The Knight Returns

Blimey, I don’t half bang on about the Knight and Garter in Leicester do I? I mean, that’s because it’s great. Honestly, it’s been open for just over 5 years now and I’ve never had a bad experience there.

So on a flying visit back to Leicester this weekend, of course we had to pop in and see what the menu was saying. I’ve said before, and they have led me to still believe, that it is the best restaurant in town. And it’s a pub, more-or-less. A fancy pub. With a kind of restaurant bit. A brasserie perhaps. Who cares?

On the starting blocks

We went for the pigeon breast and vegan black pudding starters. The pigeon breast was served pink and glistening, atop a vivid bed of pink and green – a beetroot chutney and cushion of wilted spinach. They say that comes with a crostini on the menu, but I’ll be honest, that was the biggest doorstop wedge of hewn toast that I have ever seen in my life. You aren’t going to complain about going away hungry though, and we didn’t.

I had the vegan black pudding, because I was intrigued, having recently had something similar at Nooch in Shrewsbury. Theirs missed the mark a little for me, being a touch too bland for my taste. It should have been the star on the plate and it really wasn’t. So I wanted to see if this would be a good one.

It was better – great texture and a real creamy, indulgent mouthfeel. The flavouring was more punchy, but there was still the absence of that great spicy backnote that you get from a bloody black pudding. I’m not sure if people are being too hesitant with the white pepper, but it just needs a little more pizazz. That said, I loved the generous croquettes with perfectly crisp shells. The cream and crispy leeks they were served with was a perfect accompaniment.

In the main arena

For our main course (and already feeling pretty full) we really saw the gastro-pub element come to life. None of your teeny fine dining portions here, this is robust, chunky food. The Boy plumped for the cheese burger. Which turned out to be a cheese and bacon burger, which I was ultimately quite disappointed to see. Because that would have tipped me over to order it too.

The burger was robust. Thicc. Juicy and delicious. The richness of the excellent quality beef cut though by a layer of pickled red onion. The dry cured bacon crisp and inviting. It comes with perfect fries and a pot of the most delicious veal jus. Honestly, just order a little teeny saucepan of the veal jus when you visit. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got anything to dip in it. Drink it straight from the pan. It’s ambrosia. Also thicc.

I had the chicken milanese, which was probably the best one I’ve ever had the pleasure to stuff down my face. Literally as big as a dinner plate, and topped with a healthy bucketful of roquette salad, it was – almost predictably and boringly by now – cooked to perfection. Light, flavourful herbed brioche breadcrumbs are crisp to the soft, yielding moistness of the thin chicken breast within. Lemon was applied with the precision of an absolute culinary genius, lifting every mouthful to previously unheard of levels. And a big fat portion of big ole fat beef dripping chips on the side.

So you liked it?

Yeah. Bit more kick to that vegan BP and we are at 11 out of 10 mate. Just superb. Bit annoyed it takes two hours on the train to get there now.

We had a voucher kicking around from last year which we redeemed against the cost of our meal. But they didn’t know I would write anything, and my opinions are an honest reflection of how delicious the food actually was. Sorry if it’s too enthusiastic for you. I liked it.


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

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