A NEW eatery seems to pop up in Leamington every five minutes. The town really is becoming a culinary hotspot, and one could legitimately question whether it’s now full to bursting with places to eat.
Is there room for another? Those who have visited Number 75 during its brief tenure to date would surely answer in the affirmative – and with very good reason.
The latest addition to Leamington’s ever-burgeoning food and drink scene really does stand out from the crowd.
The Bedford Street restaurant is a pop-up dining concept – basically meaning it will see how things go for a few months before deciding whether to continue.
Located to the rear of sister establishment House, but accessed from Bedford Street rather than the Parade, Number 75 is located in what was for many years The Bedford Inn.
Like neighbouring House, it’s operated by Freespirit pubs, an independent group with a roster of five inns located across Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.
Freespirit has a clear ethos – sustainable and seasonal local produce achieved through working closely with farmers, growers, wholesalers and fisherman.
And that vision is evident in the genuine passion shared by everyone involved at Number 75 – a vision which chef Karolina Rosa and her team transfer onto the plate with real panache.
It’s a passion they want to share with their customers. There’s nothing stuffy or pretentious about Number 75. The surroundings are comfortable, the atmosphere relaxed.
The menu is far from extensive. Four ever-changing choices for each – starters, mains and desserts. One could argue it leaves nowhere to hide, but then there is no reason or need to want to hide with dishes of the quality we were presented with.
And this is a kitchen which is not afraid to experiment. Take starters such as Deep Fried Egg Yolk with sauteed mushrooms in a creamy parmesan sauce. Rich and moreish, it would have been so easy to put it on a slice of toast, but it works superbly without.
Or take the Rice Pudding Arancini from the desserts. Two deep fried arancini balls – which in truth could have been slightly crisper – are perfectly paired with a coconut sorbet and delicate lime leaf custard. Some very clever flavour combinations.
Anyone already familiar with Freespirit will know they pride themselves on the quality of the meat they serve, which is all carefully sourced from local farms they know well. The Shin of Beef and Slow Cooked Lamb Shank are certainly testament to that. I would argue you would be hard-pressed to find any better cooked cuts of meat in Leamington.
The beef is married with a herb crust, a beef croquette, fondant potato, poached blackberry and cavolo nero; the lamb with creamy mash, braised red cabbage, purple carrots and kale. All earn their place on some very special plates of food.
Wine-wise, we enjoyed a big and bold Primitivo – recommended by the very helpful Sam – which held its own and complimented the beef and lamb, together with a slightly lighter, but certainly no less interesting and tasty, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.
Leamington may have no shortage of places to eat, but the fine, and competitively priced, dining offered at Number 75 is a more than welcome addition to the town’s culinary offering.
Let’s hope this pop-up becomes permanent.
Visit www.number75.co.uk for further details.