Well our food adventures have taken a little bit of a different path in 2020 as we’ve shifted away from restaurants and into deliveries, but what have been the highlights?
We’ve picked out 20 of the best individual dishes we’ve eaten this year, some delivery and some when dining out.
Have you had any standout dishes this year? Let us know over at @coolasleicester.
Takoyaki from Little Tokyo
Takoyaki or “octopus balls” are a Japanese favourite and Little Tokyo offer up a right treat. Don’t miss them as a starter dish. Order via Deliveroo or head down to collect.
Burrito Bowl from The Wako Taco
We loved The Wako Taco when we first sampled it. Delivery Mexican food, which is available within 7 miles of Meridian, and offering dishes including tacos, burritos and our favourite, the burrito bowl. The team behind Wako Taco have also launched Oh Mac Cheese and you can order both via The Wako Taco website. (Cool As Black Card holders get 20% off orders).
Tonkatsu from Kimber
Yes, we absolutely loved the summer Kimber popup, with their fantastic twist on Japanese cuisine. The Tonkatsu was a standout dish, along with the Teriyaki Chicken plus Pork Gyoza and Garlic & Soy Mushrooms. The veg was all supplied locally by The Allotment on Queens Road and we can’t wait to taste more from these guys in 2021. Their autumn pop-up had to be cancelled due to covid so fingers crossed there’s more coming soon. Follow them on Instagram to keep up to date.
The Yard grilled cheese from Bitsy’s Emporium
A lot of people know Bitsy for her cakes but the savoury options down at her coffee shop are absolutely banging too. The grilled cheese is outstanding and absolutely one of the best sandwiches in Leicester. The Yard is our favourite which comes stuffed full of cheese and pesto. Everything at the cafe is vegetarian but absolutely packed full of deliciousness. (Of course you should probably also get cakes when you’re there too!). Find Bitsy down at The Mill alongside Graffwerk.
Coffee Croissant from Tiny Bakery
Nobody in Leicester does pastries quite like the Tiny Bakery on Clarendon Park Road. Their croissants have had a special monthly twist over recent months and the Coffee Croissant was an absolute hit. All baked in house too. Keep an eye on their instagram for the weekly menu.
Brie, pesto and truffle pizza from Maurizio’s
Ok, we could change this entry to ANY pizza from Maurizio’s but this special was absolutely incredible. Mozzarella, brie, pesto and truffle melted together for the most indulgent pizza we’ve ever tasted. You all know how much we rate Maurizio by now. If you like pizza and haven’t tried here yet, then you must. Located just off Narborough Road (Fosse Park end), order delivery or pop in to collect. Check out the menu via Facebook.
Salt & Pepper Squid from Giggling Squid
It seems a long time since we were getting all excited about the opening of Giggling Squid, but it was unbelievably less than a year ago. It might not be the fanciest of dishes on the menu but the Salt & Pepper Squid starter for me is an absolute go to. You know something is good when you insist on ordering it every single time.
Scotch Egg from Orton’s Brasserie
Orton’s Brasserie is a wonderful new addition to the Cultural Quarter and one that didn’t get long enough to flourish this year. Did you manage to head down in between lockdowns? Their a la carte menu ran alongside an equally impressive British Tapas menu, which included this fabulous scotch egg. You all know how much we love a scotch egg. A perfect lunchtime snack paired with one of their exquisite cocktails.
Roquefort Doughnut from Grays
The Grays garden parties were one of the highlights of 2020. Their autumn menu lived up to the success of the summer and consisted of an incredible range of small plates. From Bradgate Venison and an IPA cheese fondue to this out of this world roquefort doughnut. I think Grays is the only place in Leicester that would dream up a roquefort doughnut and pull it off so well.
Galaxy Cookie Crumble from Bake With Jess
We had the tough job of trying a lot of cake during lockdown. These Galaxy Cookie Crumble Blondies from Bake with Jess were an absolute highlight. Choc full of Galaxy Cookie Crumble chocolate and swirled with Galaxy spread, they’re beautiful. Bake with Jess does a weekly treat box delivered every Friday with a selection of cakes and bakes. Follow on Instagram for more info.
