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Eat: Gray’s at The Cookie

When we say we’re on it at Muddy, we’re literally on it. Gray’s at The Cookie opened just last week and I’ve already been there, done that, got the t-shirt and ohhh boy did i like the food.

The Cookie is one of Leicester’s most popular independent music venues – it’s a great little spot to see up and coming acts but has hosted the likes of Slaves, Seven and George Ezra to name a few and is now turning its hand to food.

The menu here has been put together by Chris Mills from Gray’s Kitchen over at the Leicester Creative Business Dept, more commonly known as the LCB Depot. It’s the second outpost for Gray’s which bangs on about using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, so it’s the perfect place for someone with fussy foodie habits *cough* like me.

The menu is simple; brunch and salad. Straight to the point. A one page menu but I sill couldn’t decide between the roast cauliflower and chickpea or the chargrilled sumac aubergines and freekah salad. I decided on the latter in the end because the Moroccan spices were pretty hard to resist.

Other dishes included pulled Tandoori lamb, Basmati rice, cucumber, radish and tamarind salad – something Mr Muddy would have dived head first into had he been with me.

Even more impressive was how well thought out the kids menu was; parmesan and thyme polenta or cheese, sweetcorn and carrot galettes – not a fried nugget in sight. Someone here seriously knows what they’re doing. Another massive tick from me.

When my salad arrived, I knew immediately I’d made the right choice. It was tangy and tasty in all the right places. The flavours of the sumac were delicious and eating those juicy pieces of aubergines gave me the same satisfaction carnivores must get from biting into a perfectly cooked burger. This warm salad was kept simple, but the flavours intense and I could have happily eaten another plate full.

The chef at The Cookie has previously worked with Chris so they’re on the same page when it comes to food. Most of the ingredients come straight from Leicester market just down the road and all else is as local as possible. Unlike Gray’s at the LCB where the menu changes daily, it’ll stay the same here, for now at least during the early launch but will incorporate seasonal ingredients in jazzed up dishes for customers.

This is just the soft launch for the restaurant. They’re still playing with the menu, fine tuning it and seeing what the uptake is before going full steam ahead. I’m not sure what kind of crowd they’re expecting to attract as the venue is more familiar to Indie fans and those who love live gigs, but if the food is anything to go by, they’ll be queuing up at the door in no time at all.

Muddy Verdict:

Good for: A healthy bite and good choice for vegetarians and vegans. Menu is seasonal, local and takes inspiration from global flavours. Basically it’s not your bog standard city caf! Outdoor seating available and there’s also a small little rooftop area upstairs. Great for families and baby-friendly. The menu offers dishes for 6+ months and older so a great gem for lunch or a Sunday brunch with the family.

Not for: Hard core carnivores or those who enjoy fast food.

£: Reasonably priced. Brunch starts from £2.50, my salad was £6 and go up to £7. The kids menu is priced from £2-3 per dish.

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