Friday 30 July 2021

New menu launch at 30 James Street

I was fortunate enough to attend the recent launch of the new menu at Carpathia Restaurant*, located within the luxurious 30 James Street Hotel in Liverpool. Head Chef Gareth Mellor has really put his own stamp on the new menu and he is renowned for putting a modern twist on traditional dishes, which is unsurprising when you consider that he trained in several award – winning restaurants earlier in his career. 

I was eager to dine here, not only because I have heard so many good things about Gareth’s food, but also because the views from Carpathia are some of the best in Liverpool and there is an expansive vista across much of the city skyline from the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, which is situated on the top floor of the building. 
It was a sunny evening and we settled in at a table for two outside, where we soaked up the atmosphere while sipping French 75 cocktails which made the ideal start to our dining experience. 

We went on to peruse the menu and I was happy to see a mix of dishes with a fine dining influence, alongside some more classic favourites. Gareth has been at 30 James Street & Carpathia for over 3 years now and he has really made this new menu his own, drawing on his many years of experience as a chef. This is far more than you would expect from a hotel restaurant, with impressive creations on the menu such as barbecue lobster with Café de Paris Hollandaise available and Gareth and his team source the best seasonal produce from as local a proximity as possible. 

I opted for the malt butter & dressed crab pikelet  for my starter – I really like the current trend for restaurants making their own crumpets and pikelets because it shows a chef's eye for attention to detail. 
This made an accomplished starter with plenty of meaty crab on the pikelet – while dill oil and dressed young leaves rounded the dish off. 

My dining companion went for the chicken & chorizo terrine, which was elegantly presented with toasted brioche and a tangy tomato chutney. A terrine is such a classic 'old - school' starter and it showcases a chef's eye for balanced flavours when it is done right like this. 

There are plenty of meat and seafood options to choose from, but vegetarians can look forward to inventive plates such as roasted celery root, with Marmite and celeriac purée - which sounded appetising as I love anything involving Marmite! 

The indoor dining section of Carpathia is also an elegant setting, useful to know for days when the Liverpool weather is a little too capricious for outdoor dining.

On to mains and my pan fried chicken with sautéed spinach, king mushroom, chicken jus and tarragon oil was another winner – again the plating was impressive and the chicken was cooked to retain its tenderness. 

I was impressed by the portion sizes as I have often found that many hotels charge inflated prices for lacklustre portions - that is definitely not the case here. 

The slow roast pork belly chosen by my dining companion was another refined creation and the subtlety of the other elements of garlic purée and port wine jus, allowed the pork to take centre stage without it being obscured by too many flavours. 

When it comes to sides, you cannot go wrong with classic fries and we also ordered a portion of the ‘game crisps’ which were particularly tasty – crispy little lattices of potato, which paired perfectly with a glass of Malbec. 

Rum baba is a dessert which is seen on menus far too rarely, so I was pleased to see it here and vanilla cream, Kraken rum and caramel sauce made this a polished example of an indulgent pudding! 

I had already seen the barbecue strawberry pavlova with Chantilly cream and champagne on Gareth’s social media, so I simply had to order that and it did not disappoint - a tower of decadence with plenty of fresh strawberry bursting through the layers.   

After relaxing with a coffee and taking in more of those exceptional views, it was time to head home. I was thoroughly impressed by the meal and the service was attentive and friendly. 30 James Street is overall an attractive dining destination in Liverpool city centre and Gareth is very much making the menu synonymous with his own refined culinary style. 

30 James Street Hotel
Albion House
30 James St

What do you all think, do you like dining in hotel restaurants and which of these dishes would you try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post! 

Until next time, 



*I was invited to sample the new menu at Carpathia, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Wednesday 2 June 2021

An indulgent stay at Rothay Manor...

The Lake District is always the ideal place for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life, and I was fortunate enough to be invited for a relaxing break at Rothay Manor late last year*.
Rothay Manor is a stunning Grade II listed country house boutique hotel, a stone’s throw from Lake Windermere. The hotel is ideally situated for exploring all of the wonders of The Lake District, which is an area I have visited many times over the years and I never tire of the awe inspiring rugged beauty of the landscapes and lakes it is renowned for.

