Alex Bond performs alchemy at this inclusive and progressive Midlands gem that puts plant-based dishes centre stage
The names Bond… Alex Bond. Alchemilla burst onto Nottingham’s restaurant scene in 2018 and is now firmly established as one of the UK’s most progressive restaurants. Set within a 150-year-old former coaching inn with stunning open brickwork in the university area of the city that had lain empty for some 100 years, Bond’s first solo restaurant outing serves up unapologetically modern yet accessible tasting menus with some Asian influences.
It’s bracingly creative, high-contrast stuff that puts flavour first and foremost: think hash brown with ox heart and miso BBQ sauce; beef tendon with gherkin and langoustine; and soured onion with black garlic and smoked crème fraîche. Commendably, plant-based takes centre stage with a high proportion of the regular menu animal protein-free. Alongside this, considerable creative legwork goes into Alchemilla’s pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan menus.
The Yorkshire-born Bond is not a fan of the term protégé but he did do a stint at Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham’s ‘other’ hyper creative restaurant. This was seized upon by the local press and doubtless created extra buzz around the opening but Bond points out that he left the restaurant six years before opening his own place (his impeccable CV also includes Anthony’s, Auberge du Lac, Turners and The Wild Rabbit).
Starting at £65 for five courses, prices are restrained given the level of skill in the kitchen. Wine prices are also kept in check via policy of championing lesser known producers and regions and the service is relaxed, resulting in an overall experience that’s far more accessible – dare we say it even democratic – than that offered by the majority of Bond’s peers.