Impact’s Student Food and Drink Awards 2018

Sponsored by Rhys' Pieces.

It’s awards season and from the Grammy’s to the Oscars, they’ve all been a little shit. So I figured that I’d make my own up, I promise it to be useful, informative and not endorsed in any way possible. So here it is, the one you’ve all been waiting for (perhaps) – Impact’s food and drink awards. I made a list of nominees with a bit of help from some other people, and from there, an objective (this is ironic) winner was chosen, with a bit of justification below for good measure. 

So without further ado…

Best Pub (City) – In association with ‘having a nice cold pint, and waiting for all the work to blow over’:

Lloyds Spoons
Junkyard                      – Winner
The Bank

Yes it’s so indie that you’ve never heard of it and so tucked away that you’ve never walked past it, and they don’t boast Spoons’ cheapness or The Bank’s amount of TV screens but they do the best beer (and more) in town. The ambience is amazing indoors or outside and they do insanely good food despite the tiny kitchen. If you want a nice pint, here’s your place. Good luck finding it.

Best Pub (Campus) – In association with ‘pint? Let’s wait until 12pm’

Mooch                         – Winner

As obvious as Sufjan Stevens winning Best Original Song at the Oscars should have been. UGH. 
If you want space, choice, pool, darts, and food where else is there? They just need to stop jacking their prices up because you can get £2 pints on campus and it’s shit to be paying well over that simply due to Mooch being significantly better located and stocked. Sigh. Poor Sufjan.

Best Café (City) – In association with ‘Brunch Brunch Brunch’

Cartwheel                   – Winner
200 Degrees
Pudding Pantry

Outpost does flawless coffee but average-to-decent anything else. Pudding Pantry does very good food and the second worst coffee on this list (they are the only one that isn’t a coffee shop by nature so it’s a fair achievement). Wired is tiny, just beyond average and the downstairs bit is just kind of weirdly set up. I’ve mentioned everyone else on the list now (even if discreetly).
Cartwheel do exceptional coffee, tea & hot chocolate drinks and challenge some of the better restaurants in the city with their food, way ahead of the cafes. The premise is also relatively well designed/spacious and therefore it is the ultimate winner by a landslide. If you’re just here for the coffee, Outpost deserves a joint-first.

Bonus mention: Greenhood in Beeston is pretty nice, but it isn’t in the city – It’d place third if it was.

Best Café (Campus) – In association with ‘caffeine me the least grossly’:

Hallward Café
Portland Coffee Co.     – Winner
Starbucks Portland
Starbucks Jubilee

Let’s face it, there isn’t any good coffee on campus. However, of the cafes we have, Portland Coffee Co. tries the best. Add to that a good selection of fancy teas, a lovely space and good (if not a tiny bit expensive) food and the SU’s indie spot is relatively where it’s at; hence why you can never get a seat there, I suppose. Just choose matcha for a perk up instead of the bloody coffee.

Best place to end up on the way home (Lenton and Beeston) – In association with ‘we could get pizza though, we’re already fucked’.

El Passo           – Winner
Pizza Palace

Now that the dodgy pest issue has been resolved they’ve actually really stepped up their game. Good value and a wide choice, add to this the cash point right outside and you have a certified winner.

Best take-out (delivery) – in association with, fuck it I’m ordering takeout.

Okay, a slightly different format here: These all win their respective categories because fuck typing out like twenty-five nominations, it’s nearly assessment period again.

Pizza             – Winner: Cafe Pizza, 3-4 Trent Bridge Building. 
Chinese         Winner: Chopstix, Aspley Lane. 
Indian           – Winner: Spice, 459 Westdale Lane. 
Kebab           – Winner: Efess Pizza & Kebab House, Nottingha, Road. 
Fish and Chips      – Winner: The Cod’s Scallops, Bramcote Lane.

Primarily based on the delicate balance of affordability, service, taste and (less the better) grease. Rules went out of the window for The Cod’s Scallops because that place is simply insane.

