We are sad to hear that Malcolm Tandy, owner of Cafe Nomad, died peacefully last Tuesday, 27th March 2012.
Malcolm was an expert master chef producing the best vegan & vegetarian food in Nottingham.
Malcolm owned or worked at all the best vege restaurants in Nottingham from The Beehive in Hockley in the 80’s, his 5-star vege restaurant ’10’ in the Lace Market in the early 90’s and Cafe Nomad in Carrington that sadly closed at the end of last year.
He was always at the helm in forwarding vegetarianism, endeavoring to make vegetarian food accepted and available to all.
His hard work has helped to erase main stream stigmas about vegetarian food by creatively replacing meat with vegetarian and vegan ingredients inspired by is his travels to India and Morocco. He was able to transform traditional and popular non veg dishes in to an ‘a la carte’ menu that was loved by carnivores and vegans alike.
He was always a great host bringing fun and personality into his restaurants and his food was at the cutting edge of vegetarian cuisine.
His flavours and friendly atmospheres will be missed by the many who have tasted his talent for cooking.
A great empty feeling now exists in our hearts and in our bellies!
These words, written by Walt, were read at at Malcolm’s funeral on 13th April at Wilford Hill Cemetery. Walt worked at Malcolm ‘Ten’ restaurant in the 1980’s.
Malcolm Tandy Portrait by Jon Paton 2012
Eulogy by Piggy (Andrew Bacon)
Back in August of last year an article appeared in the Nottingham Post concerning Cafe Nomad. Having known Malcolm for some 40 years, however, it was evident that the article not only extolled the qualities and virtues of Malc’s little restaurant but of Malc himself.
The article painted a picture of a man who was always friendly and open to all. A man who had, in the words of his uncle Ron and auntie Beryl, “a loving nature kind and true”. The writer tells of how having rung the restaurant three times she felt like she already knew Malc prior to her visit. She also mentions the “friendly and relaxed atmosphere” of the restaurant itself.
Malcolm was also a man who was highly enthusiastic about what he did. The article talks of how he describes his dishes in “mouth watering detail”; of how the writer is captivated by Malc’s descriptions of the food; and by the way Malc’s eyes lit up as he detailed the “hint of mustard and splash of brandy” in the cauliflower thermidor sauce. As Malcolm heads back to the kitchen he exclaims “just give me a shout if you need more crackers”, leaving the reporter feeling she could probably just help herself. I also ate at Cafe Nomad and was left with a similar feeling. Malc wasn’t so much the chef, although chef he certainly was, he was more a mate who just happened to be doing the cooking.
Viewed in retrospect, however, the article does end on a sad note. It describes Malc as a “self declared hippie from the 60s” and mentions the time he spent in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco, going on to state that at the age of 65 he was ready to put his backpack on again. As many knew, Malc hoped to revisit Morocco in the future, something he sadly didn’t get to do. I understand from his brother Ian, however, that he and Malc’s long time girlfriend Sandy have discussed the possibility of travelling to Marrakesh later in the year to scatter his ashes, so Malc may yet return!
Malc also described himself as an old hippie to the doctor who informed him that his days were numbered, stating “I’m an old hippie, I’m not scared of dying!” It was a comment that showed how much he had imbibed the spirit and outlook of the hippie culture of the sixties, and the philosophies of the east from which it borrowed. Infact, with his little beard and sparkling eyes Malc did have something of the look of an indian sadhu about him, to my mind at least.
In conclusion I would like to quote a few famous lines from the poet John Donne, words that encapsulate and express not only the inevitability of our own passing but also how much the poorer our lives will be for Malc’s absence: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Due to the evolving nature of the internet, we have captured this archive of reviews of Cafe Nomad, before they are lost. We acknowledge the various originators for these writings, which are linked to the source where appropriate. [pat]
This article from the Nottingham Post, August 19, 2011, was the basis of the above eulogy by Piggy at Malcolm’s funeral.
WALKING into Cafe Nomad feels a little bit like you are walking into someone’s dining room. Seven or so tables fill a rectangular room that is adorned with Moroccan fabrics and softened by dim orange lighting.
And there at the back is Malcolm’s kitchen – there’s a small counter separating it from the restaurant but really it’s all the same room. And it seems to suit everyone perfectly, allowing Malcolm to chat to his customers while we could spy on the master at work.
