Restaurant 263 Review: “Affordable Fine Dining” in Leicester
When it comes to fine dining, Leicester has been something of a graveyard of ambition. But chef Keith Sadomba’s Restaurant 263 has now spent over a year delivering on its mission of affordable high-end food.
This chef previously held the reins at Leicester’s White Peacock. Several of his team from there have stuck with him through some highly-rated pop-up events as we came out of lockdown and now to this elegantly simple venue on Highcross Street. The offer is a range of seasonal tasting menus, which come in at £38 for six courses on a Friday and Saturday night or £45 for eight. A parallel vegan menu is available, as is a wine pairing at £30.
We had heard reports of inconsistency. Brilliant on one visit, a bit chaotic on the next. On our Saturday visit, we did fear the worst when, bizarrely, a gin and tonic was served with no ice. When questioned, our server just said they didn’t have any. The manager rescued the situation with a mercy dash to a neighbouring pub, and fortunately, things started looking up immediately. Amuse-bouches all impressed, including a delicate cornet of butternut puree, delightfully savoury yeast tartlet and parmesan-topped sweet potato. Subsequent highlights included beautifully-presented celeriac, tender halibut with samphire in a foaming sauce, intensely-carrotty carrot topped with goat’s cheese and crunchy buckwheat. Lamb was more medium than medium rare but was full-flavoured and well-matched with crispy layered potatoes and asparagus with black garlic. My favourite of the night was the optional additional course of seared scallops with slow-cooked beef, wild garlic buds and a herbed crumb.
Not everything served up matched the fairly minimal descriptions on the menu, but that didn’t bother us excessively. Dishes were attractive, well-executed and featured appealing combinations of taste and texture. It’s good to see that, in a low-key style, ambitious cooking is still alive in Leicester.
76 Highcross Street
Leicester LE1 4NN