Annie’s Burger Shack, Nottingham

If you ask anyone where the best burger in Nottingham is, 99% of the time you will get told ‘go to Annie’s’ (and the other 1% are just wrong).

Hailing from Rhode Island originally, Annie brings the taste of America to the rainy streets of Nottingham. Originally based within a local pub, her reputation grew to the point that she had to eventually expand into her own venue – and am I glad she did!

The first thing you notice when you walk into the ‘new Annie’s’ is vast bar, with its wide range of beers on tap. Annie admits she is a bit of a beer fan herself, so you are always guaranteed a good selection of both locally brewed beers (such as Blue Monkey) and wider-ranging breweries. If you’re not sure what to go for, just ask the bar staff who always seem happy to make suggestions. For those of you who prefer a glass of wine over a pint, make sure you try Annie’s very own selection – she has a white, red and rose. Not only do they taste good but they come with her very own personalised labels.

One of the biggest problems at Annie’s (according to Trip Advisor) is that the constant levels of demand can lead to long delays and poor service. Luckily, we saw none of that when we visited last Friday – although this may have been due to the fact we went quite early in the evening before the rush. Our waiter was friendly and enthusiastic, and managed to put up with our constant indecisions over the menu without losing his smile. Making reservations can be a bit of an issue, but they are supposed to be updating their website to combat this.

Having spent about 30minutes agonising over the menu (seriously, there are a lot of great burger options on there!) I finally settled on the monthly special ‘The Hoisin’. This is burger topped with a Chinese pancake, grilled duck breast strips and a hoisin/orange sauce, on a bed of crispy seaweed and finished with homemade candied citrus peels and curly spring onion. It’s not cheap at £12.90, but it is definitely worth it if you are after a bit of a treat.

As you can see from the picture below, presentation is another strong point. Believe it or not but there is actually a burger under that pancake! The burger was cooked a perfect medium rare (if you don’t like your burger pink make sure to tell them when you order) and the duck was crispy. I had worried that the sauce may be too sweet, but the citrus peel gave it a really tantalising freshness that I wasn’t expecting. Just make sure you have plenty of napkins as the sauce WILL go everywhere when you try to eat it – a knife and fork is not cheating when your dignity is at stake!

Sadly, this burger will only be there until the end of January but there are plenty of other interesting combinations to entice you in. Personal favourites include ‘The Elvis’ (peanut butter and jam), ‘The Deathray’ (hot chilli sauce topped with a whole scotch bonnet) and ‘The Delta’ (Mississippi burger sauce, jalapenos and onion rings).

Annie’s have just celebrated their one year anniversary in the new venue, and to celebrate they are running a ‘suggest a burger’ competition. So if you have the perfect burger combination make sure you pop in and submit your entry before it’s too late – the winner will get their burger featured on the menu. They aren’t accepting entries online so you will have to pop in, but that just gives you a perfect excuse to stop for a beer!

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Sunday Lunch – all of the goodness none of the faff!

In our house the general rule for Sundays is ‘do little and eat lots’…but when there is only two of you to feed, cooking a Sunday roast starts to feel like more work then fun.

Luckily, about ten minutes away from us is The Trent Lock, a cosy gastro pub with roaring fires and a great roast dinner menu. It is part of the ‘vintage pub’ chain, so elements of the menu and wine list can feel a bit predictable but the decor and ambiance more than makes up for this. In the summer they have a huge beer garden which leads all the way down to the river – very picturesque.

The wine selection was reasonable, with a 175ml glass of Malbec being under £6 but D felt that the beer selection was somewhat lacking in variety.

The Sunday menu is slightly more limited than their standard menu, but there are still plenty of options if you don’t fancy a traditional roast dinner. My second choice would have been the beer battered fish and chips – which looked very good from the table next to is.

As well as the standard roast options they also offer the ‘vintage roast platter’ which is a selection of three different meats, stuffing, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings, duck fat roast potatoes, parsnips and mixed green veg. Being the gluttons that we are, and given that they were out of roast chicken (by 2:30 I might add!) we couldn’t resist.

The platter comes with turkey, beef and pork, all of which were cooked to perfection. The turkey was moist, the beef pink and the pork had a nice crunch to the fat. The duck fat potatoes were cooked to perfection – crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. D wasn’t too keen on the stuffing as he can be a bit funny about sweet and savoury mixed together (it had raisins in it) but personally I thought it worked really well. Sadly the green veg was overlooked and the sprouts were a bit mushy but overall the dish worked really well. The only issue I had was that the gravy was served already poured over the meat, whereas I would have preferred for it to come separately so I could add it to my veg and Yorkshire puds – instead I. Just mopped it up from the platter like a heathen! (And I have no shame about this)

After all of the food there was no way either of us could face dessert, and having seen the portion sizes I am glad we didn’t. We did however manage to split a cheese board between us. It came with three cheeses – Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Ford Farm cheddar and Cornish Brie, more than enough for the two of us. The chutney it came with was a bit sweet for my liking, but the oat biscuits were a delight.

Overall we were really happy with our meal, and felt it was good value for money. The service was friendly but not pushy, which in my mind is a perfect combination. Definitely can’t wait to get back and test out the full menu soon 🙂

For anyone who fancies testing this place out, sign up to their mailing list and you can get 25% off your meal Monday to Friday

Burgers,bacon,Mac an cheese- a match made in heaven?

So after an impromptu night of drinking on Friday there was no way I was in any mood to cook on Saturday, which gave me the perfect opportunity to visit one of my favourite haunts from law school -Spanky’s Van Dykes.

Spanky’s is a chilled out slightly alternative music venue, with a reputation for incredible burgers and fried chicken. Although I am hardly the best person to comment on the standards of music ( as my boyfriend would be quick to verify) I do love a good burger and the variety there is second to none. As well as a variety of suggested burgers (including a monster munch and emmental burger?!) they also have a whole host of toppings if you prefer to ‘make-your-own’. You can check out the complete menu here

Sadly they were out of monster munch on Saturday, and so I settled for designing my own perfect burger…after a long internal struggle over the traditional (blue cheese and bacon) vs the alternative or obscure (peanut butter and jam) I finally settled for the middle ground- 1/4 pounder topped with bacon and homemade mac n cheese. 

After a very reasonable wait time, my burger arrived…and I was not disappointed. Fat, creamy, melt in the mouth macaroni spilling out from a perfectly cooked, meaty burger,topped with hot crispy bacon….pure heaven!The only slight disappointment was the fries…these used to be skinny double cooked fries but appear to have been replaced with chunkier chips which reminded me of the type you get from a chip shop…nice but nothing special.

One thing I did love was the wide range of condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, 3 kinds of Tabasco, hot sauce (plus a few I can’t remember).

Overall this is a great venue with a wide variety of burgers to suit every taste. Add in a good range of beers( Sierra Nevada is usually available on draft) and you have a winning combination for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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