Discoveries of the Weekend – January 15, 2019
A trip to Dickies ‘Butchery & Farm Dining’ in Plungar, Vale of Belvoir, on the Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire border, was a good way to start the weekend. This on-farm butchery/cafe/restaurant (bring your own) with its open kitchen is enjoyably rustic and homespun – the sort of ambience that chains try to create artificially but never quite manage. We enjoyed a bacon, sausage & egg sandwich on sourdough with a cappuccino (no expense spared on the coffee machine here).
Then it was onward to Langar Hall (free glass of wine per person for up to four diners when you show one Great Food Club Membership Card) to deliver copies of the Great Food Club Handbook 2019. It’s a stunning building, closed for redecoration during our visit. Back open again tomorrow (Jan 16), I believe.
The historic Unicorn’s Head (20% off the total bill for GFC members when dining Monday to Sunday), also in Langar, has been restored magnificently over the past 24 months or so. On our visit it was doing a good job of being a traditional village local, with drinkers chewing the fat in the bar over pints of Everards Tiger. The large restaurant area was just warming up on our visit early on Friday evening.
BeerHeadz is a new pub in the centre of Melton Mowbray, located in a 14th century building on Kings Street (an old toy shop). No food is served here – it invites you to bring your own in fact – but there’s beer and plenty of it. The people behind BeerHeadz (outlets already exist in Grantham and Lincoln) are passionate about craft brewing and pride themselves on pouring some of the UK’s most creative, up-to-the-minute beers. We tried ‘Fugitive’ – a ‘Fruited Brut IPA’ (7%) – a collaboration brew between Cornwall’s Verdant Brewery and London’s Gypsy Hill. It was a bombshell of tropical fruit flavours – as much a cocktail as a beer and ridiculously drinkable, despite the ABV.
Sunday evening can be a tricky time to eat out – lots of places are closed. But it’s no problem on Belgrave Road in Leicester (aka ‘The Golden Mile’). The curry houses here do a good trade on Sunday nights. We found ourselves in Bobby’s (a recommendation by Pratik Master, who runs Lilu in Leicester), which serves Gujarati-style vegetarian dishes. Run by the same family since 1976, it’s a joy to eat here: fun, bright, breezy and friendly, with great service and tasty, comforting food. This restaurant is perfect for kids and families.
Over the weekend we also managed to get some farm-fresh milk from Vine Farm Dairy‘s vending machine in Great Dalby (highly recommended); and grab some sausages and braising steak from Northfield Farm Shop in Cold Overton (Leicestershire/Rutland border). This farm and farm shop, run by Jan McCourt and family, also has a permanent stand at Borough Market. In our experience, their beef and sausages are very hard to beat.
There was a quick trip to Leicester’s Two Tailed Lion, too: a post-craft-beer-revolution version of a classic British pub, from the outside it looks like a beautiful, compact traditional city hostelry. On the inside it’s modern-feeling and sophisticated. No expense has been spared on the interior design, but the timeless attributes that make a great pub great are present: a warm welcome, great beer and wine, and a cosy space to refuel, socialise and take stock. The Kernel Double India Porter was excellent, too.
And up in ‘God’s Own County’, our Yorkshire editor Ann raved about her brunch at Cardamom & Dill in York – Turkish-style eggs with feta, plum tomatoes, red chillies and spring onions, served with sourdough bread toast. “Just one of many delights on a chilly Sunday when touring York,” she says.