Wakaze, St Martin’s, Anatolia

December 23, 2016

A couple of quick recommendations for you to ponder over Christmas.

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Wakaze is a lovely, easily-over-looked Japanese restaurant at 74 High Street, Leicester. There’s a rash of Far Eastern cafes and restaurants along that stretch and that’s far preferable to more garish chicken shops. Wakaze is a stripped down, modern kind of café run by a couple of entrepreneurial Chinese students from Leicester University  who have teamed up with a Japanese chef.  Service is quick, helpful and friendly and there’s a smart open kitchen at the back of the room that seems to run with quiet efficiency.  Nigiri sushi was very good indeed – especially the mackerel,  gyoza dumplings were great and ricebowl donburri dishes warm and comforting.  I’ve  been a couple of times and am keen to go back to try more.

Regular readers need no introduction to St Martin’s Tea and Coffee and their great daytime food.  I had another terrific lunch in there this week – Indonesian pork with char-grilled hispi cabbage.  This is one of a number dishes making use of their new rotisserie grill and had unctuous fatty pork with beautiful layers of sweet and sour flavours from spicing, a nutty sauce, black and white sesame,  lime, pumpkin seeds and more. There was fiery lime and  chilli rice too.  I hear very good reports of the vegan  version featuring spiced and grilled cauliflower.

I also heard some exciting news from chef Chris Elliman too that plans are afoot for a new project – can’t say too much but Leicester city centre should be a getting a new gastropub next year.  Chris headed up the kitchen at General Tarleton near Knaresborough in Yorkshire  – a renowned dining pub I would sometimes stop at on journeys up to the North East – and he knows all about doing high quality, straightforward British classics.

Finally, Anatolia on Allendale Road, Stoneygate. When this opened it was a bit of scruffy chippy, at odds with the chi-chi environment around it.  Over the years it has morphed into a rather smarter Turkish café but I must admit I’ve given it a wide berth. Last night though we enjoyed some fine Central Turkish mezze  – sublime yoghurt-laden aubergine was probably the star but the meat dishes were excellent too. It’s fully licensed and the service is friendly and competent too. It’s a lot less frantic than similar places on the Narb’ and London Road.

 

 

 

 

 

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