Restaurant of the Year: Great Food Club Awards 2022/23

Winner

Chosen by our judges:

Orbis, Stamford, Lincolnshire


Shortlist

The top public vote-winners:

Orbis, Stamford, Lincolnshire
Dom, Thurlaston, Leicestershire

Ashiana, North Muskham, Nottinghamshire
The Monk, Quorn, Leicestershire

The winner is Orbis of Stamford in Lincolnshire – a stylish restaurant offering an eclectic menu of small plates.

Orbis’s famous bang bang cauliflower

Orbis offers a tempting selection of dishes, from sirloin of Waygu beef with sesame, soy and truffle; to soft-shelled crab with matcha emulsion and XO sauce; and Vietnamese tofu with a chilli and coconut glaze. As a bonus, all the food is gluten-free so coeliacs can order with confidence.

On our visit, Miso stone bass saw exceptionally well-cooked, soft and juicy fillets topped with corn puree and ketchup of red peppers, which complemented but did dominate the fish.

Barbary duck breast

Barbary duck breast comprised elegantly presented slices of meat with a sticky sauce topped with a chiffonade of cucumber and nicely crisped shallots. Probably our favourite dish, and apparently their best-seller, was bang bang cauliflower – lovely, firm florets covered in a thin coating of a gloriously sticky and spicy batter: a simple dish that makes a big impact.

Service was good-humoured and attentive, even down to chasing after us to return a forgotten bag of shopping. Orbis is an all-round classy venue that offers something for everyone.

The brulee at Orbis

The other finalists

Dom, Thurlaston, Leicestershire

Dom Restaurant offers a diverse range of world cuisines. Small plates come out when ready, and while the menu leans towards the Mediterranean, there are dishes with influences from Cuba, Mongolia, Thailand and China. Around 40 wines are available by the glass, and cheeses are available individually. There’s a vast amount to discover and enjoy here.

A pork dish at Dom

Ashiana, North Muskham, Nottinghamshire

All the classic British curries are here, but that’s not why people come. More unusual dishes at Ashiana come with provenance and a distinct regional character, while the chef’s signature creations include lobster, quail, scallops and duck. Outstanding during our visit were the Hydrabadi kebab and the Bahari Murgh from north of Kolkata. We left wanting to return to try more.

Bahari Murgh at Ashiana

The Monk, Quorn, Leicestershire

We enjoyed The Monk‘s thoughtfully presented plates including a substantial burrata, delightfully creamy and nicely matched with heritage beetroot, tomatoes and a pesto dressing. The terrine of chicken was faultlessly made. The chefs here are dab hands at elevating everyday dishes to something rather special. The Monk is both a destination restaurant and a classy neighbourhood bar.

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.