If you know me in real life (or probably if you even if you just follow me on social media) you'll know that my favourite restaurant around these parts is Crafty at St Martins. I think it's becoming a bit of a joke that if anyone ever asks me for an eating out suggestion this is always my first tip. I just genuinely love it! It's not fussy and it has a lovely relaxed atmosphere, but the food is so so well done and I adore the fact that as many ingredients as possible are locally sourced. The staff are friendly, the drinks selection is great and you can just tell that care has gone into everything (as is the case when it is St Martins Coffee Shop too). When I heard that the new menu had been released I popped by to check it out and book a table as soon as I could and spent the next week feeling disdainful towards every meal I ate as I awaited my next Crafty dinner!
We started with the Treat Platter which isn't actually a new edition as it was on the very first launch menu but then went away for a bit. It's a great little starter which I would recommend splitting between two if you want to finish your burger and fries! A real bargain for a fiver, it gets you two lovely big Pigcorn Poppers (breaded pork belly with butternut squash puree and pickles) which my husband is particularly partial to, some gorgeous chicken wings (I usually hate chicken wings but these are a delight) smothered in a citrus honey glaze and sour cream dressing and a dish of wonderfully fresh guacamole and tortilla chips.
Now for the main event, two of the new burgers! It was obvious as soon as I spotted it that I had to go for the Mrs Crabapple as I am a seafood fiend. A tempura battered soft shell crab takes the place of the usual meat patty, topped with a generous dollop of guacamole, aioli, pickles and a zingy slaw of celeriac and apple. It is the most wonderful combination of textures and flavours - soft bun, crunchy tart slaw, creamy aioli and perfectly crisp tempura batter encasing rich, buttery crab. This really is something special if you're a soft shell crab fan and it was lovely to try it in a burger as opposed to in a sushi roll which is the only way I'd eaten it before.
My husband went for what I knew he would as soon as I spotted it - The Crafty Poet. Basically I saw bacon and onion crisps and knew he'd be all over it. Said toppings were layered on top of a luscious beef patty along with two kinds of cheese, BBQ sauce and aioli to make the handsome burger you can see in the background of the photo above. It was gone in record time but I did manage to steal a bite and can confirm that it was pretty darn delicious. And that's coming from someone who doesn't often like bacon on a burger. The salted onion crisps were the standout for both of us, adding that extra savoury kick against the sweet BBQ sauce and rich cheese and beef that took it from standard burger to a king amongst meaty treats.
One of my favourite things about Crafty has always been their buns which are sturdy enough to keep everything together but soft and light enough to let you taste everything in it and not feel like you have to battle through a thick layer of tastleless sponge before getting to the meat as is so often the case elsewhere.
We both 'pimped our fries' adding toppings to the already wonderful skin on fries. I went for the cheeky fries which were covered in melted cheese and chunks of super tender beef, with that richness countered by jalapenos, sour cream and French's mustard. Mr C went for the newcomer the Wurst Fries which were covered again in melted cheese, with German sausage chunks, sauerkraut, gherkins and curried ketchup. I didn't get to try these but I was reliably informed that the sausage was really tender and flavourful and that the addition of the vinegary sauerkraut made them taste a lot lighter despite the smothering of cheeses.
As usual this was a great meal and I'm really please that the menu has been added to and that Crafty is doing so so well. The team are all great and the passions shines through from start to finish. I think it brings something great to Leicester even after being open for over a year and I hope it's around for many many many years to come. If you go and try the El Gordo and manage to finish, let me know because I want to shake your hand!!
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