Having rung three times earlier that day – once to make the booking, once to check if we could bring our own wine (we could) and once to change the booking time (running late again) – I felt like I already knew Malcolm. He greeted us warmly from the kitchen as we walked in and we were overwhelmed by the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of the little restaurant, which is tucked away next to an off-licence and takeaway place in Hucknall Road.
Dressed in his chef whites, he appeared at our table with the menus and cheerfully explained that he was working as both waiter and chef that night due to it being a fairly quiet evening. And as we gazed over the options on the menu, which included the Nomad stew with walnut dumplings, Moroccan tagine with flat bread and a mousaka, Malcolm talked us through the specials – describing them in mouth-watering detail.
I should mention at this point that Cafe Nomad is a vegetarian restaurant, which also caters for vegans. As a meat eater, and keen steak consumer, I was somewhat sceptical and must confess that my usual reaction to most vegetarian food is: “Wouldn’t this be nice with a bit of meat?”
But nevertheless I was captivated by Malcolm’s descriptions of the food – and by the way his eyes lit up as he detailed the “hint of mustard and splash of brandy” in the cauliflower thermidor sauce. That was promptly ordered, along with Moroccan koftas with cous cous and salad. To start we opted for a mushroom paté and spring onion ricotta fritters.
As Malcolm headed into the kitchen to get to work, we cracked open the bottle of Chianti we’d picked up on the way. With no corkage costs it was lovely to drink a good bottle of wine without the restaurant price tag. Good wine in a cosy setting is half the battle sometimes.
Some good conversation later, Malcolm returned with the starters.
The mushroom pate was a wonderfully thick slab, bursting with robust flavours and served with delicious crumbly crackers.
“Just give me a shout if you want more crackers,” said Malcolm as he headed back to the kitchen. The generous portion provided was more than enough but it was nice to know I could probably just wander over and help myself to more.
The fritters were equally delicious – the ricotta gave them a melt-in-the-mouth texture and the spring onion tasted crunchy and fresh. Instead of sitting around in their juices on the chef’s pass for minutes – the fritters had been thrown from pan-to plate-to table, piping hot.
As the mains were served I cursed myself for not having more room. The cauliflower thermidor was everything we had hoped for, dressed in a light and flavoursome creamy sauce that was not too overpowering.
However, it was the koftas that stole the show for me. The baked balls of vegetables, nuts and breadcrumbs were bursting with ginger, paprika and spices, served in a tangy tomato sauce with a cous cous mountain. We were given side dishes of red cabbage, beans and roasted vegetables. I thought to myself, “This is delicious, but would it be nice with a bit of meat?” And yes, I’m sure it would have been lovely with a bit of meat, but I would not have swapped my koftas for even the finest of meatballs.
A self-declared hippy from the 60s, Malcolm has travelled the world and spent three years cooking in India, as well as being inspired by his trips to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco.
As we finished the last of our Chianti he confessed that now, at the age of 65, he’s ready to throw down his tea towel and put his backpack on again.
I felt a surge of panic that my newly-discovered food haven could soon disappear but he assured us it’s not something that’s happening tomorrow, so it gives me plenty of time to go back for dessert.
Cafe Nomad in Left Lion by Ali Emm 01/12/2010
Café Nomad is situated on the Carrington end of Hucknall Road and offers a range of culinary fayre to Nottingham’s vegan and vegetarian residents. Stepping inside from the cold we were greeted by a warm, softly lit room with an open kitchen releasing some tantalising smells into the air.
The Mediterranean and African paraphernalia adorning the walls, along with the welcoming smile from the proprietor, immediately set us at ease in this intimate eatery. They serve from Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5-10pm and although the menu isn’t particularly extensive, there was enough on offer for us to spend ten minutes making our minds up.
We chose mushroom pâté with rosemary crackers (£3) and soup of the day (£3). The large serving of soup was piping hot so we got stuck into the pâté whilst waiting for it to cool. This was no hardship though as it was creamy and went perfectly with the crunchy crackers and well dressed side salad. The short wait for the soup was worthwhile as it turned out to be smooth, thick and hearty – the perfect antidote to the autumnal night.
Judging by their menu, being a vegan is more interesting than just plain vegetables and rice. My guest got dibs on one of the specials, squash and spinach terrine with a couscous salad (£12) whilst I went for the Moroccan tagine with flat bread (£12.50). Tucking in, it became apparent where the alluring aromas on arrival had emanated from.
