There’s been welcome confirmation this week that Canteen – the Street Food night previewed in December at LCB Depot in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter – will continue as a regular monthly “last Friday” event from February.

The next event will be on Friday 24th, which neatly coincides with the Comedy Festival and will feature stand-up as well some of the UK’s top street food outlets parked in the rear yard, a DJ, full bar and a specialist cocktail bar.

Among the traders will be Birmingham-based Baked in Brick, winners of the 2016 UK Street Food Awards. Founded by an alumni of the Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons no less, they serve Neapolitan style pizzas from a wood-fired oven out of the back of a 1964 Mini Cooper (and grilled chicken tikka from the front).

baked-in-brick

The evening is billed as a place for “friends and families, creative types, city residents, students and stressed out city workers to mingle and have a great evening” and judging by the December evening they’ve got the mix right. It runs from 5pm-11pm and entry is free, with children welcome until 9pm. Each trader will be offering a vegetarian offering.

  • One quick note  – it seems to be public news now that the next St Martins/Crafty project I alluded to in an earlier post will be the renovation of the Richard III pub on Highcross St as a high quality dining pub. There is backing from Everards for the conversion and I’m entirely confident that the St Martin’s team will do a great job of creating a go-to dining venue.

 

 

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I caught up with Maiyango founder Aatin Anadkat on Friday  and had an interesting chat about new developments for the business.

With the Jubilee Square development finally nearing completion and the Richard III visitor centre opening around the corner last week, Aatin recognised there was an opportunity here for the restaurant and boutique hotel business to have a bit of a rethink. Over the last nine years the fine dining restaurant has developed into one of the city’s best, but there’s a limited lunchtime market for a smart restaurant. With a bustling new public square right outside the front door the time was right to develop a more informal all-day breakfast and lunch menu that could appeal to tourists, shoppers, serious lunchers and hotel residents alike.

Atin Anadkat at Maiyango

Aatin Anadkat at Maiyango

So the first step was to abandon the traditional buffet breakfast served upstairs in the hotel and create a funky brunch approach that is open to all and served in the restaurant.  Aatin was inspired by informal, quirky diners sprouting up in areas of London such as Kings Cross and Smithfield – “all that over complicated, pretentious stuff – that’s gone!”.

One look at the breakfast/brunch menu – which runs until 2pm – and you can see that this stands a good chance of sweeping up a big chunk of the city centre’s  breakfast market. Standing out immediately for me was huevos rancheros – jalapeno and tomato compote, fried eggs, tortilla, sour cream refried bread and chorizo. I secretly snuck back on Sunday morning to give this a try but they’d sold out  – disappointing, but at least suggests a freshness in preparation (I wonder how often they run of things at Coast to Coast). Instead I had Maiyango Benedict, a beautiful prepared version featuring lip-tingling jalapeno cornbread, poached free-range eggs, two hefty tranches of ham with  creamy hollandaise given a little sharpness from, I think, gherkin. Very good indeed. There’s also, of course, the full English, a vegetarian version with grilled asparagus, slow roasted tomato, flat mushroom, sautéed sweet potato and eggs, plus healthy options such as organic granola or a fruit board with water melon, pineapple, seasonal berries, greek yoghurt, blossom honey and fresh mint leaves. There’s also choices of smoothies and pastries from the in-house bakery.

The lunch menu, available until 5pm, reflects the international cast of the restaurant’s evening menus, with the likes of an Asian tasting plate with sweet potato and coriander bhaji, tandoori paneer skewer, moong lentil dahl, squash and spinach samosa, and kohlrabi and shallot pakora. Then there’s small plates such as sticky pulled pork with kimchi flat bread and celeriac slaw. The more substantial lunches include Moroccan lamb burger, spiced root vegetable fries and slaw, or lemon grass and chilli infused salmon with coconut and basil broth.

Prices? More than nearby Wetherspoons for sure, but that’s hardly the point. This is quality stuff and you could have a light lunch and drink for around a tenner or a bit of a blowout for £20.

With other tweaks, such as the reintroduction of draught beer (including Freedom lager), I think there’s a compelling case for now considering Maiyango as a classy daytime cafe as well as a stylish destination dining venue.

Comedy festival cook-off

February 5, 2013

At 2pm on a Saturday I’m generally twitching with nerves with the build up to City’s next tilt at joining the monstrous Premiership circus. If you are somewhat more relaxed, you might like to consider popping down to Chutney Ivy over the next three Saturdays for a comedy cooking event. The Halford St restaurant is sort of rebranded as Dave’s Curry House for the duration of the Leicester Comedy Festival and on three Saturday afternoons hosts cook-offs between pairs of comedians under direction of manager Shaf Islam.

Dave's curry
The events are free but ticketed and kick-off is 2pm. You can book and see full details here.

Should be worth it just to see how the comics manage to shoehorn a Richard III/carpark reference into the cooking of a curry. Speaking of which, Richard Buckley (I know you are out there) – many congratulations. We’re very proud of you.

And one more thing, congratulations also to Jaimon Thomas of Kayal, who has now opened the fourth branch of the Keralan restaurant and the first in that there South. The new branch is in West Byfleet, a few yards off the M25 near Woking.

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