The Phoenix

September 26, 2012

Many people love Leicester’s Phoenix cinema.  Some complain that it’s not as homely as its old Upper Brown St location, others that it’s not as lively or comfortable a social space as Nottingham’s Broadway.

I can see all points of view here but I do say I always enjoy going there and will add that they do a pretty good job with their food and drink offering. They get the “fresh, local, seasonal” thing and everything I’ve eaten has been rather good.  Today I had smoked haddock and leek soup off the specials board which was really great – lots of fish, plenty of leek and a tasty peppery stock. Proper made-in-the-kitchen stuff and all the better for not bulked out with cream or blitzed spuds.  The menu varies from brunch items such as eggs benedict (my friend’s looked very tasty) to creative sandwichs (grilled halloumi, mango chutney and rocket), salads, excellent burgers and more substantial mains  – fish and chips,curries, bangers and mash. Alright it’s not cosy, but as well as refuelling before or after a film, I’d say it is a good option for an informal working lunch or meeting friends (food is served 11am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm Sunday).

Phoenix cafe – (from their website)


More good news for Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Shortly to open on Rutland Street  is Lanna Thai, not just an upmarket Thai restaurant but a “media performance centre” to boot.  The  venue is situated in the Leather Factors, that glorious  Rennie Mackintosh-style building between Curve and the old Helsinki bar. The upper part of the building was converted into smart,  short-let apartments about the time of the construction of Curve and the new restaurant will be over two lower floors, with developers promising that historic features have been  maintained and renovated, such as the rear glass curtain wall which will feature a “stunning 5m cascade of white Thai orchids”. 

The media performance centre is on the lower ground floor, accessed through the restaurant and can be decked out with tables,  sofas, a stage or a catwalk  for private dinners, exhibitions, performances launches, parties, cinema screenings, comedy, dance  – there’s a sprung floor –  and so on.  Total capacity at the venue will be around 160.

This week I’ve been to the Cultural Quarter for a sell-out afternoon film at Phoenix Square, a near sell-out opera at Curve, and am going to a social media seminar at LCB Depot this early evening, followed by dinner at the newly-opened Chutney Ivy.  With the Xchange Bar set to open in December, a hotel soon after and now this intriguing new venue, it feels the area might – despite economic gloom – just starting to be coming into its own.

%d bloggers like this: