Review: Vegan dining at Alchemilla, Nottingham

Good news for all those eating a plant based diet, Alchemilla restaurant in Nottingham can prepare a 10 course vegan tasting menu and may soon be getting a Michelin Star.  Naturally, my partner and I were very keen to check it out.  

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The restaurant opened in August 2017 and is the brain child of head chef Alex Bond who owns the place, having previously cooked at Sat Bains, Nottingham.  I’m told his philosophy is that people eat too much meat and so even for the carnivores there is an emphasis on vegetables.

The décor is beautifully simplistic.  The building is a renovated coach house that sat empty for 150 years.  Exposed brickwork line the walls and terrariums are placed elegantly on the centre of tables.

The booking system on the website is very good, you can instantly see the times that are available for lunch and dinner.  Although you’d be lucky to get a weekend evening reservation unless you’re planning several months in advance.

The bread...

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When will I learn… stop filling up on bread. The bread was warm and melted in your mouth, it was accompanied by a olive oil vegan margarine served on a large black rock. When the waitress asked if we’d like some more I couldn’t resist.

1. BBQ Shiitake, mushroom ketchup, furikake

The first dish was one of our favourites, it had a Japanese feel to it with shiitake mushrooms marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce.  It was surrounded by dabs of mushroom ketchup dotted on the plate.  The fungi were garnished with a granulated seaweed coating, as fine as flour, it simply melts on your palate.

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2. Hay smoked potato, onion, seaweed

The second dish was a pyramid of chopped seaweed and onion, covered with slithers of potato. It sat like an island in a pool of creamy sauce that tasted of miso.  Again a delicious dish.  The only negative feedback is that the bowl, while absolutely beautiful, was very deep.  I guess some thought went into this to spare messy eaters from splatters.  If it was a little bit shallower the dish would have been easier to get to.

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3. Leek, hazelnut

A bed of pureed leek was placed below a piece of roasted leek.  The double helping of leek was encased in powdered hazelnut and was drizzled with chive oil and scattered with chopped hazelnuts.

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4. Onion, wakame , peppercorn sauce

A whole baby onion was presented in a peppercorn sauce and diffused with chopped wakame seaweed.

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5. Cauliflower, roasted yeast, almond

We felt this was a take on cauliflower cheese.  Florets of cauliflower were covered with an almond tuile, composed of glucose syrup and almond.  The cauliflower was flavoured with roasted yeast and tasted great with the glacé sugar topping.

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6. Salt baked celeriac, roasted celeriac broth

All the celeriac! Pureed celeriac was concealed by salt baked celeriac and surrounded by a broth of roasted celeriac.  The plate was drizzled with chive oil and covered in thinly sliced raw mushrooms.  It was our least favourite savoury dish, but that’s only because the other dishes were amazing and we’re just not into celeriac.

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7. BBQ hispy cabbage, hazelnut, puffed rice

A piece of cabbage was barbequed to a crisp, I’m not a fan of the hint of charcoal taste you get with this kind of cooking as I feel it’s a bit bitter.  But it’s to a lot of people’s liking and it was balanced well with the other components of the dish.  We loved the puffed rice and hazelnut shavings and it came in a smooth hazelnut milk doted with garlic and chive oil.

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8. Apple pie

Next it was desert time and our first helping was especially special.  A warm poached apple was hidden beneath frozen granita.  The two were blended together as the iced granita met with the warmer apple, producing a cool ice cream broth around the jellified apple.
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9. Chocolate, miso, banana, lime

A sauce of warm miso tasted of salted caramel and was served with tepid banana, chocolate mousse and was topped with a crispy chocolate wafer sprinkled with lime zest.
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10. Prune, rice cream, pear

This was a take on rice pudding which was placed beneath a tiny scoop of soft ice cream and surrounded with dabs of fruit flavoured gel and prunes.  It was scattered with shards of caramelised sugar.  Flavours of spiced pear complemented the cool creaminess of the pudding relaxing the palate as the meal came to a close.

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Overall we found the meal amazing. We were so impressed that so much effort had gone into producing such an incredible plant based menu. We advise you to head down quickly as it’s only a matter of time until the restaurant is awarded a Michelin star.

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