For my birthday this year my boyfriend decided to treat me to La Rock, a restaurant that’s been on our hit list for quite a while. As I had a weekday birthday he was able to get me in on the actual day which made it an extra special night out. I didn’t actually know where we were heading I was told to get dressed and get into the taxi, it would be a surprise. As soon as we pulled up outside of La Rock (my Nottingham geography is poor so I didn’t realise where we were driving to) I actually got giddy as it’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for years I’ve just never got round to it.
First Impressions of La Rock
It’s very easy to miss, it’s an unassuming property down a small side street. There are large black iron gates outside which makes it look like a private driveway and as though you’re going onto the back of somebody’s house. Just past the gates is the sign for the restaurant and the doors are a little further behind. It’s a large brick building, a theme which is carried inside with exposed brick walls.
As you walk in there’s a small desk where you make yourself known, the toilets are to the right and there’s seating and a bar area to the left. In front of you are some stairs to a mezzanine level, this is where we were sitting. Upstairs there’s an outdoor theme going on, the light shades are antlers and the candle holders are rocks. These quirks were combined with the exposed brick and high quality wooden furniture to give a minimalist but sophisticated ambiance. There weren’t many tables upstairs, it was quite spread out. The mezzanine didn’t actually get full until we were leaving which did mean the atmosphere was a little low as there was no music or noise carried up from downstairs.
We were given a wine menu as soon as we sat down and opted for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (my go to) for the meal but, as it was a birthday treat for me we ordered some cocktails to start. Whilst we waited for our drinks to arrive we looked at the menu and decided on a standard 3 courses, naturally.
Our food was as follows:
– Amuse Bouche –
Mini fish and chips
– Starters –
Lobster, smoked salmon, scallop, brown shrimp, moules, pea, oyster sauce>/em>
Local Wood Pigeon
Served with rhubarb, pistachio, rose peppercorn
– Palette Cleanser –
– Mains –
Trio of English lamb
Served with puttanesca, chorizo, tempura anchovy, turmeric, cracker
– Desserts –
Biscuits, grapes sweet pickle, soused celery
Deconstructed with shortbread, coconut and biscuit crumble
We were given breads for the table, one of each kind as we couldn’t decide. These were home baked, warm and salty – perfect. The butter was already on the table which meant it was ideal temperature for spreading, they were in perfect round blobs and I almost didn’t want to disturb them. After we’d had a nibble one of the waitresses came upstairs and offered us an amouse bouche of a mini fish and chips. This was a slice of fish on a salt and vinegar crisp, a dash of pea purree, batter and a chip. It sounds completely random but it was so cute and delicious!
For starter I opted for the pigeon, although I could have picked almost anything from their menu and I’m sure I would have loved it. The pigeon was served with ruhubard and pistachios which added some extra distinguishing textures and tastes to the dish. I really enjoyed this dish and it was a decent size for starter. The pigeon was served slightly red which is the way I love my red meat.
My boyfriend opted for the Seafood Creviche which was served in shells and on a completely different plate to mine – I may be reading into it but I don’t know if they have different plates for the different types of meat? The seafood was plated in a clam shell and piled high with a mussel on top. Again, I thought the portion size was decent considering we were in a upmarket restaurant. My boyfriend really enjoyed this and would recommend this to any fish lover out there. I love the look of this one, I think the presentation is superb and extremely appetising.
Next up was our palette cleansers, served in a large bowl, like the butter it was room temperature which made it easy to eat. If I remember right this was melon flavoured.
For mains we both opted for the trio of English lamb. This was served three ways (as the name suggests) with a shank, a breaded cutlet and a croquette-style piece. Each had its own distinct flavour and was served with an olive sauce on the side. It was also accompanied by a battered anchovy and a cracker that looked a little bit like sweetcorn (on top of the lamb in the image). This dish was amazing. I love it when you essentially get three meals in one as it makes me feel as though I’ve tried more than one dish. My favourite was the cutlet of lamb which was so succulent it was ridiculous. If I wasn’t in a restaurant I probably would have licked the plate.
For dessert my boyfriend opted for his standard cheese plate which was filled to the brim with cheese and crackers. We could have easily have shared this but unfortunately cheese isn’t my favourite thing in the world.
You can’t get much better than a cheesecake so, naturally, I opted for a strawberry one. This came deconstructed with coconut, clotted cream and shortbread. As it was my birthday I got an additional birthday message, too. I loved this and there was enough biscuit base to go around which was my first fear – it’s the best bit!
We were on the mezzanine section of the restaurant but there was always somebody popping up and wandering around, whether it was serving or filling drinks up. The food was delivered without having to ask who ordered what which I always like as it shows attention to detail. I also liked the amuse bouche, palette cleanser and bread that were offered up. I felt as though costs weren’t an issue here and they were truly looking after you. I know we essentially paid for it with the meal and an additional cover charge (£2.25 for bread and water) but it made me feel special.
la rock rating: 9/10
£65pp/£130 in total for three courses each, a bottle of wine and two cocktails.
I would highly recommend this place. I mentioned it briefly above that the atmosphere was a little flat on the mezzanine but it may have been because when we arrived we were pretty much the only people in there. I’d like to go back and sit downstairs in the main area as I may get a different feel. Overall it is one of my favourite restaurants for the quality of food that is produced and the treatment of its customers.
Recommended for: date night, special occasions
Not recommended for: vegetarians or vegans, on a budget
Why not try: everything
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Love for you all x