Rocket at Saltwater, Nottingham

4 July 2015

Despite being a big fan of 'sharing' style foods and more casual dining, I've never really gotten around to trying out tapas. So when Rocket at Saltwater invited me along to their #BloggersatRocket evening in Nottingham for some tapas, cocktails and blogging chitchat, I was really excited.

I fell at the first hurdle, which was actually finding Rocket, thanks to the uselessness of google maps. The restaurant is housed inside the Corner House, which I'd honestly never heard of before but it's a large venue filled with bars, restaurants, a cinema, and probably other stuff I didn't see. It's seriously massive, and the fact I walked around most of the outside without realising I was in the right place shows you why I try and avoid travelling alone. Rocket is up on the second floor so but the views are mostly just of shops and pavement so its nothing too spectacular but the venue has a great look and atmosphere. It's probably not the sort of place I'd usually think to visit. The general look is very glossy and luxurious but little details like a shelf of brightly coloured old telephones and some statement wallpaper add a little quirkiness to the design. The staff at Rocket were really welcoming though and it all felt surprisingly relaxed.

Tapas Wednesdays are a new addition to the Rocket at Saltwater menu, and they offer a special list of dishes, all ranging between £4-£4.50 each, £12 for 3 or £15 with a drink. The portions are really generous (although I can't say how this compares to any other tapas restaurants), so 3 tapas would easily be enough to make up a decent sized meal if you choose sensibly, or you could share a few between friends. The menu also includes desserts, so you could just order 3 desserts for your twelve quid instead, and if you don't think that sounds like a fun idea then I don't want to know you.

We were treated to pretty much one of everything from the tapas menu to pick at and share between us. This really is my favourite way to do food, and why I tend to frequent more street food type restaurants, because I love this really communal way of eating. Tapas was definitely winning me over. There's a wide variety of cuisines on offer at Rocket from the tapas menu, so there should easily be something to please everyone if you were dining in a large group. There's also a really good proportion of the menu that is vegetarian friendly, which is always nice to see.  My personal favourites were the courgette tempura (deep fried vegetables, when did that become a thing?) and the tuscan meatballs which were full of flavour but not too spicy.

Of course we felt we couldn't give a fair opinion on the place without trying something from the dessert menu. This includes crème brûlée, warm chocolate brownie and a selection of icecreams and sorbets. The creme brulee was definitely my favourite here, it's always one of my go to desserts and this one had a really good crispy top layer.

After dinner our bartender Luke gave us a quick cocktail making lesson. Now I thought I made a pretty decent cocktail but the guys at Rocket seriously know their stuff. Luke showed us a french martini, bramble, and three ways for a margarita, and explained all about the process and the ingredients and history of the drinks as he went. As cocktails become more commonplace in city centre bars and pubs, a little of the art is often lost and the drinks just aren't made with the same care, so it was really fascinating to see the whole process from someone who really knew what they were doing. The bramble was probably my favourite, it's a gin based cocktail and a little fruity, so I knew straight away I would like it, but all were really delicious.

Once we'd tried all the drinks and seen how to make them it was time for us to have a go at making them ourselves. I was one of the first to have a go, thanks to being the only one with a train home to catch. First we made a french martini, which needs a really good shake to get the delicious foam on top, or at least it would have if I hadn't wasted five minutes trying to get the shaker and the glass to come apart. Turns our proper bar tending is a little harder than it looks. It still tasted pretty good at the end of it all though.

I also had a go at making a margarita, but after my bad luck with the cocktail shaker I decided to go for the ice version, which is all mixed up in a blender before poured into a glass. Even getting the sugar rim on the glass for this one was trickier than I'd expected. I'll need to put in a few more hours at home to work on my skills I think...

Unfortunately I had to skip out a little early thanks to the rubbish train connections of the midlands, but I really enjoyed our visit to Rocket. The Tapas Wednesdays would be great for a casual evening with friends and I'd definitely like to test out the rest of the cocktail menu (all in the name of science of course).

What do you think of Tapas Wednesdays, would you give it a try?

**All our food and drink was kindly provided by Tank PR and Rocket at Saltwater as part of their bloggers event. All opinions are my own.

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