Sunday lunch at The Font

August 12, 2013

I don’t go out for Sunday lunch all that often, and if I do it’s usually in the countryside. I’ve not really been aware of anywhere in the city that was worth the effort. Yesterday though I made it down to The Font on Gateway St, near De Montfort University and had a pretty good three course at a very reasonable £10 – certainly good enough to make me think of going again.

It’s a big old barn of a bar but has got a nice laid back vibe, a bit in the vein of  Orange Tree bars. Naturally it does a lot of student business, but in the middle of August it was all nicely chilled with a couple of family groups and a few football fans having some quiet ones beforefont- terrine the match.

I’ve heard praise for the pub’s regular menu of standards – the burgers and fish and chips in particular – but on Sundays there’s a pared down menu of two or three choices for each course.  I started with a ham hock terrine. This was remarkably good – well-made, with deeply flavoured ham speckled with parsley and matched with a delicious piccalilli relish and fresh peas and shoots. It would have sat comfortably as a starter in far smarter restaurants.

font-pork

The main event of roast pork also featured very tasty meat, but the veg were rather disappointing. Greens and carrots were a bit overdone and the roasties and parsnips gave the impression of having hung around a bit long. I should add my pal said they were just the way he likes’em – and I was certainly happy to hoover up everything on the plate. I just felt the kitchen had the potential to do it better.

Finished with a delicious pear frangipane. I’d be surprised if it had been made on site,  but am not sure that’s all that important  – it was a very toothsome piece of cake so what’s to worry? [Edit – I’ve since been assured everything’s made in-house  – so fair play.]

font-frangipane

It was all washed down with a few halves of the hugely-hopped and massively-modish Punk IPA from Brewdog. Overall, excellent value and it set me up very nicely for the opening home match of the season. Shame it was such a tedious 0-0 but at least Sunday was not a total waste.

(Thanks to Rob for the photos).

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Ok, back to Leicester now and an old favourite I’ve rather neglected. I was present about 15 years back at the opening of Café Bruxelles and was staggered by what a great job the Brothers Hussein had done with it. A handsome old banking hall, which had become a slightly crummy nightclub, given a fantastic makeover inspired by the station buffet in Bruges (or Ghent or somewhere I can’t quite remember).

Not your average Leicester bar ceiling

Not your average Leicester bar ceiling

An extraordinary set of paintings of Leicester’s twin towns around the planet brightened up the central dome and the overall fit out was done with great attention to detail. The vast majority of the money spent doing it up was with Leicestershire businesses too.

I had some great evenings eating and drinking in there but after it was sold on, I kind of got the feeling it was not being run with same passion and have not been in for a long while. But when a friend got in touch with a spare place for a Groupon booking I was quite pleased to go and have another look, and I came out pretty happy.   The deal was for a sizeable bowl of mussels with frites and bread, waffles with ice-cream and a beer off the Belgian list. The mussels weren’t the best ever but they were fine, the frites were excellent, the waffles very sweet and tasty and the beer selection first rate (I shared a Red Chimay and a Zinnebier – both showing why the Belgians boss the world in brewing as well as…erm, I dunno, boy detectives?). Our waitress was lovely too.

I don’t know about the rest of their menu – pretty generic-sounding stuff –  but that was a really nice option for simple night out in Leicester.  They have a regular mussels and beer offer on Wednesday nights for around £12 – worth a try if you’re in the mood.

Oh and if you’re Belgian beer fan you should try the nearby Taps too – another beautiful old building (the old Opera House restaurant) and another healthy selection of fine bottled and draught beers. I had a Liefmans with a spicy chicken quesadilla earlier in the week  – it definitely qualifies as a lunchtime recommendation.

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