I know Harts exists because for years people have been telling me about it, but in nine years here I have never seen it. Mr A claimed to have been with work, although he confessed to being inebriated at that time, and hasn’t got the best sense of direction. Having worn a dress and heels for the first time in forever I had my fingers crossed he would get us there without too much wandering. I did have my doubts when we went up a very ornate set of steps into what seemed to be a hospital, but it turns out Harts shares a tucked away courtyard with Nottinghamshire NHS offices.
Nottingham city is fascinating, it has so many hidden secrets right in the city centre, especially as you approach The Park area, where the castle, caves and stunning privately owned Victorian estate interweave in a curious pattern of circles, leafy squares, passage ways and courtyards. As a boutique hotel Harts is a great way to stay in Nottingham, it’s a peaceful oasis just a short walk to the centre of things.
Mr A and I enjoyed our second night out in the space of a fortnight, at Harts Nottingham. I had always assumed there wouldn’t be much for a vegetarian on the menu at Harts, although so many people have told me over my nine years here that it is the place to eat in Nottingham.
I think I used the image below to judge my attire for the evening. In actual fact it was much more relaxed on the Thursday night we dined, my heels and dress weren’t out of place, but they probably weren’t necessary either. The restaurant was a mixture of groups and couples. There was a lovely warm feeling, the staff are very attentive and welcoming, the interior has been newly decorated by interior designer and owner Stefa Hart.
As you enter there is a display from local bakery Hambleton’s – signalling the amazing quality of their suppliers – we are incredibly lucky to have a Hambleton’s bakery locally, this bread is absolutely the best and multi award winning.
I ate a gorgeous Harts Seasonal Salad to start with, with quail eggs, sun dried tomatoes and artichokes – some of my favourite salad additions – and the truffle oil in the salad dressing really lifted this from a salad to a dish, it wasn’t long before I was asking for the recipe. Mr A enjoyed the Smoked Haddock and Prawn Risotto. There was also a wild mushroom fricassee with poached egg as a second vegetarian option.
For main course, there was one vegetarian choice, Courgette and peppers deep fried in tempura, served on grilled halloumi and spiced lentils. It was great to see a vegetarian dish that used lentils so confidently and successfully (instead of cheese and pastry, or cheese and pasta). The flavours were superb, the spicy lentils and grilled halloumi gave me the vegetarian ‘tucking in’, weight, texture and nutritional equivalent of Mr A’s Hereford Beef Steak, not that I have ever eaten steak or want to, but I like it when there are vegetarian options that don’t make you feel completely different to the rest of the party.
It was beautifully presented in a tower. The tempura vegetables were perfect, flavoursome and a lovely mix of textures. Vegetarian food is so healthy, but in restaurant form it often becomes the most calorific meal on the menu. I couldn’t fault the tempura, but would have perhaps preferred some green beans – something that let the vegetables speak for themselves. I am sure if I had asked it would have been no problem to adjust things, although I can see the intention of the dish, the meals at Harts are an indulgent and creative treat and the vegetarian dishes are no exception.
I enjoyed a really lovely Sauvignon Blanc with dinner.
Desert was Fig and Frangipane Tart for me, and Hot Chocolate Fondant for him, although there was much sharing at this point, when Mr A would let me, he knew his dessert was the overall winner here. Followed by herbal tea (we are so rock and roll) and homemade petit fours.
I also loved the look of the new lunch and snack menu, which is very reasonably priced. I was also interested to hear there is a champagne and cocktail bar coming soon to the hotel which will be open for non residents.
Rate the Date
Ms A – Great to go somewhere new to me in Nottingham and find an imaginative veggie option, that truly competes with the luxury of the meat offerings.
The setting is a lovely find, the staff are super attentive, the service was fabulous and friendly, Mr A was really hungry and the staff seemed to pick up on this and serve us more quickly.
Pudding envy, but Mr A let me share his.
Mr A – I like the experience of going to Harts, there is something special about arriving there all dressed up and making a night of it (even though you don’t actually need to, but we did as it marked the occasion better).
The starters were exquisite, I could have easily just eaten a large portion of the risotto and would have left very happy! The Herford Steak and Hot Chocolate Fondant – well, you need to have a desert don’t you – were equally tasty.
Excellent company too and the noise levels were perfect for a romantic evening out for two
Find out more about Harts Nottingham
Pictures courtesy of Harts.