Goose Fare

The Flying Goose has been a part of Beeston for 15 years, a stalwart of a Chilwell Road that has seen an incredible amount of change. We caught up with Hilary Cook to find out 15 facts to mark 15 years of serving some of the best food in Beeston. Have a gander…

  1. Hilary wasn’t always a café owner: she started out as a computer boffin: “I was a ‘computer operator’ at Bristol University, and moved on to be Operations Manager of all the operations system. This was between 1976 and 1984, when computers were room-sized boxes with lots of lights on.”
  2. She knocked about with some pre-fame musical geniuses: “While in Bristol I would finish work on a Friday and go to the Dugout (legendary Bristol club situated in caves) where Massive Attack and Tricky would be DJ-ing.”
  3. She’s not actually from Beeston, and a musical Zelig: “Sssshh! Yes, I’m from a place called Kinver in the West Midlands. I worked in a branch of Boots there, selling records, to, amongst others, Robert Plant and Roy Wood”.
  4. The Flying Goose was a happy accident: “I originally ran a stencilling and paint effect shop on Chilwell Road, where ‘Beest on Ink’ is now. People would come in and drink coffee and cake, and I realised that was a better market. I set up a gallery with a café,  thinking the food would be more of a side-project, but it proved so popular I moved into that.”
  5. Her Welsh Rarebit is legendary: “It’s a self-taught recipe, but it’s proved hugely popular.” What’s the secret? “It’s a secret. That’s the point of a secret, to be secret. But it does have a mix of good cheeses, mustard and spring onion. And love. The rest is secret.”
  6. BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine worked there: “She worked Saturdays, and was great, sharp-witted, good fun and an all-round lovely person. It’s not a surprise she has had such success.”
  7. Buddhist Monks think it’s ace: “A monk called Lama Ngawang from The School of Great Compassion was constructing a complex sand mandala in Beeston Methodist Church. He’d drop by and have lunch, and we all accompanied him down to the Weir Field to complete the Mandala Ceremony.”
  8. Café Roya started there: “Roya would run a restaurant from The Flying Goose in the evenings, catering for 15 covers. It was phenomenally popular, so she took the leap and set up her own place on Wollaton Road which is doing very well. (It recently won  Best Vegetarian Restaurant at the UK Food Awards). I still make her ice-cream though.”
  9. It survived the tramworks: “It was a strange time, seeing the entire road dug-up and replaced with something new. We were right in the middle of it, but made the most: we set up a little pavement café, and people would venture in as they’d come to check out the works. It was a huge upheaval, but we weathered it ok.”
  10. Shane Meadows is a fan: “He was a regular for a while, when he’s not away filming. A few years ago we held an event in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust where people could drop in and meet him. We raised about £500, and he was lovely. His kids love cheese on toast: not the rarebit, but the simpler form.”
  11. As is Benjamin Zephaniah: “He was in Nottingham filming Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, and the production team rang me up as he was looking for good vegan food. We were busy, and I didn’t realise it was him, so told them I was totally full. He then turned up in a beautiful velvet suit and had lunch. We didn’t have any hot sauce – he loves really hot sauce – but he seemed to enjoy it”.
  12. It’s quite the home for poets: “We used to run a regular poetry event with (Beeston poetry legend) John Lucas, who would bring down some wonderful poets: David Belbin, John Harvey, Derek Buttress, Deirdre O’Byrne and many more. We were variously described as ‘Beeston’s Left Bank’ and ‘The Smallest Arts Venue in the East Midlands’.”
  13. It’s also a handy music venue: “We’ve had some great acts come by. The Wildflowers were a particular favourite: they’ve supported Robert Plant, played Glastonbury, so were a real catch. The night out we had with them later on…that was the most fun I’ve had on a weekend.”
  14. She’s not just a dab hand in the kitchen, but also behind a camera: “I’ve been making greeting cards from my photography for years, and sell them in Nottingham and Whitby, a place I love to visit.”
  15. It’s time to move on: “I’ve done fifteen years of this, and loved it. I’ve had some wonderful times, and met some lovely people, many who have become great friends. I’m close to retirement age so want to concentrate on other things, find new challenges. I’m hugely proud of The Flying Goose, and want it to live on, but with a fresh pair of hands and a new, innovative outlook.”

