Back in early Autumn I was invited to The Black Iron Restaurant at the newly renovated Winstanley House in Braunstone, Leicester for a 3 course meal. I was quite intrigued to attend as I had previously seen the building itself and wanted to see the fruits of the renovation work as well as sampling the restaurant fare. Winstanley House is a grade II listed Georgian House set amongst 160 acres of public parkland a very short drive from Leicester City Centre.
Once I had found out that the team behind the renovation and management at The City Rooms (Dr C and I had our wedding here and I recently reviewed the Indian inspired afternoon Tea here) was responsible for the same at Winstanley House, I already had a picture in my head of a classy, glamorous and very elegant boutique style establishment. This is absolutely evident as you walk through the grand glass encased entrance into the building, which adjoins the two parts of the construction together.
Dr C and I were very lucky to be given a tour around the building, which I’ll go into more detail later, but first lets head to Winstanley Houses’ main event that evening, The Black Iron Restaurant.
The Black Iron restaurant brands itself as a modern steakhouse and bar, revelling in the very best of British produce and cooked to classical, traditional techniques using a charcoal fired oven. The whole ethos is to allow the natural flavours of the ingredients to be the main focus with simple cooking methods. But trust me there’s nothing simple about the food here, it’s evident that everything from the food to the drinks has been carefully selected from suppliers thus presenting only the very best in quality and responsibly sourced produce from the area. I’m a big fan of responsibly sourced fare so they already won me over when I heard this!
Prior to being seated for our long-awaited meal, we were led into the bar area which is situated opposite the restaurant. A small but beautifully relaxing room with the bar at the far end and a few tables dotted around the room. The ambience was just perfect with the dimly lit lighting, providing a cosy and inviting feeling. It almost reminded me of a cigar lounge I had seen whilst on my travels in South America, but obviously way more classier and a lot less masculine!
I opted to have a Burleighs’ elderflower gin with tonic pre – dinner whilst we chatted away to the very attentive staff and mingling with the other guests.
Surrounded by lots of laughter and conversation, and before I’d barely had time to finish my drink, Dr C and I were greeted by our waitress and shown to our table of two in the main restaurant. Again looking around the same grey tones and darkwood furniture were used in keeping with the style and décor, we had already seen in the rest of the house.
Guys we kicked off our dinner with a glass of Malbec each and then inquisitively looked through the menu to select what our taste buds to a fancy too.
To start I tried the textures of beetroot salad with honey and hazelnuts and Dr C picked the glazed ginger pork cheeks with toasted sourdough and pickled apple. Both starters were absolutely delicious, very fresh and beautifully presented. Reeling with the fine starters in our tummies we were ready to move onto the mains.
For my main, being a pescatarian, I ordered the roasted sea-bream with fennel and lemon, which was beautifully filleted and melted in the mouth. Again Dr C went for a meaty option of the crispy pork belly with mashed potato, cider jus, wilted spinach and burnt apple puree. I have to say it looked sublime and Dr C confirmed it was
Following the mains, we were totally satisfied with our meal but felt we simply could not just leave without sampling a dessert. As the saying goes, you’ve always got room for dessert! Now I’d seen other diners had picked the sticky toffee pudding and yes we caved in and went for the deliciously gooey sticky datey, sweet oozing dessert. Cooked to perfection! There were so many scrummy desserts to chose from though! I guess a reason to go back and indulge in the near future.
Don’t worry, we may be done right now with the food but lets have a sneaky peak at what else is available at Winstanley House.
As soon as I walked into the property, I thought to myself this would be an ideal location for a grand wedding, party or conference. There are two ballrooms to accommodate numbers from 150 to 450 people. Additionally there are 19 stunning bedrooms in total, which include two bridal suites. All brides and grooms to be, I thoroughly recommend a visit!
We were lucky enough to be shown around the bedrooms and without a doubt one of the knockout rooms for me was the Winstanley Suite. The suite comprises three Georgian rooms, with a bedroom, bathroom and lounge area, all very spacious and beautifully decorated with sweeping views of the parks treetops and green lawn. The bedroom also features exactly what every girl needs in her life, a gold rolled-top bath. The rooms are so very spacious and you can just imagine the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready here in the rooms of this timelessly elegant suite.
In addition there is the choice of executive rooms, double deluxe rooms and single deluxe rooms, which are decorated to just the same high standard with all attention to details being taken care of. Each room also has a Nespresso coffee machine and luxury toiletries.
The Executive Room
The Double Room
In my opinion the property is suited for weddings, functions and most definitely a quiet romantic luxurious getaway.
So that’s just a little taster of the rest of the house for now as I’m hoping to go back in the spring/summer months to capture the beauty of Winstanley House with the parklands alive and the outdoor spaces such as the terraces in full use. So watch this space
As we drove away that evening from Winstanley House, we saw the property lit up behind us looking absolutely stunning on this dark evening set amongst the manicured grounds. It really did look so different from its former past as a school. There was an air of elegance and old English charm about the building but also with a slight update with the modern twist of glass construction.
The Black Iron Restaurant is ideal for a special occasion dining out but also can be enjoyed any time with the array of things they have to offer such as brunch, dinner, lunch, afternoon tea or simply just drinks in the bar. One things for sure these guys are going to be really busy once the word gets out so make sure you book a table pronto because trust me you will not be disappointed. It’s pure class.
My opinion: The food, the surroundings, the service and the staff, are sheer unadultered sophisticated elegance.
Disclaimer: Our 3 course dinner at the Black Iron Restaurant was complimentary in return for this review as part of the press night. All views and opinions as always are my own and remain a copyright of BE-LAVIE.
Have you eaten at The Black Iron Restaurant or had a chance to visit the new renovated Winstanley House? I’d love to know in the comments below.
The Black Iron at Winstaley House
Tel. 0116 3665642
Until the next time…
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