For today’s restaurant review I thought I’d do something a bit different – The Great Central Railway.
When Andrew and I moved into our new home in North Leicester last summer, we were delighted to realize you can hear the old steam trains going by during the day. The old tracks run right by our house, and the Leicester North station is walking distance from us. Riding the vintage trains is so much fun and it feels just like you’re in a Harry Potter movie! (sorry, that seems to be my point of reference for all quintessentially English experiences). Most trains don’t have food carts – they just connect people to Leicester, Quorn, Rothley and Loughborough where you can get out, explore the old stations and have a bite to eat at the cafes.
There are, however, food carts that run on the weekends throughout the year, including special food events such as the Maharaja Express and Murder Mystery nights. Andrew and I did a Saturday night Charnwood Forrester meal last year for our wedding anniversary and were served a six course meal with wine that took place over the course of three hours or so. It was one of the most romantic things we’ve ever done. It was in October, so the weather was cool and misty, adding to the nostalgic feel of the entire evening. Here are a few pictures from our experience:
Recently, we decided to take Andrew’s mother and sister on a Saturday luncheon ride as a birthday present. You choose your meal beforehand and for vegetarians you always get a choice of three different options. For this trip, you had the option of asparagus hollandaise tart, goat cheese and onion filo or a stuffed mediterranean pepper. I’m not sure if they would accommodate vegans or not. I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult – they had lots of veggies and it would be easy to sub out any dairy products, especially for the stuffed pepper which I don’t think had any animal products in it (but I could be wrong). I have emailed them to ask about vegan options, and will update this post once I know for sure.
The first course is always vegetarian, and for this meal we had carrot coriander soup with bread. The soup was a bit watery and could have done with a bit more seasoning, but it wasn’t too bad. We all finished our bowls.
For the mains I went with the pepper which was full of flavor and served with a chunky tomato sauce that really rounded out the dish quite nicely. Also on the table were the asparagus tart and the goat cheese filo. I did not get to taste the filo, but it looked very tasty and was a very generous portion. I had a bite of the asparagus tart and it wasn’t great – the hollandaise was runny and overall was a bit too rich to enjoy as a whole meal. All of the dishes were served with really scrumptious rosemary roast potatoes and cooked veggies including carrots, corn, spinach and cauliflower.
For dessert, they served “Queen of puddings” (no idea) with crème anglais. I had one bite (sorry – took the picture post-bite) and that was too much for me. I’m not much of a sweet person, and this was a bit sickly and too eggy for me. Everyone else enjoyed theirs though!
The food on the Saturday luncheon wasn’t fab (the Charnwood Forrester was much better), but it was still pretty good. However, you’re not going just for the food – you’re going for the experience of riding an old fashioned steam train through the beautiful Leicestershire countryside while enjoying a warm meal and nice wine. The train even stops over Swithland Reservoir which is just beautiful.
Whether you go for the food or not – I would absolutely recommend riding The Great Central Railway at some point if you live in Leicester.