25 September 2007
Over weekend, we went to “Leicestershire’s best kept secret” for a meal to celebrate Suzy’s brother’s 21st birthday. According to the menu, The Staff of Life Inn has been awarded the title of Best Country Pub of the Year 2007 and has also featured in the Good Pub Guide for the past few years, so we obviously had high expectations...
Originally coming from near Bury in Lancashire, I love black pudding – the best are from Bury Market – and if a restaurant has it on the menu, usually as a starter, I have to order it. However, I also love scallops and sometimes have to choose between the two. So, imagine my joy to find a starter which included both of these; king scallops served on tarragon black pudding with plum and black bean sauce. (I know... putting fruit and meat together is completely wrong, but I’m warming to the idea when it’s in small quantities.) The presentation was impressive and the different tastes and textures went really well together. The scallops were a little bit overcooked for my liking and certainly not as big as the ones I cooked the other week, but overall everything was really tasty.
For main course, I selected the fillet of John Dory from the specials board, served with baby capers, spinach, Italian plum tomatoes and fresh anchovies. We also ordered a bacon and cheese potato gratin side dish. Again, presentation was good and the size of the perfectly cooked John Dory fillet certainly made up for the smaller-than-expected-slightly-overcooked scallops. All washed down with a South African Chenin Blanc from Orange St, I wasn’t really sure whether I would be able to manage a dessert.
After a bit of a breather, I was just about able to manage an individual chocolate orange cheesecake served with burnt orange sauce and a fancy twirly biscuit thing, hand crafted by Linda O’Neill, joint owner of The Staff of Life Inn and apparently a former member of the Irish panel of chefs. Mmmm!
I can’t really comment on value for money because Suzy’s parents treated us, but I seem to remember everything being quite reasonable considering the quality.
Lovely surroundings. Classy interior. Outstanding food. Excellent service.