The blog from the heart of Leicester's Clarendon Park

Review: 100&Six

Strap in. It’s smørrebrØd time. Get ready for a whistle-stop tour of 100&Six, Clarendon Park’s newest bar and restaurant.

Smoked duck smørrebrød with Danish remoulade, poached lingonberries, beer pickled onions and chives.

Where is it?

106 Queens Road – the building previously occupied by Moow and, before that, Cultura.

Who’s behind it?

It’s the newest venture from the folk behind 33 Cank Street, the cocktail bar in St Martin’s Square. That’s entrepreneur Kal Ruparell and his partner Anna. They’ve teamed up with manager Robin Hardman. In the kitchen is Head Chef Martin Powdrill, who masterminded Cured at Brewdog and, later, The Cookie. And then there’s Dawid Popielec, who has come from Leicester’s only Michelin starred restaurant, John’s House. And if you’re thinking that sounds like a magic formula, you’d be right…

Why Clarendon Park?

Robin told me, “It’s great being round here, the support for all the local independent businesses is so strong. It’s exciting to live in, be around, and now to work in it too, is a real treat.”

“It’s almost like a story this road – it’s full of characters. Sophie at Sask Optics has been amazing – she even helped assemble furniture. The guys at Knightsbridge Estate Agents have been great, as has Emma at The Bloom Project and Cathal at Queen’s Road Tap. The staff from Bar Dos come and hang out with us. Linzi at The Tiny Bakery is lovely and feeds us the most delicious sausage rolls. There’s so many to mention.”

106 Queens Road’s west-facing terrace – perfect for an al-fresco sundowner.

So what’s the schtick?

  • Informal seating and a bar downstairs, a more traditional restaurant upstairs and outdoor dining on the terrace (similar to Cultura)
  • Bright and pleasant décor, reminiscent of The Bottle Garden, another St Martin’s Square cocktail bar
  • Quaint little Danish nibbles called smørrebrød
  • Amazing roast dinners
  • Small sharing plates that they inexplicably refuse to call tapas
  • Tasty cocktails, a couple of which are on draft
  • All the versatility of being at home – eat and drink what you like, when you like and where you like – this homely theme is also expressed in the cocktail menu and the decor
  • A vaguely Scandinavian sub-theme – it’s not just the smørrebrød – there are also lots of pickled and smoked flavours on the menu and in the cocktails
  • A cracking view of All Fours Garage.

Tell me more about this smørrebrød

A smørrebrød is an Insta-friendly morsel consisting of a piece of rye bread with a beautifully presented topping. I’ve tried the puy lentil pâté and smoked duck options. They’re both savoury and moorish and surprisingly filling. I particularly enjoyed the combination of smoked duck and velvety remoulade with poached lingonberries, beer pickled onions and chives. It packs a lot of flavour into a bijoux package. The rye bread is a bit chewy but that’s rye bread for you. Plus it’s got to have some structure or else it would disintegrate under all that lovely topping.

And the Sunday roast?

It’s classic and brilliant. No fancy Scandi touches here. Just big pouffy Yorkshires, melt-in-the-mouth potatoes and – wait for it – enough gravy. A rarity indeed.

A tale of two roasts – porchetta in the foreground and the vegan butternut squash, sun-dried tomato and hazelnut roast in the background.

The porchetta version of the roast dinner deserves a special mention – it’s an indulgent delight for crackling lovers.

Are the staff nice?

They’re lovely, look:

Bartender George, justifiably proud of his cocktail-making skills. This one is the Bedroom – Brokers gin, creme de mure, pickled prune and prosecco.

“Our team is great” says Robin. “We’ve recruited people who bring different personalities but always with customer care at heart. We’re new, and we’re doing pretty well. It’s only going to get better.”

I’ve heard something about cocktails on draft?

Yes, only a few are on draft as yet but they’re looking to introduce more. The idea is that if they’re pre-mixed it means they’re perfect every time. I guess it also speeds up service, although there is something nice about having your drink freshly made at the bar.

A hefty Dining Room and an elegant Lounge.

The cocktails themselves are imaginative and flavoursome, although many of them will be a little sweet for some tastes. They’re named after rooms in the house. If you’re nursing a hangover, try the Dining Room. It’s a pimped-up Bloody Mary with rum instead of vodka. And it’s got ponzu and wasabi in it. Nothing sweet here – it’s an umami revelation. Well-named too, because it’s almost substantial enough to replace a meal.

What about the tapas?

“Small plates” remember. Not tapas. These are the best thing about 100&Six. A suite of small dishes that you can either have a selection of to share, or just one as a snack, or one at a time in a more traditional meal arrangement. It’s a very versatile setup and you can always order more as you go along.

A trio of Jerusalem artichoke bhaji, served with lime, curry leaf and apple pickle.

Sounds like tapas

Yes, I know. But anyway, these small plates are gorgeous. There’s a wonderfully velvety marsala curried cheese fondue. It’s served with roast cauliflower and it’s earthy and indulgent and comforting. The lime and Cazcabel salt cod is as fresh as it is pretty. The triple-cooked chips are epic. There are some tremendous Jerusalem artichoke bhajis. And don’t even get me started on the fried avocado…

Triple cooked chips at the back. On the left the fabulous masala curried cheese fondue. And front-right the legendary fried avocado.

Tell me about the fried avocado

Well, I love avocados but, delicious little beasts though they are, there isn’t really much original you can do with them. They usually just end up squashed on a bit of sourdough. It’s difficult to get really creative with an avocado. But 100&Six have done something different. They bread then fry the avocado, giving a lovely bit of texture on the outside. Then they serve it with a smoked chilli ponzu sauce and a ginger and cucumber salsa. These accompaniments are interesting enough to spice things up but not so overpowering as to overwhelm the delicate flavour of the avocado. Rather clever.

Wow. Is there anything not to like about 100&Six?

You know how the downstairs bar at Cultura was always a bit starkly lit and cramped, with bad acoustics? Well, that again. It lacks atmosphere somehow, despite the warm wood furniture and faux fur throws. Some judiciously-placed lamps and a bit of soft colour on the walls might relax things a bit.

Bright and beautiful? 100&Six’s downstairs bar area.

That’s a nice painting though

Isn’t it? Throughout the building are stunning abstract paintings by local artist Luke Elson, which add a lot to the general ambience. Full of movement and texture, they’re decorative enough not to be distracting but they certainly reward closer inspection. The textures in particular are very beautiful. And if you fancy taking a bit of 100&Six home with you, they’re all for sale.

So, you like this place?

It’s so brilliant that I visited four times in five days. Or was it five times in four days? But perhaps the most promising thing is that the folk behind 100&Six have so quickly and enthusiastically embedded themselves in Clarendon Park’s culture.

Robin told me, “The Vintage Warehouse is my happy place. Cathal at Queens Road Tap is always really welcoming, and knows his stuff. I love a samosa surprise from Christoper James Deli. I get excited rifling through the charity shops for coffee table books. Oh, and the guy in Encol Computer Centre is super helpful and smiley.”

Should I visit then?

I can’t imagine why you’re not there already. Proudly independent, deliberately different, community-focused and ever-so-slightly pretentious. Yep – 100&Six is Clarendon Park in a nutshell.

2 Responses to “Review: 100&Six”

  1. Neha

    This sure sounds like what we needed! I just haven’t managed to go but will do next week.
    Everything about it seems perfect and great to know that little bit about the chef from Johns house being there

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS