You will be well aware by now that one of my real passions is historical buildings, stately homes and social history. I think its so important to preserve of breathe new life into old structures rather than knock them down and replace them with modern building of much less beauty. I'm sure you can imagine then that when I heard that Braunstone Hall had been refurbished and renovated into a beautiful new boutique hotel and occasion venue called Winstanley House and was also home to a new restaurant called Black Iron. Originally built as the family residence of the Winstanley family in 1775, the property went through several changes of profession so to speak and the estate was sold in 1918 under an act of parliament requiring land for new housing before in 1932 it became a school that ran until its closure in 1996. For a short time in 1944 the Hall also became the Divisional Headquarters to an elite combat unit of the U.S Army, another thing that adds to its rich history and warrants its preservation.

I'll be talking more about the hotel itself with it's beautiful guest rooms and wonderful ballrooms in another post, because today I'm going to give you a review of one of the best meal's my husband and I have eaten in Leicestershire for a long long time at the wonderful Black Iron British Restaurant and Steakhouse. We began our evening in the beautiful bar, a glorious room filled with mirrors and chandeliers and the most gorgeous gold Art Deco style shelving unit adorned with every spirit you could wish for. I tried one of the house specials a Smoked Maple Syrup Old Fashioned and let me tell you, it was delicious! Sweeter than a standard old fashioned due to the syrup, this is the kind of drink I love on a cold evening sitting in front of a log fire - just perfect for the season!

My husband Pete chose the glazed ginger pork cheeks for his starter which are served on sourdough toast with beautiful thin slices of pickled apple. I managed to grab a bite before he wolfed it all down and oh my it was gorgeous! The meat was so rich and tender that it was almost beef like and the sticky ginger sauce was to die for working perfectly with the sour pickled fruit and unctuous beef - a perfectly balanced start to a meal.

I'm a big fan of anything smoked with tea and so the earl grey smoked mackerel was my choice. The tender fish was whipped with slivers of chive in a creamy mayonnaise like sauce then topped with creamy beaten avocado, thin ribbons of pickled cucumber and a thin toast crisp. Again this was perfectly balanced with richness of the fish and avocado, the bitterness of the endive and the sweet sourness of the pickle. 

Unusually we both went for the same main course and chose the Onley Grounds Dry Aged Ribeye Steak. We had spoken to the barman about our love for Hawksmoor in London and he said he thought their steak was better so obviously we have to give it a try! It was definitely up there as one of the best steaks I've ever eaten and Pete was in full agreement. The quality of the meat was impeccable and the flavour of the grilling a delight - we chose different levels of well doneness and both came out just as we wished with a light taste building char and juicy, tender interior. 

The steak was served with a little salad, beef dripping fries and the best peppercorn sauce I have ever tasted - and that is a sauce I'm not usually a fan of! It was super creamy and fragrant with peppercorn rather than punching you in the face with the pepper heat - just dreamy. French fries are one of my true loves and these were really really fabulous, crisp and luxurious - I want more right now to be honest! 

I ended my meal with a signature Black Iron dish - their version of  tea & cake. This was a delicious wedge of homemade victoria sponge cake filled with jam and buttercream served alongside earl grey ice cream and thin slices of crystallised dried strawberry and some shortcake crumbs. I'll be honest, the cake was nice but the ice cream was AMAZING! I could easily have just a big bowl of that and been happy so alongside two of my favourite things dried strawberry and viccy sponge I was delighted. 

Pete unsurprisingly chose his favourite sticky toffee pudding served with ice cream - I think he's had this same pudding every meal out for about two years if he had the opportunity so he's a bit of an expert now and said it was really magnificent. So much so that I didn't get a taste!

Honestly this was one of the best eating experiences in Leicestershire I have had for years and years and we will most definitely be returning very soon!

Keep your eyes peeled for another post on Winstanley House's beautiful boutique hotel rooms and function room facilities in the near future.