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Where does a Michelin trained chef like to eat?

There’s been a lot of hype around Leicester’s newest vegan restaurant. Run by chef, Bee Patel it’s bound to tick a few boxes and tickle your tastebuds.

Born and raised in Leicestershire, Bee’s worked her way through some of London’s top restaurants  so we decided to ask her about her fave local foodie haunts.

I feel fortunate that as a child I grew up in the most multicultural and abundant city with produce from all over the world, most grown locally and a city so close to its local farming community.

Places I love are:

Bradgate Park. Steeped in so much fascinating history. I fondly remember sitting on jagged rocks, eating packed lunches on our school trips, the beautiful herds of Red and Fallow Deer, peacocks and stunning panoramic views on top of Old John. I still walk my dogs there now.

Swithland Woods. Glorious bird song and right about now, beautiful Bluebells EVERYWHERE – go see them! I last visited a couple of years ago, just before embarking on my new career as a chef. While there, I remembered a great friend, Aileen who was like a mother to me. When I was younger, I loved coming here to walk her dogs and she taught me about the flora, fauna and foraging for wild food. So much precious knowledge I still treasure today. I don’t visit as often now, but I do go to remember her from time to time. It’s a very special place for me and our trips there inspired one of my dishes which is dedicated to her memory on my menu.

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery. I have always loved all the displays there. I used to always visit as a teen on the way home from college. I really appreciate the new developments of the venue and area. It really puts Leicester on the map and makes it feel like the welcoming, up and coming city it truly deserves to be.

Rutland Nature Reserve and Anglian Water Bird Watching Centre. I used to volunteer here for a while as a teenager. I helped in their Osprey project and Bird Watching Fair as well as assisted on the Reserve! Experiences and adventures I am so incredibly fortunate to have had!

The White House Pub, Scraptoft Lane, Leicester. Yes… It is a Wetherspoon and it is a lovely historical building! A laid-back Breakfast here is a true joy! So clean and great for families. I truly enjoy the vegan breakfast and fresh fruit options served with apple juice in their garden in warmer weather or inside its handsome surroundings! Yum!

Melton Road and Belgrave Road. Leicester’s “Golden Mile” – You must visit it at least once, especially on Diwali evening when the road is closed and the whole mile is lit up with bright lights! It is a sight to behold! The streets come alive in a kaleidoscope of colour and Indian music. Waves of people dance in their vivid saris and eat delicious food as there are so many great restaurants, Indian sweet marts and street food snack stops along here, many of which have an array of delectable vegan options. People joyfully wish you a happy Diwali! There is a very real sense of family fun and community spirit and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, as Leicester is such a wonderfully multicultural, generous and united city, everyone is made to feel incredibly welcome. There are also traditional and modern dance shows, plays and a firework display in the park. A truly exciting flavour of the subcontinent.

Leicester Market. Full of fresh, local produce, exciting trinkets, bits and bobs.

Beacon Hill Country Park. It has spectacular views across Leicestershire and the beautiful “Old Man of the Beacon” rock formation is breath taking.

I really like Shivalli, a very traditional South Indian restaurant in Leicester city. I last visited at the end of November to celebrate finding the site for my new restaurant, Sanctua. They have a pure vegetarian thali style buffet and many vegan options at a very reasonable prices. Their mid-week lunch buffets are a steal! I particularly enjoy the spicy rasam soups, vegan curries and freshly-made hot puris which arrs brought to your table. Heavenly!

A vegan dish you may see on the menu at Sanctua.

Vegan friendly decor at Sanctua.

Sanctua Restaurant, 29 London Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5DL.

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