July 2018

Eating in hotel restaurants doesn't seem to be the 'norm' these days. When I was growing up in the 1980s, popping down to Nottingham's Moat House for Sunday lunch was something our family did fairly regularly and the restaurants in The Royal Hotel were the ones we headed to for an evening out.


Now, with such a varied choice of cuisine on offer and new restaurants opening regularly throughout the year, hotel restaurant dining seems to be out of fashion and we only ever eat on site if we are staying overnight and can't be bothered to head out and find an alternative.

I was, therefore, interested to try out Bramleys Brasserie.  Located within the Devere Orchard Hotel on Nottingham University's beautiful campus, this contemporary and stylish restaurant offers a decent sized menu of classic dishes, along with a few nods to Southwell's Bramley Apple, after which the hotel and restaurant are named.

Easily accessible and with plenty of free parking right on the doorstep, the hotel lobby offers a few 'ooh ahh' moments, with faux grass covered sofas, a hugh silver apple sculpture and plenty of light. 

We were greeted by the very friendly restaurant team and immediately shown to our table.  The restaurant was quite busy with conference guests, which made for a vibrant but relaxing atmosphere and we were quickly served with our drinks and given the opportunity to peruse the menu.  We started with a large dish of olives (£4.00) and a portion of bread and butter, the former served warm and with a delicious crust.  Usually I choose a meat option but today we went for the veggie choices of Cropwell Bishop Stilton Tart, served with caramelised onions and potato, with a side of purple sprouting broccoli and Bramley apple puree (£14.00) and the Halloumi Burger, deep fried in spicy breadcrumbs, with roasted red pepper relish and served in a brioche bun with fries (£14.00)

Both dishes arrived promptly, piping hot and well-presented.  The portions here are good, the food is well-cooked and the veg was served perfectly al dente, so we had absolutely no complaints at all.  I am a particular fan of Halloumi (or squeaky cheese as I call it) and really enjoyed my burger, which was certainly a lot nicer than some veggie burgers I've had in the past.  It seems like veggie dishes are upping their game and Bramleys really have nailed it with their offerings.

With 2 courses under our belts, we were fighting with our desire to try one of the desserts and that button busting feeling.  We compromised by sharing the chocolate swiss roll, which was succulent and filled to bursting with chocolate and orange mousse (£6.00) and proved to be another winner. 

Over a coffee, I had the chance to soak in the atmosphere and consider the food and my verdict of this particular 'hotel restaurant'.  In my opinion, I think it should definitely be considered on its merits.  The staff are efficient and friendly, the food is very very good and the restaurant itself is light, bright, airy and very clean.  Hotel dining seems to be moving away from offering bland menus, served in impersonal surroundings and establishments like the Devere are trying to give clients are more interesting experience and a good choice, at reasonable prices.

So, Bramleys Brasserie goes on my list of hidden gems in Nottingham and well worth a visit.  As well as free parking, which is always a bonus, there is a lovely outside mezzanine area, which is perfect for relaxing on sunny days and it is certainly a place that you can while away a few hours, before, during and after a meal!

If you'd like to find out more about Bramleys Brasserie and Bar and have a look at their menus and events, please visit their website here


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