Chez Jesse - Restaurant Review
Despite the lockdown rules there is still one restaurant that's stayed open. And I've been for an investigate.
Between Beeston town centre and the University of Nottingham campus, tucked away is a small boutique restaurant that until recently has been flaunting the lockdown laws in keeping it's door open.
Chez Jesse is unique in its location in that it's on the third floor of a block of student flats, so you really have to work for your meal as there's no lift. But that height off the ground does bring with it some stellar views of the A6464. We recommend booking for dinner, around sunset to make the most of the views. Seating is limited at Chez Jesse's with there only being one table for two and a small desk style table by the window. There's also a soft seating area for drinks and cocktails.
Top left from this view is the location of this secretive restaurant. Looks unassuming, but looks can be deceiving.
The decor is reminiscent of a student flat, and in keeping with its surrounds. The walls are covered with calendars featuring Mustangs and sports cars, as well as deadlines and "coursework" pinned up on the noticeboards next to the tables. There are pictures of the owner/chef/waiter/bartender/maitre de scattered around, adding in an Italian family feel to the place. That open and welcoming family feel extends into the layout too, with the kitchen opening out into the dining area so you can see the chef hard at work in the kitchen. Onto our experience.
Sunset views are one of the big draws here, as well as the small batch cooking.
I was greeted by the owner and welcomed in and given the larger table near the kitchen, but it still afforded the sunset view's I'd hoped for. He took my drink order and began to make it. I had no clue what to expect food wise. Given the restaurant's size and thus, small turn over they run off of a set menu system. While this may sound restrictive, it does once again add to the family unit feel, but also helps cut down on food waste too.
My drink arrived, a large white wine spritzer. I'd seen it being made as was pleasantly surprised to see the glass being chilled as well. It's the little things that help. My food followed shortly afterwards; a pastiche on the Italian classic of ragu. Cooked to a traditional spec just with some added peas because, according to the menu "we had a small portion of them left over and couldn't figure out what to do with them", which seems fair enough.
It might be small, but being so open means you can marvel at the relative tidiness and cleanliness of the cooking facilities.
The penne was perfectly done, you could tell it had been cooked in appropriately salted water, and still had a little firmness to the bite. The sauce was hot and fresh with a surprisingly high grade mince in it. The fat had rendered out of the meat well, and the flavour of the dish was bold and apparent. A healthy glug of red wine had helped to bolster the tang of the garlic, and the aromatic flavours brought in by the herbs, basil and oregano. The portion size was very good for the money you pay and filling enough, but carefully designed to leave enough room for the desert. It is after all, a two course set menu.
Desert was a little more nouveau, and old school at the same time. An experimental crumble comprised of stewed apples and dried fruits with a healthy dose of Jack Daniels cinnamon and a can of diet coke. Served cold, in a tupperware pot with a splash of milk over the top. The menu called it Crumble à la Ian, "our experimental crumble, served in the style of Producer Ian, in the tupperware, with some milk, ice cream, cream and custard are sometimes available, check with your waiter". Novel presentation aside the dish was very nice, and I shall probably have left over crumble with milk in the future.
Crumble à la Ian. Simply a breakthrough.
All in this provided a new and exciting dining opportunity for a relatively low budget. Hopefully once lockdown is lifted Chez Jesse will be able to thrive? All in, 5 Stars.
Chez Jesse; novel and exciting