Every so often a new independent business pops up that’s a culinary game changer – energising the local food scene and gaining a following across the city. With its imaginative approach to Asian flavours, hearty portions and uncompromising dedication to fresh ingredients, Grounded Kitchen is just such a transformative force. This unassuming Clarendon Park eatery has gently disrupted Queens Road’s cosy café culture, and this is just the beginning…

“We wanted to do something different and something healthy”, says Ahmed Kidy, founder of Grounded Kitchen. “We said to ourselves that if we can cook food in the same way as we cook it at home, without cutting corners, and serve it to people in a home-from-home environment, then that will work. That’s what we’ve done and people seem to like it.”

This is something of an understatement. Since opening its doors this spring, Grounded Kitchen has proved to be incredibly popular. Queues stretching out of the door and into the street while the phone rings off the hook with takeaway orders is the lunchtime norm. Locals are loving the fresh and hearty nourish bowls and delicious smoothies, and the rest of the Leicester is quickly catching on.

“We don’t have a typical customer,” says Ahmed. “There are 75-year olds who visit us regularly, there are personal trainers and sports people too, including the Leicester Riders team and Leicester Tigers players. Our target customer is anyone who appreciates good, fresh food.”

Good and fresh it most certainly is. The signature offering is the nourish bowl – an almost infinitely customisable bowl of Korean rice with freshly prepared vegetables and marinated meats topped with aromatic herbs, toasted seeds and yummy sauces (Japanese yum sauce included). The menu itself is pared back, even minimal, but each dish is multi-faceted. The attention to detail and complex flavour combinations make every mouthful different and every bowl a sensory adventure. You could eat here for lunch and dinner several days running (and some people do) and not taste the same mouthful twice.

The inspiration for Grounded Kitchen came from Ahmed’s travels in Asia during his previous career in the fashion industry. “I travelled a lot to China, Hong Kong and Korea”, he explains. “Seoul is one of my favourite places. I loved the freshness of their food, I loved the marinades, I loved the bimimbaps and the bulgogis.” Both of these dishes have made it onto Grounded Kitchen’s menu, along with Japanese teas, smoothie bowls and juice-based ‘quenchers’.

Ahmed has no doubt that the eatery’s location has contributed to its success. “There’s a really lovely community in Clarendon Park,” he says, “with a lot of support for independent businesses. It’s a great starting block for us.”

Starting block? Absolutely. Queens Road is just the beginning for this ambitious young business. If its initial success is anything to go by, Grounded Kitchen is destined to become an important landmark on Leicester’s culinary landscape.

Find Grounded Kitchen at 68 Queens Road in Clarendon Park.

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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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