Once upon a time, going out for a festive feast meant one thing – a cocktail of shrimp, turkey and cabbage, and Christmas pudding.
But at the end of 2021, the variety of Christmas menus in Nottingham is immense.
For great food, Fothergill’s, overlooking Nottingham Castle, has rib eye steak, shrimp and champagne butter on the menu, and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill in Wollaton Street serves a filet of venison with braised red cabbage and steamed dumplings.
Want something with a twist? YO! Sushi at Fletcher Gate is inspired by the Japanese holiday trend of eating fried chicken on Christmas.
At French Living, in King Street, the festive menu stays true to classic French gastronomy – with snails, dishes including duck leg confit and desserts such as Chocolate Praline Yule Log – aka Christmas Yule Log.
Even if you may think that there is nothing terribly festive about a chip shop menu, you are wrong.
This year’s award-winning fish and chip shop Cod’s Scallops has a three-course Christmas menu that has us drawn like bees in a pot of honey.
We threw in beans, mashed peas, and curry sauce for much more festive dishes.
As much as I love breaded pigs in blankets, I also felt it was my duty to account for the Brussels breaded in cranberry sauce, while my other half opted for the pork and sage fritter and of onions with a brown fruit sauce.
We could have had them as a starter but they are ideally served with a main course of turkey, chestnut and cranberry pie, so we made it all happen together.
It’s very flexible. Each item is individually priced and can be ordered with anything from the main menu, so Mr. Pinchess took the donut with scampi and fries.
As a cabbage lover, the bowl overflowing with large breaded Brussels is a sight to behold. Forget the gold, frankincense and myrrh, I think Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the little donkey (Ted Hastings, how I miss you on the box) would have appreciated these beauties as a gift from the Three Kings on that eventful night .
Coated in a crispy golden batter, the emerald green vegetables were fried just enough to retain a bit of bite but still tender. The tangy cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment.
It’s my favorite way to eat the much-maligned cabbages and I’ve heard that even the toughest of enemies have conceded that they’re actually pretty good.
The award winning cod scallop pies – officially the UK’s best chip pie – so the bar was set high.
I wasn’t disappointed – it’s a real pie, fully wrapped, not one of those half-hearted things with a puff pastry lid.
The light shortcrust pastry is filled with succulent turkey chunks and sweet hazelnut mashed potatoes sprinkled with chunks of carrot and leek. Covered with sauce, each bite is pure happiness.
Crisps don’t scream the classic Christmas dinner but hey, in 2021 anything goes.
I’m not getting into the dripping beef vs. vegetable oil debacle that has upset some of the cod regulars. If you want the traditional cooking method, go on a Monday. If you don’t care, go any other day of the week.
The freshly baked portion is plentiful – in fact, after scoffing at all of the pie, three-quarters of the brussels, and half of the donuts, I have to leave some of it.
I had been to Cod’s Scallops, where the sea-themed restaurant got a makeover with a Christmas tree, baubles and garlands, with the intention of trying all three dishes.
But I am beaten. I’m as drunk as a turkey and my belly is bigger than Santa’s. There’s no way I can squeeze a minced pie or Christmas pudding with vanilla ice cream and brandy syrup.
The cabbage and turkey main course was £ 15.50. Add an average £ 4.20 glass of wine and you really can’t dispute that for a Christmas celebration that you know everyone in the party – no matter how picky he is – will enjoy.
You can even have it at home as everything is available to take away as well as at restaurants in Wollaton, Carrington and Long Eaton, Derbyshire, until Christmas Eve.
In the name of extensive research, we returned to the chippy a few days later to try the pork breaded in blankets, two sausages, wrapped in bacon and fries in batter. This was the only disappointment as the bacon seemed to have been able to cook longer to give the fat a chance to melt.
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