New Year New Food

It’s a new year and the gyms are full of people blinking like newborn fawns at the flashing dials of unknown machines. Regulars sigh, knowing only the toughest will keep up their new routines. Health food shops sit back; it’s their time to shine. There is a national courgette shortage. Healthy eating adverts are everywhere. People hold their wobbly bits and sigh, knowing that if only they could have the discipline to make 5 days worth of packed lunch on a Sunday evening they would be True Adults.

Food is the cause of so much guilt during the January purge. It feels extra naughty to some people to indulge in a chippy tea or eat out somewhere posh after the extravagance of Christmas. BUT NOT TO ME. This is important, as I guide you through the January blues with a sexy calorie count and a love of my own wobbly bits.

If you find yourself adding lentils or quinoa or couscous to a meal in lieu of delicious pasta, or if you use a can of fizzy drink to make a chicken curry sauce, stop. Pasta is not the enemy here, and neither is a delicious korma. The enemy is the insane amount of marketing designed to make you feel bad about what you eat and how you look, and people are getting richer by the second while you spend your wages on stuff which tastes like the box your crimbo pressies came in. Pasta won’t kill you.

If you’re convinced it’s the work of Satan, just put a bit less in your bowl or buy wholewheat. Likewise if you’re hell bent on a health drive, just chuck a handful of frozen veg into your sauce, you’ll feel virtuous without breaking the bank or your soul. Any veg is better than no veg.

I’ve spent January eating from the 5pm priced-down range at my local supermarket thanks to literally everyone I know having a birthday just after Christmas. Selfish…. Weird recipes involving malt loaf and 9p steak slices have formed the basis of our diets for weeks, and do I feel bad about it? Of course not. My kid has the energy for 3 after school sports clubs and I work night shifts, so we’re doing something right.

No need to spend hours soaking lentils until they transform into edible fart-nuggets, a bowl of spaghetti shapes and some tinned tomatoes keep us flying along nicely without me skimming the back pages of women’s magazines for ‘new fitness regimes’ and feeling awful about every part of my life.

So eat the chips, feed your soul and don’t let the media tell you that any time of year is a time to change. Diet if you want to, but not because you feel you should. Enjoy those carbs and use the time you’d have spent looking at calories to read a book or play outside or take up needlework. New year, same old you. You’re lovely as you are.

 

Beeston’s Beautiful Cakes

Anyone with the slightest sweet tooth is bound to love cake. Cupcakes certainly have made their presence felt with the ongoing interest in all things vintage. Of course programmes like the Great British Bake Off have also helped to make cake more popular and yummier than ever.

Brownies have naturally become favorites too. No, not the female version of the scouts, but those small, oblong chocolate cake, that usually have something ladened with temptation in them. Be it nuts, fruit, or even alcohol.

Beeston now has its very own brownie making enterprise in the form of the Beeston Brownie Company, which is based in a private house, close to the railway station.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The BBC is owned by Paula and Vic Roberts and began life in April this year. Vic used to be a baker for Tesco’s, but up until recently worked in the fire and intruder alarm industry. He first had the idea of taking up baking again back in February, when he mysteriously said to wife Paula; an administrator at the QMC, that he had ‘an exciting idea’, but didn’t tell her what it was.

His first attempt wasn’t very successful, as he forgot to take his wallet, when he went shopping for the ingredients he required!

But Vic persevered, and after trying out different recipes on their family, they took the plunge and rented a stall at the Trinity Square market. It was a varied success, but it spurred them on to do a few farmers’ markets, including the monthly ones in Beeston and in the Park Estate. West Bridgford recently got the opportunity of tasting their wonderful wares. A real boon for the couple is that they’ve now been asked to appear at next year’s Nottingham Food and Drink Fair.

