All around Leicester I hear whispers of the Richard effect; tourism is booming, the National Space Park is being built, and the legacy of the foxes lives on.  As this strange phenomenon weaves through Leicester, yet another success story rises like a phoenix from the ashes.  I take a step back.  Observe the exterior.  Nod my head in approval, and exclaim to you all today… Long Live The King! 

King Richard III; a beautifully restored Victorian public house located on Highcross street.  Many original pieces of this fresh and open plan pub remain.  Whether it’s the wooden casing which leads to the old pumps upstairs, or the ‘Smoke Room’ sign which dangles outside the entrance. It can’t be denied. This city pub reeks of character.

A much-needed facelift has given this pub and restaurant a new lease of life.  New owner and Head Chef, Chris Elliman, was very much at home in the Kitchen slaving away over his unique robata grill.   This three-tiered Japanese BBQ, which requires skilled chefs and mastery, is all you will need to reminisce on the smoky flavours of summer.  However, if something more wintery and rich is what you fancy, I can whole-heartedly recommend the braised beef in red wine.  The juicy, slow cooked, March House Farm meat, was so tender that the beef fell away as my fork made contact.  To wash that down, what else but a Montepulciano supplied by Duncan Murray, a local wine merchant.  The strong family aspect doesn’t just run through the team at Richard III, it stems from its core, with the establishment supporting many local suppliers including Framework Brewery, as well as our beloved St Martins coffee.

Calum Goodwin, the General Manager, encourages you to pop in and enjoy a drink in the only ‘village pub in the city.’  When you’re done enjoying one of the eight draughts on offer, feel free to indulge in all manner of things on the menu.  From delightful tasting wines and fine dining treats, right the way through to pub classics, not to mention the bar snacks also on offer. Calum exclaims that the establishment can be ‘anything for anyone.’

It’s hard to imagine that only a few months ago this bar would have been dark, sticky and dingy.  Now, the no gimmicks city pub and restaurant screams class, with Sarah Kirby artwork decorating the walls, and candelabra framing the fireplace.  I urge you to book now for Christmas, to avoid disappointment, as I have no doubt the back room, available for private bookings up to 30 people, will be popular.  However, if that’s not your cup of tea, keep your eyes peeled, and your diaries free, for the Beer Festival that they are hosting this October in their quirky beer garden.  Ensure to follow them on social media @kriiipub so as not to miss out.

Also, I know many of you were wondering, so I took the liberty of asking. “Whatever happened to that infamous pool table?” … Not to worry folks, it’s safely stored away.  (Bookies currently offering super fans 5000-1 odds, as to whether the table will make another appearance.*)

*Disclaimer, bookies comment is fictional

Photography by David Wilson Clarke.

Tamara O’Donovan is a food buff and wine enthusiast. Having managed multiple fine dining restaurants her standards are high. She spends her time seeking out new exciting restaurants and independent eateries.

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