Sunday 30 October 2016

Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats at Miyagi...

I always like the chance to try a new concept when it comes to dining out, so I was excited to attend Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats last week at Miyagi, a popular Japanese inspired restaurant and bar in Liverpool. Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats is a new late night soul food and drink experience with live music too. I love the design of Miyagi, which is contemporary cool with exposed brickwork, colourful art and candlelight. The restaurant was already busy as we settled in to a plush velvet booth where we looked at the menu. 

The ingenious concept of Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats sees various small plates paired with drinks designed to complement the flavours. We sipped iced water and enjoyed the lively ambience of the restaurant as the band set up ahead of their performance and we ordered from the selection of dishes and matching drinks. There was a wide array of options on the menu including vegetarian dishes. 

The first plate to arrive was salt and pepper chipolatas with honey glaze which were succulent and sweet, paired with Hitachino Red rice amber ale which is smooth and strong. 

Cali Rolls of sweet potato, cashew and pickled pear were full of flavour and the cocktail pairing of Cachaca Sour (Velho Barreiro Cachaca, fresh lime juice, sugar and egg white) was a silky treat with a hint of citrus. The band got going and they played a great set which got everyone singing along at various points. 

The smoked old fashioned was a stunningly presented cocktail, served in a box with crushed ice and flowers. I love a good old fashioned and this smoked one had a real depth with Nikka Taketsuru whiskey, plum sake and maple syrup smoked with oak wood.

The sticky pickled pear crostini, with caramel walnut and smoked cheddar which accompanied the old fashioned were full of sweet and tangy flavour while the smoked cheddar offset the pickled pear. 

I loved Mr. M’s grilled cheese, served on granary bread with melted cheese and grilled shitake mushrooms which added woody depth to the sandwich. This plate was paired with a Gibson made with Rutte’s celery gin, Martini dry and pickled onion, a classic cocktail which tasted great with the grilled cheese.

There was a great party atmosphere with the combination of music, food and drink resulting in a fun evening. It was clear plenty of thought had gone in to the food and drink pairings and the expertly mixed bespoke cocktails complemented the sophisticated dishes well. Mr. M has definitely got soul!

Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 9.30pm at Miyagi.

77 Bold St 
L1 4EZ

What do you all think, do you like the idea of Soul, Beats, Liquor and Eats 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,



Sunday 23 October 2016

Dinner at Nova...

This week I went along to dine at Nova*, a restaurant in the Wirral town of Heswall which is run by Moyo and his wife Jana. Moyo has years of experience as a chef and he is also classically trained in the art of French cuisine. I had heard good things about Nova, so I was keen to experience dining there. We were seated at a cosy table where we were welcomed with chilled prosecco which was a nice touch. The design aesthetic at Nova is contemporary with details such as abstract art, vases of flowers and candlelit tables which combine to create a homely ambience. The restaurant was already busy, a good sign for a midweek evening. 

Mini beef and lamb sliders served on doughy buns with a piquant tomato sauce proved to be a tasty introduction to the meal.

We were informed that Moyo takes a great deal of pride in baking his own bread, which he also supplies to nearby deli Whitmore and White and the bread selection we sampled was fresh and springy with a fine crumb. 

For his starter, my dining companion selected the goats cheese crémeux with beetroot served with an ice cream which had honey running through it. The tangy goats cheese was sensational with the earthy beetroot and the sweetness of the honey offset the other flavours well. This was a feast for the eyes too, with striking presentation to the dish.

My starter of butternut squash soup was a hearty winter warmer, with a silky texture and delicate sweetness.

For the main course my breast of chicken was grilled to perfection, with a smoky crispiness which gave way to succulent white meat. 

My dining companion chose the sirloin steak cooked medium rare, with red wine sauce and skinny fries on the side. The steak was notably colossal in size and it had been cooked to retain the perfect level of juiciness, the red wine sauce added a velvety depth which did not overwhelm the meat and the impressive scale of the steak was matched in terms of flavour.

A variety of seasonal vegetables and a portion of golden chunky chips complemented our meals and I sipped a crisp Western Cape South African Chenin Blanc, which had zesty apple and tropical notes. 

