Boboli, Kibworth Harcourt
A restaurant so popular it has its own foodie festival! Muddy jumps on the Boboli bandwagon.
I’ve whizzed past Boboli a few times but because it’s tucked away from Kibworth’s High Street, I often forget it’s there. Just a few minutes away from Market Harborough and perfectly placed just off the A6 – if you’re coming from Leicester – the family-run restaurant is a little bit of a hidden gem.
The restaurant is run by the Poli family and has been around since 2007. They have a passion for food and it shows with locals popping in regularly throughout the day – they’re open for lunch and dinner every day so they’re obviously doing something right.
Named after the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence, the restaurant – which, once upon a time was actually two different houses – now serves as this warm and friendly local. Inside, it’s bright with lots of exposed brick work and there’s even original wooden beams in the older part of the restaurant.
We were here for an early dinner so it was mainly families with young children but by the time we were finished, the restaurant was filling up nicely with couples and larger groups.
The emphasis here is on simple and rustic Italian food using perfectly balanced ingredients. The first thing to mention is that there’s more than just pizza and pasta on the menu and it’s more traditional than other Italian restaurants you may have been to – think less arrabbiata and more saltimbocca alla romana (veal escalope with Parma ham and fresh sage).
Something that did surprise me was the lack of vegetarian main dishes; aside from a few pizzas and the Tuscan soup, there was very little else to choose from, but then our waiter pointed out that quite a few dishes from the menu could be served as a veggie version as well as the choice to create your own pasta dish – panic over!
We began with the bruschetta with mushrooms and a fennel salad which came with orange, apple, walnut, spelt and feta cheese.
It was a wonderfully light dish and a refreshing change from other starters we are used to having. In the end I changed my pasta dish to the hake from the Specials board. It came wrapped in parma ham (no ham for me obvs) and vegetables in a fresh, tomato sauce.
As for Mr Muddy – the pizza lover he is – was immediately sold on the ‘Testa Rossa’ that came with tomato, mozzarella, spicy sausage, onions and chilli and while wolfing it down, he did say that if he could create his own dream pizza, it would be this one.
Usually after dinner, I’m bursting at the seams but by avoiding pasta, I still had room for dessert and indulged in the chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo with praline and chocolate sauce. I’d never tried a semifreddo before and I was glad I picked it here. We also ordered the mint chocolate chip ice cream cake which went down a treat. No surprise there!
Yes absolutely – very much a family-friendly restaurant! There’s a kids menu and little ones are given a Boboli bag with crayons and a colouring sheet to keep them occupied. Kids are more than welcome to choose from the full menu and, if required, the staff are happy to serve smaller portions…at smaller prices. Bonus!
The kids menu offers the kind of things you’d expect them to like – pasta with tomato sauce or bolognese sauce as well as breaded fillets of chicken and pizza all served with a bowl of chips or seasonal veggies as the healthier option. There’s also a Sunday roast on the menu for the little ones.
Aside from the food, the restaurant organise the Boboli Festival in summer chock full of local brews and ciders, gin, fizz and amazing food. It’s a popular one with locals because of its loyal following and they also host regular book clubs and popular jazz nights.
The Muddy Verdict
Good for: Romantic couples and families. Nice enough for special occasions but not too expensive for a meal out when you fancy it. The staff are friendly and aim to create a community feel.
Not for: Those just wanting a big boring plate of pasta. Food here is rustic and more on the traditional side.
Damage ££: Go for lunch and enjoy 2 courses £15.50 or 3 courses £18.50. The antipasti can be served as a small, starter sized portion or a larger size, ideal for a light main course and start from £6.75, pizza from £12.50, pasta from £7.50, meat dishes from £14.75 and desserts from £5.95.
Boboli Restaurant and Pizzeria, 88 Main Street, Kibworth HArcouty, Leicestershire, LE8 0NQ. T: 0116 279 3303