Brunch at 100&Six

August 12, 2019

I continue to hear great reports of 100&Six on Queens Road (reviewed enthusistically here on 23 March) and thought I’d go today to check out the brunch menu. And it’s gone straight to the top of my list for places to brunch in Leicester.

Their take on a full English (£8.50) was simply blissful – sophisticated but most definitely not poncey. It featured pillowy-soft scrambled egg with fresh herbs; sweet honey-cured bacon; proper grown-up hash browns with both crunch and potato flavour; high-quality black pudding with that iron-rich tang of blood; and a tomato and bean cassoulet that would win-over the most harded bakedbeanophobe.

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Gill went down the sweeter end of the menu with the apparently highly popular French toast (£7). And I’m not surprised this dish has won over Clarendon Park – thick, toasted slices of eggy brioche are doused in blood orange syrup and sprinkled with almonds, and it’s completed with skilfully-grilled, sweet and firm nectarines. A really smart, light mid-morning treat, which we made slightly more substantial with an extra side of that honeyed bacon.

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Its a complete delight to find such quality food cooked by a chef with a flair for flavour and a well-balanced approach to innovation.

The brunch menu is served Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and other choices include a watermelon fruit salad, pecan and banana granola, sweet potato fritters with maple, chilli and feta. The full small plate menu is also available from 12pm.

 

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My veal chop

One of the saddest events of recent months was the closure of the King Richard III on Highcross Street – a delightful reinvention of a city centre pub with really fine food at reasonable prices. They couldn’t quite get the midweek trade or seemingly convince people with the “country pub in the city” thing.  So it seemed good news that the Beautiful Pubs Collective, who also have the nearby Rutland and Derby and Knight and Garter as well the Forge Inn in Glenfield, have reopened it in partnership with freehold owners Everards.

There was quite an extensive refurb over the spring, but seemingly little building work. The layout of the pub is identical but there is some more theming around the titular monarch and the front room seems a little more “pubby”. Apologies to the designer who probably sweated buckets over pantone swatches to get the right shades, but to philistines such as myself the feel doesn’t seem to have changed much – it’s still handsome and atmospheric. Interestingly the menu hasn’t taken much of a swerve from previous regime either.

The KRIII is now billed as a chop house, one of those terms like ‘brasserie’ that I suspect many people would find difficult to define precisely in words but nevertheless create a very clear mental image. A chop house should be somewhat old-fashioned (wood panelling a must) and provide generous, Pickwickian slabs of meat. The King Richard delivers this in spades.

The menu is shortish and focused (possibly narrow depending on your point of view) and appealing to enthusiastic carnivores. Envisioning a substantial lunch, Matt (from Great Food Club – do join) and I started our lunch with two of the small “while you wait” starters and the first impression was great. Tomato concasse (£3.50) showed good knife skills with finely-diced, flavoursome tomato and herbs on grilled sourdough, crucially served at a good temperature rather than out of the fridge, while truffle-scented polenta fritters with wild mushrooms (£4) were crisp and had well-balanced fungal flavour.

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Barnsley chop with salsa verde

The real appeal seemed to be the grilled meats, cooked quick and hot on the robata grill which remains in the kitchen. And sure enough, the arrival at table of our main courses was a genuine wow moment. My veal chop (£19 – I think prices change with weight as available) dominated its plate imperiously, its huge bone careering off to the middle of the table. It was beautifully charred, and simply dressed with quenelle of rosemary butter and a couple of delightfully sweet/tart miniature plums. It maybe looked like it missed some sauce/gravy but it absolutely did not need it, being tender and juicy enough as it was. Possibly slightly under-seasoned it was still a wonderful thing to demolish.

Matt’s Barnsley chop (£16) was equally epic – I’d say a good inch and a half thick but like the veal, cooked impeccably. Head chef Chris Owen has worked in Japanese restaurants before and clearly knows his way around a robata. Sides are extra and we shared a portion of fine, fat, beef dripping chips and some broccoli given an oriental hit with chilli. A carafe of Argentinian malbec was exactly the right accompaniment. Apple crumble crème brulee for pud was straightforward and delicious.

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Previous chef patron Chris Elliman had a background in pub fine dining and oversaw a menu of classic British and European food – a French onion soup still burns brightly in my memory, along with a burrata salad and a simple onglet steak. Encouragingly the food and service here is still high quality, if possibly a little more pricey and smaller in range. Whether this new incarnation can succeed remains to be seen, but on this evidence it deserves to and I’m certainly looking forward to another visit.

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