With increasing frequency, as I pass through Nottingham, I find myself doing a double-take as some previously forlorn and vacant shop front is suddenly revealed as expensively refurbished and crammed with diners and/or drinkers. It is this phenomenon that has awoken this blog from its almost decade-long slumber.
Zaap will have to wait as I add it to my burgeoning “to-do” list but Oaks was my first experience of the new breed of Nottingham restaurant and I have to say that I was very favourably impressed.
My criteria for judging restaurants is now based almost exclusively upon value for money as it would be understood by a normal person in Nottingham. Thus, Sat Bains, arguably the finest chef in the UK at present, does not score particularly highly in my system since any normal denizen of Nottingham would judge his prices to be absolutely ludicrous.
So what I look for is good quality, local ingredients and a commitment to do at least one thing well. And that’s exactly what you get at Oaks. My steak came perfectly cooked and nicely scented with wood-smoke. Oaks is a grill room but their grilling is done over natural wood-embers so that everything has that gently smoked flavour and nicely caramelised fat. It’s sustainable and responsible, with partnerships with the The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust as well as with our wonderful Castle Rock Brewery.
This is not pub food. Oaks elevates grilled steak and chips to the level of a proper occasion. Yet, with prices still grounded in the realm of what we all understand to be reasonable, I would not hesitate to recommend them.
EatNottingham.com rating 8/10
EatNottingham.com dined at Oaks as a guest of Tank PR but that does not make any difference. EatNottingham.com will be honest in its reviews without fear or favour.