Sunday, 3 June 2018

Dining at Dough & Brew Warwick...

You may be wondering where I have been, usually I try to update the blog regularly but recently I have been so busy with writing work and freelance projects and this busy period culminated in a press trip to Rotterdam last weekend followed by a trip to The Lake District. In the midst of this busy time, I find myself back at my family home in The Peak District this weekend, so on this quiet Sunday afternoon I thought I would take a moment to update you about somewhere I dined recently. Following our review of The High Field Town House last month we decided to stay on in the area, so we spontaneously booked another night in nearby Warwick. I had not visited this charming city before and after wandering the streets sightseeing, we had worked up quite an appetite. In need of sustenance (and a wine or two!) a quick perusal on my phone revealed we were within a few steps of Dough & Brew, renowned for some of the best pizza in the area. The decision on where to dine was made and it turned out to be a wise choice.
Dough & Brew opened in 2016 and it has quickly gained a reputation for its pizzas - there is pasta available too and a well-rounded drinks offering including wine, craft beer, cocktails and milkshakes. The interior has a laid-back but contemporary feel, with wood panelling on the walls, stylish lighting and an open kitchen where the pizza oven plays the starring role.

It is no secret that I love a good pizza and I love a good glass of wine - put the two together and I am quickly assured of happiness - if only everything in life could be so simple. In no time, we were installed at a high table watching the world go by, with a glass of Chilean Merlot for me and a rich chocolate milkshake for my partner.

There is a varied brunch menu on offer at Dough & Brew too, but it had to be pizza so I opted for the Marge - this classic pizza was topped with zesty tomato sauce, fior de latte mozzarella and fresh basil. The sourdough bases here are left to prove for 72 hours and the pizza was simply delicious, with plenty of fresh flavour from the toppings and an appealingly crusty base.

My partner ordered a pizza from the specials menu, almost a burger in pizza form, this was heaped with various tender meats, lots of mozzarella and piquant gherkins - undoubtedly the best of all worlds if you like both burgers and pizzas. Silence ensued as every slice was assiduously devoured. The attention to detail here pays off and ingredients are locally sourced where possible, resulting in quality pizzas which are a pleasure to eat. Dough & Brew also have a sister company called Spectacular Goat which caters private events too. 

While we were at Dough & Brew, we got chatting to the charming owner John Martin who was taste testing some new menu items including the 'Elvis' a sweet waffle topped with banana, salted caramel, peanut butter, jam, Mascarpone, ice cream, Nutella chocolate sauce, maple syrup and candied bacon. Wow, this creation was pure indulgence and after tasting a sample we decided to order our own - John kindly obliged even though the dessert was not on the menu yet and he retreated to the kitchen to prepare this towering celebration of sweetness. The addition of crispy candied bacon really worked with the peanut butter and chocolate and this was the ultimate homage to the King of rock n' roll!  

After another round of drinks including a glass of Zinfandel on the house (thanks John!) we set off to explore more of the area feeling fully replenished by one of the best pizzas I have eaten for some time (and I have eaten many, dear reader!) I really liked Dough & Brew, this was casual dining at its best with attentive service paired with impressive food and drinks in an unhurried atmosphere. Most of all I love to see a great independent restaurant thriving in what is currently a tough market and I will definitely return when I am next in the area.

Dough & Brew 
45 Brook Street
CV34 4BL

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Dough & Brew and what is your favourite pizza? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



Sunday, 6 May 2018

Sampling the new menu at Chaophraya...

Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines, I love the bold flavours and the diversity of the dishes and it is always a pleasure to visit Chaophraya* which has an impressively varied menu including familiar Thai favourites, as well as some more intriguing creations. This week I went along to sample the new menu, which notably includes several new Thai re-imagined dishes which blend a fusion of East meets West influences to create dishes such as Farrang sausage pad ka pow, Toulouse sausage marinated in red wine and stir fried with Thai spices and basil. 
Our table was next to a pool of Koi Carp, which added to the relaxed ambience of the evening -  the interior design is sleek and contemporary with polished dark wood and Thai inspired decorative items. I sipped a Siam Smile as we perused the menu and this refreshingly tropical cocktail of  Absolut vanilla vodka, pineapple, passionfruit and a shot of prosecco made a pleasant start to the meal. There is a good range of drinks on the menu at Chaophraya including gin serves, signature cocktails, sharing cocktails and classics alongside beer and wine.