The tagine had a wonderful balance between sweet and savoury with the light handed addition of apricots as well as being full of texture thanks to the cashew nuts and firm chunks of potato. My companion’s dish looked unassuming but went down quickly due to the layered flavours that ran throughout. The cold side salad was the ideal accompaniment and my ‘just a taste’ turned into about four before he started glaring at me for enjoying it too much.
Almost too full for dessert, we went halves on the chocolate pancake (£3). A creamy, rich layered cake with hidden pear slices adding a welcome freshness. Now I’m not vegetarian or vegan and see lambs as cute and tasty. However, at the end of this veritable feast, I didn’t feel I’d missed out. Except on maybe a glass of wine – Café Nomad is unlicensed but, if you’re inclined, bringing your own is encouraged.
This was an affordable meal that lacked nothing in the cuisine or service department. Cast aside any prejudices and treat yourself to a diverse and delicious dining experience that lacks pretention.
by Jesse keene 10/06/2008
High quality vegetarian and vegan food, with a Mediterranean and North African influence.
Quite a distance from the city centre, Cafe Nomad has quite an understated facade in comparison to the intriguing and inspired food that it serves up from its open plan kitchen.
Cafe Nomad promotes an intimate dinning experience; the building used to be a greasy spoon and is not particularly large. On a busy night it fills up quickly, so it is advised to phone ahead to avoid disappointment. The relaxed ambience of the restaurant is further reinforced by the Mediterranean and African paraphernalia, which adorns the walls throughout, helping to give the diner a sense of authenticity even before the food is served.
The menu just like the premises is compact and full of promise. A starter of spring onion and ricotta fritters with avocado salsa costs a mere £3 and is a great way to get things going, especially because the food is prepared in front of you, making you even more eager for the main course.
A serving of Nomad stew with walnut dumplings (second helping free) at £7.50 is a real treat to the senses and is piping hot when brought promptly to the table. The selection of spices and attention to detail by the chef makes this and all of the dishes on offer stand out from the pricier and larger chain restaurants in Nottingham.
Nomad is not licensed for the selling of alcohol but you may bring your own bottle of wine and there is a selection of soft drinks available.
A truly inspiring restaurant that helps bring vegetarian and vegan cuisine to life. If only other so called top restaurants took as much pride in service and quality as this establishment does. Highly recommended.
User reviewer ruby slippers 12/07/2009
I had the pleasure of visiting Cafe Nomad for the first time yesterday evening. My first thoughts were that the place was compact and bijoux.
However, after a while you realise this adds to the charm and ambiance and you instantly feel welcome.
World music played in the background and the decor, although simple is very effective (check out the glittery rug on the wall).
The menu is extensive with ‘chefs specials’ also on offer. Being a vegetarian for 30years it was very refreshing to have such an extensive variety of dishes to chose from and…….. here’s the best bit, the prices were extremely reasonable.
The starters were delicious and I was slightly worried that I had overdone it and would not be able to appreciate my main meal.
Oh how wrong I was. Everything was cooked to perfection, I would tell you what it was but i do not want to spoil the surprise!
The chef was very sociable and the waiting staff were polite and helpful.
If you are partial to intimate surroundings with excellent food then I thoroughly recommend cafe Nomad, it’s a wonderful experience that I’m sure you’ll wish to repeat.
Hollie and Mark on 26th Mar 2008 22:07
“This is a place I would really recommend , me and my partner have been here quite a few times and I have to say the food is brilliant , you always leave feeling satisfied and ready for more Yum Yum. As I am not a vegetarian I thought I would miss the meat in the food but there was so much flavour I didn’t notice. The service is brilliant and this would be a place I would recommend to people. Try the garlic mushrooms there the best. Enjoy! ”
Rochelle Wilson on 9th Oct 2006 11:23
“Small cafe run by owner who is the chef. He’s spent a lot of time in Morocco so the food has that influence. But he also does the burgers and nut cutlet thing. All food is home made and I found it delicious. The prices are very reasonable. Very interesting sauces. Both veggie and vegan. ”
Thanks to Veggie Heaven for linking back to this page.
Becci Moore (Derby) wrote on 25 February 2009
It has had a small refurb and looks very nice, but still relaxed style. It it small but friendly. The food is proper “old school veggie” which is such a nice treat and everything is cooked fresh. I go there from Derby as I enjoy the food so much. Its really well priced too, and you take your own booze- bargain!
Joanna (Kent) wrote on 1 September 2008
What a lovely place, with inspired dishes. My vegetarian children always love having a broader choice than is usual at most restaurants, and had trouble choosing. So did we! In the end we had 4 different dishes. My mushroom stroganoff was superb, and my son enjoyed his mixed vegetable pancake. My daughter had a tagine, as she was feeling adventurous, and my husband had the nut roast.
