Taste Restaurant @ Leicester College
The restaurant is run by catering and hospitality students and is tucked away in the main building of the Freemen’s Park Campus, which can be a little difficult to find (easiest thing is to go in to the main entrance, walk forward until you see a lift on the right and then follow the signs in the lift and in the corridor!). It is open during term time, but you can make a booking at any time to make sure you bag yourself a place.
|Image c Leicester College|
It’s silver service at bargain basement prices – what more could you ask! I’ve been a few times now and never been disappointed either with the quality of the food or the finesse of the service. The learners really are a credit to the college with standards being uniformly high. Their Trip Advisor status confirms this, with the restaurant currently having 23 ‘Excellent’ reviews, 3 ‘Good’ and just 1 ‘Average’ – and they were talking about the ‘sea-bait’ being off as it had a very strong fishy flavour. I presume they mean whitebait and therefore you’d be expecting it to taste pretty darn fishy, so I am discounting their review as not meeting my exacting standards.
The last visit I made was for their special Christmas menu. The restaurant itself is comfortable, with neat white tablecloths and a relaxed atmosphere. For my starter I had a ham hock croquette. I like to consider myself a bit of a croquette aficianado these days, what with all my jaunts to Catalonia and this one did not disappoint. The crisp breadcrumb layer gave way to a perfectly smooth interior, flecked with strands of slow cook ham hock – melting, unctuous and delicious. It was a big ole’ croquette but I reckon I could have managed two because it was so tasty!
Next up, the main event. I snapped a picture of my neighbour’s plate as she had opted for the traditional turkey and all the trimmings and I have to say that potato lattice and the pigs in blankets certainly had my mouth watering! But in the end, the braised ox cheek I went for was a fabulous choice. Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before a healthy serving of vegetables had been added to my plate by the waitress, but hopefully you get the idea!
This was an amazingly well cooked dish, with absolutely blissfully melting ox cheek. The thick gravy was meaty and creamy and all the flavours were brought out beautifully by the fat mushrooms in the dish. The accompanying new potatoes were lovely and crisp which brought satisfying texture to the dish and the seasonal vegetables were fresh and just the right side of al dente (that is quite soft, but not too soft!). Writing this now is making me yearn for the dish. How sad I am that the Christmas menu is over.
For pudding I had opted for the cheese board, although the assiette of mini desserts was absolutely stunning looking. The cheese board was a perfect end to the meal though, although I was too stuffed to finish it all and certainly too full to try one of the homemade mince pies that came out with coffee at the end of the meal!