What’s going on in Leicester at the moment? I mean aside from the recent Richard III madness? Highcross shopping centre seems to be taking over the world with chain restaurants popping up every other week and people shunning some of the great independent pubs and restaurants we have, in order to eat at these endlessly over styled and under delivering places.
OK – rant over. Last weekend with Vicky at my side (a Gingey Bites regular) I went for dinner at the new Bills which has recently opened there. I’m not a huge fan of places like Zizzi, Nando’s and TGI Fridays but I have to admit, I like Byron and I’m not adverse to Cafe Rogue either. So, with a great back story, Bills seemed like it would be my kind of ‘chain’ place.
Still family owned, Bills is named after its greengrocer founder who started from his shop in Sussex. Over the last few decades, they’ve grown rapidly and now have restaurants all over the country. Their tag line is ‘Breakfast to Bedtime’ and they pride themselves on using fresh, seasonal produce.
The Leicester restaurant has a small strange door – we walked in and thought we’d accidentally gone into the side entrance. A friendly waiter informed us we were in the right place though, and took us to our table – our wobbly table. So, after the faff of being moved (which took around 10 minutes) we were finally ready to order.
Anyway, onto the food. To start, Vicky had crispy lemon squid, I had crab, chilli & prawn cakes with a pineapple salsa. The texture was a bit odd (like those Chinese takeaway prawn and pork won-tons) but the flavours were good. The calamari was nice, with a really garlicky lemon mayo for
For my main, I had the rump steak with chimmi churri, horseradish mash and onion rings. The steak was brilliant – cooked perfectly and full of flavour. The mash was very salty (although personally I didn’t mind as I love salt) and the chimmi churri was spicy and fresh but sadly there wasn’t enough of it. Bills’ Thai green curry for Vicky, sadly the rice was undercooked but glutinous at the same time (microwave?) and the spice level was through the roof making it hard to eat. We both love heat in our curries but with no warning of ‘extra spicy’ on the menu, this was a step too far and I’m sure most people would have found it too hot.
For pudding (ordered purely for the sake of the blog..ahem..) I opted for the special – essentially a de-constructed banoffee pie. It was really tasty – as anything with dulce de leche is – sadly the char grilled but stone cold banana slices left a bit to be desired. Vicky’s pudding was better – you can’t really go wrong with pecan pie – and the banana ice cream was proper wicked. Thanks to Alec Frusher, fellow blogger from Nottingham, for the recommendation on that one!
Sadly, as you can probably tell, I wasn’t blown away by Bills. Elements were good but as a whole, I’d mark the food, service and whole experience no higher than a 6 out of 10. Lets hope they do a better job next time!
*Bills did not know that I was reviewing my meal and I paid for it in full*