Indian fine-dining restaurant Lilu operates with the tagline “not just a curry” – summing up owner Pratik Master’s ambition to widen the horizons of Indian food lovers.
This restaurant appeared on Channel 5’s Restaurant Rescue in January 2018 but Pratik rejected the programme’s advice to jettison fine dining. He and his chef JP are not interested in competing with traditional curry houses. Rather there is a focused set-price menu – five or six choices – with meticulously plated dishes using very fine ingredients.
The pricing does set it apart from more mainstream restaurants – two courses for £35 – but the difference is clear. Complimentary poppadoms come with six distinctive house-made chutneys and you’re also likely to get a couple of other amuse bouches – maybe a pani poori full of zingy herbs and a spicy tomato soup with chilli naan.
Starters include crispy soft-shell crab served with sharp Granny Smith or delicate salmon marinated in coriander and mint. Mains could be tandoori-roasted rack of lamb, or “game of the day” served with a thick, spiced chocolate sauce, basmati rice and a potato and tomato mash.
Watch out too for a beautiful thali dish based around a lamb or vegetable dum pukht biryani flavoured with mint, saffron and rosewater.
JP’s skilled hands with the spicing leave Lilu’s food deserving of wine matching and there is an excellent list to choose from. With a relaxed atmosphere and excellent service, this is a distinctive presence at the top end of Leicester’s restaurant scene.
By Tim Burke, Leicestershire editor
Photos: Lilu Facebook page