Friday, 26 May 2017

Dinner at Fox...

Fox Restaurant is a new concept by restaurateur Danny Fox, which features an open kitchen with a wood burning pizza oven and an open fire charcoal grill. The restaurant is located in Hale Barns, Cheshire which makes it easy to reach from Manchester and Liverpool and we went to have dinner there last night. The ethos of Fox is all about simplicity and the stylish interior design of the open plan space features marble tables, leather banquette seating and exposed brickwork, resulting in an appealing and relaxed ambience.

We started the evening with garlic bread with cheese and a selection of crudités and brassica served with hummus, which was a nice balance of appetisers. The garlic bread was one of the best I have tasted and believe me, I have eaten plenty! 

I selected the starter of chickpea and coriander cake with mango and pomegranate salsa, watercress, honey and lime dressing. The chickpea and coriander cake was crispy and satisfying and the salsa added light and tropical flavours. 

My dining companion enjoyed the Melanzane parmigiana with layers of aubergine, tomato, parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella as well as a topping of fresh basil and a side of crusty sourdough bread. This made a rustic, Mediterranean dish which tasted as good as it looked. 

I was eager to try the wood fired sourdough pizza, especially when I saw the chefs whirling around the kitchen as they prepared pizzas to pop in to the striking tiled oven. I went for the Rosso, topped with tomato, roasted red pepper, red chilli, red onion, mozzarella and garlic. The pizza was fiery and sweet, bursting with bold flavours on an irresistibly light base. This outstanding pizza highlighted the merits of cooking with a wood fired oven. 

We also shared a refreshing quinoa and tabbouleh salad which paired well with the rest of the meal, while a bottle of Tooma River reserve Chardonnay was a fresh and zesty wine choice. 

My dining companion ordered the 18oz rib eye steak, with Béarnaise sauce and triple cooked chips. The steaks at Fox are Black Angus beef and are locally sourced and 35 day aged. The rib eye showed off the talents of the open fire grill as the tender meat was perfectly cooked with an irresistible smoky charring. 

On to dessert and I can never resist classic crème brûlée and this was served in a generous portion, with a zesty and sweet berry compote which offset the creamy dessert. 

My dining companion rounded off the evening in indulgent style, with a chocolate fudge cake served with chocolate sauce and cream, a rich finale which was full of intense chocolate. 

The Square
Hale road
Hale Barns
WA15 8ZN

Service was excellent throughout and diners are treated like old friends here, with a level of hospitality which is seldom seen. Fox is a warm and welcoming restaurant with contemporary style and delicious menus including a good choice of pizza, steak and seafood. The simplistic, fire based cooking techniques and carefully sourced produce translate well in to the dishes, which have sophisticated flavours. 

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Fox 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,



Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tasting the new menu at Yee Rah...

Yee Rah restaurant is located in the heart of Liverpool One, which is full of places to eat and shop. Last night, we went along to taste the new menu which recently went live; Yee Rah* describes itself as a wok and grill restaurant, serving world cuisine inspired by travel. I would say this is a fair summation and I thought it was refreshing to see fish and chips and burgers on the menu alongside a wide variety of fusion dishes because there is plenty of choice for everybody. Options range from noodle dishes to salads and Mexican fajitas as well as favourites such as spring rolls and prawn tempura. There is a good range of cocktails too, including classics and specials.

We enjoyed spicy prawn crackers with sweet chilli sauce as we decided what to order, settling on a couple of dishes from the small plates section of the menu as our starters. The small plates are ideal to share if you are feeling indecisive, just order a selection of these to sample a wide range of dishes.

The design of Yee Rah is contemporary and stylish, with striking lighting, an open kitchen and large mirrors as well as a popular outdoor terrace. 

My dining companion went for the Thai favourite of chicken satay skewers, marinated in Thai herbs and served with peanut satay sauce and cucumber relish. The succulent chicken paired well with the satay sauce and the simplicity of the zesty relish. 

I love halloumi and my starter of deep fried halloumi in beer batter served with garlic mayonnaise did not disappoint; the batter was light and golden while the garlic added contrast.

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will know that I love curry and I regularly eat Indian food, so as soon as I saw sizzling jalfrezi on the menu I wanted to order it. This comes with chicken but I chose to replace this with tofu instead (all Yee Rah curries are available with chicken, beef or tofu) the presentation was elegant, with the vibrant curry served on a cast iron platter with jasmine rice and mini naan bread on a separate plate. I love spicy food and this was a fiery curry, with heaps of sweet onion, peppers and mushrooms as well as chunks of tender tofu. The jasmine rice and naan made this a winner all round, a satisfying curry in a generous portion. 

My dining companion ordered the Thai holy basil stir fry, with spicy minced chicken and a sauce of fresh chilli and oyster sauce with fine beans, onions, peppers and Thai basil. This again worked well, with bold and zingy flavours which woke up the palate while the jasmine rice and Thai style crispy fried egg complemented the stir fry.

