For many people their first choice of where to hit on a night out wouldn’t be the casino. In fact for lots of you it might not even be on your radar at all. When Grosvenor Casino got in touch and asked us to pop along to see what they were all about we weren’t sure whether it would be a great fit audience wise for us, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. We ended up having one of the most fun evenings we’ve had out in Leicester for a long time!
First off, membership is free, so you don’t need to worry about having to be a member when you get there – you can sign up on arrival or enter as a guest. So let’s take it back to basics – you’ve never gambled before, never been in a casino, never thought about going into a casino… what should you expect? Well this is isn’t Las Vegas, but it’s definitely a fun place for a night out. On entering, the best thing of the downstairs for us was just how nice the environment is. You need to be swiped in to come through so there’s no rowdiness or queuing at the bar. The sports on the big screen are in an area with plenty of seating, and don’t forget they have a 24 hour license so when you’re looking for somewhere to go after everywhere else has closed but you’re not quite ready for home, this is your place.
You don’t have to gamble. Pop in for a drink. Go down to watch the football. Looking for somewhere to watch the NFL or boxing in the middle of the night? This is your place.
Of course, we did try our luck with a little gambling, but we’ll come onto that in a minute. Before that, let’s discuss the restaurant.
You’ve probably never thought about going to the casino for dinner. We hadn’t. I mean, I knew they did food, but I imagined a hot dog and chips in a tin was where it would be pitched at. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Up the staircase to the main area of the casino upstairs you’ll find the length of the room filled with poker, blackjack and roulette stations but to your right is another nice bar area and then you go through to the restaurant.
First of all the decor is lovely. The restaurant is formed in a circular shape with booths all around the edge and large tables in the middle. The lights dimmed low you feel like you could be anywhere. You certainly forget that you’re in a casino behind the Highcross! The menu offers a Signature Grill range from which we sampled the Dukesmoor Sirloin, fully traceable British beef that’s been dry aged for 28 days. The quality of the meat was evident in it being so tender with a lovely smoked flavour. The Smokey Boneless Beef Rib with Bourbon Glaze was another hit, served with crushed cheddar potatoes and a sticky sauce, the exact quote from our friend on eating the meal was “The food’s amazing and I don’t even feel like I’m in Leicester!”
The starters didn’t disappoint either with a beautiful baked goats cheese and beetroots salad and the large baked field mushroom stuffed with creamy stilton served on sweet onion marinated toasted brioche. With starters sitting at around £5 and mains ranging between £7.50 for a burger and £23 for the most expensive steak, they’re very much in line price wise with others in the area. They also offer a set menu of 2 courses for £10.95 and 3 for £12.95 all day on Sunday – Thursday.
Of course they offer bar snacks too. Food is available 24 hours if visiting in the middle of the night you can choose from the bar menu, which includes steak, beef & ale pie, burgers, sandwiches, or their sharing tapas plates (chorizo & halloumi skewers, sliders, quesadillas, calamari, spicy chorizo croquettes). And that’s in the middle of the night!
So what about the gambling? We were lucky enough to be talked through a casino introduction by the venue management, who were all lovely and completely accepted our newbie status. “But do you have to spend loads of money? I can’t just bet £2 can I?” Well, actually yes you can. You don’t need to throw away what you can’t afford at all.
We sampled both the Roulette and Blackjack tables, learning from one of their experienced croupiers about where to place your chips, which cards to play when and even how to spin the roulette wheel. The main thing was that it’s just meant to be a little fun. “So how do people choose where to put their money in roulette?” “It’s just luck. That ball could land anywhere. The best thing is to spread your bets, choose your favourite between red or black, or just pick your favourite number!” No skill needed there then – we could manage this!
Next up, Blackjack (or 21 as you might know it). The great thing with Blackjack was that you’re only playing against the dealer and you’re not in competition with anyone else on the table. You have your cards and you try to get as close to 21 as you can (without going over) – if you do better than the dealer you win, if the dealer scores higher you lose.
Whilst sitting at the tables there’s a drinks service so you don’t need to move or queue at the bar. The staff are all incredible friendly and helpful and perhaps because they’re protecting their gambling license, it’s actually one of the safest and friendliest environments you’d find on a night out in town. Any misconceptions we had of it being a seedy gambling den were immediately laid to rest.
You don’t need to spend mega bucks. You could take £20 and sit at the Blackjack table and try your luck – maybe you’ll turn it into more, or maybe you’ll lose it, but whatever happens you’ll have had a fun night in the process.
Don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose.
Or if we’ve still not convinced you then just go and try the restaurant! You’ll be mighty impressed.
Grosvenor Casino is at 90 Highcross Street and is open 24 hours/day. For full information visit the Grosvenor Casino website.
We were invited by Grosvenor Casino to try the facilities. We were under no obligation to give a positive review – we just really enjoyed it!