Upcoming events

May 23, 2018

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Good to see a couple of returning food events here in Leicestershire. The Pop Up Smokehouse has announced its second takeover event. This time Liam Watson (above)and his team will be cooking their bold and hearty take on US barbecue at the atmospheric Globe on Millstone Lane on Tuesday 19 June from 5pm to 10pm. I can tell you this in safety now because I have booked my table already  – last time out they filled up very quickly. There are several ways to book but maybe try their website first.

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Also now announced are details of the second  Edible Forest, Charnwood’s woodland-themed food festival which runs from 9-16th September. Top pick for serious diners must be the Secret Gourmet, which will see a forest-inspired menu created by local chefs John Duffin (of Mountsorrel’s Michelin-starred John’s House) and Paul Leary, who’s work is well-known to Leicestershire diners over the last 15 years. Menu details are being held back, as is the location but it’s promised to be a historic location somewhere near Shepshed – cost is £70.

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There are some less heady options – such as the chance to have brunch, picnic or dine in a clear ‘pod’ in the heart of the forest. Then there are chances again to have tea inside Old John in Bradgate Park or to enjoy guided foraging walks around the forest.  There will also be live music and DJ events with Charnwood’s own Burleigh’s gin having a strong presence. Details available here.

One more thing – heads up to vegan readers about Plant and Bean, who promise to combine plant-based ingredients with exciting flavours and a streetfood vibe. I believe there is a link to The Fish and The Chip restaurant on St Nicholas Place, and certainly that’s where there their first takeover event is happening in June,  with a delivery service and more events promised soon. No further details yet but track them down on Instagram @plantandbean.

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Forest Food Fest

August 11, 2016

It’s maybe partly that they’ve been casting envious glances across the border at Melton  to see how food can be a boost to the local economy. It could simply be that they’ve woken up to what’s on their doorstep. Whatever the case, it’s good to see Charnwood – with the support of the National Forest, Everards and  Leicester Shire Promotions  – has taken the step of launching a little local food festival. Dl FCover illo-AW-print

The Edible Forest is a weekend of events from 16 to 18 September that highlights some of the best local food and drink producers, and at some of the fabulous locations in the borough – from iconic Old John in Bradgate Park to the depths of the Outwoods. The events include:

Friday 16 September
– Afternoon tea with local produce in Old John Tower .
– Cocktails and canapes at a secret garden in the heart of the ancient woods of Charnwood.

Saturday 17 September
– The Enchanted Forest – a family event  in the heart of the forest combining tasting from the region’s finest producers with entertainment.

Sunday 18 September
– Build your own Perfect Picnic –  a hands-on opportunity to create your perfect picnic to be enjoyed in the beautiful gardens of Swithland’s Griffin Inn.

– The Secret Gourmet – much-missed local chef  Paul Leary, currently working in the corporate sphere, will create a fine dining forest-inspired gourmet menu to be served at Nanpantan Hall, a rarely-used and  extraordinary venue hidden in the heart of Charnwood Forest.

For more details on the Edible Forest and to book tickets for the various events, visit www.edibleforest.co.uk. Bookings open on Monday 15th August.

PS. I hear the organisers have struggled to find cheesemakers within Charnwood. If  that sounds like you, maybe get in touch with them?

The Woodhouse

November 19, 2010

It’s six years since Paul Leary decided he’d had enough of teaching catering students and felt the need to get his name over the door and get back behind the stove full-time. I think I gave The Woodhouse one of its first reviews  in Metro and it’s good to report that this Woodhouse Eaves restaurant has continued to thrive and currently exudes confidence both front of house and on the plate.

Leary made his name at Louis Scott’s in Newton Linford and later gained a wider fan club running Fusions at the Walkers Stadium. He gave that up after the Mandaric regime was established and has since focused on consolidating his fine dining offer here in prosperous Charnwood Forest.  He has also consolidated his reputation as a teacher, with one of his young proteges recently awarded a Gordon Ramsey Scholarship.

The atmosphere and decor of the place pulls off a nice balance of being smart but not stuffy.   It feels a fairly special night out, but you’re also put at your ease.  There is a ten-course tasting menu, though  we ordered a la carte (£35 three courses) and started off with an amuse of a really super espresso cup of turnip and white onion soup with a little garlic foam – smooth and tasty it did its job of waking up the taste buds.     

Our starters were a salmon plate  including  smoked slamon, blinis and a  mi-cuit slice that had real depth – a long way  from some of disappointing bland stuff I’ve had in recent years.  My Woodhouse Salad was a fantastic assemblage of  a gamey pigeon breast, duck egg with nicely gooey yolk, strips of home cured duck  that were dried out a bit like biltong and which  released tremedous flavour once you started to chew and well-dressed leaves. There was a touch of sharpeness from pickled apple and pear, while  a few  tempura hazelnuts adding sweetness and crunch. 

For main I had my first venison of the season and it was excellent.  Great flavour and the plate looked wonderful, the dark red of the  meat matched with red cabbage, purple potato and several plump blackberries.  Tender slices of  rare loin contrasted in texure with a block of slow-cooked shoulder on an onion marmalade,  both with excellent bits of cooking.   The jus was intense and there was well-judged  smear of licqourice.   I only got a quick taste of my friend’s beef but it too was excellent, coming with ox cheek fondant, bone marrow, fondant potato andautumn greens and a watercress puree. 

There was a pre-desert of a smooth, rich and sloppy chocolate mousse with pistachio biscuit  and I tucked into a desert of an elegantly constructed chocolate cyclinder, encasing  a white chocolate and passionfruit mousse on a light sponge base.  The mousse  seemed  somewhat unbalanced – I think it would have been improved with a bit less chocolate to make it lighter and enable the fruit flavour to come through more strongly. Very pleasant nonetheless.

I thoroughly enjoyed the food here – there’s high-quality ingredients, rigour and skill in the kitchen and an approach which is contemporary but not flash or showy.  

One more thing , apologies but I didn’t have a camera I didn’t have a camera  and on the basis that every post is enhanced by a picture,   the one below is shamelessly ripped off the website  – if that ‘s problem, somebody please tell me.

The Woodhouse

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