Vic bakes every day. He has to, now that orders are coming in thick and fast. They started to trickle in, but now word has got round through social media that everyone wants a bite of the cherry brownie. The Treatment Centre at the QMC takes ten trays (100 brownies) a week, and they’ve just started supplying Chimera, the games and comic shop situated on the High Road. This will please Robin Hood Tim, as he’ll be able to munch on a Rocky Road whilst killing aliens!

There are currently 18 varieties of brownie available, and are made with free range eggs and 70% Belgian chocolate for that luxurious, melt in the mouth taste. Some varieties are available as gluten & dairy free. Rudyards Tea House is a good place to get these.  Salted caramel is presently the most requested flavour.

As the festive season is soon upon us, I asked the couple if they were going to release a special flavour Christmas. They were working on a couple of ideas. One has now been created in the form of a cranberry and orange brownie. This and all the others are available to order from their website, and they also take telephone orders. Boxes of assorted brownies are dispatched using Royal Mail. So there’s no need for your Auntie Ethel in Sheffield, or best friend in Cornwall to miss out on these treats. Free local delivery is available too. As the business is now doing so well, the couple are looking at moving out of their tiny kitchen and into a proper working space, so that more cakes can be produced at a time.

If you want to look at the flavours available and order some for presents. Much tastier than a pair of socks, then do have a look at their website: http://www.thebeestonbrowniecompany.co.uk

Alternatively, make friends with them on Facebook, or just give them a call on 07914 965499.

Christopher Frost

Christmas Dinner Disasters

It’s the most wonderful time of the cold, miserable, over-priced, consumerist month. The time we buy too much food and spend money on presents for people we don’t like which they don’t need or want. And yet, I bloody love Christmas.

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DINNER

It’s taken me having a child to bring back its magic, and now as soon as Tesco’s start putting their selection boxes out in August I get a lovely feeling of lets-not-be-horrid-to-each-other which usually lasts until Boxing Day. Now, I know I may be in the minority here, so allow me to lay down a few contingency plans for the more Grinchy among us. It’s all going to be ok.

What to do if the dinner is a disaster: I say preparation is key here. Light a fire on Christmas eve, and if you don’t have a wood burning stove just set fire to a pile of old boxes in a shopping trolley outside. Either will do.

The warmth attracts wildlife, and inevitable something will either fall down the chimney/onto your bonfire and provide a lovely leg of venison/cat/hedgehog for your family the following day. If anyone asks, it’s smoked game.

What to do if the Christmas Pudding won’t light: This tradition is puzzling. I’m all for lighting shots of absinthe on a good hen night then having a Maccys at 3am, but why set fire to a perfectly good liquor which may otherwise numb the effects of an entire day with your family? Odd. My suggestion is to make everyone, including Grandma, down a shot of brandy before eating some profiteroles. No one actually likes Christmas Pudding.

Uncle Alan may only ever have enjoyed package holidays to Malaga before, so broaden his horizons with some chorizo or something.

What to do if Uncle Alan has too much to drink and gets a bit racist: If the conversation gets around to Brexit or Trump, here are my suggestions. Firstly, point to the nearest posh bit of food and explain that without the influence of European cuisine (or the actual word cuisine) we would all be sat around eating ham sandwiches or cocktail sticks with cheese and pineapple on.

Everything rich and nutritious has probably come from outside the UK. Uncle Alan may only ever have enjoyed package holidays to Malaga before, so broaden his horizons with some chorizo or something.

How to steer Aunty Dorothy’s dinner table conversation away from awkward personal information: You’re unmarried, and so in Dorothy’s eyes, highly abstract and possibly even ‘alternative’. You are still working in a ‘job’ job and not a ‘career’ job and have yet to put down any money towards a deposit for a house. My suggestion here is to crack open the Terry’s Chocolate Orange and explain that the baby boomers destroyed both the housing and employment market, and that it’s actually her fault that you are so overworked and depressed that no one finds you attractive any more. She’ll come round.

