Over the last year or so St Martins Square has been becoming a little hub of small eateries, curbing what had felt like a slow decline for the small shopping area nestled in The Lanes. The most recent edition is KAI – filling the gap left by Rockaboom Records departure in what feels like years previous.
KAI stands for ‘Kiran and Aidan’s Independent Kitchen’ and it’s a cosy little corner furnished with natural colours, and clean lines. It feels fresh, but like it’s always been there simultaneously. Aidan has been the head chef at many Leicester staples, including The Parcel Yard and 1573, but always dreamt of opening his own restaurant – and it’s his love of interior design that has informed the restaurant’s style.
Kiran is a food blogger that started wanting to share recipes and reviews online before setting herself the challenge of opening her own restaurant. She started working at The Parcel Yard, where she was hired by Aidan, and the two of them eventually set out on their own. “We both wanted to open our own restaurant that offered a healthy and unique experience,” she explains. “So we came up with KAI.”
“After starting my blog I spent three years getting experience in different kitchens in Leicester. I then started my own pancake street food business, I did this for a year. I really enjoyed it, but my goal was to one day have my own restaurant. I walked past the unit in St Martin’s Square back in February last year, I fell in love with it and wanted it straight away! However, we had to write a business plan and apply for funding. Once it was approved we then signed for the lease, started the building work in July and finally opened on October 31st. I was excited and nervous at the same time, all I have to say is never give up!”
The menu at KAI is varied, but focuses on a few things they do really well and is all made in-house from fresh local ingredients. Their Buddha bowls are a hearty healthy evening meal of raw or roasted veg, brown rice or noodles topped with seeds, dressings and optional meat or vegetarian proteins.
They offer a varied brunch menu, and make the bold claim that their pancakes are the best in town. Lunch includes home made curries with house mint chutney and superfood salads – amongst other things.
KAI is open at 4 St Martins Square.