Opera North

5 World Food Restaurants to Sample in Nottingham

13 December 17 words: Golesedi Maguire

One of Nottingham’s greatest assets is its multiculturalism. And how best to celebrate our diversity, than to taste it?

A conspicuous door on Mansfield Road leads into Balageru; an Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant. Straw baskets on tables and Amharic scrolls on walls depict traditional scenes. The “meat and vegetable feast” is a plethora of the aforementioned, with sorghum bread to sup the delicacies. This 24-piece platter for two offers, among others, an earthy array of greens, saucy boiled egg, beef and chicken, all infused in garlic and ginger. Once you’ve filled your boots, a server appears to detail what you’ve devoured – an informative bonus that gets lost on your sated self…

Turkish restaurants abound on the Alfreton Road stretch, leading to the suave Bosphorus: marble floors, cream leather seats, and multicoloured ambient lighting. First up, drinks: ayram and şalgam; savoury yoghurt and turnip juice, demand an acquired taste. The servers keenly recommend chicken beyti; a tomatoey, spiral presentation of garlicky chicken in lavash bread, with a sour cream centre and asparagus. The kuzu İncik (hearty lamb shank broth with potatoes) is equally yummy. With loadsa complimentary dishes and a warm reception, you can’t help but buy into a return visit.

Among pizza and BBQ in the innovatively recycled metal barrel seats and tables of Nottingham Street Food Club, Vietcentric is the exotic eatery of choice. Their pho ga (chicken noodle broth), shrimp and mung bean sprout Vietnamese spring rolls, and bún chả giò (Vietnamese spring rolls with rice, vermicelli noodles and Vietnamese grilled pork), could do with more zing, though are saved by their flavour infused chilli sauce. Prompting staff halfway through the meal for some of the order to materialise from the ether, doesn’t go down well either... That said, Vietcentric redeems itself in spectacular fashion at Sneinton Market, where they offer devine spice- and herb-infused salmon and promotional booze on occasion.

Possibly the only Hungarian restaurant in Nottingham, with two bijou tables that create a proper homely vibe, Better Than Home gets a look-in. Staples: the obligatory goulash, lángos and gyro (carbs galore) are on the menu at £21; comfort food at comfortable price. Staff are keen to school you on an ol’ time favourite, Traubisoda; a grape drink that was once popular in Hungary, and is now making a comeback.

Not paying homage to home turf would be criminal, and how else to do so than at a chippie. The Cod’s Scallops describes itself as fine fish and chips. And fine it is; there’s lobster and oysters on the menu. Their nautical shell decor denotes a fishy establishment of note. The sea bass, swordfish, prawns and scallops jump out at you, over the usual cod and haddock. If their whole lobster wasn’t £23, and oysters £1.50 each, it’d be The Cod’s Scallops versus many a gluttonous appetite. The place packs-out cross generationally within minutes; testament that customers are telling it on the mountain.

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