged ingredients. In winter , head chef and owner Alex Bond livens up his menu with ferments and pickles – dashes of preserved camomile, pickled green strawberries or fermented wild garlic have all featured. Keep your eyes peeled for his upcoming venture opening next door, Mollis – a fried chicken shop, but not as you know it.
Tasting menus from £95pp, 192 Derby Road, alchemillarestaurant.uk
There’s a real charm to Little Brickhouse. Run by the super welcoming German-born Katharina Linnenbrink and her Norwegian partner, Joakim Nielson, it grew from the success of their evening supper clubs. A hearty brunch and lunch packed with European flavours is served by Katharina during the day, with Joakim taking over the kitchen in the evening. There is a regularly changing à la carte menu – maybe indulgently creamy burrata with cooked cherries, flaked almonds and basil oil – and a rotating selection of handpicked natural wines.
Mains from £10, 110 Derby Road, littlebrickhouse.co.uk
The Cod’s Scallops
For award-winning fish and chips in the heart of the Midlands, look no further. Owner and chef John Molnar spent two years travelling the country and working at famous chippies before setting up the Cod’s Scallops. A decade later he now has six sites across the Midlands, serving a wide variety of fish and shellfish – deep-fried, barbecue-spiced or baked. All the batter, curry sauce and gravy recipes were created in-house, while extras – such as pies and mushy peas (developed from his mother’s recipe) – are homemade.
Cod & chips about £12, 311-313 Mansfield Road, Sherwood, codsscallops.com
Fully plant-based, No.Twelve evolved from a supper club and is one of the few spots in Nottingham offering a completely vegan dining experience, in a Victorian mill a two-minute walk from Old Market Square. It has won awards for its seven-course tasting menu, but there are also “classics” including snacks and sharing plates. A £32 lunch deal includes a snack, a sharing dish and two tasting plates.
Evening tasting menu £55pp, 2-3 Eldon Chambers, Wheeler Gate, no12nottingham.co.uk
Mesa is one of the latest independent names to open in Hockley, an area packed with bars and restaurants, and serves a regularly changing selection of small plates that take inspiration from around the world. Both meat and vegetarian dishes are cooked over a wood fire – this is a real passion for chef and co-owner Marcus Lewsley, who left his job as a helicopter engineer during the pandemic to follow his culinary dreams.
Small plates from £7, 24-26 Goose Gate, mesahockley.com