Tag Archives: Le Petit Rouge

Le Petit Rouge, Leicester

4 Jul

Last May I discovered the little gem that is Le Petit Rouge, above her better-known Italian sister restaurant. On returning to Leicester for the summer, I have lived up to my vow to relive the experience.

The first time ’round the crimson carpets on the stairs leading up to the French-style brasserie were immaculate as Le Petit Rouge had only been open a few days; this time, with the (hopefully) hundreds of patrons that had been treading on them, they seemed a tad disheveled. Maybe the lights were dimmed but the walk up to our seats did not strike me as dramatically as it had previously done – if anything, it was the scuff marks that caught my eye. Alas, untouched perfection cannot last.

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Inside however, is another story – simple, spacious and elegant. I loved the addition of the sax in the window and the tasteful red, blue and white theme.

We were seated in the same booth as we had been before, resulting in a pleasant pang of nostalgia. Our – fantastic – waiter took our order and we sat back, listening in to the jazzy music until the oysters arrived (I had ordered the chicken liver parfait but it was not available on the day and I, happily, swapped).

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Huîtres; Le Petit Rouge, Leicester

On our first visit, my choice had been the crème brûlée au foie gras as I had never tasted foie gras – it was delicious, but no longer on the menu*, yet I was glad for a lighter start to the meal with the sea-filled, divine ‘huîtres’.

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Crème brûlée au foie gras; Le Petit Rouge, Leicester

After the oysters came asparagus in a black truffle cream on toasted brioche. This was my least favourite of the little dishes – the toasted brioche underneath the asparagus was too sweet and confused the flavours. It felt like a pudding with truffle on top… Separately, the sauce was creamy, peppery and earthy – this would have worked for me had they toasted something savoury!

Scallop and lobster thermidor came third. The play on a classic worked well, with the brandy coming through in the bisque. Lots of lobster and a ridiculously succulent scallop in the middle. Yum! Our waiter at this point began to tell us about his home (I believe it was a small port town in Sicily) and the seafood that was available there – as fresh from the sea as is possible. It was lovely to listen to somebody who was obviously so enthusiastic about their food!

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Scallop and lobster thermidor; Le Petit Rouge, Leicester

All in one arrived the confit de canard, the pommes salardaise and the rocket and Parmesan salad. They worked wonderfully together – I revelled in mopping up the last of the port and fig reduction with the garlicky potatoes. The confit had worked its wonders with the duck; outstandingly soft meat concealed inside the crisp, well-seasoned skin… Need I say more?

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Selection of treats; Le Petit Rouge, Leicester

We were asked about puddings but we could not, by this time, fit anything else in**. Our waiter came over for another chat – no forceful conversation in search of tips – and again it was good to hear him speak about the food he loves. I remember him saying that he would be leaving the Le Petit Rouge soon which is such a shame as he and his knowledge truly made our meal far more enjoyable.

All of this for £6.50 a head… The San Carlo group have something magical here.

Yours,

Joss

*I’m not sure however, if I could have chosen this again without knowing whether or not the owners of those livers had been treated humanely. Thankfully, I did not have to quiz our waiter as the choice was taken away from me.

** This is also sad because the saumon fumé (smoked salmon blinis) and the tartelette au chèvre (goat’s cheese tart) were scrummy…

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