Category Archives: Leicester

Entropy – At last, fine dining in Leicester!

Seafood Soup and Pig Cheeks

Seafood Soup and Pig Cheeks

I shouldn’t say ‘at last really as Entropy has been around for at least 10 years on Hinckley Road in a rather salubrious area of the city which happens to be on my doorstep! I’ve never eaten there but did try their venture on Dover Street near the Little Theatre in the city centre which sadly failed and was closed down. From what I remember, the food was pretty good but the room was absolutely empty and made the eating experience sombre and rather disappointing.

Fancying a neighbourhood nibble the other week me and Rich met up at Entropy which was surprisingly busy for a midweek seven o’clock sitting. The staff are wonderful and explained that one of the chefs was not in that evening so service may be a little less speedy. In the end it was fine and allowed for chatting. Great bread that was baked onsite was brought to us and we ordered. I had pigs cheeks as a starter and Rich had seafood soup. We both had steak and oyster pie for main course. My cheeks were absolutely delicious and unctuous and came with a sauce gribiche and small salad. Rich’s soup was beautiful, rich seafood broth with a small pile of seafood in the centre. Interestingly, the soup was half served and the rest came in a small jug so you can dilute as you wish.

The pie was absolutely heavenly and certainly the best pie I have eaten in recent memory. Packed with beef and oysters with a rich buttery flaky topping. Small servings of carrots, french beans and mashed potato were served alongside but they were dead on as the pie was so filling. It was all just fabulous.

There was no debate on dessert as there was absolutely no room for it. Urbanspoon rocks.

Masterful Steak and Oyster Pie

Masterful Steak and Oyster Pie

I really can’t wait to find an excuse to go back as the food is just amazing and I’m excited about what the chef has up his sleeve.

Score 9/10 Would I go back? Hell Yes!

Entropy

42 Hinckley Road
Leicester LE3 0RB

1573 – Leicester

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1573 Bar and Grill

I’ve been looking forward to 1573 opening for some time. It is owned by the same people who own the Colourworks canalside restaurant whose food is above average for the city. The rumour was that 1573 was going to be a Fish Restaurant and I was quite excited by this but sadly they seemed to have chickened out and opened as a grill or more to the point a steak restaurant. I was overdue taking my friend Carl out for his 43rd birthday so we decided to give it ago. The restaurant is locared in the Old Free Grammar School is a Grade II listed building built originally in 1573 thus the name. Its been nicely done out, rough stone walls are well lit giving a cosy atmosphere. We were seated downstairs and given the menu.The waitress mumbled ‘Creamy Vegetable’ to me and I presumed that this must be soup of the day.

Starters choice was a bit odd. Nothing really tempting: dough balls, soup etc. We both went for salmon teriyaki which came with a salad. Bit odd as a starter, more like a childs portion main course but we went for it anyway.

Worryingly, the couple seated next to us were grumbling about their food, it seemed to be incorrect and then the steak came out and it was overcooked so had to go back. Service was slow, we waited for about 15 minutes for starters and the place was close to empty.

The salmon was ok. It was as described, though nothing special. Was cooked well and the teriyaki sauce was not overpowering which was good.

The steaks took ages. About 30 minutes after the starter was finished the steaks came out. They were served with chips and a salad. We both had the ribeye, it looked a bit overcooked to me after prodding. Chips tasted ok. I dipped a couple into the ordered bearnaise sauce but it tasted more like peppercorn sauce. I called the waitress over and she declared that they ‘weren’t our meals’ and took them away. Depressingly after a short pause at the pass she took the plates to the correct owners even though we had added seasoning, prodded the steaks and ate some of the chips/salad.

This is not on, we probably should have complained but were starving by then.

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2 Ribeye Steaks

Eventually our steaks came out and appeared to be as cooked. Mine seemed medium rare and she seemed pleased that I gave her the thumbs up, however the thicker parts of the steak were quite undercooked and were easily described as rare, however I prefer under than over so I ate it all. Steak was clearly from a good source as it was tender and had the nice nugget of fat that you get in the centre of all rib eye steaks. Chips were OK, they appeared to be pre-seasoned with black pepper which might not appeal to everyone. Bearnaise was very good. Salad was alright,  nice little halved cherry tomatoes. It would have been nice to order sides of portobello mushroom though and they might be missing a trick in not encouraging side orders.

We skipped dessert and coffee and got the bill. I slyly slipped a buy one get one free voucher in so it was extremely good value.

I think I would leave it 6 months before I go back so that they have time to get things together. Certainly taking already started plates of food to another customer is not on and I hope that this was an ‘off’ night for them.

Score 6/10

1573 Bar & Grill
Unit R12
The Old Grammar School
Freeschool Lane
Leicester
LE1 4PB
0116 2516879

Firenze – Leicester

I can’t hide my bias. I have a passion for Firenze. It was my first revelation as to how good italian food can taste and it has spoiled me. Every trip I take to Italy it ruins perfectly good meals by whispering in my ear. ‘It was good, but Firenze would have done it better!’ In some ways, maddeningly, I want them to occasionally fail so I am hyper critical when I go. I took Rich  there for his birthday on a slow Tuesday night. Perhaps tonight will be the night.

