Food review: Saltbox X Mollis Takeover

Words: Claire Jones
Wednesday 22 May 2024
reading time: min, words

This summer Nottingham's favourite fried chicken masters Mollis are bringing their banging burgers, wings, and tenders to gig-goers and hockey fans with a takeover of the kitchens at live music and sports bar Saltbox in Bolero Square. 

SALTBOX FOOTBALL2

The brainchild of famed chef Alex Bond, Mollis opened its doors on Derby Road back in 2022, bringing together his love of fried chicken, ice cream, and hip-hop with the noble aim of elevating the much-loved classic into something a bit more special. 

As you'd expect from the man behind the Michelin-starred Alchemilla, there's a whole lot of care and creativity that goes into the menu. On a sunny Friday evening, we took our seats as the Saltbox Presents open mic night geared up to check out what's on offer at the takeover. 

We ordered the Classic Southern Fried Chicken burger which was everything you'd hope for: a perfectly crispy coating enveloping succulent chicken topped with creamy kwepie mayo, lettuce, pickles, and a cheeky cheese sauce. An old favourite done exceptionally well. 

As at Mollis, the high-welfare chicken is brined in shio koji, a Japanese fermented rice concoction that imparts a subtle miso-like savouriness, while enzymes work their magic to break down proteins and starches to create beautifully tender, juicy meat. 

As you might expect from the creative chefs at Mollis, the take-over menu boasts some tempting flavour combinations you wouldn't expect on your average bar menu, or your average chicken joint for that matter. Wings and tenders are served with either salt, pepper, and hot honey, or the more exotic combination of gochujang buffalo, blue cheese, and pickled pineapple. The latter certainly piqued our interest. 

As you might expect from the creative chefs at Mollis, the take-over menu boasts some tempting flavour combinations you wouldn't expect on your average bar menu, or your average chicken joint for that matter

The sharp, spicy tang is mellowed by the intensely savoury blue cheese dipping sauce while the sweet zing of the pineapple rounds it off into a complex and very pleasing mouthful. It's unconventional and it really works. 

They pack a fair amount of fire, almost a bit much for my other half, but the blue cheese tempered the heat nicely. When quizzed for his take on the dish he enthused 'That is a sexy sauce' while proceeding to scoop up the last dregs. 

Alongside the usual suspect in the world of casual dining side dishes - crispy seasoned fries - sits the more off-beat offering of Pink Fir potatoes (a heritage variety of the kind you'd more commonly find in an uninspiring salad) smothered in a truffle-infused curd (think cream cheese) and topped with crispy onions. Rich, a little decadent, and decidedly delicious.

Mollis 2 (1)

For those of a plant-based persuasion, the small menu includes a mushroom and black bean burger topped with whipped lemon and goat cheese, or a vegan version served with red cabbage, lime, and coriander salad.

It's perfect for a pre-gig pit stop or a post-hockey chow-down for visitors to the Motorpoint Arena next door. But you don't have to fork out the big bucks on tickets if you're looking for live music. Alongside the open mic each Friday, coming up at Salt Box over the next few months they've got the album release show for local grunge-metal band Cages for Preachers on 27 June, a Beatles tribute night on 13 July, and acoustic ska legend Chris Murray on 28 July. 

Or for party animals aged over thirty looking for a night out without the youngsters cramping your style, check out Age Against the Machine on Friday 19 July. The DJs will be dropping floor fillers from decades past for those who won't go gentle into that good night. Bring your ID if you look youthful - there's a strict 30+ policy. Keep an eye on the Saltbox socials for details of upcoming events.

They'll also be screening the FA Cup final on Saturday 25 May and serving up £2.50 pints while stocks last all bank holiday weekend as they drink the bar dry ready to change suppliers. Catch the cheap pints while you can and reminisce about days past when the cost of a round was easy to swallow.

The Mollis takeover at Salt Box is available every Friday and Saturday night in May, June, and July, plus all event days at the arena. 

saltboxbar.co.uk

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