3 New Leicester Food Experiences
As predicted, it has been a slow start for us, returning to the outside world with Bam Bam. Finding the freedom to cycle into town or the time to bring her with me on the bus means that my chance to enjoy fantastic Leicester food is relatively limited. We’ve been to a couple of pubs so far for a couple of meals. However there are quite few new restaurants, chefs and foodie options in town that I am looking forward to trying when I get the chance.
The Pickled Mushroom @ Richard III
The Richard III has changed ownership over lockdown, and I am massively relieved that this incredible refurbishment will not be going to waste! The Pickled Mushroom is less than a year old and started life working out of the kitchen at Thyme in Market Bosworth while they were closed. Now in their new home at the central Leicester location, they are taking advantage of the relatively spacious (and totally palatial) beer garden at the pub to serve up their own brand of delicious.
They were originally made famous for their Sunday roasts, featuring waffle pattern Yorkshire puddings, which sound fine, but aren’t what I’m excited to try. Their regular menu is much more American classic in style, and they have a smoked bacon mac and cheese on the small plates. So I’m in, basically. They only opened for service a couple of days ago, but already the pictures coming out look mouthwatering. The Great Burger Frenzy in Leicester is over now, so it is a great time for more people to make really delicious burgers and hot sandwiches. We’ve already got Zion at the Bridle Lane Tavern, and it looks like The Pickled Mushroom can be added to the canon, with delights such as the Crispy Jerk Burger and Cajun Prawn Po Boy on the menu.
I also like the sound of the R3 pie special – with beef, pork, smoked bacon, ale and mushroom – although I can’t really work out from the menu if that is all in one pie, or a choice of fillings. Either way, I’m down and happy to try. They are currently open Thursday to Saturday evenings and afternoon to evening on Sundays.
The Rutland & Derby
Not a new venue, but most definitely an exciting new menu! The Rutland & Derby not only has one of the finest suntrap beer gardens in the city, but now they also have Canadian classic dish, poutine, on offer. Along with bao, poutine has been the dish of the day in street food circles for a couple of years now and both are now creeping on to permanent menus. If you haven’t tried the original, it is fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. As someone who grew up in the North West, I am no stranger to chips and gravy and I can confirm that the addition of squeaky cheese makes it even better.
The Poutine Collective have brought their own twist. The original style of poutine features mozzarella pearls and cabernet & veal gravy to add a real depth of flavour. I am internally slightly cynical that mozzarella will be a good cheese to use on poutine, but I am ready to withold judgement until I try it. However, the menu item that has got me really excited has to be the brisket variation – where slow cooked beef brisket is combined with red Leicester cheese and pancetta, red onion and that veal gravy. Sounds intense, flavourful and wickedly delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
And finally, we have an entirely new venue opening soon. In the converted bank once inhabited by Delilah, we will soon see the launch of Sonrisa, an Argentinian restaurant. Leicester food culture did take a bit of a knock when Delilah closed, unfortunately. I cannot wait for this new venue because it is a statuesque location for any eatery. From what I have seen, it promises to be truly stunning. The signature open kitchen will still be there, really making use of the space to add a little theatre. I have no doubt that the balcony seating will offer an equally memorable view whilst you dine.
But of course it is the food (and the wine) that I cannot wait for. It’s over a decade since I visited Argentina to make my own study of the cuisine. It is a culture that stays with you forever. I am really excited to see how it is translated for the British market. I have visited a couple of other places in the UK which were FABULOUS. Of course the quality and cooking of the steaks, and the accompanying wine menu will undoubtedly take pride of place. But I’m hoping for some other great dishes – beautifully spiced prawns, succulent grilled chicken, maybe a cheeky empanada… The Malbec should be superb, but also I hope for a lively Torrontes to enjoy on a hot day. Time will tell on that one!
Leicester Food Recommendations
Have you visited any of these locations? What did you think? And where else are you looking forward to visiting, now that restrictions are slowly lifting?