Tucked away at the end of an unassuming alleyway, Visit Nottinghamshire have long considered the Hockley Arts Club to be something of a hidden gem – treasured by savvy, in-the-know locals and overlooked by everyone else, the sort of place a friend might smugly introduce you to - but in truth it’s one of Nottingham’s worst-kept secrets these days.

With a name like ‘the Hockley Arts Club’, you’d hardly walk in expecting a greasy spoon (and everyone knows that Hockley is synonymous with creative and quirky and cool) – but even so, it never fails to amaze. It’s a fancy place - not in the high-end, expensive, start-with-the-outer-cutlery-and-work-your-way-in sense; rather, it’s like stepping into the loft of an ultra-stylish influencer with serious design skills.

It’s set over three distinctive floors: the Scandinavian-inspired Stockholm, all glowing red lamps and palm leaves, the eccentric Blue Rooms with its incense, antiques, and deep turquoise leather booths, and finally the otherworldly Electric Garden, an indoor enchanted forest speckled with floating fairy lights. Each floor is more alluring and dreamlike than the last, like Alice in Wonderland meets Inception.

Most people know the Hockley Arts Club for its cocktails, and while it’s true that their drinks menu offers a range of bold and striking choices – like their Polynesian Pearl, which pairs coffee with exotic fruit - it’s beginning to make quite a name for itself in the culinary realm, too. Visit Nottinghamshire went to trial its mid-week Prix Fixe menu (£11.95 for 2 courses or £14.95 for 3) to see what all the fuss was about.

We settle down in a cosy booth with a couple of mocktails to kick things off (a peach-infused Midsummer Murder, which is smooth and sweet and has you smiling with each sip, and Forbidden Love, a fruity and fresh number with notes of kiwi, lavender and apple) while we peruse the menu.

All of the starters are temptingly intriguing, but eventually we go for the game terrine with apricot chutney and pistachio bread, and the cauliflower pakora with sweet and hot cucumber dressing. The terrine is delicious – marbled game meat with a depth of flavour which contrasts perfectly with the light and soft apricot – while the crisp and lightly spiced cauliflower pakora is complemented by the sweet and spicy sauce. It’s scattered with dainty edible flowers, too; a thoughtful touch.

This, of course, sets the bar extremely high. When it’s time for the mains, we opt for roast chicken with charred baby gem, wild mushroom sauce and skin-on fries (the chicken is deliciously tender and the creamy, umami mushroom sauce an absolute triumph), beef bourguignon that one of our group declares to be the best she’s ever tasted, and roasted grey mullet with a rich lemon butter sauce, tempered by fresh greens and nutty puy lentils; a light but satisfyingly indulgent dish.

The dessert is equally fabulous: a refreshing poached pear with a berry compote (more of a thick fruity jam than the thin and watery compotes we’re used to) served, of course, with the charming and careful presentation we’ve come to expect. It rounds off the meal splendidly.

So – does their Prix Fixe menu live up to the hype?

Well, we certainly think so. If you’re hoping to dip your toe into the world of fine dining without dipping too far in your wallet, if you’re after a VIP experience without the vanity, or if you’re simply looking for a little bit of mid-week magic, you can find it at the end of that secret alleyway. And if you see anyone wandering up and down Carlton Street scratching their head and looking perplexed, you know what to do. They’ll thank you later.

This blog was written by Sophie Milne, Communications Executive at Visit Nottinghamshire.

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The Hockley Arts Club
Bar
Hockley Arts Club, Nottingham

Hidden behind the bustling backstreets of independent Hockley lies an impossibly beautiful building that houses The Hockley Arts Club - A creative space for social eating & drinking.

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