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Food Review: No.12

15 September 20 words: Jason Edgar

As lockdown restrictions started to lift, there was only one place that Jason Edgar wanted to reacquaint himself with...

As the hours turned to days, the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months, the prospect of being able to sit in a proper restaurant and eat something that wasn’t home-cooked began to feel like an impossibility. But, as the first few cracks of sunlight began to spill into lockdown life, the mind inevitably started to wander to where that magical first place would be. For a vegetarian and vegan, there was only one choice. It was the place we’d missed the most: No. 12.

Obviously things had changed and, after being stuck inside so for long, there was more than a little trepidation. Months of inactivity had inevitably left us feeling like everything was being rushed back to normal. We felt caught between wanting to have an enjoyable experience while supporting a local independent and wondering whether we were being treated like the canary down a coal mine. But within moments of arriving for our pre-booked table, any concerns we had instantly vanished. 

The staff were as friendly and helpful as ever, even behind their plastic face visors, and the new dining arrangements were carefully and patiently explained to us. There were fewer tables than usual, and no one would be sitting within two or three metres of us. Pandemic or not, that’s a deal I could happily get used to. 

As something of a greedy pig, tapas is always a weird experience when it comes to knowing how many dishes to order. Instincts tell me one of everything, but polite society has taught me otherwise. I’ve learnt to ask the waiters/waitresses what the usual deal is, and was delighted when the response came back as “To be honest, a lot of people like to try one of everything.” Excellent, I thought, channeling my inner (and outer) Mr. Creosote. 

Within two or three mouthfuls I was reminded of just how incredible the food at No.12 is. Everything feels so carefully and lovingly prepared, and the balance of textures and tastes is both sublime and different to any other meat-free food in the city. While it’s hard to pick a favourite from a faultless menu, you can’t go wrong with their Salami & Truffle Verano or Garden Steak #3 (both £6.50). I’m counting the days until it’s time to go again. Jason Edgar

2-3 Eldon Chambers, NG1 2NS

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