The Marquis is one of those pubs that brings back old memories for me. It was the pub where my new friends and I went for a drink on the afternoon of the first day of our Masters Degree. It’s where we went back when we finally graduated. However, since those heady days (and it was an alright pub then) the Marquis has transformed itself, into one of the best kept secrets in Leicester. And it genuinely is. Despite having a full refurbishment, about 2 or 3 years ago and developing one of the best records in terms of food and service, it’s still very rarely packed to the gills – which it should be. We went on Sunday for lunch and I was amazed that there were so many free tables – I was fretting on the way up that I should have booked in advance!
The Marquis is set in a lovely historic building on Leicester’s London Road. Just far enough out of town to make it a relatively select crowd that go in there, although there is a good mix of students and older regulars in there for good measure. The staff are always welcoming and provide very attentive service. They offer a choice of the usual Everards fare when it comes to ales and a small, but decent selection of wines. The pub is always very clean and all the facilities are completely presentable.
The win for me (when I was a smoker, and still now) is the outdoor area. Four almost chalet like covered booths sport comfortable cushions, lighting and timed heaters for when the weather is chilly. They’ve also managed to pack a few more tables into what is actually quite a small patio area, but judicious use of light colours and eye catching bamboo and other plants means that it feels like a refined and roomy area to chill out with friends.
The Marquis’ menu is another big win for me. At first it looks like standard pub fare – chilli, burgers, nachos and a Sunday lunch offering. However, once you receive the food, you’ll find it is more Gastropub, but without the pricetag. We even used our Tastecard there, giving us 2-4-1 on main meals, which made it deliciously cheap!
For our astoundingly awesome Sunday lunch this week, we ordered ‘The Greek’ – a platter consisting of toasted pitta, hummus, dressed salad, feta, olives and crudites. Literally my only criticism of the entire meal we had was that the menu stated you receive tzatziki, but we got double hummus. But I rather like that, so I didn’t bother to chase the tzatziki (which is a bit like chasing the dragon, but more dip-based).
You can see from the picture that a pesto like dressing is drizzled across the platter. This is very tasty. The whole combination of flavours is lovely, the smooth creamy hummus, with the sharp, tangy feta, and the herby dressing, contrasting with the crunchy vegetables. Just delicious. And a good sized portion for sharing. I loved it, and for £7.50 I think it is a good buy as a sharer.
|Chilli Beef Nachos
But that was not all we had to share – we were on a 241 deal, so we also picked up the £6.50 chilli nachos, a great robust dish with strong, but subtle flavours. Your mound of tortillas is covered in melted cheese, ladles of a lightly spiced but tasty beef chilli, with plenty of kidney beans and a final coat of tomatoey salsa. Served on the side are guacamole and sour cream. All the ingredients taste of fine quality and this is a very filling dish! The Boy and I both agreed that we’d happily come back one day and see if we could manage one of these portions to ourselves, although we caught a glimpse of another table being served a Sunday Roast which looked great, so we’re going to have to come back and try that (£7.95) before we have a nacho challenge.
How could I fail to give the Marquis anything other than ten out of ten Extreme points? It’s nearly all things to all people, a quiet boozer, a fun place to join in with an Open Mic night, a pub grub lunch time stop off or a Gastropub evening dine. We also need to go and check out the quality of the Monday night pub quiz when the students are back, and not to forget the drinks offers on Hell Yeah Wednesdays. Yes, this pub holds “Hell Yeah Wednesday” – what’s not to like?
|A Happy Hippy
UPDATE 12/10/12: Sad times! We went back to eat at the Marquis recently and they have changed their menu in line with what is served at The Globe. It’s nowhere near as good any more. The pork belly is not crisp and the nachos to share don’t even have chilli on them now.
Looking at the menu we could see that the Greek platter is no longer available, just I think hummus and pitta – nowhere near as high quality an offer or at as good value as previously.
Sad times my friends, the crushing disappointment weighs heavily on my soul. One of the absolute top places to eat in the city, now not worth the trek up London Road? Has anyone else been recently, what do you think? Comment below…