It’s cold and murky outside, your feet are aching from trailing round the shops, and your festive spirit is starting to flag. A quick coffee and a sandwich just won’t cut it – what you need is somewhere warm and cheery for a seasonal sit-down meal. Easy, you might think, in a city the size of Leicester, to find an eatery that offers festive lunch for Christmas shoppers. However, it can be a merry old minefield at this time of year, as demand is high and the emphasis is on groups and Christmas parties. You might find yourself up against festive menus for large groups only or a pre-order only situation.
But fear not – we’ve done the hard work for you, seeking out some fabulous venues that do festive lunch for individuals, couples and small groups. Booking is, of course, a good idea, but no pre-ordering is necessary. So, you’ll be free to dedicate your energy to the hardest part of all – the Christmas shopping itself.
Located within Highcross Shopping Centre in one of the oldest schoolhouses in England, 1573 offers a dining experience that is now a very far cry from regimented school meals. A three-course Christmas lunch menu for £19.95 is available from noon to 3pm throughout December, and individuals and couples can just turn up (though it’s probably best to book, particularly at weekends). If you ask in advance, you can even arrange to have the Christmas dinner menu at lunchtime. Festive dishes include mushrooms in Stilton sauce, turkey with all the trimmings, and traditional Christmas pud.
Tucked away down a quiet side street yet not far from the city centre shops, Casa Romana is offering Italian comfort food this December to wish you a buon natale. You might start with a healthy salad then follow it with a satisfying main such as chargrilled chicken breast in cream and mushroom sauce or spaghetti with tiger prawns and crab reduction. Round it off with the popular classic, tiramisù, or choose from chocolate mousse, lemon crème brûlée and a refreshingly Mediterranean ice cream version of the very English Christmas pudding. Three courses and coffee cost £17.50 per person.
Until 24th December Le Bistrot Pierre is offering a Christmas set lunch of three courses for £17.95 per person, for individuals through to group bookings. The menu features hearty French country dishes such as confit duck leg with cassoulet alongside plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Seasonal sides include Brussels sprouts with Alsace bacon and roasted field mushrooms with garlic, as well as the eternally popular frites and Dauphinoise potatoes. Chocolate torte with Grand Marnier cream is perfect for a sweet finish, or for something savoury, pick the rustic French cheese board.
Bring a sunny Tex-Mex vibe to your Christmas shopping with lunch at Chimichanga, located in the heart of Highcross Shopping Centre, near the Showcase cinema. You don’t have to book to choose from the Christmas menu, which includes a fabulous Mexican paella, a cheese burger with chipotle mayo and a special Christmas burrito with Cajun chicken, cranberry sauce and sage and onion stuffing. It will set you back only £9.95 for two courses or £14.95 for three.
Booking is highly recommended at this Michelin-listed independent restaurant situated only a short walk from St Martin’s Square shopping centre. A two-course festive lunch is available for £19.95 or you can make it three courses for £22.95. Dishes include the likes of chicken liver pâté with orange and cranberry chutney and toasted ciabatta, turkey escalope stuffed with sage and onion and wrapped in bacon, and chocolate and orange terrine laced with Grand Marnier. The simple decor and relaxed atmosphere, combined with superb food, make The Boot Room an ideal lunchtime venue.
Besides a festive three-course lunch for £19.95, The Belmont Hotel is laying on a festive afternoon tea for £13.95 per person, including scones with festive jam and clotted cream, mince pies and other cakes, a selection of sandwiches, and your choice of speciality tea or coffee. If you haven’t worked up quite such an appetite, opt for mulled wine and mince pies at £6.50 per person. You can just turn up on the off-chance, but booking is recommended. The hotel is only a short walk from the main shopping area and is conveniently close to the station for those catching the train home.
For more great eateries in Leicester and the surrounding area, pick up a copy of our Leicestershire & Rutland Food & Drink Guide in Waitrose, order one online, search our website or browse the online version of the guide.