What to do with leftovers: Leave them in the fridge along with your best intentions. Literally no one actually makes turkey soup the next day. Just buy less next year and give the cat a day to remember with a leg or two of roast hedgehog. Your budget will thank me.

That’s it, and just remember folks, I’m not an expert.

Daisy

Norse Goods

Our thoughts on Odin’s Table…

We all know that Beeston is a cosmopolitan place, but I was surprised to find out how many nationalities are represented among the people living/working/studying here. The most reliable indicator to date comes from an ever-growing list compiled by the owners of Odin’s Table, the relatively new Scandinavian restaurant/cafe/deli situated where Chambers Pet Shop used to be. As well as folk from all the Nordic lands, customers from nearly 40 other countries have graced this smart eatery.

The menu is constantly evolving and includes cakes and pastries, sandwiches, salads, fish dishes, hot and cold drinks, with vegetarian and vegan options

It’s easy to see why the place appeals to people from all four corners of the globe (if that is actually possible – spheres had no corners last time I looked). For example, if you’ve ever been to the food bit in Ikea, you’ll almost surely have tried the meatballs, which are curiously addictive. The Ikea ones however are like a wobbly chipboard flat pack bedside table compared to OT’s bespoke hardwood bureau. Packed full of meaty flavour, they are simply delicious. It might sound weird, but I’m actually looking forward to the upcoming chilly months so that I can eat some in the cold. My favourite way to eat them is with gravy in a roll, but they are great with pasta too.

Meatballs aren’t all that are on offer though. The menu is constantly evolving and includes cakes and pastries, sandwiches, salads, fish dishes, hot and cold drinks, with vegetarian and vegan options. Well stocked shelving and fridges are full of fresh and intriguing delicacies too. The decor is clean, bright and minimal, you will get a warm and friendly welcome, and everything is very reasonably priced.

Beeston has never hosted so many places to eat before, with a huge variety of cuisines on offer. Having to make a decision about where to eat is a nice problem to have, but I’m pretty sure that if you try Odin’s Table then you’ll definitely want to go back.

JC

Super Kitchen

Reasons why we should eat together…

“Taking the time to sit down together over a meal helps to create social networks that in turn have profound effects on our physical and mental health, our happiness and wellbeing, and even our sense of purpose in life.”

The above quote is taken from Breaking Bread, a report published by the University of Oxford, which focuses on the results from a National Survey for The Big Lunch. The report features an array of statistics and graphs that work to illustrate the way many of us feel about mealtimes and life in general. The research proves that there is a strong correlation between eating meals with other people and feeling positive about life. The report also highlights the various physical effects that eating together causes in our bodies, for example, eating with others ‘triggers the endorphin system in the brain’ which provides us with positive and healthy eating experience.

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But what has this got to do with Beeston? A brilliant business called Super Kitchen. The ideas raised in the Breaking Bread report make up part of the driving force behind the community café business, and later on this year, Beeston will be saying hello to our very own Super Kitchen! I met up with Marsha Smith, founder and project director, for a friendly endorphin-inducing chat over coffee, hot chocolate and shortbread, to find out more…

Many people are busy, have children, or are on a tight budget when it comes to socialising and organising meals for the family.

Back in 2010, Marsha set up a small community café in Sneinton where she cooked a soup, a main, and a pudding three times a week. It might not sound like much, but ‘that was actually really popular,’ she tells me, ‘people really appreciate fresh food, and if the food is good then they’re quite happy to not have so many choices. I just made the food I wanted to make and asked people to come and eat it.’ This is where the seed of Super Kitchen began to grow.

‘It dawned on me,’ Marsha continues, ‘that our pubs, working men’s clubs and social spaces have diminished over time.’ This is a sound observation when you consider how times are moving on, and what it means to be social nowadays. Many people are busy, have children, or are on a tight budget when it comes to socialising and organising meals for the family. Marsha goes on to say that she ‘recognised there was a real gap in the market, especially if you don’t want to go to the pub when you’ve got children, or don’t want the cost of going out to a formal restaurant.’

