by Fiona Duncan-Steer

De Vere Orchard Hotel & Bramley’s Brasserie

De Vere Orchard Hotel & Bramley’s Brasserie

Bramley’s Brasserie pays homage to the history and origins of the famous Bramley apple, as the story goes that its location at the Nottingham University Park in Beeston, is where twelve cloned trees are situated, derived from the original Bramley apple tree based in Southwell, which is still there today.  The original tree was saved from honey fungus by biologists from the University in 1991, who then cleverly managed to nurture more in their park and as such have named the brasserie- after the famous tree.

I have always admired the architecture of the newest hotel in Nottingham-De Vere Orchard Hotel  owned by Nottingham University and operated by De Vere group, who house Bramley’s Brasserie and so when they recently launched their new menu, I had to revisit…

The hotel and restaurant are light, fresh and open upon first impressions, making use of natural daylight wherever possible.  A warm welcome was  received from the front of house team as we checked in and were directed to the lifts.  Our room – modern and contemporary with the obvious orchard/apple theme running through as a mural of a large tree runs through each room from the ground to the top floor- very clever.

After unpacking, we relaxed and noticed a lovely welcome dish written in chocolate with a miniature cake, strawberries and a personal welcome note from the general manager- nice touch.

Dinner was booked for 8pm, so after freshening up in the eco-friendly bathroom (the hotel was Awarded with ‘Best Sustainable Venue’ at the CHS 2017 Awards) we made our way downstairs to Bramleys to sample the new menu.  Our table gave us a good view of the whole restaurant which is a good size and attracts all kinds of demographics of diners from those on business dining alone to couples, to groups and for a Monday evening there was a noticeably good atmosphere.

To start, we scanned the nibbles & starters section and opted for Goats cheese with truffle, served on toast with apple and pickled walnut salad and a thyme and honey dressing- this was a piece of art on a plate- very pretty and tasted delicious with the perfect combination of flavours.

There are a good selection of main dishes from pizza, to burgers from the grill, mussels or even chicken tikka kebab.  We went for Slow cooked duck served with spiced red cabbage, root vegetable rosti, crispy kale and celeriac and as a vegetarian I decided to go for something new in the Lincolnshire Cheddar Potato Cake, served with a fried duck egg, roasted vegetables, truffle and veggie parmesan (I checked) which was pretty spectacular in flavour and a good sized portion I sadly wasn’t able to finish.  It’s worth noting that the vegetables were cooked just how liked them – roasted with the right amount of seasoning and the poach duck egg – a bonus although I passed this onto my dining partner on this occasion.  For me it’s important that our restaurants shop and support local suppliers and offer a certain amount of locally sourced produce within their menus- it’s always appealing and sets them apart from those who don’t do so and Bramley’s succeed with this dish.

By the time dessert came around we were satisfied, but decided to go for it anyway and share Treacle Tart served with BOTH clotted cream and vanilla ice cream– what a treat!  Although I could only manage two or three spoonfuls this was just delight and certainly a memorable dish I would like to indulge in again on my next visit.

The wine list is good quality and substantial within the Brasserie who also offer a lunch menu as we discovered after checking in earlier that day and finding ourselves ordering a sandwich and fries to keep us going- again a nice selection of lunch options on here including the popular fish finger sandwich which went down well with my guest.

Breakfast the following morning included a good selection with the much welcomed English breakfast, as well as toast and preserves, cereals and continental options. I liked the fact that soya milk was already out on display without having to ask and gluten free options were also available.  Healthier options like yogurt and fruit were also aplenty and there was a real buzz at breakfast which was refreshing.

The service at Orchard Hotel and Bramley’s Brasserie is friendly and tentative, the venue itself, light, clean and contemporary and the food – tasty and well presented  with a broad offering.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this venue and look forward to revisiting again in the Summer.

Fiona Duncan



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