Leicester – Wygston’s House

Our Good Beer Guide expedition around Leicester took us to this quite glorious building, which is the oldest residential property still standing in the city, dating back to the fifteenth century. This pub has a restaurant upstairs, so we decided to visit that for the full experience of the venue. I had made an advance booking and wasn’t quite sure where to go, but the staff member at the downstairs bar quickly acknowledged us and explained to amble up the stairs (I’ve added the word amble there, this is a place that shouldn’t be rushed).

The upstairs grand hall of the property, which was built for Roger Wygston, although it’s not known why this building survived when so many others were taken down. Like many buildings of this age, it has gone through numerous transformations as shops, offices, residential accommodation and now as a pub.

As for the drinks, I went for the tasting selection, which was one third of three different beers. I like these flights (three beers for me to list on Untappd and so more badges to collect, and I admit given that I need to get out more….) and the friendly staff member tried to tell me which each beer was, eventually willingly just leaving me with her scrawled note so that I didn’t forget. The beers were all enjoyable, although if I was being a bit picky, I would have preferred a wider range of beer styles. From left to right there’s the ‘What the Fox’s Hat’ from Church End Brewery, then ‘Blue Fox’ from Charnwood Brewery and then the ‘White Rat’ from Ossett Brewery. They were all well-kept and at the appropriate temperature, with the three drinks costing £3.90. I did like that the beers were from different breweries, not just a job lot from one place.

I went for the fish and chips, which was well presented and the triple cooked chips were delicious with their fluffy interior and crispy exterior. The fish flaked away, all tender and the batter had a pleasant flavour to it. There were proper mushy peas, but there was a flavour that I couldn’t discern (that wasn’t pea I mean, I could identify that) and didn’t overly like, I think I’d rather have had a minty element to them. Much more excitingly I suspect that the tartare sauce was homemade, it was very moreish. I would have rather had a slightly larger portion of chips, there was a bit too much blank space for my liking on the plate, but it all tasted fine and there was an appropriately timed check back.

The Eton mess, which was neatly presented again, or at least, as well as you can present a mess. I would have liked a bit more meringue because I’m greedy like that, but it was a suitable way to end the meal.

The service was attentive and welcoming throughout, but the restaurant area remained relatively quiet during our Friday evening visit. As for the beers, there was a choice and they were well-kept, although there was perhaps nothing exceptional that I’d mention. I’m definitely pleased that this is in the Good Beer Guide as I don’t think that I would have gone in otherwise, and I would have missed the over 500 year history of this building. I’d recommend this pub to others, the dining environment particularly was comfortable and relaxing, I liked the laid-back atmosphere to the whole arrangement.