I’m not sure its fair to say that Firenze is in Leicester. It is close to Market Harborough, an up and coming commuter town about 12 miles south of Leicester City. Any trip to Firenze takes planning and normally expensive taxi rides if you want to enjoy their superb wines.

It is run by Sarah and Lino Poli.

Sarah manages to be effervescent, empassioned and professional without any pomp or condescension. She works the room as if all the diners are her friends and I think most end up being her friends. The staff are jolly and rightly look proud of the food they serve. The room is quaint and low ceilinged but decorated in a contemporary way so manages to feel cosy without feeling wedged in.

There are lots of ways of dining in Firenze, on weekdays there is normally a Menu Mercato, fixed price menu which offers lots of choice at a great price:

£17.50 per person for two courses
£22.50 per person for three courses
£27.50 per person for four courses

There is also a tasting menu but as it was a birthday treat we decided to go big bang and go for the four courses. Its normally a challenge for me to eat both antipasti and pasta before the main but at Firenze it is worryingly a breeze.

We started with a couple of deliciously biscuity glasses of prosecco and plotted our dining for the evening.

Foie gras terrine

Foie gras terrine

I started with the San Danielle ham with figs, Rich had a foie gras terrine. For pasta, I had the black truffle risotto and Rich had the crab risotto with avocado salsa.

For mains, Rich had the monkfish in saffron cream with mussels and samphire and I had the saddle of rabbit. For dessert, I had the chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream and Rich had the coconut jelly with their famous heavenly chocolate sorbet.

Black truffle risotto

Black truffle risotto

It was all wonderful, the foie gras terrine was an absolute work of art. And the truffle risotto had a generous amount of that pungent tuber tumbled over a soothing perfectly made risotto.

Please, if you are anywhere near Firenze, make an attempt to get a table. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Score 10/10

Firenze
9 Station St
Kibworth, Leicester, LE8 0LN
0116 279 6260

Wednesday Night Tuna

Defrosted a tuna steak last night and tried to decide what to do with it. Mad with myself as I left my sandwiches in the fridge again today. Baked a baguette and put dolcelatte, parma ham, spinach and olive oil dressing. Ended up with a Sainsburys meal deal. Anyway remembered a recipe I did once in Sheffield for friends which accompanied the tuna steak with pasta and a twangy salsa.

Recipe follows Care of Independent Newspapers

Tuna steak with sweet peppers, tomatoes and lime

Main course: Serves 4

Tuna with Sweet Peppers and Lime

Tuna with Sweet Peppers and Lime

2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper, stem, ribs and seeds removed
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 firm dark green lime, grated rind (no pith) and 2tsp juice
2tsp sugar
4 firm, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tuna steaks, weighing about 175g each
about 16 basil leaves, torn up

Heat half the oil in a medium saucepan and soften the shallots in it for 5 minutes. Cut the peppers into 1cm dice, add to the pan and cook gently, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, lime rind, lime juice and sugar. Cook a further 5 minutes, uncover and let the liquid evaporate. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook under the lid for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season lightly with salt. You can make this ahead up to this point.

Meanwhile, heat the grilling pan to very hot. Brush the steaks with some of the remaining oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes each side, depending on how thick they are. This would be sufficient for a thickness of 15mm. Tuna is much better cooked rare, like (beef) steak.

Have the sauce very hot and stir in the basil leaves. Place a tuna steak on each of 4 plates and pour the sauce around, finishing off with the remaining olive oil.

Plain pasta tossed in olive oil would be good with this.

Yo Sushi Leicester

So, my first restaurant post. It seems apt to choose Yo Sushi as in some ways it marks how the dining scene in Leicester has taken a step up in the last year. I first ate at Yo Sushi about eight years ago in Harvey Nichols. I had watched with curiosity several times before taking the plunge and seating myself up at the bar. I had memorised the required etiquette and set out my little dishes with pickled ginger, soy and the addictive wasabi.

In some ways its the etiquette and spectacle of Yo Sushi that keeps me coming back. Sushi is one of those foodstuffs that along with guacamole, roasted belly pork and sour cream Pringles that cause cravings. And when the craving arises sometimes the anonymity of Yo Sushi is the best way to satisfy that craving.

Yo Sushi Leicester

Yo Sushi in Leicester is one of their typical small outlets. Designed around the central food preparation area with bar stool seating around half of the conveyor belt and half with booth seating. Upstairs are the restrooms. Service was friendly initially, my friends took a while to arrive but I was invited to sit up at the conveyor belt whilst I waited.

It was a Blue Monday special offer day so all plates on the conveyor belt were the blue plate price of £2.20. I couldn’t help noticing that a lot of green plate stuff was going around which was  a bit cheeky as the normal price is £1.85. We started with some lovely Miso soup and ordered some beer, wine and some hot items from the kitchen. The choice on the conveyor belt was a bit disappointing but we did try a very tasty seaweed salad, prawn nigiri, tuna sashimi and duck sushi with hoi sin sauce. All very acceptable, though a some salmon skin rolls were rather thick and impenetrable and weren’t very pleasant.

Service was rather slow, it looked like they weren’t ready for so many people as there was only one server. All in all a pretty ok small meal before we headed to the cinema but as always the cost spiraled up to about £20 a head even though we felt we just had a few snacks. Not bad though.

Score 5.5/10