Merchant of Venice 2 Restaurant Review
Written by: Deepa & Meera (Instagram: @eavithus)
Merchant of Venice is certainly a café with a difference. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, the café aims to deliver the aromas and flavours authentic of Italy. The original Merchant of Venice opened its doors to the citizens of Leicester on Granby Street in 2019 and quickly became a popular destination for coffee, cakes, and tasty Venetian inspired meals. Fast forward to early 2023 and the owners have opened a second branch on Loseby Lane. This is the branch that we visited. We do have to say that (like many other Leicester locals) we really loved the sandwich shop that was previously resident within this premises and were sad to see it shut, so it’s really wonderful that something equally special has opened up in its stead.
-Vegetarian and Vegan Options available and clearly marked on the menu
-Allergens to be discussed when placing your order
-Accessible entry for those with both ambulant disabilities, and wheelchair users, however the toilets are located up a flight of stairs.
-We didn’t see any highchairs on our visit, therefore if in need of one, enquire directly with the Café
The café boasts an impressive interior spanning three floors. The décor is inspired by details from the Merchant of Venice play, in addition to Shakespeare’s home. There are some beautiful frescos, paintings, and an impressive ceiling mural all painted by a local artist in the Renaissance style characteristic of the 16th century and Elizabethan England. Think dark wood, a few steam-punky finishing touches and a couple of swings to sit on at the tables in the ground floor window. The subterranean level in particular has more ambient lighting, certainly has a more intimate/romantic feel and is particularly beautiful. There are plans to launch a fixed price 3 course menu priced at £24.99 per person specifically for this area, which sounds really interesting and exciting (so watch this space)!
What’s really great is that no matter where you sit in the café, there will be something new to take in, and it will be a different experience every time you visit as a result. There is also an outdoor bar area which has been decorated beautifully, with plenty of photo-opportunities and Instagrammable focus points.
The menu is varied with something for everyone and to suit every mood. Coffee and (most importantly) cake is available all day, with a range of delicious dessert selections at the counter. Breakfast is served daily from 7am-12pm, with some tasty options on offer. Paninis are also served from 7am-5pm, perfect for a lighter lunch choice or to grab and go on the way into work/out of the city centre.
We ordered some dishes from the Main Menu on our visit to try, and here are our thoughts:
Caprese Tricolore (£7.80) We don’t usually order salads, but mozzarella and fresh pesto had us sold. Little skewers of two cherry tomatoes with a mozzarella ball in between were served up nestled amongst an array of salad leaves and fresh basil, tossed in a green pesto. It was delicious and refreshing, although we would have probably switched the ratio of mozzarella and tomatoes around because we are such cheese fiends (lol).
Funghi Alla Aglio (5.80) This was our favourite starter. Pan-fried herbed mushrooms in a smooth and silky, creamy and garlicky sauce. The mushrooms were cooked beautifully, with their earthy flavour infused into the sauce. This dish was served alongside some garlic bread slices to both scoop up the mushrooms and mop up that beautiful sauce. I can see us ordering this one every time we visit!
Agnello Mercantile (£18.95) This course was absolutely gorgeous (and was eaten by Deepa, the resident carnivore in our duo). The lamb chops were so tender and cooked to perfection. Served with creamy mash with not a lump in sight, with herbaceous courgettes, red peppers and green beans, and a flavoursome gravy. The dish was beautifully presented and ate really well. The portion size was just right, and I would order this again without hesitating. The lamb chops are one of three signature dishes on the Main Menu (the other options being Sea Bass or Chicken – both of which I intend on returning to try)!
Penne Venice (£10.75) This pasta dish was also delicious (eaten by Meera) and was served up in such a hearty portion. The pasta was cooked al dente and was served up in a beautifully reduced rich tomato sauce containing Mediterranean vegetables and Italian herbs. Aubergines in particular are difficult to get right, however these were deliciously soft (just as they should be), and the courgettes were texturally just *chef’s kiss* too!
Halloumi Fries (£4.50) Lightly battered and deep fried, the halloumi was perfectly squeaky (as you’d expect), and well seasoned. Served with a side salad and an artistic swoosh of dipping sauce. We think the dipping sauce was a bit of ketchup and mayo served together (but not mixed up like a marie rose sauce), either way it was a great little side dish to accompany our meal.
By the time we had eaten our two courses we were far too full for desserts, but there are a range of tasty desserts including tiramisu, cannoli, and cheesecakes on offer which we will certainly be back to sample.
In addition to the coffee and tea selection that you would normally expect to find in a café, Merchant of Venice also offers a selection of wines and sparkling options, soft drinks and also currently has a signature cocktail menu in development. The staff were happy to whip us up some cocktails and mocktails based on our preferences during our visit, which were fruity, smooth and well balanced.
Value for Money
We felt that the whole menu was actually very reasonably priced considering the quality of the ingredients, cooking and absolutely stunning venue. We’d even go as far as saying that in reality what you get to experience is a really lovely aesthetic and delicious food and drink without breaking the bank here.
If you have the tuck app you can also snag a saving by way of cashback against the value of the meal – check our linktree on our Instagram page for our referral codes for the app.
The whole experience at Merchant of Venice, Loseby Lane was very memorable, for all the right reasons! The food delivers traditional Italian flavours which are beautifully presented and delicious in taste, all at a reasonable price point. There is also a range of drink options to suit most preferences available. The interiors are gorgeous and really do elevate the whole dining experience, making the café a truly versatile offer – you could just as easily visit for a coffee and cake, visit with friends for a brunch catch up, or be the perfect date day/night destination.
We are already planning our next visit (with the little man) to eat vegan pancakes on the swings!
Deepa & Meera