The Melton Mowbray pork pie, Red Leicester cheese and, of course, Walker’s crisps are just a few of the famous strings to Leicestershire’s culinary bow. But where should you look when you fancy something a little more refined than a packet of cheese and onion?
The following destinations are hidden away within the county – hidden gems, if you like – but we’re sure you’ll agree that they’re well worth seeking out.
Psst – you can use the latest Leicestershire & Rutland Food & Drink Guide to help you find even more.
Tucked away in the charming village of Mountsorrel, Leicestershire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant blends first-rate seasonal cuisine with outstanding service and an atmosphere that oozes laid-back decadence. Most of the produce used is grown on head chef John’s family farm, which neighbours the restaurant. This ensures that John has complete control over the entire process of creating a dish – from field to fork. The results are exceptional, and John’s House has the Michelin star to prove it. Try the tasting menu: an education in fine dining that showcases the best of seasonal, local produce – you won’t be disappointed.
Tucked away in a secluded courtyard just off Stamford’s Broad Street, you’ll find No.3 The Yard. The food here is as delicious as you’d expect from an establishment brimming with accolades from the likes of the AA, The Michelin Guide and Harden’s. No.3 The Yard prides itself on producing extremely high-quality dishes that are surprisingly good value for money. At lunchtime, diners can enjoy two courses from the set menu for just £14.95, and during weekday evenings the daily specials include options such as moules frites and a glass of wine, or fish and chips and a glass of Prosecco for £15.
The town of Shepshed is home to The Horse, a locally treasured gastropub whose ever-growing reputation is in danger of spilling out into the communities beyond its picturesque abode. The wood-burning stove gives a warm welcome, as do the exposed wood beams that adorn the ceiling. The furnishings are tastefully selected and are perfectly matched to the pub’s tidy exterior. The options on the menu are incredibly enticing, with the blackened mackerel with pickled cucumber salad, beetroot Carpaccio and horseradish standing out as the pick of the starters, and the pan-roasted chicken breast with chorizo Dauphinoise, wild garlic and spinach purée coming very highly recommended. With word spreading fast about The Horse, make sure you get to enjoy this gem before everybody makes the discovery.
Many would forgive you for overlooking the chance to dine in a hotel, and some may even be surprised to hear that you can dine in some hotels without staying the night. Origins Restaurant is one of these and you would be absolutely bonkers to overlook the chance to dine there. Hidden within the chic and stylish Link Hotel, Loughborough, Origins cooks up a wealth of delicious dishes such as steaks, pies and gourmet burgers as well as serving ample refreshing beverages. The hotel itself is actually part of the university, and those who study local eateries carefully enough to have discovered this gem can consider themselves top of the class.
Sticking with the educational theme, based on the Loughbrough University campus is the Burleigh Court Hotel and Conference Centre. This four-starred hotel and spa is popular with local businesses due to its bright and spacious nature, but also its cracking carvery that we sampled on our visit. There was an eclectic selection of locally sourced meat on offer and an incredibly enticing vegetarian option of butternut squash, pepper and Somerset Brie tart, so all tastes were catered for. If you’ve got room, desserts come courtesy of a local patisserie in Rothley, with unashamedly indulgent toffee cheesecake, and chocolate and cherry bombe just a couple of the sumptuous sweets available.
Read the latest Leicestershire & Rutland Food & Drink Guide below for more hidden gems as well as the best restaurants, bars and cafés in the region.