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Previous Pint Pleasures - January 1, 2009

guinness eileen

The Nottingham House, 164 Whitham Road, Broomhill, Sheffield

In 2011 the Nottingham House closed. It re-opened briefly and then closed again. And then in 2012 it re-opened .


Forgive me if I go against my own convention, but since I'm the one who establishes my own conventions I have the right to go against them occasionally. In this case it's my convention of writing only one column about a pub; and if I have updates to report I include them in my Updates link at the bottom of the original column.

I've already written a review of the Nottingham House, but that was over 5 years ago when the pub was a completely different entity. Not long after I wrote that review the pub went through another change and another and another, eschewing such pub attractions as cask ale and food and gradually becoming a place one simply would have no reason to visit.

After lying dormant for a period, the pub was sold to a new landlord and some massive changes were made. Andy Bodsworth, who also owns the Cobden View and the >Red Deer, had the pub completely redecorated. Gone is the dark wood decor and in its place are clean white walls, new carpeted areas, a new glass room divider displaying bottles of wine, and a line of handpumps offering at least 3 cask ales. Live music is a big feature now, with everything from rock bands and blues to singer-songwriters, and there is a weekly wine and cheese night as well. And for those with cars who wish to stop in for a quick half, there is now a very cheap pay and display car park adjacent.

On my most recent visits the cask ales have included Deuchars (3.8% ABV, Caledonian Brewing Co, Edinburgh, The Lothians), Courage Directors (4.8% ABV, John Smith Brewery, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire), and Landlord (4.3% ABV, Timothy Taylor & Co. Ltd., Keighley, West Yorkshire), all kept in good condition and at just the right temperature by Richy and his staff. One Thursday evening in the autumn we came to see a unique band from Scotland, the Ray Summers. Although the place was packed with students when we first arrived, they appeared to be the type of students who actually spend their university careers getting an education, obtaining degrees, and having actual fun rather than just hitting the BOGOF bars, downing as much alcohol as possible, and creating a citywide trail of student sick.

In other words, this is not just another student pub, thank god.

But the highlight of the new Nottingham House is definitely the pies. At least three different varieties of homemade pies are featured every day. I realise this won't excite you if you're one of those People Who Don't Like Pies, because I know you exist -- like People Who Don't Like Olives, People Who Don't Like Mushrooms, People Who Don't Like Fish, People Who Don't Like Blue Cheese, etc. But as a reformed Person Who Didn't Like Chip Butties I understand tastes can change, especially if one is exposed to quality examples of their object of distaste. And I can assure you that these pies, cooked expertly by our friend Albert, are not your normal "pies". The pastry is gorgeous, of a quality even my pie-queen mother would rate highly, and the fillings are exquisite, often challenging the concept of pie. Alex is a brilliant cook -- after all, she's a scientist so she knows what she's doing. And the fact that she's a pescavegetarian like myself means that there is always at least one option for vegetarians. The daily choices are Steak and Potato, Chicken and Leek, and Asparagus and Mushroom, all served with peas and chips or mash at the student-affordable price of £5.00. And there are weekly specials as well. On one evening visit the special pies were Curried Lamb and Vegetable Curry Pie and Spinach, Green Pepper, and Paneer Curry Pie. On another visit the Pie of the Week was 3-Bean Chilli, and on Sunday there is a Sunday Roast Pie.

Just before Christmas I stopped in to meet some workmates for a drink, and Steve ordered the Christmas Roast Pie, made with turkey, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and a variety of other ingredients. I don't think the filling included a kitchen sink, or even a Christmas cracker, but I could be wrong. The following weekend I returned because Albert had announced she was making Marmite Pies. I was surprised when my fellow diner Andrew, a devout carnivore, went for the meat-free Marmite pie as well. Made with spinach, courgettes, tomatoes, onions, three cheeses, and of course Marmite, our pies were served with a bottle of Squeezy Marmite in case there wasn't enough Marmite to satisfy us. It was pure tonic. I would heartily recommend a Marmite pie to all of my fellow Love-Marmite souls.

It's a shame Albert doesn't make any fish pies. But who knows? In a world of Sunday Roast pies, Saag Paneer pies, and Marmite pies, anything's possible...

Nottingham House Updates
(Last updated 4 April 2015)