Why Lilu Fine Dining Is Mighty Fine

Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


It's not something I've mentioned on this blog, but I'm a huge foodie and used to cook a lot of Indian food due to living in Leicester which has a huge Indian influence. Non-Leicester folk will think it crazy (people at uni thought I was crazy) but here it's just a way of life. These days, my love of food has been slightly overshadowed by my love for beauty and blogging and that's something I'd like to correct.


I was kindly invited by the ever lovely Laura to join her in experiencing Lilu Fine Dining with a couple of other local bloggers (Nancy & Habeebah). The restaurant, located on Highcross St, Leicester, opened its doors almost two years ago, and has been under current management for the last year. Manager Pratik Master, who was so welcoming, told us that the reason he wanted to manage the restaurant was because of the lamb chops, something we later would completely understand...

Lilu Fine Dining is a fusion Indian restaurant, that combines traditional favourites with contemporary flavours and techniques, as well as a menu for the classic curry lover. Head chef Amardeep Singh Anand was featured on Masterchef The Professionals back in 2011, and has also won a variety of awards including Asian Chef of the Year 2012 and the Asian Chef of the Year Healthy Heart award for his minimal use of oils in his cooking. You won't find any greasy sauces here.


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review
Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


To start, we were offered a pre-starter of a potato fritter and poppadoms, accompanied by a fine selection of chutneys. Amongst these were the classic favourites; mango chutney, raw onion and tamarind, as well as the more unique silverskin onion, mango & yoghurt and pineapple chutneys. It was great to have a bit more variety, and the different flavours complemented each other well, particularly the acidity of the silverskin onion with the sweetness of the mango chutney.

For drinks, there was a variety of fine wines available, as well as a comprehensive cocktail menu. I chose the exotic sounding Passionfruit Cocktail, which had passionfruity, cranberry juice and a dash of blackcurrant amongst its ingredients. I held the Bacardi, it was a Sunday after all! 


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


Poppadoms eagerly devoured, it was on to the starters. We got the chance to try a combination of dishes from the current menu, as well as some from the upcoming spring menu which rolls out on April 1st. The plates soon started to fill our table and it was cameras at the ready. It's at this point that I have to praise the lighting in the restaurant: if you're a blogger or even a keen Instagrammer, you won't be disappointed by the bright lighting and white tablecloths.

The first starter was lamb, the Signature Punjabi Masaledaar Champein. Succulent New Zeland lamb chops, marinated in a beautiful blend of Punjabi spices and grilled to perfection. Lamb is never my first choice of meat, yet combine it with Indian flavours and it always captures my heart. I could have eaten the whole plate, and it was easily one of my favourite starters. I can see why it's a Lilu signature dish. 

Next up we had a prawn dish, the Chettinaad Jheenga. Black tiger prawns are marinated in a South Indian spice mix and grilled in the Tandoor. Spiced hot, the succulent prawns are complemented with a stunning homemade green coconut chutney, which cools things down and adds a freshness to the palette.


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review
Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


One of Lilu's best-selling dishes is the Salmon Dillwala. Everyone wants the salmon, Pratik told us. So much so that they have transformed the starter into a fully fledged main for the Spring menu, an adaptation of the King Prawn Moilee we enjoyed later on in our meal. He was also incredibly passionate about overcooked salmon, something you will never find at Lilu. Back on to our starter, the fresh Scottish salmon was marinated with aromatic dill, cooked until it melts in the mouth and served with a beautiful creamy sauce. Again this was one of my favourite dishes, and the thought of that umptuously soft salmon is making my mouth water even now. 

Moving on to our final starter, and the one I was most excited to try, the Paneer Shashlik. The paneer was marinated in spices and grilled alongside peppers, which added a bite to the creamy cheese. I do love paneer, and it's one I've cooked with quite a bit. Pratik is extremely dedicated to getting the best quality, silky soft paneer, and whilst it was seriously soft, having a dry marinade doesn't make it my dish of choice. I would prefer paneer with a sauce or in the fusion dish, chilli paneer (man I need to make that soon!). I did enjoy it but it couldn't quite stand up against the mighty lamb and salmon starters. 


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review
Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


After the starters, we were all unashamedly drooling for more, and we couldn't quite believe our eyes when we saw the sheer volume of food that was brought out for the main course. The table was full of dishes, sauces, rice and breads, and we did wonder where we were going to put it all. Worries aside and photos taken, we started to dig in and managed to polish off a lot more than we thought we would. 

The first main course was venison, a meat I'd usually shy away from, but it ended up being the star of the show and my personal favourite main dish. The Signature King Richard III Hiran Ki Kadhi a ragout of potato and red onion, topped by delightfully tender local Bradgate Park venison fillet. A mild Punjabi-style tempered yoghurt sauce is served on the side, a touch I greatly enjoyed as being able to add sauce to your taste really allowed the meat to take centre stage. This was a stunning dish that is the epitome of contemporary fusion cooking. 

