in the historic town of market bosworth, softleys restaurant can be found within a charming grade II listed building in the market place centre. with fresh daily deliveries from local butchers, grocers and fishmongers, it really is the perfect setting to enjoy british produce in surroundings which ooze the local character.
on the cusp of leicestershire and warwickshire, market bosworth is a beautiful, small town which gained royal charter status in the late 1200s. if you remember from your history lessons, yes it is near where the famous war of the roses' battle of bosworth took place.
after a potter around, because this is the exact sort of town you would potter in, we headed over to softleys. it was a sunny friday evening and we were soon met with people enjoying drinks al fresco, alongside the rather impressive blooms scattered around the market place.
the restaurant is quaint and intimate, with low beamed ceilings, exposed brickwork and original features peeking through. this was brightened up the classic way with crispy white table cloths, mellow candles and gleaming wine glasses.
for starters, i already knew what i was having. i know, i know, i'm awful for reading menus back to front before even stepping foot out the door.
this stunningly presented dish is king scallops wrapped in streaky bacon and served with black pudding, rocket leaves and balsamic syrup (£10). as the most expensive starter on the menu, i decided to throw caution to the wind and try out this winning combination of fine food.
luckily it didn't disappoint; the scallops were juicy, bacon crispy and black pudding melted in my mouth without that bitter aftertaste you sometimes get. i did feel like i had to try a scallop on its own though, as such an expensive ingredient it seemed a shame to wrap in such thick (although incredible) bacon. perhaps thin parma ham or similar would have worked just as well with this delicate flavour?
sam ordered the deep fried breaded brie with mango chutney, radicchio and rocket salad (£5.50). i didn't get an action shot, but as you broke into the breaded casing, the cheese made a glorious gooey string of cheese that you might only see on an advert. divine. the mango chutney was a fantastic pairing too, such an interesting and sweet alternative to the usual onion chutneys. the rocket of course went really well with the brie was it always does, although i don't know if one leaf warrants adding radicchio to the dish title.
for my second course, i opted for the grilled fillet of salmon in sauce vierge, lemon olive oil, basil, tomatoes, shallots, capers and crushed minted potatoes. at £12.50 this was a very reasonably priced seafood main for the quality and preparation of the dish. the grilled fish had a soft, almost poached, texture which married well with the simple lemon and caper flavours. i hadn't thought of serving minted potatoes with salmon before, although i think the summery flavours and rough consistency of the potato enhanced the fish.
sam went for the stilton, mushroom, red onion and spinach wellington which came with dauphinoise potato and a garlic and balsamic syrup drizzled on top. a fantastic vegetarian alternative again with a go-to flavour combination. with delicious homemade puff pastry and a generous portion, the stilton was subtle but still a little strong for me. mind you, whilst i do love broccoli and stilton soup, strong cheese on a cheeseboard is always too strong for me.
for dessert, sam opted for a rather retro looking crepe topped with fresh oranges, grand marnier liquer and orange sauce (£5). i don't think this is anyone's fault, there's just something massively retro about slicedoranges, isn't there? as i'm not a fan of alcohol in desserts i didn't have any, although he reported back that the crepes were light, crispy, crunchy and warm. sound like a winner to me. i'll have the same with lemon and sugar, please!
now the grand finale... my dessert of black cherry and almond frangipane sponge tart, kirsh infused black cherries and pistachio ice cream (£6). now try repeating that with a mouth full.
this moist, nutty sponge absolutely sang along with the delectable pistachio ice cream. the ultimate summer dessert. i could take or leave the cherry brandy sauce as like i said i'm not too keen on liquers in sweets, although i'm sure this would have given a deep almost festive hint to the dessert. not to mention the homemade ice cream, which hails high above any other bright green pistachio ice cream i thought i knew so well.
overall this was a fabulous meal and i definitely will be returning. turns out sam's dishes were on the prix fixe offering so his came to just £19 for three courses, with the whole meal coming in at just under £60 including drinks. fantastic fine dining without the price tag, just good honest local produce, served well in gorgeous surroundings. the restaurant soon filled up too, so i guess we aren't the only ones who have fallen in love with the place.
2 market place,
note: we paid for our own meals. all opinions are honest and my own.