We chose a selection of appetisers to share, vegetable spring rolls, red curry battered prawns and chicken Thai tacos. We sampled the tacos on a previous occasion at Chaophraya and I love the street food inspiration behind this dish of red curried chicken with coconut milk, served on pan seared rice flour tacos. These tacos packed in a wealth of delicate flavours and they paired well with the cocktail. 

The red curry battered prawns were succulent and the tempura style batter was so light - I will be ordering these next time as I love prawn dishes. 

We were intrigued by the new Thai re-imagined dishes, so we decided on a couple to sample. The tom yum roast duck wings marinated and roasted in tom yum paste and served with a sweet tomato dipping sauce were so tender and the richness of the meat was complemented by the marinade. 

Ceviche is such a tasty dish when done well, and my choice of ceviche scallop with chilli and dressing nasturtiums was an elegant creation with precise favours. The scallops were  cured in lime juice and the burst of citrus offset the heat of the chilli perfectly, while the presentation on a nasturtium leaf was a nice touch. 

Curry is one of my favourite dishes and I am a lover of spicy food, so when I saw the prawn jungle curry on the menu I had to try it. This fiery dish inspired by a recipe from northern Thailand packed a punch with bamboo, papaya, green beans, Kra Chai and basil. Accompaniments of coconut rice, sticky rice and Thai prawn crackers with sweet chilli sauce rounded off our meal.

Sweet and sour chicken is a classic and it was good to see a new spin on this at Chaophraya, their sweet and sour chicken with dragon fruit has a tangy sauce heaped with pomegranate, peppers, pineapple, tomato, onion and Thai dragon fruit and it was served in dragon fruit too which made it a feast for the eyes. 

Dining at Chaophraya again reminded me why I love Thai food - the choice of dishes and satisfying flavours make a meal here an enjoyable way to spend an evening. We were so full that we politely declined the dessert menu , but I know from past experience that the chocolate bombe with warm salted caramel sauce is hard to resist. Chaophraya have restaurants around the U.K. and we dined at the Liverpool restaurant. 

 Liverpool One
5-6 Kenyons Steps
Liverpool L1 3DF

What do you all think, do you like the sound of inventive Thai food and expertly blended cocktails? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



*I was a guest of Chaophraya to sample the new menu, this meal was complimentary. All opinions stated herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

A relaxing stay at The High Field Town House...

Two words guaranteed to put a smile on my face are 'luxury' and 'escape' and a few days ago I packed my bags and set off to discover the refined surroundings of The High Field Town House* in the pretty area of Edgbaston, Birmingham. This elegant Victorian villa has been converted in to a twelve bedroom boutique hotel and from the moment we checked in, the stress of the real world faded away.

As we opened the door of our room, a world of indulgence awaited - the lofty ceilings and large bay window made the space bright and inviting, while a roll top bath in the bedroom, a super king bed, handpicked antique furnishings and a separate bathroom with a powerful rain shower set the scene for a relaxing stay.

The High Field Town House is only five minutes away from the city centre, but the tranquil  surroundings create a truly calming impression, a world away from any hustle and bustle and it makes the ideal setting for a short break. 

I had a couple of emails to catch up on during my stay, so the desk area came in handy and the views over the wide tree-lined street beneath proved a welcome distraction, as did the well-stocked hospitality tray and the crumbly shortbread biscuits which did not last for long!

I loved the pretty wallpaper depicting pastoral scenes, another feature which conjured up a feeling of restfulness. The High Field Town House is run in conjunction with The High Field, the popular gastro pub next door which serves simple and delicious menus, so if you want a bite to eat or a few drinks during your stay there is not far to venture!