Rothay Manor has nineteen individually designed rooms, some of which have their own balconies and I checked into The Fairfield Suite for my stay, after a warm welcome from the team.
The Fairfield Suite is simply stunning and the perfect choice of room if you are looking for some indulgent luxury. The design of the suite is so refined, with comfortable furnishings and eye catching feature wallpaper. 
The suite comprises of a comfortable lounge, a spacious bedroom complete with a roll top bathtub, a separate bathroom with walk in shower and even a dressing room where I enjoyed getting ready for dinner in the evening. 

There was a window seat in both the lounge and bedroom of The Fairfield Suite, where I loved curling up with a cup of coffee to watch the world go by during my stay. 

When I choose a hotel to stay at, I am always keen to find somewhere that I can enjoy a lovely night's sleep in a comfortable bed and Rothay Manor certainly delivers on this front, with a huge bed adorned with Egyptian cotton bedlinen and feather pillows. The only trouble was that I did not want to get out of bed in the morning and I enjoyed such a restful night's sleep. 

The design of the suite was so polished, with a blend of contemporary and traditional touches which worked effortlessly together and created such a welcoming ambience overall. 

The addition of a roll top bathtub was a welcome feature in the suite and it felt very decadent indeed to have a long soak in the bath after dinner. There were luxury bath & shower products awaiting me in the bathroom, which was another thoughtful touch - the attention to detail here is second to none and everything I needed was on hand during my stay. 

The views from the suite are truly spectacular and we were lucky when it came to the weather as we enjoyed plenty of sunshine during our stay and only a few showers, which anybody who is familiar with The Lake District will know is fairly rare for the area! 
This was the view from the window seat in the living room - what a beautiful vista and I found looking out on this to be very inspiring. 

After settling in to my suite, I ventured downstairs for a drink or two before I went back up to get ready for our dinner reservation. As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, there is a well-stocked bar with a good selection of wines and spirits on offer and I chose a local Lake District gin & tonic made with Bedrock Gin, a distillery in Keswick. This is such an enjoyable gin and I ordered another glass once I had sipped away my first. 

No hotel stay is complete without checking out the dining options and at Rothay Manor guests can choose from the fine dining 3 AA Rosette restaurant led by Head Chef  Daniel McGeorge who went on to win Great British Menu recently. For more of a casual dining experience, there is also The Brathay Room which serves a menu of classic dishes and you can get cosy by the wood burning stove. We enjoyed fine dining during our stay and we were blown away by each course, from the initial snacks to the desserts. Naturally, the bread selection was a hit with me and it was a superb start to the meal to enjoy freshly baked crusty bread with local butter. 

The snacks were elegantly presented and they gave us even more of an appetite for what was to follow. 

A stunning heritage tomato dish was filled with zesty and vibrant flavours which conjured up the Mediterranean with every bite. 

A simple and elegant fish course showed off Daniel's skill for uncomplicated dishes which allow the quality of the produce to shine. 

Each dish was exquisitely plated, making it a feast for the eyes too and I was eager to see what each course would look like as it was set on the table. 

After our savoury courses, an equally irresistible dessert was presented to us and it seemed almost a pity to eat it since it looked so pretty, however I soon managed to devour it! It is easy to see why Daniel triumphed on Great British Menu and I wish him every success going forward. It was a pleasure to experience his cooking. 

After dinner, we retired back to our suite for coffee and homemade cookies which made the perfect way to round off the evening. 

The next morning I got up feeling thoroughly refreshed and headed downstairs for breakfast. We were treated to fresh fruit, granola, pastries and coffee and then we ordered another breakfast dish from the main menu to follow. 

I went for the vegetarian breakfast with sausage, crispy potatoes, scrambled eggs, fried bread, baked beans and of course extra toast on the side! This tasty and leisurely breakfast was the best way to start the day and a hotel breakfast is always one of my favourite parts of the stay. Before long, it was time to check out of Rothay Manor and explore some more of the surrounding area. The hotel is close to Loughrigg Fell for amazing walks and I also love to go to Grasmere when I am in the vicinity. 

Rothay Manor is a superb hotel and a great base for enjoying all The Lake District has to offer. The hospitality, accommodation and dining are all of an exemplary standard and I would recommend a stay here for anybody in need of getting away from it all for a while. 

It is worth making a note that Rothay Manor is also dog friendly, which is handy if you feel like bringing along your canine companion for an indulgent stay. A big thanks to the team there for making me so welcome during my stay, I look forward to visiting again in the future. 

