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am giving this place a go for lunch on Sunday, will post how I get on

Well, La Toque turns out to be a very pleasant neigbourhood restaurant. Unfortunately it was a short set menu for Mother's Day, so I didn't see the a la carte, and the options were doubtless safer than usual. The cooking, although unadventurous, generally seemed pretty accomplished. A starter of spanish onion soup with chorizo was a sound enough combination which suffered from an excess of sweet pureed onion; a main of salmon with risotto was well executed, with subtle saucing but sufficient citrus sharpness to take care of the salmon's oiliness, though the portion size was excessive. The desserts were of a particularly high standard. The bakewell tart with cinnamon ice-cream is a good example of a very simple dish elevated by technique, in this case a tart which, rather than being stodgy and overly sweet/moist/gooey was instead a much more disciplined, rich, biscuity affair with crisp, very short pastry and an accompanying puddle of Nutella-ish sauce under the ice-cream which re-introduced the necessary comfort level nicely.

Service was friendly and informal, decor was dark, modern and inoffensive (see website), and the bill was undemanding (under 20ukp for 3 courses I think).

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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  • 1 year later...
What about Leicester?

I've heard that this is another city in the Midlands with a substantial Asian population.

Do they have restaurants there also, or is it mostly crisps?

As Andy Lynes points out we do have restaurants. The asian restaurant scene is marked more by quantity than quality. There are some fantastic cheap and cheerful dhabas offering home-style food, a wide range of vegetarian options and countless tandoori restaurants on a scale from poor to good. In the last three months there have been two very intersting openings Red Veil , which is at the fine dining end of the scale, avoiding huges lists of slightly different curries and offering items such as sea bass, scallops in goan dressing, lamb shank in kashmiri spices etc. Then there's Halli which offers first rate Southern Indian vegetarian from Karnataka. Both of these are less than three minutes walk from the Station so timid types who fancy trying them won't have to walk through strange city.

In other cuisines Entropy is definitely worth a visit and also very close to the station. There are some other decent restraurants but much of the best food follows the money out into the county, such as Firenze in Kibworth Beauchamp, The Grayson in Quourn, Horse and Trumpet in Medbourne and of course Hambleton Hall in Rutland.

Oh, and right on Sat.

Does anyone have any recent recommendations in Leicester? We are visiting the in-laws this weekend and are looking for somewhere to go after seeing a film at the Phoenix.

Indian would be fine so unless there are any other options we may go for Halli mentioned above.

NB Entropy and Red Veil both appear to have closed, or at least not renewed their domain names.

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Does anyone have any recent recommendations in Leicester? We are visiting the in-laws this weekend and are looking for somewhere to go after seeing a film at the Phoenix.

Indian would be fine so unless there are any other options we may go for Halli mentioned above.

NB Entropy and Red Veil both appear to have closed, or at least not renewed their domain names.

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Does anyone have any recent recommendations in Leicester?  We are visiting the in-laws this weekend and are looking for somewhere to go after seeing a film at the Phoenix.

Indian would be fine so unless there are any other options we may go for Halli mentioned above.

NB Entropy and Red Veil both appear to have closed, or at least not renewed their domain names.

Red Veil has shut though the same team have reopened in Oakham as the Dining Room. Entropy restuarant has also shut though their bar on Hinckley Road is still open and Tom is cooking there with a bistro-type menu. Apparantly though a full-on restaurant may well well re-open in Leicester city centre in October.

For now there is Watson's right opposite the Phoenix which is convenient and ok, or an Italian called Alloro which is quite neraby on Millstone Lane but I think I'd recommend Halli as the best option.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have any recent recommendations in Leicester?  We are visiting the in-laws this weekend and are looking for somewhere to go after seeing a film at the Phoenix.

Indian would be fine so unless there are any other options we may go for Halli mentioned above.

NB Entropy and Red Veil both appear to have closed, or at least not renewed their domain names.

Red Veil has shut though the same team have reopened in Oakham as the Dining Room. Entropy restuarant has also shut though their bar on Hinckley Road is still open and Tom is cooking there with a bistro-type menu. Apparantly though a full-on restaurant may well well re-open in Leicester city centre in October.

For now there is Watson's right opposite the Phoenix which is convenient and ok, or an Italian called Alloro which is quite neraby on Millstone Lane but I think I'd recommend Halli as the best option.

re entropy, I doubt we'll have a new place open by October but we are investigating potential sites at the moment. (Cassie just had our third baby last week so family life is taking precedent for immediate few months) In the mean time I'm studying a postgraduate course in sensory science up in Nottingham and hoping to travel to the states this summer where i have some work experience lined up at Per Se, WD-50 & Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York, and also Alinea and Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. So still have ambitious plans afoot...

re leicester, we went to Flores on new walk just after they had opened and were impressed by the level of investment put into staff training, decor etc. I felt the food represented good value too (although i may be in the minority there)

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re entropy, I doubt we'll have a new place open by October but we are investigating potential sites at the moment. (Cassie just had our third baby last week so family life is taking precedent for immediate few months) In the mean time I'm studying a postgraduate course in sensory science up in Nottingham and hoping to travel to the states this summer where i have some work experience lined up at Per Se, WD-50 & Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York, and also Alinea and Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. So still have ambitious plans afoot...

Congratulations on the new addition...and that sounds like one hell of a road trip in the summer. Hope it goes well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am in Nottingham this weekend and ever so foolishly left booking Restaurant Sat Bains to the last minute (purpose of my trip!!!!), anyway they could only put me on the waiting list for the Friday night, fingers crossed Sat :wink::wink:

Anyway if I fail to get into this temple of gastronomy, has anyone got any good suggestions around Nottingham or a bit beyond?

