With summer coming in, the street food events are taking off.

Last night saw the launch of the 2Funky Street Kitchen, a new venture from the 2 Funky bar complex on Braunstone Gate. It’s got a lot going for it, including a large indoor bar and a large covered outdoor area right over the canal. This is great right now for cooing over squadrons of swans and cygnets, ducks and ducklings, but sadly you are also looking out over jettisoned bottles, fagends and assorted other litter. Last night saw Derby-based El Contador offering tacos, made from cornmeal on the night – I had their chicken mole which was an outstanding little morsel that put much UK Mexican food I’ve had to shame.

So during June there will be events on Fridays and Saturdays including Martin Brothers Pizza on 7th, Carribbean barbecue on 21st and El Contador again on 28th. Other special events include a “bottomless bubbles and bao brunch” on 15th. To be honest, I don’t think I’m 2Funky’s key demographic and it was all a bit loud for me but if you’re more of a party animal this could be just the thing for you. Check out the 2Funky website for full details.

Elsewhere there’s good news that Bobby Ananta, the ever-cheerful stalwart from St Martin’s and Crafty, is back from a spell back home in Java and has an Indonesian streetfood night planned at Crafty for 12 June. It’ll be a no-bookings evening and I’ve no menu details yet, but Bobby is a super chef – his rendang is jaw-dropping – and I’m confident it’ll be great.

Of course work continues across St Martin’s on Mowgli, the classy Indian streetfood chain which should be opening “late summer”. More good news for the square is that the former Grillstock unit has been taken and while details are currently super-secret, I’m told it will be a great addition for Leicester. And one last thing, another informal mini-chain Indian restaurant arrives shortly with Tamatanga, whom many will know from Nottingham, opening on Shires Walk in Highcross in Mid-June.

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Just to keep things ticking over here, I thought I’d mention a couple of – very different – wines I’ve tried recently.

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Froggy assesses Rothley Wine’s King Richard

As this is a Leicestershire blog, I was very keen to try a bottle of King Richard – a dry white wine made here in Leicestershire by Rothley Wine. The grapes are new ones to me – allegedly 77 per cent Solaris and 33 per cent Siegerrede (I know, someone’s maths or proofreading needs improving). English wines are improving at breakneck pace – the wines made by Chapel Down for example, on the chalk downs of Kent and Sussex are superb and their operation in Tenterden is highly professional. Leicestershire is 150 miles further north and notwithstanding global warming this is marginal territory.  But Rothley have done a fine job of building their operation with the support of local people.

So, King Richard 2015. First off – it’s really pretty good. The makers say it’s in the style of a gewurztraminer and suggest flavours of melon, grapefruit and ginger – and I get all of that. But as well as those brighter, zingy flavours there was also a whiff of the farmyard that I found off-putting. Some may like some funk in their wines but while I was more than happy to finish off the bottle, it was enough for me to think at £11.50 a bottle it was an interesting experiment rather than “get a case in”. Unfair maybe to compare to similar wines of established areas such as Alsace or the Loire, and you can certainly be disappointed with wines from those regions, but we’re not there yet.  Definitely worth supporting though because English wines can, and I am sure will, continue to improve in years to come.

My second bottle I’m only recommending because I’ve bought all the bottles I can find already.   Lidl’s Wine Tour selections are available for a couple of months on a “when it’s gone, it’s gone” basis and often feature wines from just outside top appelations which come in between around £5 and £9. They are always worth a try, but rarely prove anything other than you get what you pay for. However I do think their Selone Negroamaro from Puglia is truly spectacular value at £5.69.  Coming in at a hefty 14.5 per cent it has gentle but firm tannins and a depth of fruit, spice and vanilla that is rare at this price point. It can be drunk on it’s own but is super with red meat or cheese.

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Froggy assesses Lidl’s Selone Negroamaro

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