Enjoying the fruit of the Orchard’s labour at Bramleys Brasserie
We weren’t going to pass on the opportunity to sample the new summer menu when my colleague Sarah and I were invited recently by our friends over at Bramleys Brasserie.
Apples flourish in Orchards, so very appropriate the DeVere Venues Orchard Hotel named its restaurant after the juicy, sour and world renowned Bramley Apple, first cultivated here in Nottinghamshire. Known to many as the ‘miracle fruit’ after a young girl planted some leftover pips in her back garden, the synergies don’t stop at just the name.
Beautifully structured with a unique design, this eco-friendly hotel is nothing short of miraculous and I’m not sure I ever fully appreciated what a grand venue it really is. What grabbed my immediate attention though was the setting. The University of Nottingham’s award-winning landscaped campus is stunning, and at the core of it all is Bramleys Brasserie – not just open for those studying, working or staying here either, it’s open for all to enjoy. I think this is my cue to call it a hidden gem!
Hindsight’s a great thing but as I arrived I regretted not allowing ourselves more time to jump on the bus or tram and walk there so we could fully appreciate the beautiful surroundings. Something to remember for next time, although it’s worth noting there’s a sizeable free car park for guests.
I wasn’t sure what to expect once inside. The reception and bar area was notably busy but it was all so fresh looking and spacious it maintained such a luminous environment. I particularly liked the apple green touches to the floors and furnishings, and the tree themed visuals adorning a wall or two were subtle and added warmth.
Cheeky glass of Merlot while we choose
We made our way to the restaurant and were immediately shown to our table. The drink selection was presented on an iPad – a first for me – and we decided to have a cheeky glass of wine to accompany our dinner.
The menu was quite extensive and largely consisted of Bramleys contemporary spin on classic dishes, as well as a super range of salads and light bites with not a Bramley Apple in sight.
A generous portion of mussels cooked in English cider, cream, herbs and onions for my starter was absolutely divine and although I swore I wasn’t going to eat the accompanying doorstep chunk of fresh bread I couldn’t resist, using it to soak up every last drop of sauce. As a starter this was a pretty big dish, not that I’m complaining since it was so delicious and relinquished my firm belief that you only get good mussels by the sea.
I have to admit I was relieved when the Beetroot Salad arrived for my main – freshly roasted beetroot on a bed of rocket with pesto and parmesan – and really quite pleased with myself for deciding to go lighter for my main course. This was a simple yet tasty dish which didn’t disappoint and the beetroot had been cooked to perfection.
The lemon tart with raspberry sorbet for dessert was perfectly light and refreshing which I just about managed.
Sarah’s Potted Crab with sweet pickled cucumber and wholemeal bread came a very close second to the Mussels – after all I did insist on a sample – and the Roast Salmon in a chorizo and chick pea stew was a great comfort food dish but felt like a healthy option at the same time – perfect!
Food for thought
There’s nothing not to like about Bramleys Brasserie. It provides formal and sophisticated dining in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere. Each staff member we had contact with was attentive and helpful – an absolutely faultless service.
Don’t you just love a good story?
On our visit to Bramleys we learned that biologists from the University of Nottingham used biotechnology methods to clone the original Bramley Apple Tree – once under threat by honey fungus and old age. A number of cloned trees are thriving in the University’s Millennium Garden thereby preserving our miracle fruit and allowing future generations to enjoy fruit from the original form of the Bramley’s seedling.
Bramley’s is open daily from 12 noon to 10pm and there is a regular entertainment programme on throughout the year.