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.

Restaurant 263
76 Highcross Street
Leicester LE1 4NN

The author:

Leicestershire editor Tim lives in Leicester has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years he has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire and Rutland Cookbook.