Since the relaunch of the King Richard III in July, I have been back a few times for a beer or two, but not had the opportunity to eat yet. Under the auspices of the Beautiful Pub Collective this once sadly neglected pub in a wonderful location on Highcross Street has blossomed. In three months, the team have become a tight knit unit, offering top class service and high quality food. It has been transformed from the confusing restaurant (pretending to be a pub) of the previous ownership into a thriving pub with a clear and uncompromising quality food offering. It has a clear brand and it oozes warmth and homeliness, as well as a considerable degree of style.
So how could I refuse an invitation to try the Sunday lunch menu? The pub’s food menu is promoted as a chophouse, with carefully considered ingredient sourcing at its heart. I expected the same eye for quality on the roast dinner offer and I was not disappointed.
Food fit for a King
Being led through to the cosy and inviting dining room, I was mildly surprised to see that the demographic of diners was predominantly on the younger end of the spectrum. Gratifying to see that we have a new generation of people in the city who enjoy a quality eating experience. There was a bustle about the dining room and about the staff, who were attentive and warm without being overbearing. Good service should appear effortless and this certainly appeared to be the case at the Richard III. The team were expertly directed by a competent and considerate manager who evidently runs a tight ship.
The Sunday lunch menu is reasonably priced given the quality of ingredients and presentation. Enjoy 2 courses for £19.95 at the time of writing. We had trouble deciding on which starters to have because they all sounded so delicious. I was sorely tempted by the smoked chicken, avocado and mango salad. Indeed I think I will return to enjoy that on a separate occasion as I saw another diner having it, and it looked great! Instead, I went for the devilled chicken livers. They were done in brandy with mushrooms and served on a hunk of robata grilled sourdough.
Something to start?
Melt in the mouth is not the word. The chicken livers were soft to the point of being pate-like in consistency, despite being served in large chunks on top of the crisp toast. The mushrooms added another layer of earthy texture, while the sweet and creamy brandy sauce brought each element together. Needless to say I mopped up every last morsel with the soaked bread.
I have mentioned on numerous occasions how The Boy is a chicken wing addict. You can guess which starter he went for, although the grilled mackerel nearly tempted him away. His verdict was a big thumbs up for the succulent wings with a crisp, robata grilled skin. He liked the spicy sauce but felt it needed a little more tang, and he was in love with the Cropwell Bishop Stilton mayonnaise that accompanied them. He loves a bit of Bleu, does The Boy.
Sunday Lunch: The Main Event
A fine start and a high bar for the mains. We both opted for the roasted top cap of rump. Well, you’d be mad not to really. This place does for red meat what Oprah does for talk shows. Served a little pink, the three generously thick slices of glistening meat are something really quite beautiful to behold. And of course they are locally sourced from Leicestershire farms that the team have visited to inspect for themselves. Eat meat sparingly, but when you do, eat local and eat quality. Such a sustainable way to live.
The rump beef was served with a super sized crisp Yorkshire, crisp and luscious beef dripping roasties (decadent shit I’ll be honest) and a selection of vegetables. I particularly enjoyed the creamed leeks and spinach as well as the honey roast carrots and parsnips. One of the best Sunday lunch menus I have enjoyed for a while, particularly because of the achingly tender and generously cut meat. Check out my review of the Geese and Fountain if you want to see one of the others. Most notably, I enjoyed the King Richard roast as you receive plenty of gravy, and are asked during your meal if you need more. Tha’ must have enough moist!
Along with regularly changing Everards and guest ales on the handpulls, there is a good selection of keg beer on offer. Wine lovers will not be disappointed with the list. There’s a particularly interesting Argentinian Tannat on there which would be my pick of the bunch to pair with the roast rump top cap. And of course you can get Burleigh’s Richard III gin (guests even receive a complimentary ticket to visit the Richard III Visitor Centre when they dine – never knowingly off brand here!)
If you can manage it, there is a select dessert menu to round off your meal. We managed to squeeze one in, for the purposes of review obviously. I went for the apple crumble creme brulee. This was sadly the most disappointing course of my meal – but I hasten to add still tasty.
A thin layer of apple puree was under the custard layer in a wide, shallow dish. This was topped with the traditional layer of caramelised sugar and an artsy line of crumble topping finished the dish. For me the custard was far too thin, and the dish was too wide and shallow – meaning that there was a lot of surface area covered with caramelised sugar. This threw the dish out of balance, making it far too sweet and almost totally obliterating the flavour of the apple. This was a shame as individually each element tasted good. Had it been in a narrower, deeper vessel I think the balance would be better, with more (and thicker) custard balancing the other elements out.
The Boy took up the brownie challenge, and challenge it was. It looks unprepossessing on the plate, but was rich and dense. It was served with pistachio ice cream, a nice contrast of hot and cold, and seemed to contain a fair amount of nuts in the brownie itself. A must for chocolate lovers, pudding connoisseurs… pretty much anyone really. Gooey deliciousness.
All good things must come to an end
And all too soon it was time for coffee and then a slow, satisfied waddle back up High Street. We were full and content after a leisurely paced meal. The comfortable surroundings and warm team make the King Richard III a great place to spend time, and the food is really the icing on the cake.
Many thanks to the King Richard III for inviting us along to review their Sunday Lunch. The meal was complimentary, but as always my writing reflects an honest view of my experience.