The latest of my reviews to go up on the Leicester Mercury website is the Queen of Bradgate. I enjoyed it and its tasty, slightly off-kilter food. It’s a good complement to the neighbouring Orange Tree, which has got decent food and drink too but, which I can find a bit too boisterous  – no criticism of a well-run bar, simply a sign I’m really starting to feel my age.

So here’s the link to the review   – Queen of Bradgate –  with the usually warning/apology for the aggressive ads on the Mercury site.

WP_20141211_15_48_58_ProOn another note, I’m sorted for Christmas wines after a super tasting at the weekend at Evington’s on Evington Road. Simon March always seems to find interesting wines and this year the standouts for me were a superb Sauterne from Chateau Villefranche (£11.89 half bottle) and, much to my surprise,  a wine from FYR Macedonia called made by Stobi called Vranec Veritas Reserve (£14.79) and made from local Vranec grapes. The latter is a booming 14.5 per cent red which would sit in for Clarets priced much higher, and while – sadly – I can’t say I drink Sauterne regularly, this one was the best I’ve encountered – incredibly complex and multi-layered for wine that sweet.

If you are looking for something special for the festive period I do recommend a visit – Simon is always happy to advise.

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I received invitations from friends to both lunch and dinner at the Queen of Bradgate yesterday. Given the relative rarity of such events, I accepted them both.

And I was glad I did, because the food was without exception well-cooked, nicely presented and full of flavour. My lunchtime chilli wouldn’t have done much for the hard-core heat addict, but the slow cooked beef shin was really tender and tasty, coming with zingy guacamole and rich, thick sour cream. Emma’s ham hock and gruyere fritters were well-cooked and flavoursome too, though the main course portion probably need more than the  slight puddle of mustard sauce.

chicken, ham, leek

In the evening  a bigger group of us tucked into the likes of a hefty chicken, ham and leek pie and a beautifully seasoned pork chop cooked with apples, saute potatoes and a light cider sauce. It might sound like the bulky, comfort food of “pub grub” infamy, but these were well-made dishes done with a light touch and a real regard for a balanced plate.  The vegetarian option on the printed menu was perfunctory, but a conversation with staff soon rustled a  couple of further options and those who chose the pasta with asparagus and spring vegetables seemed absolutely delighted with their offering.

lemon bakewellDeserts too were traditional but done with a touch of quality. My pain au chocolat bread and butter pudding was exactly what you’d want when ordering such a dish, while the lemon curd bakewell was another success.

It’s not food that pushes boundaries  then – it’s just really nice, well-prepared food that cares about the diner. It’s very much in launch mode right now  – they are still trying to work out issues such as how to balance the music in the drinking areas and the dining area, and staff were, let’s say, keen rather polished. All in all,  a welcome addition to eating and drinking scene in the city centre and one that has obliterated the memory of its previous incarnation.

(Thanks to Mike for the pictures).

 

 

 

The Queen of Bradgate

May 21, 2014

Excellent news about The Queen of Bradgate. One of a pair of very low rent megaboozers that opened on the edge of the Shires/Highcross development and quickly shut because, well, they were horrible and they were 20 yards from a Wetherspoons. Since then the pair have really stunk out one end of High Street, so it’s marvellous to find the new operators are Moleface, who operate several good pubs in Nottingham including the Larwood and Voce at Trent Bridge.

Have a look at the website and you get the idea. Not groundbreaking but tasty sounding  food that will keep the neighbouring Orange Tree on its toes (though I’m sure there’s space for both). There’s a decent selection of beers too from the likes of Freedom and Meantime Breweries and, locally, Castle Rock and Oakham plus a selection of Belgian and other bottled beers bottles.  I like it that are not calling themselves “fine food evangelists”, just people who like to have good time – when Peach Pub’s The Almanack flounced out of town last year it told us we weren’t ready for a gastropub as cool as them.  Well, we will  see. There were things I liked about the Almanack – I think the new Queen of Bradgate could replicate that and offer more besides.

It’s set to open any day.

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