Rothay Manor Hotel
LA22 0EH

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Rothay Manor and have you ever visited The Lake District? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time, 



*My stay at Rothay Manor was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Friday 16 October 2020

Private dining at Lemore Manor...

During my recent stay at Lemore Manor* in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside, I spent an evening enjoying the company of the owners Ben and Margaret over dinner.
I always like it when a hotel has a range of dining options available and Lemore Manor offers both fine dining and casual dining - on this occasion I was fortunate enough to be showcased a new addition to the sprawling grounds of Lemore Estate, The Hub which allows for fully self - contained private dining. 

From the outside, The Hub is a space – age construction of metal and glass and inside, there are two large tables with wraparound banquette seating. The Hub also has its own heating, sound system and soft lighting – everything you could possibly need to set an intimate mood for your dining experience. The table was set in readiness for our meal and fresh flowers and candles added to the elegance of the mood. As we settled in, I connected some music for the evening on my phone which streamed through the Bluetooth speakers and before long our wine selection arrived, along with freshly baked bread straight from the oven, accompanied by some divine Marmite butter.

After chatting over our bread and wine, the amuse – bouche was set on the table and dinner got underway in earnest with a silky velouté of onion & Herefordshire cider, made with onions grown on the Lemore Estate. The warming velouté was filled with a delicate sweetness and the Truffle almonds added a nice crunch and a hint of earthiness. I also liked the whimsical presentation of the amuse, which was served in a vintage cup and saucer. 

The fresh flowers and candlelight added to the cosy ambience of dining in The Hub and it felt like we were members of a top secret club, as we enjoyed such a private dinner! 

Next on the table was a starter of Cornish lobster with heritage tomatoes, lobster bisque mayonnaise and garden leaves. The lobster bisque mayonnaise added an indulgent element to the dish, while the heritage tomatoes rounded things off with a burst of zesty flavour which conjured up summer.  

It is admirable when chefs source premium quality produce as locally as possible and the next course to arrive showed off Herefordshire venison to perfection - the venison was paired with carrots, beetroot grown on the Lemore Estate and garden chard. This dish was sophisticated in its simplicity and the beetroot gave the venison a depth of flavour which worked so well with the richness of the meat. The ragu of venison leg which was served on the side made a hearty addition to the plate and this dish was popular with all of us. 

It was music to my ears to hear that we would be treated to two desserts – the pre-dessert of caramel mousse with Lemore pear, brown butter crumb and mascarpone was my personal favourite and the juicy homegrown pears tasted incredible against the crunch of brown butter crumb. 

The second dessert of caramelised apple crumble was impressive in both taste and presentation – served in a light honey filo pastry case, the crumble was topped with spiced cherries which gave this dish a pleasingly autumnal feel. 

I must make a mention of the wine selection we savoured during the course of dinner too - a lovely light drop of  Alsace Pinot Gris, (Cuvée René Dopff) was delightful with the lobster and one of my favourite red wines going into the winter season has to be Pinot Noir, so I was delighted to share a bottle of full-bodied Domain Road New Zealand Pinot Noir which made the ideal partner to the venison. 

The evening was a resounding success in every way and Margaret and Ben made the most genial hosts and kept me entertained throughout with their stories of owning Lemore Manor over the years. After dinner, we were joined for coffee by the accomplished head chef James Wilson and I thanked him for such an enjoyable dining experience. 

Lemore Manor 


Lemore Manor is a great choice for a relaxing stay combining excellent hospitality, luxurious accommodation and accomplished fine dining. A break here offers a chance to unwind and forget the pressures of everyday life, in tranquil surroundings - what could be more appealing with everything going on in the world at the moment! 

What do you all think, do you like the idea of private dining in The Hub and which of these dishes catches your eye? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



*I was invited to stay at Lemore Manor, my stay and dining experience were complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday 20 September 2020

A luxury stay at Lemore Manor...

 Over the last few months many of us have not had the chance to get away and since travel is one of my passions in life, I am so happy to have the opportunity to indulge in it once again. When I received an invitation for a luxury escape in the charming setting of rural Herefordshire recently, I could not wait to pack my suitcase and hit the road.
The Lemore Manor Estate* is located in a stunning part of the world, surrounded by rolling countryside and tucked away in a peaceful setting, flanked by vast landscaped gardens. 

