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It has been over a year since I sauntered down the streets in Nottingham, one of my favourite spaces in the world. So when I returned for my first review in the great city, it was with a smile on my face.
The venue was ViDa by Lorentes Tapas Nottingham, and the reason why this may sound familiar to you, is because Lorentes’ flagship restaurant is in Derby (which I have also dined at).
It is a sunny Saturday morning as we make our way from Derby to Nottingham. After a short 10-minute walk through the city centre, we wind up in the quaint and bustling Lace Market. It is one of the surprisingly warmer weekends and people are enjoying al fresco drinks and lunches at neighbouring eateries. The powdery blue skies and searing sunshine ties in well with Lorentes’ proud online proclamation is that it is a place “where you truly feel like you are in a corner of Madrid.”
We make our way to the basement level where the restaurant is nestled. We pass quirky artwork, hand-painted on Mediterranean-esque walls in the form of edgy prints, and framed paintings that augment a beatnik vibe.
We are greeted by a convivial, masked-up Vincent, whose eyes crinkle with a genuine smile. (I have gotten used to “reading” people with masks and honestly, I can tell when someone is smiling from the heart 😊.) We are shown to our table and we plant as we survey the restaurant in front of us.
It is 12:30pm and the restaurant is already busy (all socially distanced tables and masked up wait-staff of course). The mood in the restaurant is buzzing and upbeat and boy does it feel good to be dining in and just soaking up the good vibes.
The menu is wide-ranging to satisfy those who need options (and there are plenty), yet compact too ensuring choosing dishes isn’t a laborious process.
Pimientos De Padrón are blistered, soft and slightly chewy, just how I like them. I am lucky to get a hot one (it really is like Russian roulette when eating these fiery chillies). I love the heat mixed with sea salt flakes, which gives the sweet green flesh a wonderful briny aftertaste.
Pan Con Tomate (freshly baked bread) is warm and oven-fresh which almost makes me want to scarf the bread by itself (warm bread is manna). The warm bread makes dunking it into the tomato, garlic and olive oil emulsion even more joyous. What I love about this dish, is its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients, there is nowhere to hide for what is essentially a peasant-style tomato sauce, yet the magical emulsion stands its own amongst a menu of giants with big flavour profiles.
Speaking of big flavours, Gambas Al Ajillo is a highlight at the table. Golden tiger prawns bathed in a garlic and white wine sauce are meaty morsels that I cannot seem to get enough of. I use a little of the leftover warm bread to soak up the precious juices on the plate, rendering the dough to be juicy and flavoursome.
My seabass from the Specials Board is an art form in subtlety. Grilled and replete with crispy skin, harbouring tender fall apart seabass is a joy to look at. Sweet mange tout somehow accentuates the whisper-light fragrance of the sea, whilst the solid bed of burnished potato gives this dish heft.
Dining partner enjoys his Huevos Rotos of Serrano ham, Padrón and poached egg, which requires the mildest of nudges to burst open a delicious river of golden yolk. You can have this dish with two fried eggs if you prefer too.
Crispy tofu from the Specials Board is easily one of my favourite dishes from the menu. I see Specials Boards as a creative outlet for chefs, to really flex their well, creative muscles and this board here at ViDa by Lorentes doesn’t disappoint. Rectangles of squidgy tofu arrive with bubbly batter, like tempura but with a higher crunch factor. Drizzled in soy sauce and flashes of fiery red chilli slivers is inspired, beautiful and should be promoted from the Specials Board to the full-service menu.
The meal is one which we thoroughly enjoy. Superlative food, Vincent’s warm welcome and the comfortable ambience makes ViDa by Lorentes one of my favourite dining spots in Nottingham.
For me, I have a soft spot for Nottingham and I love dining at ViDa by Lorentes. Yes the Derby branch is lovely too; I just prefer Nottingham’s restaurant. If you’ve been to both, I would love to know your thoughts on which you prefer.
ViDa by Lorentes should be proud of sharing their culture, history and traditions by way of creating sublime, mouth-watering dishes. Vincent and Team, I will be back. (I’m checking the calendar as we speak.)
Bookings are now being taken at ViDa by Lorentes. For more information, please visit the website now.
Restaurant name: ViDa by Lorentes
Address: 47 Stoney Street, Nottingham NG1 1LX
Tuesday – Thursday 4pm to 10pm⠀
Friday 12pm to 10pm ⠀
Saturday 12pm to 10pm⠀
Sunday 12pm to 6pm ⠀
How to make reservation: Online | Email [email protected] | Telephone 0115 959 0047 | Instagram DM
Telephone: 0115 959 0047
Whilst in the area: Have a looksee at Oriental Mart, which is a proper Aladdin’s Cave of covetable cupboard essentials. We picked up a bottle of Soju, which is a popular Korean spirit. It is vastly cheaper in-store (£6), in comparison to Amazon’s £12.