Kitchen Cabinet

January 25, 2012

Could be an intriguing evening for food lovers coming up in Melton next month. A new Radio 4 talk show the Kitchen Cabinet is being recorded at the Cattle Market on 7 February from about 6pm. It sounds like a straightforward Gardener’s Question Time format with audience questions, but the panel sounds lively enough: chair is Jay Rayner and other panellists include Allegra McEvedy, Stefan Gates, Rachel McCormack and Peter Barham – consultant food scientist to Heston B and Rene at Noma.

Entrance is free but you need to get a ticket – go here for details:  Kitchen Cabinet details.  I’ve got one  – hope to see you there.

The Big Eat (again)

January 24, 2012

Good news that the One Leicester campaign has revived its Big Eat initiative that sees many if not most of the City centre’s restaurants run two-for-one type special offers on the same evening.  Last year it brought full tables and something of a buzz to the whole city city centre. This year it’s been brought forward to coincide with the Leicester, sorry, Dave’s Leicester Festival so there’s every reason to combine the two for a cracking night out.

Most of the restuarants require advance booking for the offers and the precise offer does vary so you’ll need to check on the website One Leicester.  Among the most interesting are two for one main courses at Kayal (when ordering two courses), two for one on a special menu and live Indian music at Chutney Ivy and 30 per cent off the food bill at Cedars Lebenese (plus belly dancing).  Many of the chains, independent restaurants and cafes are also running offers.

If you are still swithering then its worth bearing in mind that there will be free parking  at the Newarke Street, Haymarket and Dover Street car parks after 6pm.

 

 

The Oat Hill

January 15, 2012

Now I’d better get something sorted straight away.  I do not look to the Leicester Mercury and its reviews for advice on where to eat. The fact that I was eating in The Oat Hill at the weekend had everything to do with my friend Deborah living in Market Harborough and nothing to do with the fact the Mercury sent Joan Stephens to review it last week.  OK? Good.

A short way out of town on the Kettering Road,  the Oat Hill is in the shadow of the local branches of both Aldi and Lidl. If that puts you off, it shouldn’t because this is a really rather good dining pub. There’s a smart and comfortable bar – big comfy sofas, heavy red velvet  curtains, young staff all in black and so on.  The restaurant is equally appealing and the menu is well designed and seemed to be well-priced. We passed on starters because it was really just a quick supper but given the quality of our mains I wished  I’d gone for something such as roasted breast of pheasant  with roasted honey soused root veg or baked figs with melting gorngonzola and rocket salad.

My main was slow braised shin of beef   – a flavoursome cut I’ve eulogised on this blog before and done very nicely here, presented beautifully on excellent creamed mash with two contrasting sauces making the plate look a ying and yang symbol, a dark port jus and a creamy, mustardy sauce. The cheffy parsnip crisps were just right and a bowl of veg were perfect.   Deborah’s sea bream with crayfish and tomato bisque  was also very good indeed – two large fillets with crispy skin and real depth of flavour and a well-made sauce.  These were well-conceived and well-executed dishes.  We shared a desert that was well up to standard, a creme brulee with beautifully pared slices of ripe pear and excellent homemade shortbread.

It’s always nice to find a place that exceeds expectations and The Oat Hill did for us  – Deb immediately booked to go back with a friend next week.  There is a proper chef in the kitchen and while it may not have the picturesque setting of some gastropubs out in the South of the county,  I think this place should definitely be on your radar when in the area.

Oh and Joan liked it too.

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