43 Maplewell Road
This is one of those restaurants that gets a good write up in some guides, but doesn't appear at all in others. We were on our way from the M6 to Hambleton Hall in Rutland and happened to read the right guide. Thank goodness for satnavs though: I don't think we'd have found this restaurant without one, situated as it is up a residential street in a smallish village midway between Loughborough and Leicester.
We hadn't booked, as we had no idea when or indeed if we might be passing, so it was great to be welcomed with a warm "of course we can do lunch for you." Other customers soon followed. The decor was a bit, shall we say, 'individual' but none the worst for that: the main thing was good size tables, and comfortable chairs.
The amuse was a Broccoli velouté with a gratinated garlic foam, which managed to be much better than it both sounded and looked. The gratinated foam was interesting and something new to me.
|Broccoli velouté with gratinated garlic foarm|
A pig's trotter dish had perhaps refined the trotter a little too far, reducing it to very neat panéd cubes, which were also just a touch dry. Everything else on the plate worked well though: confit egg yolk, black pudding and gremolata.
|Lemon sole with wild garlic, asparagus and hollandaise|
While it was tempting to have the cheeseboard risotto again, as a cheese course instead of dessert, there was a less odd, much more normal, and stunningly wobbly lemongrass pannacotta that just about managed to hold itself up. One of the best pannacottas I've had in a long time, and the gentle lemongrass flavour lifted it into the sublime.
This was a really excellent meal combining some fine cooking and some interesting ideas. Service was excellent throughout. The wine list is pretty good, with fair prices: we had a 2011 Pinot Blanc from Pfaffenheim in Alsace, which for £22 we couldn't argue with at all.
We'd definitely go again.