Enjoy imaginative dishes in relaxed surroundings at Merchants
I had met Richard Donohue, the new head chef at Merchants, at the end of last year when he told me about the exciting plans for the new-look restaurant. Part of the Lace Market Hotel, the venue has always been known for its fine food but now Richard has put his own stamp on the menu by bringing in influences from the time he spent working in Finland, the US, Australia and Asia – and I was really looking forward to sampling his creations.
Our evening began with a relaxed cocktail at the hotel’s Art-Deco style bar which boasts stunning views of the Lace Market’s cobbled streets and elegant buildings. After we had finished we were taken into the newly-decorated dining room and sat down to enjoy an eight-course tasting menu which had been carefully crafted by Richard and his team.
Although I was hungry, I had been slightly daunted at the prospect of eight courses, not to mention the matching wine which accompanied each one! However, all of the dishes were perfectly sized to ensure that you could taste a wide range of flavours without feeling too full. As each of them was brought out we all marveled at how well-presented they were – they looked like little works of art.
Richard blends classic European cookery and world cuisine with flair and imagination. During the course of the meal we were introduced to dishes such as rabbit, sage and orange glass roulade followed by cumin roast monkfish with fried squid, miso and ginger broth. All the flavours complemented each other beautifully and we were really impressed by the attention to detail. The staff were attentive without being intrusive and we had a lovely relaxing evening.
Whether you are staying in Nottingham on business or for a holiday, Merchants is a wonderful treat. Further details on Merchants and the Lace Market Hotel are available on the website.