From innovative ice creams to magical mains, life’s looking sweet for restaurant owner Laura Hamilton. Marion McMullen samples her wares
Dessert queen Laura Hamilton is serving up spoonfuls of sweet temptation.
Banana and whisky, rhubarb crumble and dark chocolate and orange are just some of the sinfully delicious iced treats the chef and owner of Queans has created.
People have been popping into her basement restaurant in Leamington to snap up her mouthwatering “Ice Queans” ever since they were launched earlier this year and they were among the star attractions at the Leamington Food And Drink Festival last weekend.
“There are 16 different flavours and we took some of the most popular along to the festival,” she grins, “but there’s also apple cream and ginger or pear and caramel ripple or even boring old vanilla.”
The Ice Queans are as delicious as they sound – well, how could I refuse a spoonful or two or three of dark chocolate with orange – and it’s one way to enjoy a Queans treat at home.
People from London to Scotland have been dropping into the Warwickshire restaurant and Laura is now taking bookings for November.
In fact, the phone has not stopped ringing since Daily Telegraph food critic Matthew Norman awarded her a 10/10 food rating earlier this year.
It was only the third time he had awarded his top score to any restaurant.
Glasgow-born Laura, who moved to Warwickshire when she was ten, says she has been inundated with enquiries since the star rating.
“We even got mentioned in Dubai,” she says in astonishment.
Perhaps one of the secrets of her success is that Laura likes to use local produce and suppliers and often goes foraging in the countryside for local ingredients such as wood sorrel rosehip flowers, wild rose petals, mallow flowers and wild garlic, which she adds to her modern British fare with dishes such as pan fried king prawns and squid cooked in a spicy peanut sauce, finished with a pomegranate molasses dressing or duck with rhubarb and ginger compote.
“I used to change the menu every month,” she says, “and I like to use whatever is in season.”