Downstairs, the lounge is decorated with a quirky and cool aesthetic - think colourful framed prints, a vintage phone and yellow velvet armchairs. There is an honesty bar for those welcome drinks and a Nespresso machine if you prefer to curl up with a coffee and read a book on the comfortable sofa; little details which emphasise from the offset that guest experience is paramount here. 

In the evening, we strolled around the area, stopping off for a few drinks at The High Field next door. It was a warm evening so we sat outside on the inviting terrace and soaked up the atmosphere. A drinks voucher is provided when you check in to your room at The High Field Town House, so that you can enjoy a complimentary welcome drink next door - another thoughtful touch which ensures you can slip in to that relaxed holiday mindset from the moment you arrive. 

The next morning, we returned to The High Field for breakfast, choosing from a menu filled with tempting dishes made with locally sourced premium produce including free range sausages and bacon from Jimmy Butler, local free range eggs and top quality sourdough from the Brown Sugar Bakery. We started off breakfast with hand-roasted Union coffee and the smooth lattes were served with a dish of sweets which was a fun addition.

My partner went for the American pancakes with maple syrup, butter and crispy bacon - the pancakes were fluffy and the free range bacon worked well with the rich syrup. I find there is something irresistible about having pancakes for breakfast, which always makes me think of an American diner.

I am always pleased to see a vegetarian breakfast on the menu, which makes a welcome change from a traditional full English, so I ordered the High Field vegetarian breakfast with veggie haggis, spinach, free range poached eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and sourdough. The generous portion size impressed me, as did the quality of the ingredients - the veggie haggis was deliciously hearty and the breakfast left me feeling thoroughly energised for a day of sightseeing. 

There are twelve rooms at The High Field Town House ranging from cosy to premium and the team will do their best to accommodate you if you want a particular room upon booking. We stayed in room 5, a premium room which was equipped with every amenity for a perfect stay, my only problem was that I did not want to leave and I look forward to staying here again. 

The High Field Town House
23 Highfield Road
B15 3DP

0121 647 6466

We had such a good time at The High Field Town House and I would highly recommend this boutique hotel for a pampering getaway. The location is a huge plus, as it is ideally situated for exploring the city, while being tucked away in a peaceful enclave. What do you all think, do you like the sound of The High Field Town House and do you have any plans for a weekend away soon? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time, 



*I was a guest of The High Field Town House, my stay was complimentary for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Dining at Morning Noon Night...

I have a confession – I used to dread dining at restaurants which serve small plates - after all, I have never been noted for my propensity to share food and it took me a while to become a convert to this style of dining. Nowadays however, I am a firm fan of small plates and sharing dishes, especially when I come across a place like Morning Noon Night where bold flavours abound and the only difficulty is choosing from the extensive menu. Morning Noon Night is the sister business to the popular Cow & Co Café in Liverpool and new Head Chef James Dodd has an impressive pedigree, having previously worked at the award winning Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon. James is behind the introduction of the new evening menu which showcases intriguing ingredients and global influences underpinned by a ‘farm to fork’ philosophy of locally sourced, often organic produce. 
Last weekend we went to sample the dinner menu at Morning Noon Night and I was eager to try the restaurant, which is only a short distance from my home. Liverpool has a thriving restaurant scene and it is good to see that this is now increasingly extending to the Wirral area too. I am all for this expansion as I love finding new places to dine in my locality. 

The interior design of Morning Noon Night has a rustic charm, with a light and airy dining room where farmhouse style tables are adorned with jugs of pretty flowers and chalkboard menus are propped up on the bar. It is laid back yet refined, basically everything I look for in a place to unwind over a few drinks or some food. 

We settled in at a cosy corner table where we sipped Prosecco and grazed on Sriracha devilled eggs, spicy Nduja toast and smoked almonds which set the scene with irresistible flavours.

