Two of Leicester’s best-loved independent businesses are joining forces. For two years, the folk behind Cured have been honing their craft to sublime perfection at BrewDog. Meanwhile, The Cookie has blossomed into a one-stop-shop for coffee, cocktails, food and entertainment. Cured is now moving into The Cookie’s kitchen, and the collaboration looks set to be an intoxicating one.

“Music, food, cocktails – these things are all art – they’re all ways of expressing creativity,” says Martin Powdrill, founder of Cured, the home-curing kitchen that takes up residence at The Cookie this summer. Imagination and innovation are at the heart of the Cured ethos, making it the perfect match for The Cookie; an independent business passionate about giving others the opportunity to express themselves creatively. Martin and his business partner Ollie Norman first made a name for themselves in the kitchen of BrewDog. There, it was the vast range of craft beers that inspired their dishes, with each ale-cured course expertly paired with one of the bar’s world class brews.

With this new venture, it’s the decadent cocktail menu of The Cookie’s upstairs bar, The Attic, that serves as Cured’s inspiration. Ollie says, “We really enjoyed working with beer at BrewDog, it was such a valuable learning experience. Working alongside The Attic, we now have the opportunity to work with different spirits, liquors and infusions – so our dishes include a gin and blueberry-cured salmon dish and a bourbon-cured bacon dish.  We’re also working on a range of really exciting vegetarian and vegan options. And we’re learning a huge amount from working alongside Xander, who really knows his stuff when it comes to combining flavours.”

As owner and manager of The Attic, Xander Driver has watched the city’s drinking culture evolve in recent years. “When I started bartending, it was all about Jägerbombs and flaming sambucas,” he says. “Since then, drinkers have become more discerning and cocktail making has become much more interesting. Using coriander in a cocktail has become quite a standard thing. From infusing herbs to making your own bitters; there’s much more freedom to experiment.” This spirit of innovation is an important part of the partnership between Cured and The Attic, with the food and cocktail menus being developed simultaneously, resulting in perfectly matched pairings.

Something else these three Leicester entrepreneurs have in common is a commitment to sustainability, backed up by an eagerness to support small local providers. Many of the fresh ingredients that make up the dishes and drinks are grown in The Cookie’s rooftop herb garden or supplied by nearby allotments and growers. It’s a back-to-basics approach to sourcing ingredients, but what arrives at your table is anything but old-fashioned. As Ollie says, “We’re taking age-old techniques and we’re putting them into a very modern context to give them new life.” It’s a philosophy that looks set to make this new collaboration a huge success for one of Leicester’s best-loved city centre venues.

Get your Cured fix at The Cookie at 68 High Street from 25 August.

Ruth is a communications professional and freelance writer. Her writing reflects her adventures as a foodie, travel addict and arts festival aficionado. She’s traversed Leicestershire and Rutland reviewing restaurants for Food & Drink Guides and writes uber-local blog Clarendon Spark.

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