Rebalancing Act

I had dinner last night at The Hilton Hotel – cooked rather well by students from NCN. Amongst those on the table were Councillor Nick McDonald from Nottingham City Council and Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North.


The topic of conversation was the imbalance in Nottingham between the (relative) well-off South and the poor North. This may be too simplistic a headline – but the geography tells different stories.

Graham’s constituency is seemingly in the lowest 10 in the UK – in terms of teenage pregnancy, unemployment and social deprivation. Some of the constituents are third generation “out of work”.

It is easy to forget that across a large City like Nottingham that there is a wide variance in fortunes. We do tend to forget this when we see the good things (many of which I have blogged about here). There are some areas of desperation.

Graham and Nick are championing how we rebalance the local economy. It is no easy task – the loss of some of the major manufacturing and employers (coal, Raleigh, Imperial Tobacco and others) is still being felt 30 years after some of these changes occurred.

I am not sure that we have easy answers. It is going to take a long time – but ‘education’ was clearly one area where we all felt some change could be made. Getting kids to school and then to College is part of that process. But is also important that we train kids with skills they can use. We need to stop teaching them all ‘Geography’! (Sorry Geography teachers everywhere – you know I don’t mean that literally!). They need Maths and English. And life-skills.

I was blind to the suggestion that some of this generation of kids in some of these communities are not even contemplating ‘work’. That we have to fix.

Jamie’s Italian Nottingham – a review

Last night we had our first trip to Jamie’s Italian in Nottingham. We went with a group of friends who are demanding to say the least! Especially the chef amongst us.

One of the platters - a fantastic starter!

By the looks of the statistics on my blog, Jamie has really been quite popular! I have blogged a couple of times, but latterly with the opening date details.

I was not disappointed. We had a great meal.

We had the benefit of being a group of 8 and able to book a table (you can book for groups of 6 or more). The downside was our table was at 6.30pm with a 2 hour slot. As it turned out we were there for nearly three hours, there was no apparent rush. We were also in a private room overlooking the garden and out onto the Trent valley.

The building has been cleverly restored and converted – it has a rustic charm, but the attention to detail is great too. I was told the toilets were worth a trip – and they are old fashioned Thomas Crapper fittings. But that isn’t why we went…

Starter was two platters of meat and vegetable tasters with the Italian Bread selection. It was a great way to eat – very sociable and very tasty. My main course was the Special – a Tuscan Salumi Ragoon – slow cooked. This was a selection of left over meats, mixed with tomatoes and then cooked slowly and served with fresh pasta. It too was delicious. I couldn’t resist the Tiramasu for desert – how can you when you are at an Italian?

Our friends had an assortment of food – and none complained. Everyone had a great meal. We had two bottles of wine (Soave Classico Veneto) and various soft drinks.

The bill was a very reasonable £29 per head.

I thought the meal I had in Oxford at New Year was good, I had a burger that night. But last night I am glad I chose ‘true’ Italian.

I can recommend the experience without hesitation – the atmosphere is good, the service excellent (the waiter was very knowledgeable), the food superb and the cost reasonable.

10/10 Mr Oliver!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged Jamie Oliver, Jamie's Italian, Low Pavement, , , Restaurant, Review, Thomas Crapper