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.

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Cultural Quarter

October 2, 2010

Good to see the premises formerly known as the Quarter are about to re-open as a bar and Indian restaurant called Chutney Ivy. And word on the street is that Cassie from Entropy is opening a bar (“Xchange”) in the Exchange buildings a few doors down – this is the splendid “flat-iron” building opposite the entrance to Curve.  

It’s important for Leicester that the area thrives and buisnesses like this are needed. If Ramada/Butterfly could just increase the pace and open their 115 -room Encore hotel on Rutland Street we might just start to see the elusive critical mass kick in to the benefit of the beleaguered Phoenix Square and Curve. The stated December 2010 date suggested looks somewhat optimistic to me, from the street anyway.    

No sign of a website  or menu up at Chutney Ivy yet  but initial impressions suggest upmarket rather than cheap and cheerful.

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