Ok, so The Hunting Lodge is not in Leicester, strictly speaking, but it’s close enough to the city that I thought it deserved a visit. I had never actually heard about this pub until one of my lovely Twitter followers suggested I try it out.
From North Leicester it’s about a 10-15 minute drive to the pub, which doesn’t feel very long at all (especially if you take a scenic route). We arrived on a Friday night, and the first thing we noticed was how bustling it was. There were people outside enjoying drinks al fresco, families running around, people chatting in the bar area… it was lively and friendly which is exactly what you’d hope for in a local pub. The staff are extremely friendly as well, and make you feel very welcome right away.
We didn’t have a reservation for the dining room, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. We were seated within a few minutes with drink orders taken promptly. The dining room is cute – it’s sort of a shabby chic vibe that’s common with a lot of pubs in England. But we weren’t there for the vibe, we came for food.
The menu is massive. There are separate pages for the starters, different meat mains, desserts, etc. There is even a page dedicated solely to vegetarian and vegan mains, which is the real reason we went. Sometimes when a restaurant has this many options, the food can suffer and get lost a bit. We soon discovered that this would not be the case.
Unfortunately there aren’t any vegan starters other than a melon dish (which I’m not a fan of), so I picked off of Andrew’s fried mushroom starter. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but they were crispy, warm and had a nice flavor so went down nicely. The mushrooms also came with a garlic mayo sauce and salad.
For our mains, I picked one of two vegan dishes on the menu: the chickpea and sweet potato curry with rice. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a vegan curry at a pub, but what came out was really delicious. It was a very generous portion, with all the veggies cooked perfectly in a rich, creamy, red coconut sauce that had just the right amount of spice to it. Even Andrew was impressed and wishing he had ordered mine.
For Andrew’s main, he went with the tortellini topped with a creamy sauce of blue stilton, spinach, oyster mushrooms and a wild rocket pesto. The pasta was cooked perfectly and not overdone, while the flavors complemented each other nicely, without the cheese overpowering the dish. Both main courses were also served with chips and steamed veggies – so needless to say we were stuffed to the gills by the end of our meal.
Overall this was a really great meal, and one I would happily recommend to fellow Leicester vegetarians and vegans. What I love is that they make a real effort to cater to vegans, nevermind vegetarians. It can be really tough to find decent pubs that do this, so it’s always a pleasure when you do find them.