Al Cappuccino from Soft Peaks
From the cakes onto desserts and Soft Peaks is an absolute must try. We were so impressed by their desserts we’ve ordered at least 3 times since first trying them. Different to the cake deliveries in the city, Soft Peaks offer some exquisitely made desserts, which are beautifully presented, and our favourite is the Al Cappuccino, featuring a soft coffee creme on top of a fudgey Belgian chocolate brownie with crispy chocolate centre and topped with a Belgian ganache. Check them out on Instagram for ordering info
Pastry and cheese, it’s always a good start. Choux’tique specialise in quiches, pies, tarts and eclairs and they do them all beautifully. You can order weekly through both Wigston Fields News and Deli or Christopher James Deli on Queens Road, or you can order from them direct to collect in Clarendon Park. We’ve tried a few of the quiches during the year but this Stilton and Dauphinoise Potato Quiche (yes, you read that right!) was outstanding. Find out more via their Facebook page.
Halloumi Bao from Deckards
We really didn’t get long enough to enjoy Lane7 this year, did we? No sooner had it opened than lockdown struck again. One of the highlights of the site is their food court and Deckards blew us away with their bao. Great bao is something that’s been in short supply in the city but not for much longer. This is their halloumi option, and it needs to go on your 2021 must try list. Follow them on Instagram from more bao-porn.
Salmon fillet from Trawlerman
Ok, this entry is a little different because it requires some cooking but we wanted to give a shoutout to Trawlerman in the indoor market at Leicester Market. The market as a whole has been excellent all year, staying open throughout and offering home delivery to customers. Trawlerman in particular is a highlight and once you’ve had their fresh fish and seafood (salmon fillet and tuna steaks in particular) you’ll never buy fish in the supermarket ever again.
Paneer Tikka Wrap from Veggie Master Chef
A brilliant addition to Clarendon Park, Veggie Master Chef isn’t your usual takeaway. As well as the pizza section, the menu has a wide range of tasty snacks including paneer pakora, samosas, Indian sweets and other freshly prepared favourites, but the real star for us is their wraps. The Paneer Tikka Wrap goes straight into our top foods of 2020! Packed full of juicy paneer, the right amount of spice and great portion size. (Confession – I ate this when hungover and it worked a miracle, so also recommended for that!) Visit their website for more information.
Beef Wellington from JB Kitchen
If you’re celebrating a special occasion get this on your list right now. JB Kitchen has been one of our great finds of lockdown. They’re delivering freshly prepared meals all over Leicestershire and are absolutely high restaurant quality. Most of the meals come delivered hot and ready to eat, but a couple of dishes require some oven time. The beef wellington comes served with dauphinoise potato, stilton sauce and broccoli and it was one of, if not the best meal we’ve eaten all year. This one comes chilled with full instructions for heating to ensure maximum quality (it takes absolutely no time at all and is minimal effort), and it’s outstanding. Cool As Leicester Black Card holders also get a free dessert when ordering any main course. Check out their weekly menu via the website.
Biscoff Stack from Flippin’ Pancakes
Obviously I’m a total Biscoff addict, so we’ve gone for this flavour but any stack from Flippin’ Pancakes is recommended. These guys have reshaped our weekend breakfasts as they deliver on both Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8am – 2pm. The pancakes come delivered warm with your choice of toppings, and if you’re trying to be good then you can even opt for a protein stack instead. Choose from a 3 or 5 stack and have the best start to your weekend possible! Free delivery for orders over £10 within 2 miles of LE5 and £1 mile thereafter. Order via their Instagram page.
XL Doughnut Stupendonuts
Oh boy have we over indulged on Stupendonuts this year! The midlands company offer delivery across Leicestershire every week and quite simply the doughnuts are massive and they’re delicious. AND not only do they do ridiculous individual doughnuts, but they also do this beast, The XXL. Choose any 4 flavours and it comes in a huge square to be sliced and shared. It’s priced at £21.50 (which I actually think is a bargain given the size) and makes quite the centrepiece! Make sure you give the White Chocolate Bueno flavour a try too! There’s a flavour for every preference so check out their website for more.
Lobster Thermidor from Barnacles
We managed to squeeze in a visit to Barnacles in August and it was fabulous. The restaurant over near Hinckley has a fantastic fish and seafood selection, alongside steak and more, but with good seafood being a bit of a rarity in Leicestershire it’s absolutely worth going for that. For a special occasion meal it’s always near the top of our recommendations.
Afternoon Tea from Tea With Millie and Ellie
Our afternoon tea award of 2020 goes to Tea with Millie and Ellie for their fabulous premium afternoon tea. The finger sandwich selection comes served with a homemade mini savoury tart, sausage roll and scotch egg plus a selection of mini cakes and freshly made scones. It’s an absolute winner and they deliver all over Leicestershire 7 days a week. Find out more and order via their website.
What have been your foodie highlights of 2020 been? Get in touch and let us know @coolasleicester.