When opting to “eat out” in Hanley, the shopping centre of Stoke on Trent, I’ve always found it to be a rather tricky affair. Aside from a handful of Italians which have become somewhat cornerstones of cuisine within the city and Indian restaurants which make up the cultural area of Picadilly, one would struggle to find a meal which doesn’t consist of an on the go pasty from the Pound Bakery or an oatcake from the local market.
NOM has taken the place of the popular bistro Pastiche which is tucked away on the upper floor of Percy Street and offers “seasonal cooked food, relaxed surroundings and friendly service”…
But how does the grub measure up? I took the (not so) better half along for a Saturday date night to soak up the atmosphere and fill my belly – and I wore a skirt with a stretchy waistband in preparation.
On the evening we visited NOM the specials menu offered up a little bit of a different starter in the shape of Pimms and Watermelon Soup. Served at room temperature and served in a cocktail glass, this refreshing starter was a tasty alternative to your usual leek and potato with a crusty cob. I went for a more conservative choice of garlic mushrooms because you can’t really go wrong with them. A pretty standard and safe starter to opt for which I settled on after seeing (and smelling) somebody elses serving. I’m a food porn voyeur. The mushrooms were just garlic-y enough for me, topped with a shaving of parmesan and served with a hefty wedge of garlic bread alongside a garnish of salad. A double garlic dose meant that an evening of kissing was most definitely off the menu (but I’d be winning if I had bumped into a vampire!) and I was left pleased that this wasn’t a first date.
I’d been to NOM before and fell under their thai fishcake spell, which are also offered on the starters menu but comes with a small portion size restriction. I found myself craving more of the lemongrass and chilli spiced fishcakes and was left holding my plate like Oliver Twist “please NOM waiter, can I have some more?” so upon this visit I ordered them as a main and my mouth was again left salivating at the oriental taste explosion on my plate. The fishcakes are served with a sweet pineapple salsa and alongside a portion of their popular sweet potato fries, which always make me feel smug and healthier than ordering a normal serving of fries…! – although dunking them into a mayonnaise instantly detracts from that small health victory. When I (sheepishly) asked for a serving of a mayo our waitor also brough across a lime mayonnaise which he said would compliment the flavours in the fishcakes – which I thought was a nice touch (and compliment it did!)
The “NOM” Burger
What is it with men and their undying love of burgers? Offer them a menu of belly rumbling sounding food and they’ll opt for a burger. As this tray of burger heaven was carried from the kitchen I expected Adam Richman to turn up complete with Man V Food theme music and voiceover. The NOM burger is a veritable feast of meat fit for a man. A 6oz beef burger, chicken breast, bacon and blue cheese nestled between two buns and held together with a knife topped my a stack of giant beer battered chilli spiced onion rings. This monster blows burgers from the likes of McDonalds out of the window, I mean, if your mouth doesn’t split like the Jokers when you take a bite then you just aren’t doing burgers right. Accompanied by a mountain of homemade fries (“the best chips I have ever had” said the boy as he shovelled forkful after forkful into his mouth) the NOM burger is a challenge for even the most seasoned of meat eaters to get their mouth around. Belly’s were rubbed, the white flag was waved and the boy was defeated by the tower – he gave it a good go though.
After a starter and main I was hesitant to try and cram a dessert into my already full belly, but armed with my strechy waistbanded skirt I was determined to devour a slice of the advertised dessert special (and one of my all time favourite desserts) key lime pie. What I loved about this key lime pie is that it wasn’t a pretentious pie, it looked and tasted like something your mum would make (providing your mum can bake, of course). The biscuit base was sweet and crumbly and the main body of the pie itself was light and fluffy but incredibly zesty. I found it to be really refreshing after the plethora of flavours that had gone before it and it well and truly cleansed my palette in preparation for….
Bubblegum Daquiri and Elderbubble
Who doesn’t love a cocktail (or a mocktail if you’re an alochol free zone)? Fruity and flavourful concoctions which never fail to make me feel like I’m the epitome of a grown up. Can you guess who’s is who’s? That’s right, the pink cocktails is the boys. Bubblegum Daiquiri is a playful twist on your more common daiquiri flavours and as much as it sounds sickly sweet it is incredibly moreish and the popping candy sprinkles makes this a taste explosion in a glass. I opted for the more grown up Elderbubble – a mix of vodka, elder flower cordial, prosecco and a cucumber garnish. A more acquired and bitter cocktail compared to the sweetness of the daiquiri but nonetheless a tasty post meal.
My waist band will vouch for the fact that I’m not the kind of gal who gets excited about a 2 inch square piece of steak balanced precariously on top of a sprig of asparagus and a stingy drizzle of sauce. I enjoy food. Full of flavour, fresh, nicely presented and not priced to the point that I weep into my purse thinking about the hundred course banquet of a meal for five thousand I could have cooked myself at home for the equivalent amount of dollar. That’s what NOM provides. It’s central enough to Stoke on Trent that it’s accessible for both an evening meal/pre theatre show meal and it also provides somewhere to pop into in the day to take the weight of your feet, put down your shopping bags and sample the lunch menu along with a soft drink or something a little bit stronger because you’re trying to forget about the damage you’ve done to your bank account.
To drool over their menus and make a booking online visit their website and do wear something with a little bit of give.