At this point, as the café we sat in was getting ever busier with people meeting up for a chat, I started realise how little thought and consideration I had given to the importance of mealtimes, and eating as a family. Marsha pointed out that hungry children had been turning up to her social eating events. ‘I wanted to at least have a go at trying to use the business model for social good, so I repositioned my business as a charity and applied for funding,’ she says, ‘I then ran a year’s project called Family Café. It was a pay as you feel model that ran on surplus food from FareShare.’ FareShare is an organisation that aims to tackle food poverty by saving good food and sending it to charities and community groups like Marsha’s so that it can be turned into delicious and nutritious meals. Working with organisations such as FareShare ensures that the meals are cheaply sourced, which makes them ‘as affordable as possible and economically viable,’ states Marsha.

It was at the end of the Family Café project that various groups started getting in contact, saying “We love your model, but how do you do it?” At which point, in April 2014, Super Kitchen was set up formally. ‘What we did was we said, “we’ve got a replicable model, and we’ll give you our model and help you with food hygiene certification, support, guidance, and a link to FareShare food,”’ explains Marsha. Super Kitchen became like an umbrella, or banner, under which various cafes operate under. They pay an annual membership which covers the cost of everything including the food. ‘That’s how Super Kitchen was built.’

kitchen prep

Within two years, they have gone from one to over forty Super Kitchens, mainly in Nottinghamshire, but there are also some located in Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Leicester. So, what about our Beeston Super Kitchen? ‘We’ll be setting one up at Middle Street Resource Centre,’ she tells me. ‘There will be a monthly social eating event, and you can expect a two or three course meal for about £2.50. It’s probably going to be vegetarian.’

With that in mind, conversation turned back to the core inspiration behind the business, and what positive effects social eating can have for us as human beings. So if you’re wondering what a social eating event is like, Marsha told me exactly what you can expect…

‘People should expect a really affordable, sociable meal that’s got loads of love in it and has been cooked by somebody and hasn’t just been pinged in a microwave. It’s just like a family dinner only on a bigger, more social setting.’

“Making time for and joining in communal meals is perhaps the single most important thing we could do – both for our own health and wellbeing and for community cohesion.” – Breaking Bread.

Visit the website at: http://superkitchen.org/

Jade Moore

GBBO…and beefy banana loaves

With the return of GBBO, the nation has thrown down its floury gauntlet and challenged even the most terrible bakers to a flan-off in a marquee.

People the length of the UK have been rolling and kneading, burning and sweating, and inventing all sorts of new and interesting swear words this past couple of weeks. It’s like an episode of Last of the Summer Wine but with less casual racism and more sexy grannies.

In honour of this bonding experience, I have baked absolutely nothing. I’ve never even seen an episode, having not got a telly which plays actual programmes. I have, however, found awesome new DLC for Fallout 4, so the summer hasn’t been entirely wasted. I’ve got a go-to banana loaf which uses about 4 ingredients (one of which is optimism) so if you’re ever at a loss about what to do with a handful of browning bananas I’m your woman. It’s vegan too, so you can invite your vegan mates round if you have any. If not feel free to chuck some beef in or something, like that episode of Friends where Rachel makes a cake with mash and gravy in. It’ll give you something to laugh about for years to come.

I see some of the Pinterest wedding cakes doing the rounds and wonder who on earth manages to knock these things out

I’m not a cake person. Give me a couple of hours and you’ll have the finest roast you’ve ever tasted, but cakes are not my thing. Given that I can get a perfectly decent, ready made cheesecake for half the price of its actual components I’m happy to support my local, family-run, massive supermarket chain. Honestly, here’s £2 now gimme my cheesecake.

Cakes are best left to people who really want to bake them. They are a luxury rather than a necessity and so if you have the time and inclination, go nuts. My best mate made me an amazing cake for me hen party. It had a mouth on the front and I’ll leave the rest of it for you to think about. It was amazing and I know I could never reproduce such brilliance without either giving up work or putting my child up for adoption, and I’ve seriously considered both. I see some of the Pinterest wedding cakes doing the rounds and wonder who on earth manages to knock these things out. They are works of art! I couldn’t even DRAW a cake that beautiful.