The manor house itself dates to 1640 and it was originally constructed as a hunting lodge for the Bishop of Hereford, but nowadays it has established a reputation as a luxury hotel, wedding venue and event space thanks to the owners Ben and Margaret Owen, who have poured a huge amount of work into Lemore. 

I expected that I was in for a treat as soon as I turned off the main road and wound my way along the stately tree-lined driveway to the manor house. Upon arrival, I was struck by the elegant proportions of the house and I made my way into the entrance hall where there was a vintage croquet set to reinforce the refined country house theme. 

There was a warm welcome from general manager Michelle, who escorted me to my room and offered to send up a tray of tea or coffee whilst I settled in. There is a choice of accommodation available at Lemore and guests can stay either in the main Manor House as I did, or one of the lodges in the grounds - more on those later. 

There are 15 stylishly designed bedrooms and I immediately felt at home in my spacious en-suite room, which afforded me a view of the fountain outside. A comfortable four poster bed, chaise longue and antique furniture added to the overall sense of grandeur in the room.

After unpacking, I headed downstairs to explore more of the manor, and I discovered that the drawing room is the perfect place to unwind and read a book, while sinking into one of the leather Chesterfield sofas! The Coach House makes the ideal venue for wedding ceremonies while the orangery plays host to parties and wedding receptions, and the space is flooded with natural light due to floor to ceiling windows. 

I was impressed with how many features there are at Lemore Manor to ensure that guests have a relaxing  stay and when I looked around downstairs, I found myself in the games room where guests can enjoy a game of pool. 

There are numerous scenic spots in the grounds where you can capture some Instagram - worthy photos during your stay - including the famous 'blue doors' which are a favourite location for guests to pose! 

The expansive landscaped gardens at Lemore Manor are a good place to while - away some time with your thoughts, I saw so much bird life in the grounds and the picturesque courtyard garden is filled with fragrant David Austin roses and a 200 year old olive tree. 

Lovers of a drink or two will not be disappointed while staying at Lemore Manor and they have a superb selection of gins in particular - there were a few behind the bar which I had not tried before, some of which were sourced from the local area. 

I was scheduled to meet Margaret for pre-dinner drinks in the bar and we had a good chat about Lemore while sipping a delightful Williams Chase en Provence chilled rosé, which was suited to the warm evening. 

 Margaret is an utterly charming host and she regaled me with tales of running the Lemore Estate while we sipped our drinks and before long we were joined by her equally charming husband Ben and we all had dinner together in The Hub, a new addition to Lemore Manor which allows for fully private dining in the grounds. I will share more about the dining experience in a separate review which I have upcoming, but suffice to say that we ate and drank well and it was a pleasure to have dinner with the owners. 

After dinner, I had a stroll in the grounds which somehow looked even more enchanting by nightfall, before I headed back to my room for a blissful night’s sleep. 
The next morning, I enjoyed a continental breakfast which left me energised for the day ahead, before Margaret escorted me on a tour of the Lemore Lodges and another exciting addition to Lemore which is a secret for now, but which will be completed soon! 

I feasted on a selection of fresh pastries and rolls, granola and yoghurt and a platter of cheese and charcuterie - what a way to start the day, I always maintain that one of the best aspects of staying in a hotel is the breakfast! 

The room where I had breakfast makes an extremely restful place to unwind and it is obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into the interior design of each area of the property. 

The fountain in the grounds adds to the elegance of Lemore and it was the first thing I noticed when I arrived to check in. 

On my tour I learned more about Lemore Lodges, which make the ideal choice if you prefer total privacy and seclusion during your stay. The lodges are all individually designed with a bedroom, en – suite bathroom, kitchen and mini bar in each of them. Outside, the lodges have their own wood-fired hot tubs and pizza ovens and you can get all the goodies needed to make your own pizzas delivered from the Manor House. 

As my stay drew to a close, I left Lemore Manor feeling thoroughly refreshed and recharged by the seamless blend of exceptional hospitality and peace and quiet which Lemore delivers. 

Lemore Manor 

A big thank you to all at Lemore Manor for making me so welcome. What do you all think, do you like the sound of a country estate with a range of accommodation options and the choice of  fine dining and casual dining? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



*I was invited to stay at Lemore Manor, my stay was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.