Ladies who lunch

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa Warwickshire

If visiting a fine dining restaurant is a little daunting, or you want to make sure that you will enjoy the experience before splashing out, then I’d recommend trying the lunch menu first.

Nearly all restaurants offer a fixed price lunch menu, with fewer choices than the evening a la carte menu, to get to grips with a chef’s style of cooking.

This was the view of my mum, who hadn’t eaten at Restaurant 23 before, when she joined me for lunch there on Saturday 25 March.

Bread and marmite butter at Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa

While we were reviewing the menu, a platter of freshly made bread with plain and Marmite butter arrived. This is the first indication that Head Chef Curtis likes to play with favours.

With three choices of starters, mains and desserts it was quick and easy to choose what we wanted to eat. From Rabbit (with peanut, gherkin and carrot, Mushroom (with pasta, balsamic and parmesan) and Salmon (with avocado, dill, buttermilk) I went for the veggie option.

Mushroom starter at Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa

The sweet beads of Balsamic vinegar were almost like berries, cutting through the earthy mushrooms. Then followed an amuse bouche of sweet tomatoes and knobs of mozerrella, which Maitre D Eduardo Nesto poured water into our bowls to make a refreshing, clear broth and imaginative change from sorbet as a palette cleanser.

For mains our options were Chicken (with swede, maple, and kiev) Pollock (with baby gem loveage seaweed) and Egg Yolk (with celeriac, burnt onion and watercress).
Restaurant 23 Leamingon Spa chicken swede maple kiev

Traditional roasted chicken melted in the mouth, the Kiev ball was deep fried to crisp perfection and the sweet maple syrup and swede alongside creamy mash were a winning combination as far as my mum was concerned.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa pollock loveage and seaweed

Eduardo was back to pour jus over mum’s chicken and a (I think) a lemon sauce over my pollock which made the loveage and seaweed crackle into life.

Restaurant 23 Leamington Spa raspberry dessert

Always leaving room for dessert, Mum was straight onto the Raspberry meringue, sorbet and panna  cotta without giving the Egg custard (with nutmeg and Yuzu) or Chocolate (with biscuit, clementine and fennel) a second look.

Facing competition from numerous branded chains as well as independent venues, Restaurant 23 is offering an exceptionally good value two course lunch for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95. On Sundays the prices are higher for lunch, at £37 for two courses and £45 for three courses.

I must make a special mention for Eduardo, who deserves a medal for the tact, diplomacy and charm in dealing with a non-eating toddler and a couple who wanted to order from the (unavailable) evening tasting menu for lunch. What a star!

I’d sum Restaurant 23 up as elegant without being intimidating and creative but not scary cooking making it a must visit eaterie.

Curtis Stewart chef

Find out more about Head Chef Curtis Stewart  here in the latest Meet the Chef article.

All change at Restaurant 23

peter-knibb-chef-owner-restaurant-23-leamington

I am sad to hear that one of my favourite local chefs is on the move.  After ten years as Chef Proprietor of Restaurant 23, Peter Knibb will be leaving the Leamington Spa restaurant and handing over the kitchen to new Executive Chef Curtis Stewart.

Peter has not yet said what he is going to do next, but commented  “Since founding the business in 2006 the team and I have worked extremely hard to establish our reputation for offering the highest quality food, refreshment and relaxation. I am immensely grateful for our customers’ loyal support and I am confident that you will continue to be delighted as I hand over to Curtis.”

curtis-stewart

Curtis hales from Bury in Manchester, and has spent the bulk of his career in award-winning kitchens at The Vineyard, Whatley Manor, Cowarth Park, The Feathered Nest, The Painswick Hotel and most recently at Quill.  His vision is to produce modern, innovative food that tests and delights the senses.

Curtis said: “After spending time in and around Warwickshire ahead of my start, I know just how special Restaurant 23 is to our clients.  We have always strived to deliver excellence and innovation and it is in this tradition that we will continue. I very much look forward to leading Restaurant 23 through its next chapter of development and would like to thank Peter and Richard Steeves for this incredible opportunity.”

restaurant-23-leamington-spa

The Georgian townhouse at 34 Hamilton Terrace is home to a dining room, two private rooms, Morgan’s cocktail bar and patio terrace. Restaurant 23 is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch, afternoon tea, pre-theatre supper and a la carte dinner.

If you haven’t already tried this three AA rosette restaurant add it to your list now!