When you get told that where you're eating for dinner tonight is a secret your mind begins to work overtime, especially when you're a massive foodie like me. What would a Secret Dinner Club even entail? Luckily, I found out just that when I met up with It's In Nottingham for the evening...
We started the night walking into an old boiler room and stumbling upon a secret garden... Do you know where it is yet?
One of Nottingham's trendiest bars, The Boilermaker is nothing but unique. Hidden amongst other venues in the Hockley area, it's a real hidden gem. Sporting a range of cocktails on their menu - many of which are presented in weird and wonderful ways, it's one of those places that I love to bring our out-of-town guests to when they're visiting us for the weekend.
The Boilermaker had concocted a new cocktail especially for us to try on the evening - 'The Left Lion'. A London dry gin and tonic, Outpost cold brewed coffee and tonka bean liqueur mixture with a splash of syrup from Doughnut company Doughnotts to finish it off. I loved the idea of this cocktail and how the bartenders at The Boilermaker had really thought about how it represents Nottingham as a city.
However as a Coeliac I had a few concerns as to whether everything in the cocktail was gluten free, but Kelly and Lucy from the It's In Nottingham team and staff from The Boilermaker quickly sorted this out and brought over another drink for me to try instead. I didn't catch the name of my cocktail in the end but it looked amazing with its glow sticks subtly lighting up the ice, berries and mini umbrella on top. As for the taste, it was definitely berry delightful (pun intended - get it?).
As our tummies rumbled we headed off to the next venue, and luckily for us it was only around the corner!
The Curious Tavern is not somewhere I'd been to before, but it was certainly somewhere that was on my 'to try' list. I'd been eyeing it up for a little while and so was excited to be eating there for our main course. As we walked in I smiled at the decor, dark and quirky and very much to my taste - it'd be a great place to go on a date.
We were given perhaps the most appropriate cocktail on the menu for a group of bloggers - the 'Selfie' cocktail. Adorned with a moustache straw and rather funky star glasses, it was fun to try and take a selfie (as the name suggests) with these. The cocktail was delicious too and definitely a drink I'd order again as I love sweet drinks.
Soon our meals arrived and whilst everyone else was given pie, mash and mushy peas, I was handed a 'Lentil and Parsnip Stew'. I often get food envy when I eat out at restaurants because I always wish I could have the gluten filled goodies that my friends and family have, but in all honesty as soon as I tasted the lentil stew all those thoughts disappeared. The stew was so flavoursome and comforting that I really didn't mind not having the pie. A big thumbs up to The Curious Tavern!
Now for my favourite course - pudding! I have a major sweet tooth and discover the key to my 2nd stomach specifically for dessert so I was really looking forward to the last part of our dinner club. That said, at the same time I was curious to see what I'd be having for pudding that was gluten free as in most places my pudding option is simply ice cream. Thankfully I needn't have worried because our last venue - Homemade, had it covered.
I'd been to cute cafe Homemade once before but this was before I was diagnosed with having Coeliac Disease. Most places don't sell gluten free cakes, especially venues that specialise in cakes like Homemade do so I guess I just assumed that there was no way I'd be able to have a cake there. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that could! I was able to sit down with a group of people and feel relatively 'normal' and included with my two different types of cake. The 'Lemon and Raspberry Cake' and 'Apple Cake' were both incredible and I couldn't help but smile whilst I ate them. You genuinely wouldn't have known they were gluten free!
I'm not saying I never eat gluten free cakes nowadays because I do, but to be able to have them in this kind of environment was so lovely for me and to know that I can come back with friends or family is amazing. Thank you Homemade!
You can discover these venues on the It's In Nottingham website and use their handy Taste Finder to discover over 250 places to eat at within the city centre alone. Find the It's In Nottingham Taste Finder here.
Post written in collaboration with It's In Nottingham. All opinions are 100% my own.