The Boot Room

March 4, 2010

The Joiners Arms in Bruntingthorpe has long been one of the lower profile but higher quality gastro pubs in the county. I’ve only been once but it is clear that gaffer Stephen Fitzpatrick is a quality act, you don’t get to keep a Michelin guide entry without knowing one end of a bain marie from another.

So it was good news last year when he decided he also wanted the buzz of running a city restaurant and took on the Millstone Lane property in Leicester that had previously been home to the lively Italian Alloro and before that the much-missed Stones. I’m rather ashamed it’s taken me so long to get along to what seemed an interesting  venture, but now I’ve been I’m fairly sure I’ll be going again.

The familar L-shaped room is retained and there’s a smartish but informal air matched to a slight industrial aesthetic stemming from the remnants of the building’s days as a shoe factory (hence The Boot Room). Menu is pitched somewhere between Bistro Pierre  and the Case – pretty much mainstream contemporary European fare.  Starters such scallops and black pudding or chicken liver parfait with brioche and chutney, mains such as roasted halibut , brown shrimp butter and skinny chips or shank of lamb with chorizo cassoulet.

This being a Tuesday we both picked the Menu Auberge, a no-choice three course set menu including a glass of house wine at a  good price of £15.95.  We started with a well-made, full flavoured lobster and prawn bisque, let down only by some rather greasy croutons.  Main course was a very tender and beautifully cooked pork loin chop, some hearty, spicy red cabbage, fragrant garlic-infused mash and a well-made mustardy sauce. (A sadly out of focus rendering can be seen to the right).

Not complex food, then, but very satisfying all-round. The house wines were fine too.  Desert  was a  raspberry dacqouise – not the most refined version of this classic desert but enjoyable anyway,  it featured layers of hazelnut meringue, which here had a texture nearer pastry, with cream and fruit between. 

The Boot Room felt a pleasant well-run environment – we went on the first night for the new manager, who previously ran the rather brasher Las Iguanas – and I think it has a niche at the upper- middle end of  local restaurants. I’ll refrain from full judgment until I’ve explored the a la carte but it looks promising.

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