The flavours were so subtle and delicious, as other people have said you do not miss meat at all! (not that I usually do). The service was friendly and well informed, and we enjoyed watching the food being expertly prepared. And the cost represented excellent value!
We had a bit of a problem finding the restaurant, but I think this is because the city fathers in Nottingham are very stingy with their road signs, not because it is in a difficult to reach place! We bought our booze at the Aldi down the road (or do I mean Lidl?)
So if you are in the area, and have a good map, go!
Hollie and Mark (Nottingham) wrote on 26 March 2008
The food here is amazing by far the best I have ever tasted. With me not being a vegetarian I thought I would miss the meat but there was so much flavour I didn’t even notice.
The atmosphere is great you really get into the Moroccan theme they also have a belly dancing night once a month I have never been but I have heard great reviews.
The staff are very friendly and the food comes out quickly.
It’s perfect for me and my partner as it’s right on our doorstep so we have been quite a few times.
You get value for money and you always leave feeling full.
I would recommend Cafe Nomad to everyone and you must try the Garlic Mushrooms they are the best.
Steve Thorpe (Nottingham) wrote on 28 September 2007
Holds about 20 people and the kitchen area is open to the dining area so it can get hot. Unpretentious, eg. the tables and chairs don’t match. Share a starter or a pudding? – no problem. Take your own wine. Friendly service but only one waitress so relax. The food is superb and it’s excellent value. We fed 6 adults to an ‘absolutely stuffed’ level for £64.
Peter Cheshire (Northampton) wrote on 18 March 2007
Cafe Nomad is compact, but the vegan food choice is mega, the menu is a sensibly priced, a warm welcome is assured. The food is delicious, the portions are generous, the dishes are prepared to order, what a gem. There are evenings with a belly dancer to add to the atmosphere. If you enjoy food then do not miss the Cafe Nomad – it may have a no frills appearance, go inside and try the excellent cuisine, I did and wow, that is why I have written this review. Try and enjoy.
Stephen F (Nottinghamshire): March 2008
I’ve been here a few times now. The food is excellent, Morrocan inspired as others have mentioned but there’s not just Tagines, there are cutlets, stew, roast reg and a nut roast. Of the starters, I’d recommend the garlic mushrooms, they’re astonishingly good. I’m working my way through the main courses, so far I’ve had the tagine, cutlets and Goulash and they’ve all been excellent. They even have a vegan dessert, almost unheard of even in veggie restaurants, and if you tell them you’re vegan they can veganise some of the main courses and starters.
In summary, the food is excellent (and great value for money also) and varied and vegan. I recommend it without reservation (not literally – as it’s quite small, you’d be best off ringing beforehand rather than just turning up.)
Angie W: May 2007
Excellent food and good value . Most of the choices are vegan (so vegans actually get a choice!!!).I have been about 4 times and have enjoyed the different meals each time. I don’t think there was much choice if any for the sweet course but I was too full to care. One of the reasons why I am sorry to be leaving Nottingham. Lovely friendly staff too.
Ronny W: November 2006
A friendly place with approachable staff who’ll strive to veganise non-vegan options. Gets very busy on Sundays, so booking advised.
Sharon E (Nottinghamshire): November 2006
Lovely little restaurant serving proper veggie food. Really friendly ambience. Decor is Moroccan-inspired, as is the delicious tagine with couscous on the menu. The strawberry syllabub with brandy is absolutely gorgeous. Very reasonably priced (we had a 3 course meal for 5 for £55)and you can bring your own wine, no corkage. Only small though, so best to book. The only downside is the outside loos.
Date of visit: November 2006
Cafe Nomad is more restaurant than cafe as evidenced by the delicious sounding food – ricotta fritters with avocado salsa, mushroom strogonof with smoked tofu and wild rice and asparagus roulade. The chef/proprietor Malcolm organises special evenings once every six weeks or so when a “belladi” comes to entertain diners. The next such event is 16 December. Booking only. Cafe Nomad will also be open at Christmas – set menu – again booking essential. The website is under construction – please do phone (outside peak dining times please) for more information.
Reviewer Veggie Places
Cafe Nomad, and other Nottingham eateries are listed in Vegetarian Britain North, from Vegetarian Guides.
Also at Happy Cow and Vegetarian Visitor
Cafe Nomad on Veggies Directory