Restaurant round-up

February 9, 2010

Late notice I know but it seems Connie’s Nine Mile, the Caribbean restaurant/takeaway on Evington Road is featured in tonight’s edition of the Hairy Bikers – BBC 2 8pm, though I suppose iplayer will have it too if you’re interested.  I’ve eaten there a couple of times and been to a few events for which they’ve catered and it’s been good, tasty stuff.

And props to Entropy. The Hinckley Road restaurant  bar is celebrating its 10th year by running a series of events to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity Mind. There’ll be a wine tasting, gourmet night, birthday party and boss Cassie is running the London marathon  – if you feel like backing her, go here.

Interested to see the people behind the Fat Cat chain have diversified from city centre cafe  bars and opened up a village pub.  The Crown in Anstey appears to be run with the same verve as the cafe bars and the menu looks more appealing. I like Fat Cat as a  bar but have been disappointed with the food, lacking any kind of finesse or subtlety it always seemed just about filling up thirsty drinkers.   The Crown offering has most of the current shibboleths of the gastro pub menu – ham hock terrine with apple chutney, beer battered fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding and so on. I’m curious to find out if it’s done with a bit more commitment than Fat Cat. Good to see faggots appearing on the menu too – I trust they are not Brain’s.

I just missed out on a new pop up restaurant run by Greengages. Apparently on 6 Feb they took over a disused pub in the county and provided a meal by a chef “who has worked in some the countries (sic) best resaurants”. Don’t know how it went or if they are doing it again but would be interested to hear more if anyone knows.

Not sure what’s happening at Flores but it’s been shut the last few times I’ve looked, with tables unlaid. Friends who tried to book got a slightly curt email back saying they  were “currently closed”.

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Sometimes you want a gastro pub. Sometimes you want hot, stomach-lining pub grub.

By no stretch of the imagination is the Swan and Rushes a gastropub, but last night it offered up a just- right  Friday night supper. It’s long been a beer drinker’s pub, offering a big range of draught real ales but recently a friend recommended it for good value food. Turning up at 6.30pm on Friday evening I struggled to find a menu – asking the barmaid I got the response   “It’s Friday, we do Fish and Chips”. And that’s it. For a round fiver, we got a huge piece of fish, freshly cooked in a crisp batter, decent chips, a dollop of mushy peas.  No fuss, friendly staff, comfort food  – a good start to the weekend.

Thinking about it, I don’t know why more pubs don’t do it. Why try and produce a big range of Brakes Bros finest, when you could  do one dish and do it well with minimal demands on the kitchen?  The Swan has historical links to the Criterion, another pub that concentrated on a short menu – basically pizza – and doing it really well.

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