Captain Calamari

Calamari: Does everyone have dishes that they just can’t resist when they see them on a menu? Mind is definitely calamari, or more properly squid of any description, but especially in its crispy, crunchy deep fried iteration. Salt and pepper, chilli or plain. I don’t mind. I just love those slippery little guys. Give me rings, give me tentacles, I’ll take it all.

So getting back out there and supporting my local restaurants I have had occasion to sink a few portions of squid recently. I thought it would be interesting to give you a little compare and contrast, as I was quite intrigued at how ordering one of my favourites didn’t always come off as well as I’d hoped.

Wygston’s House

So we start with Wygston’s House. Just 4 cones. Heads? Bodies? What do you call it? Anyway, four bits on some wilted rocket. Looked a lot crispier than they actually were. Sadly just a bit chewy and disappointing. NEXT!

Marquis of Wellington

squid at the Marquis of Wellington Leicester

Next on to the Marquis of Wellington. A much nicer salad with it, which made it feel like a more complete starter. And a good job because the was just two squid tubes, cut up into even smaller pieces. And not at all crispy. In fact, I think it was dusted with flour so it’s a moot point whether it was intended to be crispy. So it was… Fine. Better, although a bit miserly in portion.

Bistrot Pierre

squid at Bistrot Pierre

Crispy! Tender! Freshly fried! Marginally bigger pieces! I’m starting to think that my expectations of how big a squid starter portion size should be. But it’s good to have a dream. Bistrot Pierre, newly reopened in Leicester last week, were by far the closest to hitting the mark for me. After two previous abortive efforts I nearly went for the champignons to save myself the disappointment. But I’m pleased I stuck to my guns. Maybe 8 out of 10 and absolutely would order again (my friend’s mushrooms came with burnt toast…)

What is your go to dish and where do I get good calamari? More to the point, where in the Midlands do I get served tentacles??


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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