Strictly speaking this isn’t a pub, it’s a Music hall, or was. It’s been other things as well, including an Italian Restaurant. In 1997 restoration commenced with a Heritage Lottery grant, this went on in spurts, until 2014 when the The Malt Cross restoration was finally complete, resulting in the absolute wonder of a place it is now.
There’s an interesting history on their website, and information on The Malt Cross trust, a Christian charity that runs the building, including the bar and kitchen in the magnificent old music hall. There’s a record shop and an arts and gallery complex within the building, where everything is run on a not for profit, charitable basis.
I quite like the idea. The ethos of the pub bit is to improve Notiingham’s night life by providing an alternative night out. Their mission is to, create a city centre venue that promotes creativity over consumption and is a place people visit to find themselves through art, heritage and music.
Well, I can tell you they’ve done it and I found it! Although I liked Nottingham, it was quite clear that by 7.00pm on a pre bank holiday Sunday that it was getting busy, very busy.
The folk wandering round town, milling around the chain pubs, were decent, honest folk, but you could see things were going to get a bit boisterous. There were still kids splashing about in the fountain opposite The Council House, whilst at the same time, the doorman at Wetherspoon’s, The Roebuck Inn, opposite The Malt Cross, refused entry to a giant penis, who still would be whatever he wore.
I was thus, pleasantly surprised when I walked into the The Malt Cross whose calm serenity was syncopated by live traditional Irish folk music. I gazed in awe at the interior; upstairs, downstairs and the stage in the middle. I’m not going to describe it further, other than to say it’s very impressive, just look at the photos or visit your self.
Inside it wasn’t busy, but it wasn’t empty. The people were nice, everything was just very nice, it felt really nice, no edge and I could have sat there all evening. There’s no shots or ‘owt like that, just good honest victuals.
They had five cask ales on and we tried Pentrich Kiama and Titanic Plum Porter. Both were excellent at NBSS 3.5. I can’t remember how much they were, but of course there was a CAMRA discount of 20p per pint.
I reckon Nottingham CAMRA should give this discount up, on the basis it’s a Christian charity doing good work in the city, which should be patronised and supported. Robin Hood would never have taken from the poor like this, but of course, we all know that he was from Yorkshire, and not Nottingham, who only had a Sheriff.
Personally, I’d vote this place into the GBG, it deserves to be in, but it’s nowt to do with me and I’ll leave that to the local people.
Maybe the meals are something to do with it? I found the recommendation, in the Grundian cheap eats in Nottingham, from memory.
The lovely lady behind the bar (all the staff were brilliant), said we were really lucky to get a Sunday Dinner as late as this. On a normal Sunday i.e. not red hot, they would have sold out by mid afternoon. Just shows how the climate can affect turnover in licensed premises, especially when you’ve no beer garden.
It took a while to realise the overflowing tray the waitress carried towards us wasn’t a sharing platter for the next table and really was our Sunday Roast for two! Only one choice, roast Pork, cut thick, and plenty of it, with the expected trimmings, a sharing board of wonderful vegetables, plus a gravy boat each.
Dinosaurs wanting their vegetables boiled to death for an hour, like the hops in their beer, needn’t bother coming here. Everything was wonderfully al dente, char-grilled not autoclaved, and very flavoursome. I could have enjoyed the veg on it’s own and only those needing to eat two taters more than a pig would have been disappointed with the portion size.
The only criticism were the gents. Very well appointed, but slightly whiffy. A frequent fault with toilets, where toilets weren’t meant to be, and once piss leaks through where the sealant fails, you can never get rid of the smell without ripping everything up.
Verdict – Full marks for the food, beer and ethos. Totally out of sight in the architectural stakes. Any restored Music hall, with Siren and Wylam beers, side by side on keg has got to be good.