|Cheikhos Restaurant - Lutterworth
12 Church Street,
Review by Nigel Duncan
Occasionally, you find a gem. When you do it is uplifting. Yes, there are unsung restaurants out there producing quality food at value prices but it is sometimes hard to find them. Step forward Cheikhos Restaurant tucked away in a side street in deepest Leicestershire.
I’d never been anywhere near Lutterworth before. It’s a market down of 8,500 inhabitants, the home of Sir Frank Whittle who invented the jet engine and also the UK headquarters of Gideons International, the Bible people. I arrived after a seven hour drive. You’ve got it, not in the best of moods.
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The weather was fair so I went for a walk to ease my legs after the journey. Opposite a newsagent shop I spotted the restaurant frontage which was distinctive. A quick glance at the menu was enough to encourage me to come back later. I was not disappointed.
I also didn’t expect atmosphere as it was a Tuesday night.
As I arrived some diners were leaving, all singing the praises of the chef. A good start. The extensive menu was mouth-watering and the avocado Alysienne, a light salad of avocado and warm grilled chicken fillet, layered between Parmesan shavings and finished with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, was tempting. So was the crabe al Genovese, baked baby crab covered in mozzarella, served with asparagus tip and buttered new potatoes, accented with a thermidore sauce.
I opted out and sidestepped the extensive range of pasta dishes before going on to the mains. The fish dishes included Marbret al Forno, freshly baked giant snapper stuffed with basil leaves and drizzled with olive oil, chive and lemon pepper and served on a bed of Continental leaves.
I also looked at the appetising chicken and duck dishes, then onto the steaks, including the signature dish, fillet sliced open and filled with king prawns, asparagus royal, flambed with a rich Courvoisier brandy, sautéed with mushrooms, shallots, cream, fresh herbs, French mustard and finished with Barolo wine sauce.
However, I decided to go for gigot d’agneau. The braised shank of lamb surrounded with Mediterranean vegetables and a rich tomato sauce proved magnificent. The sweetness of the lamb was complimented by the vegetables and the sauce. It was perfection. What’s more, the portion was so good I couldn’t find space for a sweet.
This restaurant is just off the M1 and well worth a visit. Vegetarian dishes include wild mushrooms sauted with shallots and garlic, a touch of cream and served on a medley of green beans lightly cooked in a citrus and black pepper butter. The service was slick and the food... memorable.