So, I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m terrible at baking but I think people who are good at it are maybe some sort of wizard. Blessed with an almighty glucose-based super-power, they are worth of our true respect and admiration. Unlike me, who just suggested putting beef in a banana loaf.

Daisy Leverington

Frustrated No More

During early April, potential diners walking along Chilwell High Road were encouraged by the emergence of the latest outlet – welcoming leaflets on the table outside, exciting social media promises and beautiful smells coming out of the kitchen.

The Library restaurant on Wollaton Road, which closed a few years ago, gained an excellent reputation and has been much missed – so the news that the same highly experienced and skilled chef who cooked there (and previously at La Toque), Mattias Karlsson, was coming back to cook in Beeston. He has now set up an establishment along with Patrick De Souza, a local talented home chef and this has been greeted with much excitement.

The Frustrated Chef has been pretty much packed out since its opening on 14th April. Since then many people have had excellent experiences and have been pleased to share the news on Facebook, and across the garden fence. It has now extended opening hours to include lunchtimes and will start a special Sunday service on 19th June.

The Frustrated Chef’s offer is World Tapas and the ever changing menu features a diverse range of dishes with multi-national inspiration from nibbles such as delicious hummus with smoked paprika and fried broad beans, goat cheese parcels with sweet chilli, piquillo peppers with feta, olives and orange to more substantial meat and fish dishes such as Swedish meatballs and mussels with white wine and harissa, alongside salads and breads and specials every night. The desserts were also highly enjoyable – pistachio shortbread with rum and cinnamon chocolate sauce was yummy. It is fantastic to go around the world from Chilwell High Road!

For every morsel consumed and cocktail drunk I think we should spare a thought for the team behind Relish. Their vision to make a café out of three rather unloved shop units and hard work to establish it lies beneath this exciting new restaurant.

I hope Mattias and Patrick are frustrated no more!

Karen Allwood

Films and (the lack of) food

Empty coffee cups in films and television. One of my biggest peeves, and I get peeved fairly often.

I love films, I work in an independent cinema, I’ve been in a few, and nothing gets me more hacked off than an actor carrying an obviously empty paper cup. I LOVED the US remake of The Killing, but the rage which bubbles in my black heart when I see such fine actors as Mireille Enos and Joel Kinneman forced to mime a sip of coffee makes me want to do my very own killing.

We covered eating and drinking in the first year of drama school, even the kids in Jurassic Park nailed it with a table full of desserts and a kitchen full of velociraptors. It’s not rocket science is it, filling a cup with enough water to weight it down? If the actor can’t cope with a little sip of water now and again, then it’s perhaps time to de-Hollywood their diets.

Leonardo DiCaprio ate a bison’s heart in The Revenent and he’s a vegetarian!

I’m not advocating getting through an entire roast for each take of a scene, but surely a small mouthful of food or a small sip of water isn’t going to kill anyone. Perhaps the director is of the mind that if we are watching the liquid level in the cup then the show isn’t exciting enough, but if you’re chucking millions of pounds at sets then throw a couple of quid towards edible props. Leonardo DiCaprio ate a bison’s heart in The Revenent and he’s a vegetarian! This is an extreme (but fairly badass) example, and one which begs the question as to why several people around a dinner table can’t eat a single morsel of food. Brad Pitt got through roughly 10,000 calories in Se7en, so let’s see the cast of Doctors tucking into a Greggs pasty once in a while in between shifts.

Perhaps this could be a sponsorship opportunity worth of Simon Cowell and his everlasting Pepsi on America’s Got Talent. Let’s have the cast of X-Men heartily slurping a grande soy macchiato before looking down the camera lens with a cheeky wink, before flying off to save the world. Or maybe Finding Dory could feature her snacking on an ice-cream cone dropped by a hapless beach-goer, who delivers a killer line to camera about the damage to the earth’s coral reefs. Just a thought.

