No.Twelve – Plant Based – Nottingham

Starting on Hounds Gate in 2017 the No.Twelve team have quietly been making a name for themselves over the last few years. I went some years ago but it was early in their evolution and before their menus changed significantly. No.Twelve now offers an evening tasting menu and lunch time small plates alongside some special one-off evenings including wines pairings. The restaurant is made up of a couple of small rooms around a central bar area with exposed brick throughout. On a sunny springtime day its a lovely spot to while away a few hours. The small plates menu I tried sees a dozen options at £6-10 and a seemingly wider array of cuisines influencing the cooking then I remember.

Risotto at No.Twelve Nottingham

A ‘brussels kimchi risotto’ (£9) had the potential to be all sorts of wrong, simultaneously offending cultures East and West. What arrived managed to avoid these pitfalls by being technically well executed, the rice having just the right bite. its flavours were not quite so successful, there was a general background of garlic and ginger that was pleasant but I wanted more pickled and spicy notes from the kimchi. Hen of the woods (£9) is a rare sight outside of high end restaurants and I was excited to try the version here. In case you didn’t know its a highly regarded mushroom that glows in clumps on trees, here paired with more Asian flavours of ponzu and toasted sesame. The mushroom itself did have a lovely delicate nutty flavour, the extremities were very crispy but I preferred the soft core with its spongy texture. The ponzu was subtle and a nice lift from the umami of the rest of the dish. Cauliflower satay was pretty simple but hugely satisfying, especially at a bargain £6.50. Perfectly roasted, its natural nuttiness coming through in harmony with a deftly light hazelnut satay sauce.

Hen of the Woods at No.Twelve Nottingham

With 8/9 dishes between 3 there was always going to be some that fell short. The only real disappointment were the ‘Sticky Aubergine Baos’ (£9). They were certainly sticky but on the wrong side of sickly for me. The maple syrup was too pronounced and the texture of aubergine didn’t help the situation against the already soft bao. A crispy element and some acidity needed to sort this one out. Curried cubed potatoes (£6) was a generous portion and a great foil to the smaller more flavoursome dishes. Tenderstem broccoli (£7) had a lovely lemon and mustard vinaigrette that bought a welcome freshness and greenery to the table. Truffled mushrooms (£10) was a lovely end to proceedings. Wild local mushrooms of various varieties had been fried with wine, butter and brie (the vegan kind of course and no less delicious for it may I add). The truffle was not overpowering and a good push from some sage and thyme bought things together really well despite plenty going on. We were fighting over the last remnants on this one.

Mushrooms at No.Twelve Nottingham

Service was capable and charming, if a little inexperienced, but an error with the bill was dealt with as well as it possibly could be. The food reminded me of the early days of Mesa, lots of individually good plates of food that you can’t help but enjoy even if they might not go together. The value is pretty good too, you could share 4 dishes and a drink each and leave happy having spent £20. I think we’re pretty lucky to have a restaurant serving plant based food of this calibre in the city.

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