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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Flores

November 7, 2009

036Lunch on Friday at Flores. When this “world tapas” restaurant opened at the bottom end of New Walk, it was a very welcome attempt at bringing a bit of grown up sophistication to an area which come the evenings tends to be dominated by young people on the razz. It has a handsome exterior and a beautifully calm and comfortable interior.

As a bar it’s stunning – with an extraordinary, if pricey, range of beers and wines. When having dinner there I found the food imaginative and exciting – my main issue was with the world tapas concept. It offers a broad range of dishes from all types of cuisines in tapas-size dishes to share, mainly around £4 to £6. Individual dishes sounded wonderful but I found it hard to order a coherent meal, and if you found a dish you really liked, you not only had to try and hog it from everyone else, but it was gone in a couple of bites anyway.

An informal lunch for two seemed a better way to enjoy it. Starting with the best we had some fantastic belly of pork (below) – crisp skin and softly yielding meat, with superior black pudding, feisty English mustard and a healthy splodge of apple sauce.

pork belly and black pudding

Also excellent was a Greek salad, with some stunning feta. Now I really try with olives but have never been able to face them. The ones in this salad seemed so right for the dish I wolfed them down – a real breakthrough moment. Rather less successful was a claggy, luke warm pea,mint and saffron risotto, and a beautiful, elegant aubergine and mushroom moussaka with rather undercooked and bitter aubergine. Two glasses of excellent pinot grigio and two pots of really wonderfully large-leaf morrocan mint tea and the whole thing was £30.

Flores is most definitely a good thing. Even with the reservations expressed above, I reckon you should try it and see for yourself.

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