However they do it, let’s just do it. Let’s all chip in and make sure our beloved actors never have to revisit day 1 of GSCE drama and mime a plateful of food and cup of tea. A quid each should do it. Let’s get a family sized hamper of tea bags delivered to LA and get our screens (and their cups full) of decent English Breakfast, instead of the void in my heart where a lovely brew should be.

DL

Food Time!

“What time is it, Scarlett?”

Sal and I ask our two-year old from time to time. “FOOD TIME!” she replies with glee, and starts listing all the food she’d like to eat… “Wittybix, ogange, monkeynana, yoghurt, chocle bissit, grapes and cheese PWEASE!” she pleads politely but forcefully. “And bubbles and juice! And milk!”

And we smile because somehow having a tiny person with the permanent appetite of the shark from JAWS charging around the house actively trying to devour pretty much anything (except cucumber) is wonderfully cute and endearing.

We hear stories of parents who can’t get their children to eat anything but macaroni cheese or cat food and we wonder how weird that would be, in much the same way that I find it incomprehensible that anyone wouldn’t like STAR TREK (the proper one, with Captain Kirk of course).

And maybe there’ll come a time when she’ll hate everything except chicken nuggets and Haribo and I’ll be forced, ironically, to eat my own words – but I have to say for someone who likes food Beeston is an excellent place to be growing up.

Last Sunday Sal and I, admittedly without Scarlett this time, attended a charity fundraising dinner for My Sight Nottinghamshire (formerly the Nottinghamshire Royal Society for the Blind) at the always astounding Café Roya on Wollaton Road.

I have a soft spot for the charity as every year in November I lead a group of volunteer fundraisers in walking across burning hot coals to raise money for them at Nottingham Castle. Great fun, brilliant cause (give it a go, it’s inspiring, life-changing and best of all doesn’t actually hurt, I promise)!

For once it wasn’t Roya doing the cooking though, although the food was still entirely vegetarian – the special guest chef was the phenomenal Alex Bond. Alex is a brilliant bloke – very friendly, extremely talented and has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and with Nottingham’s Sat Bains and hopes to be opening his own restaurant in Nottingham soon. Given the truly inspiring dishes he produced (in content, presentation and taste) I hope he does.

As I’ve said, Scarlett will eat pretty much anything but I’m a bit pickier these days – I certainly wouldn’t class myself as vegetarian but each time we’ve been to Roya’s we haven’t even noticed there’s no meat, the food is just so good. But Alex served up a series of dishes, some of which consisted entirely of foods I wouldn’t normally eat (olives, yoghurt and lemon anyone?) that were simply delicious.

So maybe I should learn a lesson from Scarlett and try a more varied diet – as I said, Beeston can certainly provide that.

We have a new world tapas restaurant, The Frustrated Chef opening in place of Relish on Chilwell High Road, a new seafood/Thai restaurant, The Lobster Pot (near Sainsbury’s), Korea House on Broadgate and the excellent Gurkha Express almost opposite, taking the place of the now-defunct ‘Bonito’ restaurant, a place that very long-term readers may recall I once wrote a scathingly unfavourable review of in this very magazine.

The place closed down very shortly afterwards and although I’m sure it was nothing to do with my review… well, just for a second I got to feel like a real food critic.

But these days, new food and drink establishments in Beeston have some great forebears to aspire to and beat – and I think we’re being really well served here, literally and figuratively.

So don’t worry about the clock not being repaired in the Square, if anyone asks you what time it is in Beeston you can just quote Scarlett… “Food time”!

For more information on other events organised by My Sight Nottinghamshire visit http://www.mysightnotts.org.uk. Roya’s and Alex Bond’s fundraising evening raised over £400 for the charity. Many thanks to them, their staff and My Sight’s Jonny Rudge and sponsors for organising it!

Tim Pollard

Nottingham’s Official Robin Hood