by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Month: November 2017

The Botanist West Bridgford

The Botanist West Bridgford

There is a place that blends the old and the new. A place for horticulturists to document their latest discoveries.  For brewers to formulate new concoctions and of travellers to quench their thirst… A pleasant and perfectly descriptive introduction to brand newly opened nature inspired […]

Going For Gold With The Starflower Company

Going For Gold With The Starflower Company

Having met Caroline Beasley recently through my business network, I was interested to know more about the wellness packages she offers through her business The Starflower Company- a name that intrigued me in itself… Caroline is a holistic therapist trained in various types of massage […]

Afternoon Tea @ Lace Market Hotel

Afternoon Tea @ Lace Market Hotel

I had the recent pleasure of sampling afternoon tea at Nottingham’s recently refurbished and reopened Lace Market Hotel and a delightful experience it was too…

I decided I’d take my mum with me, being as taking afternoon tea is the perfect mother -daughter activity and from arrival our service was to be expected of a quality boutique hotel and restaurant, located in the heart of the Lace Market cobbles.

Our tea was served in the main Merchants restaurant, which has recently been refurbished with modern art on the walls and huge crystal chandeliers- a nice mash up of contemporary and traditional chic.

Afternoon tea was served on the typical three tier stand, with a selection of vegetarian sandwiches on the bottom tier, freshly baked scones of two kinds with jam and cream on the second and an array of cakes on the top.

The staff had no issues with swapping certain sandwich fillings for others on request, which consisted of goats cheese and beetroot, cheese and pickle, cream cheese and cucumber and egg mayonnaise on mixed white and brown bread.

The scones were both plain and sultana, full sized and came with strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream, as opposed to clotted.

Finally it was time to attempt the selection of cakes- a miniature Victoria sponge, a shot glass of rich chocolate mousse topped with set cream and mini choc cherry macaroons- delicious!

As mum and I chatted throughout, we completely forgot to order tea to be taken with our cakes and made do with our soft drinks and wine that was pre-ordered on arrival, however a glass of fizz can be purchased and the hotel are currently runing an amazing special offer which includes a whole bottle of Prosecco for just ninety five pence when afternoon tea for two is purchased- well it would be rude not to!

The service throughout was friendly, our water glasses topped up often and our custom was most certainly appreciated by the team.

Lace Market Hotel has that ‘family run’ feel about it, which I always think lends itself very nicely to a boutique establishment of this size and it’s great to see its door opened once again to the people of Nottinghamshire and of course further afield- I look forward to returning there again for another afternoon tea with friends very soon.

Fiona Duncan, RSViP

 

 

 

 

Highlights at Twilight with the Urban Escape

Highlights at Twilight with the Urban Escape

The Urban Rooms within Urban Escape based in Crown Plaza Hotel, Nottingham recently opened their doors to showcase their brand newly refurbished spa facilities and with that launched some amazing spa packages and treatments , alongside using the Espa product range, so I went along […]

Flutter Nottingham

Flutter Nottingham

When asked by Lauren Parsons, the local representative for Flutter Nottingham, whether I’d like to have eyelash extensions, my first reaction was a little hesitant, having never had them before and also being a little wary about having anything ‘done’ to my eyes, I decided […]

Cooking Experience with Vietcentric

Cooking Experience with Vietcentric

Vietnamese food and culture is something I have never tried or experienced – until now….

Vietcentric recently opened in the newly regenerated Snienton Market area of Avenue B and is the new venture of owner Kimi Leu, a former Vietnamese refugee boat child who fled her homeland at the age of eight, spending some time in Hong Kong until the age of 15 when she came to the UK.  She has experience in running several businesses including her own restaurant and so is fully qualified to now be running cookery classes and sharing her knowledge with others.

Vietcentric is a two story unit which has been carefully thought out, a brand new contemporary yet ‘homely’ kitchen has been fitted, with work stations for those taking part in the cookery course.  Upstairs is a whole area dedicated to Vietnamese culture and experience offering a cosy and colourful interior, wooden seating, artwork on the walls, traditional decor and ornaments.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the team (Kimi’s friends and family who support and work beside her) plus Vietnamese student Hung Vu who gives his spare time when not studying Economics at Nottingham Trent University to help out at the centre. Hung is also a qualified GP who studied medicine back home, but has since had a change of heart in his career aspirations. Hung says of Vietcentric;

“I love working here as it reminds me of home and it is really the only place in Nottingham I can find good Vietnamese food!”

As we were led upstairs we were offered spiced cinnamon tea and treated to music from Hai Dang who sat and elegantly plucked the dan tranh (a traditional Vietnamese string instrument) we also had a chance to try on the traditional clothing- a great ice breaker in the room and a chance to get to know everyone else who happened to be on the course with us.

Prosecco came next as we chatted and took photos of ourselves in the clothing and I enjoyed a conversation with Hung about the different benefits of the tea they sold.

Next it was time to get stuck in and cook!  Downstairs we were shown to our work stations and put on our aprons.  All of our ingredients was neatly placed in what looked like brand new Tupperware /bowls and chopping boards and Kimi and her team took us though each stage of making our own spring rolls- fantastic!

Chopping, frying and rolling was the order of the afternoon and what fun we had, the looks of concentration as everyone attempted the rolling was priceless and lots of laughs were had during the experience.  Once the spring roles were fried we then had the chance to layer different lettuce leaves, place our masterpieces on top and tie in a bow with greenery to create a pretty finished look- restaurant quality I have to say!

Next came the main course – BBQ pork noodles (vegetarian alternatives available) and whilst the majority of this (pork) was cooked by the team, we were first able to create our own marinade encompassing lemongrass, shallots and other tasty herbs together to which the Vietcentric team then took over whilst we enjoyed eating our spring roll creations and drinking wine upstairs.

Once the leg work had been done the challenge was on to wrap the pork rolls in our noodles without tearing and this was made to look easy by Pamela the expert who demonstrated her skills – very impressive.  After frying the meat and smoking out the kitchen the wrap was made from water and rice flour over a pan of boiling water and muslin cloth – a traditional method used commonly in Vietnam during cooking. After 3 attempts I gave up and made do with what I could!

It did taste nicer than it looked I have to say and a glass of homemade lemonade was welcomed at this point- very refreshing after an afternoon of cooking.

Our two course dinner was finished off nicely with a dessert of fresh fruit and condense milk presented to us by the hosts- one thing we didn’t need to make ourselves.

Vietcentric’ s definitely not just a restaurant and not just a cooking school, it is a culinary and cultural experience rolled into one and all should take the time to visit with friends family or colleagues- great for corporate team building, celebrations or simply if you’re a foodie.

The culinary journey costs £35 during August, and will then be £45, on Sundays 4.30pm to 7.30pm and Thursdays from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. Alternatively take a four-course food tour for £10, available from Thursday to Saturday 11.30am to 3pm.

 

For more information contact Kimi on: 07768 863 685 / kim@vietcentric.co.uk

Fiona Duncan, RSViP