Best Courier – in association with ‘where we ordering from?’

Just Eat           – Winner
Über Eats

No choice on Über, too expensive on Deliveroo, Just Eat is the one.

Innovation award – in association with ‘this one’s actually serious and you should all look up all the nominations because they are the future we need’:

Foodprint                    – Winner
Food Network
Café Sobar

As mentioned above. Everyone in Nottingham should be using these places on the regular. However, Foodprint poses a very practical solution to the issues of Food Waste, which is ultimately the most important issue of them all. Food Network suggest a fanstic idea of using only locally sourced ingredients and whilst their products are fantastic, often artisanal, it is reflected in the price-point. Crocus are a small mission but a very good one, and Café Sobar is a great idea but one easily managed elsewhere too.

Best Supermarket – in association with ‘self-catered life’.

Tesco Extra Beeston
Lidl (Midland Avenue)                        – Winner
Sainsbury’s Castle Boulevard
Tesco Express Lenton

I wish Foodprint could nab two awards, but it doesn’t quite have the choice of other places yet. Of these four, Lidl offers the best produce and best price-point, it’s just down the road from Jubilee Gym so it’s easy to pop to on the way home also. If you live in Beeston then go to Tesco because like where the hell else is there.

Best meal deal on campus – in association with ‘who in reality has time for meal prep:’

Boots                           – Winner
Are there others?
Our survey said it and I’m saying it too, Boots is life: Loads of dietary choice and serious value.

Best place to end up on the way home (City) – In association with ‘food me’:
Five Guys
McDs               – Winner
KFC (when there are chickens and gravy)
Taco Bell
Let’s be real, Taco Bell will hurt your tummy more than the beer and KFC’s chips taste like oil-saturated cardboard. McDonald’s offers a wide range of food, reasonable prices, is always open, and you don’t really have to engage with people so if you’re too fucked to talk; provided you can tap some buttons you’re going to get some scran.

Best Cocktails (Poshness) – In association with ‘daddy bought me another fiat 500 so let’s celebrate’:

Hockley Arts Club                   – Winner

Okay, I really like Cottonmouth because they make good drinks and that’s all they want to do; that being said, if you want a quirk it’s bottom of the pile. Alchemist isn’t bad but the novelty is going to wear off almost as quickly as the alcohol. Tilt is a little too cramped and if you don’t like the music you’re screwed, and as for Boilermaker well… sometimes you don’t want that hassle of the infamous walk-through. Hockley is therefore number one: sophisticated, practical, pretty and the bartenders know a thing or two about making stiff drinks.

Best Cocktails (For Drunkness) – In association with ‘booze me’ but also, ‘obligatory drink responsibly note’:

Revs Hockley             – Winner
Coco Tang
400 Rabbits

More of an occasion than popping to Mooch, sort of definitely, infinitely, better than the others. From watering cans to a plethora of shots, Revs is always going to be the place for a messy one. Just make sure it’s Hockney branch or you’ll be refused entry if you’re wearing trainers.

Best Veggie/Vegan place – in association with ‘there’s enough choice to list nominees these days’. 

No. 12 Houndsgate                 – Winner
Café Roya
Alley Bar

Another disclaimer, my favourite is Alchemilla and I’d gladly eat there every day of the week if I could do so financially, but I don’t think anyone can. I save to eat there once a term. Annie’s is objectively insane too, but some people don’t like burgers, so I went for the other really good place. Café Roya would put up some competition but it’s in Beeston and who even goes there.

So there we are, all the objectively best bits of everything to do with Nottingham’s food scenes. Until next year, I haven’t been Jimmy Kimmel, (and people didn’t turn up in Gucci PJs even though I wish we could have – eternal respect to Agnès Varda) and goodnight.

Rhys Thomas

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Feature Image courtesy of Piervincenzo Madeo, via Flickr. License here.

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