PINCH yourself that it is 2021 and not 1921 as you step inside York restaurant Nola and take in its retro glamour.
Rose gold furnishings, chandeliers, geometric mirrors and huge pink feathers stimulate a time of flapper girls and illicit late-night drinking. It could be a scene from Baz Luhrmann’s movie The Great Gatsby!
Descend the golden staircase and the speak-easy vibe continues – all the more so when the jazz musician centre stage starts getting very intimate with his saxophone!
Welcome to jazz night at Nola – York’s new independent restaurant.
We were invited to review the night for Press readers by owners Fehim Kaya and Danny Broome who opened Nola in the summer.
The duo are behind the success of French bistro Rustique in York. They have kept the larger Rustique going in Castlegate but spent lockdown converting its sister outpost here in Lendal into Nola.
It’s a completely different offering – and nothing quite matches it for mood or turn up in York.
Jazz nights run on Tuesdays and Sundays (bookings recommended).
A rotating cast of 20 musicians are scheduled to perform; tonight we were entertained by the excellent Jon Taylor.
Watch our video below to hear him play at Nola:
The music set the tone for what was a hugely enjoyable evening.
The menu at Nola is one of small plates – a trend becoming ever more popular in restaurants.
I like the idea – it allows you to try more things on the menu.
And try we did. From battered cauliflower with a spicy tomato sauce, to fillet of seabass with a chorizo stew and on to crab arancini, I was very happy with my choices. If there was one suggestion it would be that the food was staggered more; it was impossible to eat all three plates at once, and so the food struggled to stay hot all the way by the meal.
We were a party of four and the other dishes we enjoyed included the beef Carpaccio – the thinnest slices of scarce-cooked beef you could possibly imagine – in addition as smoked salmon, kebab, and bowls of sweet potato fries. The duck spring rolls were singled out for special praise.
identifying characteristics dishes on the menu include grilled oysters, monkfish cheeks, gumbo, pork belly, and grilled Teriyaki salmon skewers.
It is recommended to choose three plates per person. Expect to pay around £35 per head, including wine.
We passed on dessert, instead opting for a round of cocktails – an old fashioned for the gents and a chocolate Martini for the women.
The latter was a first for me – but won’t be the last. It was a divine concoction of vodka, Baileys and chocolate syrup. It was like drinking a dessert, and was the perfect end to a great evening.
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