Of course we found room for dessert and the banana fritters with golden syrup and toasted sesame seeds were well presented on a glass platter, jewelled with pomegranate seeds, while the fritters were dangerously moreish thanks to light tempura style batter. 

Service was friendly and efficient and there is a sense of authenticity to the food at Yee Rah, which has balanced, exciting flavours. The location is another plus point, right in the centre of Liverpool and the menu is suitably extensive to ensure it caters to most tastes. 

Yee Rah
14 Paradise Street 
L1 8JF    

What do you all think, do you like fusion style dining 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 invited to try the new menu at Yee Rah, this meal was complimentary. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Finding that balance...

Sometimes when things get hectic it is good to take a step back and introduce some time to unwind in to your daily routine. I have been on a couple of trips away recently for work and things have been very busy, with lots of deadlines to meet. I always feel bad about saying no to things, but lately I have introduced the word ‘no’ in to my vocabulary a lot more frequently. I went through a phase where I was saying yes to everything and feeling obligated to do so. As a result, I began to feel increasingly overwhelmed and unhappy and I found I had very little time to spare to do the things which I love. 

I am fortunate to live close to the water and there a boating lake close by, which is such a relaxing place to walk. This week I wanted to switch up my routine and instead of going walking at night, I decided to go for a walk during the day when I can. I am fortunate that as a writer I work freelance, which allows me to manage my own daily routine and I decided that it was high time I added a little headspace to my day. 

It was perfect timing when I was sent some goodies by Prana Protein* this week, which included a selection of tasty protein bars and powders as well as a cup which I now take on my daily walk with me. Even just an hour of the day devoted to walking outside and soaking up the beautiful views makes me feel so much better and it also increases my productivity and creativity as I feel so refreshed after walking.
A recent work trip to Prague reminded me how much I enjoy walking; we went on a couple of long walking tours of the city and it was such a great way of enjoying the surroundings. Even at home, familiar views seem to take on a new appearance when you have the time to focus your attention on them fully.

You know that I am all about balance and I love to indulge in treats. Writing about food is my passion as well as my job and I love eating, but I am trying to take a more balanced approach to that too in order to feel a little healthier. This week I swapped my usual lunch of a sandwich for salads, so that over the weekend I felt I could indulge a little more. We went to Llandudno today and ate fish and chips on the beach as we watched the rolling waves. It was so calming and peaceful and it highlighted once more that the simple pleasures are often the most enjoyable ones in life. 

I felt more at peace today than I have for some time and from now on I am going to prioritise having time for myself more often. I think that most of us lead increasingly busy and pressured lives, so much so that it can be difficult to recognise when we need to switch off. I hope you all have a lovely week ahead and this is just a little reminder from me that it is vital to put yourself first occasionally! 

During the week ahead I am determined to keep up this new routine of day time walks, even just half an hour of walking with my phone switched off and good music on my headphones makes me happier. 

What do you like to do to unwind and do you think it is important to make time for yourself? As always, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



*I was sent some complimentary samples by Prana Protein, opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday Lunch at Stanley's Bar and Grill...

There is something comforting about a classic Sunday lunch and this Sunday we went along to have lunch at Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.
We spent the weekend in Anglesey, enjoying plenty of sunshine and walks by the sea, so we had a good appetite when we arrived at Stanley’s Bar and Grill*, the elegant restaurant within the Titanic Hotel. The lofty ceilings and exposed brickwork of the former warehouse space give it a stylish appeal and daylight floods in from the windows which overlook the riverside terrace. The bright, open plan space is an attractive environment in which to dine, and you can watch the chefs at work in the busy open kitchen which flanks the dining room.

You can choose between two or three courses for Sunday lunch (£21 or £24.95 per person) and there is a range of sophisticated dishes on offer, including a starter of glazed beetroot and goats curd salad with pickled celery. I went for the French onion soup with Gruyere cheese toasts for my starter, I love this classic soup and I liked the texture of this one which was full of sweet onion flavour while the toast added the contrast of nutty Gruyere.  

The baked Camembert chosen by my dining companion was creamy and rich and the accompanying fig chutney added tangy sweetness while the toasted nut bread was perfect to dip in to the cheese. 

For the main course we both opted for a classic Sunday lunch; the roast sirloin was tender and well cooked and the duck fat roast potatoes, cauliflower gratin, Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables and gravy completed this traditional meal. A good Yorkshire pudding is one of the key components of a great Sunday lunch in my opinion and this one was golden and well risen, as well as being a generous size. 

My roast chicken breast was succulent and the tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and carrots added freshness which complemented the meat. The duck fat roast potatoes were golden and crispy and the gravy and creamy cauliflower cheese gratin made this a plate of Sunday satisfaction. The presentation was striking too, with the food looking very alluring served on cast iron trays. 

