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Best January cheap eats

Caned the credit card at Christmas? Then swanky dinner dates are probably off the menu this month. Cue the Muddy-approved cheap, chic dining spots.

No one wants to splash the cash on pricey restaurants this month so we’ve pulled together a selection of our favourite cheap, but definitely chic eats across Leicestershire and Rutland that you really want to experience. Aren’t we helpful?

Mowgli Street Food, Leicester

This new-ish city centre restaurant has quirky swinging seats in the window or, if you prefer eating while stationary, a social dining area with fairy lights in abundance serving an extensive street food/tapas-style menu. I absoulutely lurrrved the Ruby Wrap – an open roti wrap with soft tandoori chargrilled paneer cheese, pomegranate, mint, spinach and tangy chutney £7.50. Gunpowder Chicken and Aunty Geeta’s Prawn Curry go for around £7 each. Smaller dishes and sides are even cheaper at £1.75 for rotis, and the restaurant’s Indian version of cheese on toast is around a fiver and comes with coriander, red onion and green chilli dressing, cheddar and served with Indian pickle.

Grounded Kitchen

A bowl of rice and veggies may not sound appetising to everyone, but then you’ve probably not eaten at Grounded Kitchen. Nourishing bowls of healthy goodness – think Korean bibimbaps, broths, superfood lattes, wellness teas and more.  A veggie Buddha bowl will set you back £5.95 and the most expensive is the beef and prawns at £9.95 – but with the amount of protein packed fuel in each bowl, you’ll be fuller for longer and for all under a tenner. Sweeeet! Plus they’ve relocated to a bigger and better eatery on 50 Queens Road and you can find them in the city on Kings Street.

The Larder Oakham 

Tofu poke bowl

The Larder is about loving what’s local (kinda like us actually) and they offer a menu that’s brimming with home cooked food. The Moroccan bowl is on my radar – it comes with lemon and coriander butterbean humus, apricot, orange and almond quinoa, apple, sumac, red onion and pomegranate salad with the choice of falafels or lamb meatballs. There’s also sandwiches and jackets for the less adventurous types. Soups and bowls starts from a fiver and sandwiches from £6.95.

The Olive Branch, Clipsham

Ahh one of my fave places to visit. There’s something really special about this village pub and the quality of the food helps massively. Their set lunch runs Mon-Sat and is £18.50 for 2 courses (or 3 for £5 extra). There’s only two options to choose from for starters, mains and desserts but you won’t be disappointed with the dish you pick. An example of their seasonal set lunch dishes include rolled ham hock and smoked haddock chowder, and fillet of cod. Available Mon-Sat until 14 March excluding Valentines Day.

Rocksalt Bistro, Market Harborough

This indie restaurant has an emphasis on good, simple and honest food – fresh seafood and seasonal produce. They offer a deal on both lunch (2 courses £15 or 3 courses £19) and dinner (2 courses £21 or 3 courses £26) and food includes perfectly grilled steaks, tons of fresh shellfish and creative bistro fare. If you like your seafood, go for the grilled prawns or the lobster and crab risotto.

Hitchens Barn, Oakham

A two course lunch for just under £20 (£17.95 to be exact) may not sound cheap to you, but here’s the part when I tell you this lunch deal is actually from a Michelin Bib Gourmand gastropub, so not only is it great value for money, the quality is also phenomenal – think confit chicken leg followed by a poached Yorkshire rhubarb and pistachio praline. The set lunch menu is available Wed- Sat. Yum! Valid Weds- Sat until April.

Phoenix Cafe, Leicester

I love this spot – it’s so much more than just a cinema – it’s a community hub and great for families. All sandwiches and toasties are under £5 as are their jacket potatoes and sides. Their hot cooked kids menu is only £4 – the cheapest one I’ve ever come across. Tip: Head there on a Sunday and you can have any item from the brunch menu, a drink and a ticket to the 12pm film for £13.95!

The Wheatsheaf, Greetham

The kitchen in this independently-run pub is headed by by co-owner Carol who has worked in some brilliant foodie establishments across London. The menu changes weekly here and is always seasonal plus, she makes her own fresh bread. Lunch here can include a baked Cheddar cheese soufflé, potted crab or crispy bork belly. Choose two courses  for £16 valid Tues – Fri until March.

Good Earth, Leicester

The oldest vegetarian cafe in Leicester, Good Earth has been running for more than 50 years because of its food. The decor’s a little dated so may not tick the ‘chic’ box but don’t judge a restaurant by its carpet. This family-run cafe works on a self-service basis and churn out food like it’s going out of fashion; hot food comes out every half an hour – think mushroom stroganoff, asparagus and blue cheese pasta, spicy chick pea casserole and lentil dhal, veg korma with Bombay potatoes, blue cheese gnocchi, sweet potato lasagna…and the list goes on! Rustic, wholesome and homely. Hot food and salad is £6.95, homemade soup£3.50, jacket potato cheese and salad £5.95. Tip: They don’t take card payments so make sure you bring cash.

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