Hotel Maiyango is one of Leicesters most unique and interesting places to eat. It’s part of a small boutique hotel which sits on the outskirts of Leicester city centre and as you would expect it has its own restaurant. If you didn’t know, I’m from Leicester and the restaurant at Hotel Maiyango is one of my favourites and I’ve spent many a night there eating a concoction of different things and drinking their fantastic cocktails. While trawling the internet one day I came across a couple of reviews in national newspapers, the Telegraph and the Indepenedant, which were less than complementary about one of Leicester city centres best restaurants. This riled me somewhat and I feel like I should step in to defend Hotel Maiyango’s corner somewhat.
In both Hotel Maiyango review the overall rating was 2.5 stars our of 5. Personally I would give it 4 or 4.5 out of 5. Here’s my reasons why:
One of the Hotel Maiyango review I have linked to above make reference to the location. Granted, Leicester city is not the most glamorous place in the UK however the area where Maiyango is located is far from grotty. Maiyango is located in the newly renovated city centre areas and overlooks a rather pleasant area called Jubilee Square, close to the Leicester lanes and the cultural quarter where Richard III was found.
Maiyango is not a big place and can only seat around 40 people in the restaurant area which makes for a cosey feel, especially if youre in one of their private booths. The decor is very middle eastern with colourful fabrics draped from every possible place and roughly cut wood adding character.
Both reviews made comment on how “dead” Maiyango was when they visited. I’m not sure what they expected when they went on a midweek lunch time. I don’t think they realised that Leicester is not London! If you want to go on a Friday or Saturday night you are likely going to have to eat really early or book well in advance. Most times I’ve been here on a Saturday and I’ve had to book at least 2 weeks in advance to get in. What I really like is that they run the evening service within their means. They don’t pack out the restaurant trying to get as many covers through the door as possible to ensure that service remains very good without being intrusive. This is very much part of the experience they want you to have and it makes for a very welcoming feel.
The food at Maiyango
The food here is very much fine dining and the experience is set around a fixed price menu. Typically two courses will cost you around £25 and three courses around £32. You can pick some more expensive dishes from the menu for which there will be a supplemental charge. Doing this though pushes the price up to around £40 which, when you take in to account your drinks as well, can start to be a pricey evening. The food itself is impressively presented and has some very interested flavour combinations which you’re unlikely to try yourself when cooking at home. The menu is always seasonable and changes regularly and where possible, local produce is used. The wine selection is good and will suit most budgets but the cocktails are whats most impressive. My favourite was a mango, passion fruit and chilli Caipirinha which i could drink until I fall over! To offer some honesty into this review I will say the food and drink are not always perfect. I have, on occasion, been disappointed with a dish and again with a cocktail but these are few and far between and could well have been down to my personal taste. Lets be honest, food is very subjective between people and I for one, fully understand that.
My counter comment to those in the paper reviews is simple: Maiyango is certainly not a poor restaurant but I agree it may not be one of the best in the country. It is however one of the best in Leicestershire. Of that there is no doubt! Just check out the Trip Advisor review of Maiyango if you want a view from the paying public. I find both reviews rather insulting as the food critics are likely comparing Maiyango with restaurants which are in a higher price bracket. That’s not comparing apples to apples.
The restaurant at Hotel Maiyango has been a part of Leicester for many years, is always full at weekends and is always welcoming. Long may that continue!
Hotel and restaurant website: http://www.maiyango.com/
Address: Hotel Maiyango
13-21 St Nicholas Place