Of all the new restaurants that have opened in Nottingham in the last six months (and there are a lot!), George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen, must be the one I have been the most excited about. And it seems I am not the only one.
We first wrote about them back in August when we gave you a sneak peek of the stylish interiors, and the post remains one of our most popular to date. They’ve been teasing us with glimpses of their menu and their stylish decor on their Facebook page ever since so it was with much anticipation that we headed to the restaurant on a chilly Friday night.
From the outside it looks very impressive, its huge glass frontage and brightly lit signs commanding attention as you walk along Queen Street. Located in one of the city centre’s most attractive streets, this is certainly the poshest chippy I’ve ever set foot in!
We were quickly seated downstairs by friendly staff and began the less-than-easy task of deciding what to pick from the menu. Far from being ‘just fish and chips’, there is a real variety to choose from – from your traditional battered fish and chips, to healthier grilled versions, to pies, hotdogs, and chicken. There’s also a whole load of interesting starters.
After much deliberation we decided to share a couple of starters – a portion of bubble and squeak, and a scotch egg. Writing it down now that sounds like a very odd combination, but it kind of worked!
The bubble and squeak came in crispy little patties and was full of flavour, but the scotch egg was definitely the better option. The menu describes it as handmade with wild boar, leek and ginger and promises the all-important soft yolk. The meat casing was chunky and packed with peppery, garlicky flavour, but I wasn’t sure about the texture of the yolk. It certainly wasn’t oozing out and dripping everywhere as I’d hoped and was more of a gelatinous texture, almost as if the actual yolk had been scooped out and some kind of yolk mixture had been put back in its place? It was tasty nonetheless but not quite what I was expecting.
For our main course I decided on the haddock goujons in smoked paprika batter with a spiced pepper aioli, while my husband had the drunken chicken, infused with Curious Brew IPA beer and fresh thyme.
The haddock goujons, served with mountains of proper chip shop chips, were a sight to behold. When I think of goujons I tend to think of chicken-nugget sized pieces but these were huge chunks of flaky white fish encased in a dark, crisp batter that shattered as you cut in to it.
The fish itself was beautiful, moist and full of flavour. It was up there with some of the best fish I have ever eaten and it’s still making my mouth water even thinking about it now. The batter was an interesting addition – so often chip shop batter just becomes a soggy, oily mess by the time you’ve finished, but this stayed crisp until the very end. The smoky paprika flavour gave the dish a real oomph, but by the end of it, i found myself pushing it to one side as it was in danger of overpowering the fish itself.
The drunken chicken was served in a similar fashion, on a large white dish with lots of chips and little silver scoop, but there was no comparison in portion sizes and I could see the envy on my husband’s face. At £9.95 it was about £3 cheaper than the haddock, but it really was quite a disappointingly small piece of chicken. It was moist, tasty chicken and with all those chips there was no danger of going hungry – but the chips should be a side dish, not the bulk of what’s on the plate.
By this time we were too full to eat anything else, so gave desserts a miss, but I should mention the drinks menu, which is as varied as the food. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone in to creating the whole ‘George’s experience’ and the drinks menu contains all the usual suspects, as well as 10 different types of gin and a range of cocktails created for the restaurant by Hockley’s Boilermaker bar. I chose a glass of Bloom gin and tonic, served with raspberry syrup. It came in a huge, goldfish bowl-shaped glass and was a great accompaniment to the fish.
Whilst we really enjoyed the food there were a few minor issues I should mention. It was an exceptionally cold night outside, but the restaurant was also very cold. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you are going on a cold night you may want to take some extra layers.
Service overall was good, with every member of staff we encountered extremely polite and friendly, but we had to wait a very long time for our main course to arrive and once it did we were pretty much left to it, despite both having near-empty glasses. We would have both loved another drink, but by the time we managed to get anyone’s attention we’d more or less finished our meal. It wasn’t a particularly busy night, so I do wonder what it would be like when it’s packed out.
Overall the positives far outweighed the negatives. The restaurant looks fantastic and is a real novelty for Nottingham, but most importantly the food is great quality. I’m definitely looking forward to going back with friends to try out some more of the massive menu and get stuck in to those cocktails. Maybe next time we might even be lucky enough to get one of the beach hut booths upstairs!