NineB Leicester reviewed
NineB is the newest and undoubtedly the most stylish restaurant in Leicester. It opened up mid-January, the kitchen’s headed up by Stewart Westwater and is part of the mahooosive Great Central Square regeneration on the former Great Central Railway station site.
The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the shiny new Novotel and Adagio hotel complex which cost a whopping £40 million.
The restaurant is open to non-hotel guests and if you like your food in stylish surroundings (me, me, me) then you’ll love NineB.
Walking in, I was impressed by the beautiful decor – we’re talking mirrored ceilings, mid-century inspired armchairs, snug sofas, gold hanging pendants, spacious light pink velour booths and even the exposed metal pipes – apparently a nod to Leicester’s industrial past – gives it an edge.
This is definitely Leicester’s most glam dining room so I totally understand if you feel you need to wear your stilettos – like I did – but despite the glam, the vibe is friendly and very relaxed.
I especially loved the hanging ‘chain’ curtain beyond which is the private dining area. The bar is also seriously impressive with plush orange leather bar stools serving a full selection of beer, spirits, brandies and single malts and the wine list features some tasty New World wines too.
The curious name of the restaurant is inspired by the restaurant’s Roman roots, specifically the ‘Stibbe’ mosaic that was excavated from a high-status Roman villa found directly underneath the development in the area of the Roman city known archaeologically as ‘IXb’.
We were eating out on a Wednesday eve and the restaurant was well quite quiet. The manager, Manish tells me that word is still getting out and I know that a lot of people I’ve spoken to, hadn’t heard anything about NineB until I mentioned it or they saw my IG feed.
Right let’s talk about the food. I was already excited to see that they had a full vegan menu on offer but when I enquired about it, I was told that some of the dishes were not available – luckily, the ones I wanted were – *insert smug face!*
We started with the wild mushroom arancini balls and heritage tomatoes served with organic burrata and a black olive crumb. The arancini balls were the best I’ve ever tasted and went perfectly with the sweet chilli tomato relish. Even though there were three generous-sized ones on the plate, I couldn’t help wish there were more.
We both had our eye on the cajun-spiced cauliflower dish which features on the main and vegan menu. It’s one of their classic dishes and is marinated in the spices for 24 hours.
In the end, I opted for the roasted cod loin and my dinner date went for the cauliflower. I had expected the fish to be a small portion – which it was – so had ordered a side of tenderstem broccoli that came cooked in a subtle chilli and ginger butter. The cod was served with crunchy roasted cannellini beans and a side of confit garlic aioli and I polished it off in no time.
After literally tossing a coin to see who would bag the cauliflower dish, my date was left a little under whelmed by her dish. The cajun spice was a little too strong and fiery and the tomato chilli relish it came with was too sweet and the creamy chimichurri unfortunately wasn’t cool enough against the heat.
Luckily, dessert made up for it. After needing very little persuasion to indulge in our third course, we ordered the steamed ginger sponge as well as the chocolate brownie which was rich and gooey – a little sweet for me with the salted caramel ice cream, but not for my date who finished it off in no time. So yes, we made it the full three courses – purely for research purposes.
The Muddy Verdict:
Good for: A fab place to show your out-of-towner friends and family and special occasion get-togethers. I didn’t see any high chairs but they do have a kids menu so perhaps bring them for lunch and come with your other half for date night.
Not for: Those who prefer a quick, casual pub lunch or takeaway. It’s worth taking your time and enjoying the entire experience.
££: They serve deli sandwiches (from £7.50) as well as soups, salads, flat bread and small plates for lunch – starting from £4 and going up to £12.50. Dinner starts from £5 for starters, mains from £13, sides from £4, desserts from £6. The kids menu starts from £3.50 for mains and dessert. A little bit pricier than other restaurants so it can be saved for a special occasion.
NineB, Leicester, 2 Great Central Square, LE1 4JS.
T: 0116 4820 444