Just catching up here with links to a couple of my reviews in the Leicester Mercury.

Cultura is a new bar and restaurant near me in Clarendon Park, Leicester. It’s just the kind of place the area was crying out for and seems to be doing well. Reports from friends are very enthusiastic about the service and atmosphere and most seem to have agreed with my verdict of great promise with the occasional sign that some dishes aren’t quite the finished item.

At The Bootroom the issue is maybe the other way around. Another lovely, stylish venue with great staff and there was no real issue with anything on the plate, it was all very well done but just a mite dull. For a place with the reputation and the evident skill, it all just seemed a bit too safe.

Meanwhile there is the curious case of 19Gale – a huge, expensively done out restaurant in the heart of the Cultural Quarter with a suite of elaborately-themed private karaoke rooms which can cater for several hundred people. The food from the traditionally-structured three course menu is beautifully presented and a Western fine dining take on Chinese food –  actually probably more accurately a Chinese take on Western fine-dining  – though I’d really like to go with a group and try selections from the Chinese menu. Service was lovely and it’s a shame that at the moment the place seems to be under used. There were five or six tables in use when we went – the same as The Bootroom – but here we rattled around a bit. With a more or less full restaurant I’m sure the place would really buzz.



Ten tasty places

December 29, 2014

For the Twixtmas edition of my Leicester Mercury column I did them a piece on ten food and drink places readers might like to try. Regular followers of this blog may recognise a certain amount of adapted material here and it was a nice opportunity to highlight some places I admire but which may not be feasible to fit in for a restaurant review column. Here’s the link:  ten tasty places


November 19, 2014

My Leicester Mercury review of Ascough’s in Market Harborough is now up online. It’s a really well-run place, that strikes a good balance between food that is done with a bit of style and pizzazz while staying appealing to a wide range of diners and, crucially,  good technique and solid flavours.

Ascough’s review

The Lighthouse, Kibworth

November 4, 2014

Bit delayed, but my recent review for the Leicester Mercury of The Lighthouse in Kibworth  is now online here. I hadn’t been since it rebranded to a specialist fish restaurant but having been to Firenze, Boboli and, back in the day, Welford Place, I was expecting it to be good, and it was.  By the way, the mackerel dish in the picture was our actual dish  – I don’t have really much contact with the Mercury and purely coincidentally the photographer turned up when we were eating there and we were the only diners in at the time (it was very busy an hour later), so our food got snapped on the pass.  The restaurant, I should stress, did not know I was reviewing.


My review in this weekend’s Mercury featured Byron in The Highcross. As you’ll see, we liked it. A good burger is a thing of beauty and these are good, so…that’s it really. They live up to their mission to do a simple thing well and do it properly.  It’s not cheap – and the beer in particular is rather steep – but you will like it.

Byron review


Marrakech in the Mercury

October 13, 2014

As some of you may know, I have now started writing restaurant reviews for the Leicester Mercury. Doesn’t mean I’ll abandon this blog – but I’ve sort of agreed I’ll put links to the Mercury review page rather reproduce the review in its entirety here. I would envisage there’ll be times when I’ve got more things to say than go in the paper but, equally sometimes maybe I’ll just put the link up. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the reviews are in the Saturday edition More magazine supplement and the first one was Marrakech on Highfield Street, Leicester. In a nutshell – tasty, home-style Moroccan food in low-key neighbourhood restaurant.  Go here for the full review.


Pheasant, partridge, mallard, snipe etc

Yesterday was quite a day for me. Firstly, City went top of the league  – even if only for two hours – after a fifth win a row. Then there was a lovely sunny morning out at the East Midlands Food Festival. I came back with a bag full of bread from King’s Rd bakery,  cheese, pistachio baklava, wild roe deer steaks, goat, pheasant and one of those very heavy Woll saute pans.The venison I dry-fried in the  pan last night with great success. The pheasant may serve for Sunday lunch today  – it was boned and stuffed which the regular habuitues of Melton’s market may welll consider a bit mimsy but I’m not sure I’ve got the knife skills or the patience to do all that stuff myself.

Very pretty battenberg fudge

It was great to earwig so many conversations from people who had made exciting new discoveries –  and were taking such pleasure in it.  Great, too, to see so many people carrying and reading Great Food magazine, which had struck a deal with the organisers to give a copy – including a festival guide – to everyone at the gate.

Happy shoppers

Just for you, Tara Chakraborti

And finally, there was a nice start to the day, discovering the Leicester Mercury had produced an excellent food themed issue of their Saturday magazine and had listed me as one of thirty-odd Leicestershire food heroes. I’d responded to a request a while back to help suggest a few names for this list (most of which I’m glad to see were taken up) but hadn’t really believed I would be included too. Very honoured to be in that company anyway.


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