Next we had a vindaloo with a difference. The Fragno Vinha de Alhos combines Goan Style chicken breast and garlic & cumin Jersey potatoes with a hot white wine vindaloo sauce. Whilst the chicken and potatoes were lovely, I would skip the sauce on this one as it was the hottest out of the lot and my least favourite in terms of flavour. I thought the presentation of this dish was fab however and it looked so much more sophisticated than your average curry. Presentation is one of the things that head chef Amardeep Singh Anand is most passionate about, and it definitely shows. All the dishes we had were practically works of art!


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


The most unique out of the mains was the Beef Xacuti. This is a fusion stir-fry style dish, made up with a combination of British Rib-Eye Steak, peppers and onions, with a xacuti sauce and topped with straw potatoes. Xacuti refers to a Goan-style dish, usually containing coconut and aromatic spices. This complemented the beef really well and made for a tasty dish that I really enjoyed.

Last up was the dish I mentioned ealier, the King Prawn Moilee. Another mild dish, this combined juicy king prawns in a delicately flavoured coconut and ginger sauce. I love that the subtlety blended flavours did not overpower the prawns, and the sauce was creamy and moreish without being heavy. Another winner, and I can only dream about how good this would be with the salmon!


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review
Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


The mains were served alongside a variety of sides; both plain and pilau rice which was delicately spiced, and four different types of naan bread. We had plain naan, seeded and their signature Red Leicester Naan. This was such a highlight of the entire meal, and I'm still dreaming/lusting/drooling over it now. Basically like cheese on toast, this is a simple delicacy that really showcases a fusion of local flavours. 

We were told we really must try the daal, and so Makhani Daal was delivered. This again was a personal highlight for me. Flavoured with fenugreek leaf, it was creamy and moreish, the ultimate comfort food. It was lovely to try a daal made with a different type of lentil too. I have always made it with red lentils which melt down into basically nothing, but here the black lentils stayed whole and added a little bit of texture to the dish. This in a bread roll would be the stuff that dreams are made of!

Finally I tucked into the Peshwari Naan. This one was absolutely delicious, really sweet and addictive. Personally I like to treat mine a bit like a pre-pudding, I think combining with a curry masks the sumptuous sweetness, and it is much more delicious on its own. I could probably eat this as a pudding to be honest!


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review
Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


Before we had chance to embrace our food comas, we were treated to a lovely selection of bite size desserts, the perfect end to a great meal. We had a chocolate cup, filled with pistachio and almond mousse, as well as chocolate mousse, a combination of two of their bestselling desserts, the Chocolate Mousse and the Chocolate & Pistachio Millefeule. We also got to try the Halwa, which was delicately spiced with that delicious sweet cardamom flavour that makes Indian sweets utterly addictive and unlike anything else. This was served with vanilla ice cream and a fresh berry coulis, which complemented the rich chocolate like a dream. 


Lilu Fine Dining Leicester Review


I'm pleased to say that I more than enjoyed my fine dining experience! I'm always a little wary of Indian restaurants as I have been disappointed a lot in the past. I used to eat a lot of homecooked Indian food at friend's houses and I cooked with a lot of fresh, vibrant veg and meddled with spice combinations myself, so I became frustrated with the lack of imagination in the typical British-Indian curry. That's where Lilu steps in and challenges everything you think you knew about Indian cuisine. There is a certain flair that makes their dishes truly memorable and unique.

The flavours were spot on, and I was pleased that there was an emphasis on delicate spicing that complemented each dish perfectly. I'm a firm believer that the flavours have to be perfect before ramping up the heat, which is a criticism of a lot of restaurants I've been to. The sauces were creamy but not heavy or overpowering in the onion/garlic department. I left feeling satisfied but not uncomfortably full, which is rare as I can't often manage a starter, main and dessert.

The staff were really friendly and welcoming. Of course we had the owners around us a lot talking us through the dishes, but a few other couples came in during the meal, and they really took the time to give their recommendations and made sure they were made welcome. It was nice to see that they didn't ignore the other customers because we were there. 

I would definitely recommend Lilu Fine Dining if you're in the Leicester area and will be suggesting it to my friends for gatherings in the future. It is up there as one of the best Indian restaurants I've been to. The highlights of my meal? The Lamb and Salmon starters, Venison main, the Daal Makhani and the Red Leicester Naan. Damn, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! Laura is currently running a giveaway with Lilu on her blog to win a takeaway meal if you fancy sampling it for yourselves, enter here (ends 3/4/16).


What's your favourite Indian dish?

FOLLOW BEHIND THE SCENT




*I was kindly provided with a complementary meal for the purpose of this review. All drooling over cheesy naan, my own.

Post a Comment

I love reading your comments and I reply to every one! Feel free to link up your blog so I can check it out, but please do not spam. Love, Kirstie x

ICYMI: This Week's Most Read Posts

Hi, I'm Kirstie!

Hi, I'm Kirstie!
Behind The Scent © . QUINN CREATIVES .