SUGAR, DARLING?

BY NANCY WHITTINGTON-COATES

Crafty St Martins Leicester Burger Restaurant Review

Years. That's how long I've been waiting for a good burger place to open up near me! For a long time getting a great burger meant a trip to London, so I'm sure you can imagine how ecstatic I am to now have Crafty St Martins just 25 minutes drive from my home.



Crafty started up as a pop up last year at the wonderful St Martins Coffee Shop in Leicester (you can read my review of their afternoon tea here) and was a huge success. I sadly didn't hear about it until it had ended so naturally hearing that it was coming back as a permanent fixture I was very excited, and then ever more so when they very kindly invited me (and Pete) to the launch night! After taking a sneaky look at the menu online the excitement grew and I was really looking forward to showing Pete how lovely the actual cafe is as he's not been before. It has a great chilled out atmosphere, really cosy and friendly with mixed up furniture and nice big windows so it's light and airy. This was my first night time visit and it was just as lovely, the mix of lamps making it even more snug and homely.

We started the evening with a wonderful platter to give us a taste of the 'Extra Treats' that are available on the menu - chicken wings, Pigcorn Poppers and guacamole with homemade tortilla chips. Each one of these was amazing, I'm not a great chicken wing fan but these were lovely and juicy while having a nice crunch to the outside and the sweet and hot sauce was just delicious. The Pigcorn Poppers are little cubes of belly pork (always good) but taken to the next level being fried in I think a fine polenta crumb to make them extra crisp and delicious and served with a spiced pineapple, honey and chilli dip. Last but not least there was a heap of the most fresh, zingy and creamy guacamole that I've had in a long long time. To scoop it up we had freshly made tortilla chips which were a real treat, thick and crunchy and so much tastier than the ones you get out of a bag - these alone are reason enough to visit Crafty St Martins!

Pete and I decided to go for different burgers so we could try more which was a big help for me as I just couldn't decide whether to go for chicken or beef. I ended up going for the chicken 'Kripsie Klucker' and it was just insane - so so so good I can't really begin to explain it. Firstly it wasn't a formed chicken patty or just a breast, it was pieces of chicken coated in a spiced rice crispy coating and cooked to perfect so they had a crunchy exterior while being moist and flavourful inside. A whole stack of these pieces along with fresh coleslaw, barbecue sauce and mayo were piled into an exemplary brioche bun that was lightly toasted but soft - there's nothing I hate more than a too thick/too chewy/too dense bun that stops you being able to enjoy the burger itself. It was the perfect marriage of flavours and textures, by far the best chicken burger I've ever had.

Pete went for the 'Farmyard Jam' which is a gorgeous beef patty with maple onion and bacon jam, Crafty sauce and Red Leicester cheese on top of crisp salad served up in the same amazing bun as the chicken. We both agreed that the burger patty itself was bang on the money, not too pressed and dense and full of flavour - you can tell it had no filler and it was soft and juicy (and a little pink in the middle which is how a burger should be darnit!). After finishing Pete told me it's the first time he's ever had a burger that he could describe as light as it wasn't stodgy or heavy and all the ingredients were fresh and perfectly executed. Can you tell we were impressed?

Alongside our burgers we enjoyed some pimped up fries, although I must confess next time I think I'll go for plain fries as they were so good they didn't really need any extra toppings! Of course though for our first try we had to go all out, so I had the Green Nacho Fries (skin on fries topped with avocado, spring onions, cheese, sour cream, French’s mustard and jalapeƱos) and Pete went for the Macho Fries (topped with pulled beef, sour cream, cheese, French’s mustard and jalapeƱos). No remorse.

To finish off our incredible meal we had a little tub of incredible gelato made by Crafty's neighbours in St Martins Square, Gelato Village. They had made Crafty a signature flavour of peanut butter and chocolate and it was absolutely to die for. It's far too easy to make peanut butter things claggy and overpowering but the balance were right on here and it was a surprisingly light and delicious end of the meal. I love ice cream or sorbet to end dinner, I always feel like it settles my stomach down! My little sister who works in Leicester has raved to me about Gelato Village many a time so I was really pleased I finally got to try it and can safely report that little sis was right it is damn tasty stuff!

So there you have it, I've shared my joy with you and now you MUST visit and try a Crafty Burger for yourself - but remember it's only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and I predict that it will be veeery popular so go ahead and book to avoid disappointment! I wonder if they'll let me pre-book every Thursday night for the foreseeable future....






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