November 12, 2009

As a happy carnivore, I reckon Leicester could do with a really good steakhouse and grill. Pleasant enough as it is, 1573 on Highcross Street doesn’t appear to be it.

Full credit to the people behind it – I understand they also run Colourworks just off Braunstone Gate – for their ambition. They’ve taken on both a listed building in the Old Grammar School (the name  refers to the year of the construction of the building) as well as the hyper-efficient chains that surround it in Highcross.  The interior is handsome and characterful though I’m not sure they’ve made the best use of space downstairs –  I’m sure they had limited scope to redesign.

1573 002There’s an all day cafe-style menu but the branding is “Bar and Grill” and they’ve majored on steaks, ribs and so on.   Me and J went along in the evening to sample the full menu. I started with a half rack of pork ribs. Nothing specific to complain about here – they were nice, I wanted to finsh them,  but they weren’t especially meaty and the marinade was not especially smoky or piquant or interesting. J’s starter of teriyaki salmon steak was similarly good enough  – I sometimes do it this way because the rather bland salmon that predominates nowadays needs something like a rich, sweet and sticky teriyaki to liven it up.

When it came to mains, it’s a bit sad to report the standout element of the dishes for each of us was the sauce.  All the steaks are trumpeted as scottish, dry-aged for up to 28 days and all that – they were Ok. My 8oz rib-eye (larger sizes avaiblable) was tender and nicely chargrilled but  flavourwise, meh.  Chips were pretty greasy and unimpressive, while the garnish was a fairly artlessly chopped collection of cherry tomatos and salad veg.  It wasn’t really above what you expected in a decent pub.    The Diane sauce though was creamy as you’d want and deliciously flavoured. J’s thoughts on his sirloin were similar –  again giving a thumbs up to the bourbon and peppercorn sauce.

We weren’t really inspired on this occasion to check out the deserts  – sticky toffee pudding, apple pie, chocolate fudge cake. There was however a nice surpise when the bill came – turns out it was two for one on steaks – though I’d not seen any publicity for the offer so can’t be sure when it applies. Two courses each, with the offer, and a very good bottle of Australian shiraz,  came to around £45.

As ever, I’d be interested to hear feedback from others who have been.

Market forces

November 5, 2009

Farmers market 107

Made a lightning guerrilla raid in a spare 15 minutes to Leicester’s relaunched Farmers’ Market (see post on 25 October). First signs were very positive. It felt a lot more special in its new home and even at 10am appeared to be creating a lot of interest. First purchase was some Egremont Russets (see left – how do ya like dem apples?), the arrival of which is always a highlight of the year for me – though I admit I’m happy to just look at how beautiful they are. Then it was along to the Pick’s farm stall for a couple of dexter burgers (see 31 October). I also picked some value items for autumn evening comfort eating – pork ribs and some dainty little pieces of dexter oxtail. Brockleby’s farm is another stalwart of these events and I got some lamb fillet from their flock of rare breed Jacob sheep.

Farmers market 097

With a bit more time I would have investigated some fantastic looking bread, smoked trout, Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, and some of the tasty-looking game (below). Talking briefly with some of the traders they seemed optimistic about the new site. Would be interested to know how the figures stacked up by the end of the day. Did anyone rock along at lunchtime – how did it look?

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Pick a winner

October 31, 2009

Dexter  burgerLunch today was one Pick’s Farms wonderful organic dexter burgers. Dexters are a small breed of cattle –  I always think of the short-legged variety as overgrown Bassett hounds – but the meat always seems to pack a real flavour punch. These burgers are excellent – coarsely minced and not too lean, simply griddled on a really hot pan they maintain a wonderful succulence. A poor quality burger can generally be made palatable with pile of fried onions and a dollop of barbecue sauce, but these are really best served up au naturel, just let those meaty juices seep out into a lightly toasted roll.  Pick’s    has a farm shop out to the north of Leicester in Barkby Thorpe  but can also be found at farmers’ markets and events around the region.

Oh – and the photos will improve. Honest.

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