Grilled aubergine, oregano, pangritata and feta was a favourite of mine with a Mediterranean vibrancy to the dish, while blackened spring onions with labneh, maftoul and nigella seeds was a Middle Eastern inspired delight and I loved the chunky maftoul and the freshness of the labneh.

Twice cooked chicken with Korean ketchup and black sesame was a sophisticated take on a chicken dish and from now on I only want Korean ketchup after tasting this!

Succulent coffee braised brisket with creamed white beans and sumac onion was a rich and hearty creation and the sweet zing of the sumac onions contrasted well with the almost smoky beef, which was incredible thanks to the coffee braising.

A hint of summer was provided by Jersey royals, purple sprouting broccoli, caper and raisin dressing, a dish which would be perfect for a barbecue. I loved the vibrant colours and bright flavours of this dish. 

It took me a while to appreciate the beauty of small plates and I like having the chance to order several different things rather than the restrictions of simply a starter, main and dessert. There is something so convivial about this way of eating too - perhaps I am finally learning to share food! 

After a refreshing cocktail of Prosecco with rhubarb liqueur, we moved on to dessert and what a treat was in store.

The homemade marmalade on toast ice cream was one of the best things I have ever eaten, with chunks of toast introducing a bitterness which created a riot of flavour with the tangy marmalade. We also shared the chocolate mousse with miso sesame and caramel which was intense and decadent, perfect for a chocolate lover.

The ambience at Morning Noon Night is so alluring, with a restful atmosphere and a stylish aesthetic which makes you want to linger. Open for brunch and lunch daily, the evening menu is well worth booking in for too, which is currently available Friday and Saturday evenings between 6pm and 11pm. I am delighted to have this place on my doorstep and I’m sure I will be stopping by again soon. 

Morning Noon Night
10 The Cross
CH64 9UB

 0151 208 8939

What do you all think, do you like sharing plates and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Monday, 9 April 2018

Brunch with Santa Maluco x Bold St Coffee...

Going out for brunch is such a treat and something I do not do often enough, so I was delighted to hear that Santa Maluco have teamed up with Bold Street Coffee to serve a delicious brunch menu which is available until 3.30pm every day of the week. Bold Street Coffee have carved out a well-deserved reputation for some of the best coffee in Liverpool and their collaboration with Santa Maluco is great news. Santa Maluco is famous for its incredible wood-fired pizzas which are served in an all-you-can-eat rodizio style. The fact that brunch is now available here as well as pizza and cocktails only adds to its allure as a dining destination; we went along to sample the brunch this weekend and I can confirm it was delicious. We perused the menu over our coffees, a latte for me and a long black for my partner and the rich intensity of the coffee left me wishing that every coffee could taste this good. There is also mocha, hot chocolate, Yorkshire tea and a variety of loose leaf teas available on the brunch menu, just in case coffee is not your thing.

There was plenty to tempt us on the menu, including classics such as bacon sandwich on a brioche bun and scrambled eggs on toast, as well as healthy options including the Açaí bowl and Bircher muesli. As soon as I saw that smashed avocado on toast with chilli was an option, I had to order it as this is one of my favourite brunch dishes. Served on white toast, this tasty dish (which is also suitable for vegans) was perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of heat from the chilli flakes to give it a good zing.

I also added a side of scrambled eggs and together this made such a hearty and satisfying dish.

My dining companion went for the BSC Breakfast bowl – fresh fruit salad with homemade granola, natural yoghurt and honey.

This bowl tasted as good as it looked and the homemade granola was irresistible, while the honey and fruit added sweetness. Along with a side of seeded granary toast with peanut butter, this made a comforting start to the afternoon.

Brunch at Santa Maluco was such a lovely way to spend Saturday afternoon and it left me wondering why we do not go out for brunch more often, as it set a relaxing tone for the rest of the day and left us feeling thoroughly recharged.

Santa Maluco 
 2 Castle Street,
 L2 0NA

What do you all think, do you like going out for brunch and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



*I was a guest of Santa Maluco to sample the new brunch menu. This meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.