Black Iron Social at The Gresham Aparthotel has become one of the city’s most talked about dining spots. A new summer menu featuring contemporary British dishes launched in June, and Dluxe Magazine sent Sarinda Bains-Hall to review the new offerings.
The Venue: Black Iron Social
Black Iron Social is set within the ground floor lobby of The Gresham Aparthotel – a luxury aparthotel in Leicester. The iconic Victorian building formerly housed Fenwick’s department store before undergoing a £17 million renovation. It is now home to the 121-bed Aparthotel as well as a gym, conferencing facilities and a state-of-the-art co-working space. Black Iron Social restaurant and bar serves the hotel guests as well as non-residents for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On arrival, there is a chic bar area furnished with luxury velvet seating, perfect for intimate drinks with friends. Lush greenery and soft lighting fill the interiors for a calming ambience. The first impressions are very good: think Victorian grandeur meeting modern, tropical vibe.
The Food: Small Plates with Big Flavour
The menu is small and separated into vegetarian, meat and fish ‘small plates’ for a tapas-style dining experience, and larger plates for those looking for a more filling option. We opted to pick a selection of seven small dishes to share between two people. With the UK currently basking in a heatwave, we were grateful to have the option of a lighter meal full of exciting flavours.
Two of the standout dishes came from the vegetarian section of the menu. The Cheddar Fritters with red onion marmalade were delicious – light and airy and perfectly crispy. Similarly, the Crispy Truffled Polenta was an unexpected delight. The outer crumb was crisp, revealing a smooth-textured centre, the flavours balanced with tangy pickled mushroom and watercress cream. The Soy and Sweet Potato Dumplings in a Spring Onion and Ginger Broth were aromatic and nicely flavoured, however the soy dumplings sitting in the broth created a strange textured dish that we wouldn’t choose again.
The Potato Terrine is included in the meat section of the menu due to being cooked with beef fat. This gave a wonderful depth of flavour, along with the accompanying Black Garlic Emulsion that I could have licked off the plate. (Don’t worry, I didn’t!)
The Lamb Belly Fritters were melt-in-the-mouth, served with a fresh and punch mint chimichurri. Chicken Kiev Balls were full of nostalgic childhood taste memories – and plenty of garlicky goodness. Finally, the Pork Cheeks were beautifully tender and spiced with Sumac for a tart, lemony flavour, offset with creamed carrots.
For dessert, we decided to try something a little different and shared the Roasted Pineapple. Served with lime jelly, mango cream and citrus sherbet, it was a great balance between sweet and citrus tastes.
Drinks, Service and Value for Money
The extensive drinks menu has a great selection of handpicked wines and cocktails to choose from. On a blisteringly hot day, we went for a crisp French Rose and a pint of beer.
Our server was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, advising on the number of dishes and particular favourites. She was, however, the only person greeting, taking orders and serving food and drinks to restaurant guests. Having one member of staff meant delays in service even though it was early evening and not too busy.
Seven small plates, one dessert, a glass of wine and a pint of beer came to £59.
Overall Verdict of Black Iron Social
The stylish surroundings of the Black Iron Social make it a great place to meet, whether for drinks or dining.
The service was friendly if a little slow, but the food was bursting with flavours. The continental-style dining with the option of small plates was a highlight – perfect for a light meal and it kept us full all evening. We will definitely be returning to try some of the larger dishes!
The prices are reasonable, especially considering the high-end finish of the surroundings make it a stylish dining destination in the city centre.
Click here to find the new menu and book a table on the Black Iron Social website.
Dluxe Magazine were invited to Black Iron Social free of charge but were under no obligation to post a positive review. Click here for more Dluxe reviews.