The ask: a restaurant fancy enough for a date on a Monday evening where I can wear a dress and heels without looking out of place and still eat good, reasonably priced food. The answer: Le Mistral!
Tucked away in a quiet courtyard just a stone’s throw from the busy Market Square, Le Mistral is a French-style bistro that’s set up shop in a converted warehouse. It’s all candles, chalkboards and open brickwork, making for a very cosy, romantic vibe.
After tackling the extensive and surprisingly witty wine list (read the descriptions), we ordered our starters: smoked mackerel for me, French onion soup for him.
My fish was lovely and smoky, as the name promised, and was perfectly paired with the sharp salty flavour of capers and crunch of a watercress salad. Not much was said on the soup, but it had been wolfed down in a heartbeat so I don’t think there were many complaints!
In addition to a varied a la carte menu, there was also a lengthy specials board with an array of starters, mains and desserts available. Prices of main courses averaged in the early to mid-teens, but there are lunchtime and set menu offers to choose from too, if you’re after a bit more value for money.
My date had duck leg as a main, with dauphinoise potatoes, cabbage and a red wine jus. He said everything was cooked well and tasted delicious, but it was definitely on the rich side (particularly the wine-soaked cabbage!)
I went for chicken and chorizo linguine, which I can best describe as being the most decadent thing I have ever eaten. The chorizo was plentiful, still dripping in its flavoursome oils and blended with the rich cream and cheese-coated pasta (of which there was enough for 4 people). I embarrassingly only managed to eat about a quarter of the bowl before I was defeated (and feeling a little sick, if I’m honest). While the rest went into a doggy bag and served as a lovely lunch for the next couple of days, I think this dish was evidence that you actually can have too much of a good thing.
I have to call out the service, which was really great from start to finish. Our waitress was super friendly and nothing was too much trouble for her, which definitely added to the overall experience.
And if I’m to take anything away from said experience, it’s to order wisely – because next time I really want to have room for dessert!
robyn’s review: 7.5/10
Find Le Mistral at 2-3 Eldon Chambers, Wheeler Gate, Nottingham NG1 2NS