There is something about a languorous Sunday afternoon spent enjoying a roast dinner and a good bottle of wine, which always leaves me feeling restored and ready to face the week ahead with renewed vigour. A Sunday lunch is up there with fish and chips as one of my favourite comfort food meals and it is always a treat to go out for a roast rather than cooking it at home. 

There is always room for dessert and we shared sticky toffee pudding with caramel and banana ice cream which was a delight; the caramel sauce tasted delicious against the banana ice cream, which for me evoked the childhood enjoyment of banana milkshake.

I can never resist chocolate and our second dessert choice of milk chocolate cheesecake with Madeira sorbet and candied hazelnuts was a refined dessert with a smooth chocolate flavour and refreshing balance from the sorbet. 

Stanley's Bar and Grill
Titanic Hotel
Stanley Dock,
Regent Rd,
L3 0AN

Service was attentive and friendly and we enjoyed an excellent Domaine de Brondeau Lalande 2008 Bordeaux from the varied wine list, which paired well with the meal.
I like the fact that there is a couple of alternatives on the menu if you don’t happen to be in the mood for a Sunday roast, such as polenta with Italian cheese, chilli, poached egg and asparagus which sounded tasty. We left feeling relaxed after such an enjoyable meal, which was the perfect way to unwind after a busy weekend.

What do you all think, do you like Sunday lunch 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 invited to review Sunday lunch at Stanley's Bar and Grill, this meal was complimentary. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Dinner at Castle Street Townhouse...

Castle Street in Liverpool is one of best areas of the city for a varied selection of restaurants and bars and Castle Street Townhouse* manages a balance of sophistication and modernity which makes it the perfect place for a relaxing night out. Castle Street Townhouse recently appointed new General Manager Robert Andrew Scott, who has worked at a variety of impressive locations including Michelin Star restaurants. This is an all day dining venue with breakfast, brunch (try the bottomless brunch!) and dinner all on the menu. The stylish bar area is somewhere I love to watch the world go by and the elegant dining room has interior design features which foster a feeling of opulence such as marble surfaces, plush velvet booths and striking bowler hat lighting which fits in with the location in the business district of the city. Castle Street Townhouse has recently introduced a brand new dinner menu, so we went along last night to experience it. Some of the new starters include chicken liver parfait with toasted rye bread and rocket as well as twice baked soufflé with cheddar and wholegrain mustard sauce. There is an impressive selection of main courses to choose from, such as Chateaubriand and Hake fillet with spinach hash, avocado, chilli and chorizo. We settled in at a booth table which gave us a great view of the restaurant space. 

We sipped a fruity Sangiovese and enjoyed a selection of bread with oils and olives as we decided what to order.

I went for the fishcakes with lemon mayonnaise and rocket for my starter, which were tasty and satisfying with a golden crumb and the zesty lemon mayonnaise worked well with the peppery rocket. 

My dining companion selected the Buratta with pear, walnut, honey and truffle oil. I loved the presentation of this dish and the honey and pear added sweetness which contrasted with the creamy Buratta and the intensity of the truffle oil. 

I was in the mood for pasta, so I ordered the Fettuccine in a creamy prawn and pea sauce for my main. The portion size was generous and the creamy sauce was light with plenty of succulent prawns and added sweetness from the peas. I could not resist adding a side of hand cut chips and I am so glad that I did. The humble chip can be one of life's greatest delights when done just right and these were exceptional, triple cooked until golden they were both chunky and crispy! 

My dining companion loves a good steak and his rib eye with triple cooked chips and peppercorn sauce was a hearty plate of comfort food. The appeal of this classic meal relies on the individual components being just right and the steak was cooked medium rare to his preference, so it was both tender and juicy. The peppercorn sauce was smooth with a subtle peppercorn flavour which added just the right amount of zing and of course I do not need to mention again how good the chips were! He also ordered a side of seasonal vegetables, I would recommend ordering a side dish as there are plenty of tempting ones to choose from. 

On to dessert and I am always a fan of traditional puddings, so for me the sticky date, toffee, banana and honeycomb was the ideal indulgence to complete the meal. The toffee sauce was rich in flavour and the dates and honeycomb added to the enjoyment. 

My dining companion went for the equally decadent chocolate brownie with salted caramel sauce and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Putting chocolate and salted caramel together is always a formula for success and the ice cream provided a refreshing contrast to the brownie. 

We relaxed over coffee and soaked up the surroundings, Castle Street Townhouse is the type of place which makes you want to linger, with a welcoming ambience, excellent service and great food. It reminds me of restaurants in Paris and New York, combining charming old world grandeur with contemporary polish. Try the acoustic Sundays, when you can enjoy a Sunday roast accompanied by live music and the extensive cocktail menu is not to be missed too. 

Castle Street Townhouse
Castle St,
L2 4TA

0151 363 7509

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Castle Street Townhouse 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 invited to review Castle Street Townhouse, this meal was complimentary. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.