We were provided with complimentary nibbles, desserts and a round of drinks as well as the opportunity to attend this stunning restaurant. The detail within the décor from walking in the large wooden doors to taking a seat in the restaurant area, it was beautifully irresistible and impossible not to relax. The light fittings providing a modern twist on a chandelier using giant brass bowls used as a hanger for candlesticks glowing on the tabletop of an unusual shaped oak table. Chainmail separates the lounge and the restaurant where the walls are laden with the illusion of wooden drawers secretly hiding the electric points yet adding an extra bit of detail to the seating area.
Sat in the far corner next to the windows, perfect for those people watchers amongst us, it also gave a clear view of the kitchen/bar area. There was something quite mouthwatering watching the flames of the custom built wood* grill fire lick across your food combined with the faint yet very enticing smoky aroma whilst admiring the detail within the venue.
* All wood used within the restaurant is sourced and of a sustainable and natural by-product of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Pretty cool eh?
Our waitress was extremely knowledgeable and rang a true story of how OAKS came into existence and how it continues to be. Using locally sourced produce to create unique flavors and ingredient collaborations such as the Lemon Dew & Black Pepper Chicken or the Beef, Gruyere Cheese and Red Onion Sausage to name but a few. She went on to explain that the chef wouldn’t leave until the doughnut recipe was perfect, meaning I had to try one of these doughnuts.
After perusing the menu, we agreed that the nibbles sounded too good to just pick one so we decided to try them all. A portion of Pork Crackling, Smoked Almonds, Beef & Quail Scotch Eggs and Marinated Olives.*
* All ingredients and produce at Oaks are sourced from local areas within the midlands as well as providing a home to locally brewed ales.
Being a savoury lover, I was excited to try all of these. The pork crackling, dusted with chilli powder, was as crunchy as id hoped it to be although there was a slight ‘melt in the mouth‘ moment that you get when eating a prawn cracker. The chilli powder was a beautiful contrast between the taste of the saltiness and meatiness and gave quite a kick. I had a small qualm with the olives as they were not pitted and I am not a fan of having to take the stone out of my mouth whilst sat at a table. That aside, they were marinated perfectly and I loved the tanginess of the oil mixed with the lemon. The smoked salted almonds were a bittersweet addition to the table. The combination of salty, sweet and smoky flavours were an absolute sensation to the tastebuds with a major crunch too. Last but certainly not least, those scotch eggs. If you only choose one thing off the menu, choose these. You will not be disappointed. The meat, slightly pink and perfectly seasoned with black pepper housing a warm, gooey sweet quails egg – a combination to die for. Delicious.
After battling with my taste buds on which main to choose, I eventually decided on the Wild Boar, Purple Broccoli and Mozzarella Sausage with a Pretzel Bun and Hand Cut Chips – which we were told are cooked three times!
Wild Boar is becoming widely available in the food industry now but I still get excited when I see it on a menu and even more so when it’s accompanied together with the vegetable love of my life, Broccoli, and my all time favourite cheese, Mozzarella. This was a good choice, a love story waiting to happen. What more could you want from the tender, rich meaty flavour of the boar welcoming the crunchy, sweet broccoli pieces and held together nicely with melted gooey mozzarella.
Not one to leave food on my plate but knowing I would be unable to fit in any dessert if I continued ravishing my chips, I had to stop myself. They are pretty darn good. Even better dipped into the Smoked Chili Brown Sauce, a homemade recipe. I made the mistake of not trying the other two concoctions of Burnt Tomato Ketchup or the Horseradish Mustard.
At that point, another drink was needed to wash down the sheer amount of goodness I’d just eaten so I opted for a cocktail, a Cuban Affair, Havana 7 Rum teamed with fresh ginger, ginger ale and charred pineapple. This my friends, is a dangerous drink. It’s one of those drinks that is so delicious you could have 7 without noticing the amount of alcohol you have just drank.
Onto dessert and opting for the infamous doughnuts along with a scoop of one of the insanely smooth flavours of Bluebell Farms ice cream they have in store, Carrot Cake. Safe to say, it definitely was carrot cake flavoured ice cream. Genius. I did not think it was possible to fall in love that little bit more with Bluebell Farms ice creams but I have.
The doughnuts were interesting. They are doughnut balls filled with Marsala cream which I’m now aware is a Sicilian wine. If you order then, try a second one, it gets better. At first I found the texture and taste slightly unusual yet I found myself picking up a second and then a third, each one better than the last. I’ve not tried Marsala wine before but I will be now. To me, there was a slight hint of lemon which was a refreshing zing mixed with the sugar coated dough.
I have been recommending OAKS to everyone. I love it’s ethical approach and the way the food is sourced and cooked. I love the modern and contemporary twist on the typical traditional barbecue style food – it’s a match made in heaven and there really is something for everyone at a very reasonable price too. From simple seasoned fish dishes to full on flavour combinations for those who are feeling a little adventurous. One thing for sure is that you won’t be leaving hungry.
OAKS is open from 12pm – 11pm Monday to Wednesday, 12pm – 2 am Thursday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
OAKS, 2 Bromley Place, Nottingham, NG1 6JG
Phone: 0115 947 7244