Cheers

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I am in Nottingham this weekend and ever so foolishly left booking Restaurant Sat Bains to the last minute (purpose of my trip!!!!), anyway they could only put me on the waiting list for the Friday night, fingers crossed Sat  :wink:  :wink:

Anyway if I fail to get into this temple of gastronomy, has anyone got any good suggestions around Nottingham or a bit beyond?

Cheers

The red lion inn is well worth checking out, around 6-7 miles out of nottingham:

http://www.theolivebranchpub.com/editorials.asp?d=2&c=18

Sister pub of the olive branch, both are fantastic.

Sat Bains is v difficult to get into on a weekend, I had to book around 3-4 weeks in advance to get a weekday booking!!! Fingers crossed for you though, it'll be a fantastic experience if you can get in!

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  • 1 year later...

Okay so whats all the fuss about ?

Harts ?

Sonny`s ?

World Service ?

What else .. apart from some damn good cheese made not too far away, And a mammoth Sainsbury`s at Castle Marina ?

Do tell ?

Sat Bains with a Michelin star for one. Then Matias Carlsson at La Toque in Beeston.

Then there's some excellent modern Indians , such as Memsaab, and some excellent fusion such as Geisha and Chino Latino.

I realised Nottingham hasn't really been mentioned on here of late, other than to talk about Sat Bains which is always very good.

First of all, it's interesting to note some of the changes in the Nottingham restaurant scene. La Toque in Beeston, after having a difficult period after a prolonged closure, re-invented itself as The Library Bar Kitchen, a very reasonably priced tapas style restaurant. It's not the kind of place to make a trip for, but it makes a nice local eatery and it's much more accessible price wise than La Toque was to most locals.

Ben Bowers restaurant has changed hands, been refurbished and is now known as Restaurant 1877. I've had 2 good lunches here, although both times it was strangely quiet, which seemed odd considering how competitive the pricing is. It's a bit out of the town centre but it's not exactly out of the way and it deserves better really. I hope that their dinner service is busier because from what I've tasted it's up there with the other top city-centre restaurants.

Geisha has now closed - which is a shame. I thought it was a bit of an odd format having a bar/club attached to the restaurant, and from what I understand the cooking never kept the standards it set when it opened.

Iberico opened a few years ago in the lace market which can provide some decent tapas. I believe it's run by the same folk as World Service but I could be wrong. I haven't been for a while but the food was certainly good when it opened.

Harts and World Service are still around, along with Merchants at the lace market hotel. Jay Rayner recently reviewed world service here and was far from complementary. Trying too hard seemed to be the main problem there. I've only eaten lunch at the 3 of them but I've never been blown away by a meal at any of them which makes choosing a place for fine dining in Nottingham at times difficult when Sat Bains is taken out of the equation.

There are still many decent Indian restaurants going strong - Memsaab, Curry Lounge (post a Ramsay Kitchen Nightmare's revamp) and Kayal is often mentioned as being up there with the best with it's southern Indian cuisine but I've not yet been there. I don't know of any decent Chinese or Japanese restaurants however - it would be nice to have a red chilli to visit!

I'm actually looking for somewhere to go to take my folks to this Sunday evening and although there's a lot of choice out there, there's nothing that seems to stand out above any other establishment as an obvious "go to" type place, which is making my decision difficult. Do we need another destination restaurant in the city, or am I just being greedy? :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kayal is lovely. Not the most sophisticated food, but big flavours and decent quality ingredients that offer something new to British palates used to tandoori/balti styles. The staff are great too.

I'll certainly be there next time I get the chance!

Ended up going to Hart's on sunday. I had a nice terrine for starter, but the venison main course was rather disappointing. It was cooked perfectly, but sadly the rest of the dish didn't really work - it seemed like technique over taste. My Crème brûlée dessert was excellent though. It was a shame, because all the ingredients are there for a really good restaurant but it just falls short.

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Kayal is lovely. Not the most sophisticated food, but big flavours and decent quality ingredients that offer something new to British palates used to tandoori/balti styles. The staff are great too.

I'll certainly be there next time I get the chance!

Ended up going to Hart's on sunday. I had a nice terrine for starter, but the venison main course was rather disappointing. It was cooked perfectly, but sadly the rest of the dish didn't really work - it seemed like technique over taste. My Crème brûlée dessert was excellent though. It was a shame, because all the ingredients are there for a really good restaurant but it just falls short.

I always think they try too hard, Harts is basically a Brasserie and should be serving solid Brasserie dishes but always try to creep up to fine dining level and find themselves out of depth.. Very frustrating.

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Kayal is lovely. Not the most sophisticated food, but big flavours and decent quality ingredients that offer something new to British palates used to tandoori/balti styles. The staff are great too.

I'll certainly be there next time I get the chance!

Ended up going to Hart's on sunday. I had a nice terrine for starter, but the venison main course was rather disappointing. It was cooked perfectly, but sadly the rest of the dish didn't really work - it seemed like technique over taste. My Crème brûlée dessert was excellent though. It was a shame, because all the ingredients are there for a really good restaurant but it just falls short.

I always think they try too hard, Harts is basically a Brasserie and should be serving solid Brasserie dishes but always try to creep up to fine dining level and find themselves out of depth.. Very frustrating.

Yep - I think Harts/World Service/Merchants all suffer from the same thing.

As much as it's such a cliché in food now, "keep it simple" really is the way forward for places like this.

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