We had already marvelled at the chocolate soufflé as it was brought to a neighbouring table and it certainly did not disappoint when I ordered my own for dessert. The soufflé was incredibly light, with a texture reminiscent of mousse and the accompaniment of sorbet was creamy with a subtle chocolate flavour. 

My dining companion enjoyed the artfully presented cheese board, which had a varied selection of mild and stronger cheese including Red Leicester Sparkenhoe, Celtic Promise, Brie de Meaux, Kidderton Ash goats cheese and Blacksticks Blue with a platter of crackers, fruit, quince jelly and chutney which offset the cheeses well.

The meal was still not at an end as we settled back to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere over some coffee and handmade petit fours of coconut and buttery shortbread. 

The food at Nova was polished and accomplished, with an eye for refined flavours. The use of local and seasonal produce was evident in the quality of the dishes and the convivial atmosphere also made me want to dine here again. 
I was impressed with the level of attention to detail too, such as the inclusion of a preliminary course and petit fours. The standard of cuisine illustrated Moyo's expertise and in my opinion the whole experience was worthy of a fine dining restaurant, but with a relaxed and appealing atmosphere. 
Service was friendly and efficient from the knowledgeable team, who were on hand to chat about the menu and recommend dishes too. 
68 Pensby Rd, 
CH60 7RE

0151 342 9959

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Nova 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 Nova, this meal was complimentary. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Monday 17 October 2016

Dinner at The Lawns Restaurant...

The Lawns Restaurant at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa holds 3 AA Rosettes and it is also mentioned in the Michelin Guide.  Last week I had the opportunity to dine at The Lawns* again, to try the new menu devised by Head Chef Ben Mounsey. 
The first thing which is striking about The Lawns is the interior design, with decorative wooden carvings, an intricate ceiling and crystal chandeliers. We were shown to our table where we consulted the à la carte menu, reading through the intriguing options in anticipation. 

Firstly, we were treated to smoked crackers with olive tapenade and Bresaola as a pre-dinner snack, as well as an orange and iced tea drink which refreshed the palate.

Freshly baked warm loaves of treacle and rye bread served with ground corn butter were served, which tasted amazing. I am more than a little obsessed with finding the perfect bread, and this had a deep and satisfying flavour complemented by the corn butter.

A 'snack' of beetroot with goats cheese smoke was a sensory experience, with clouds of smoke and tangy goats cheese which sat well with the beetroot. 

My starter of cabbage, consommé, goats curd and scallop was filled with interesting flavours. The beetroot consommé was poured over the starter at the table and the fusion of ingredients worked well with the tender and slightly sweet scallop, while the beetroot consommé added earthiness to the dish. 

My dining companion selected the bacon and egg for his starter of cheek, sourdough and mooli. The crispy bacon and scrambled egg foam were a treat together while the sourdough crisp added texture and the brown bread savoury ice cream was enjoyable. Taking a classic breakfast dish and turning it in to a sophisticated starter in this way was an impressive feat. 

The second bread of olive and tomato focaccia with French salted butter was a taste of the Mediterranean with a springy texture which was complemented by the creamy butter. 

My main course of tuna, celeriac, dashi and caper was simply stunning. The oyster crisp garnishing the dish melted in the mouth delivering a subtle taste of the sea and the tuna itself was a revelation, tender yet with a slight crispness which was elevated by the dashi broth and tuna tartare added a sharper flavour. This dish was so well executed, it was a privilege to experience it.

My dining companion chose the rare breed pork loin, with Lyonnaise and apple gel. The meat was succulent with a mild flavour which was enhanced by a rich jus and the Lyonnaise potatoes were the ideal accompaniment, creating an elegant main course.

The pre-dessert, based on a blackberry crumble with custard was a surprise, with a solid shell which contained sharp and sweet blackberry, delivering a taste of autumn. 

 We moved on to the dessert course and our first choice of chocolate with prune, Matcha green tea and lime was a revelation with an airy Matcha green tea sponge and bitter chocolate which paired well with the sweet and tangy prune.

I was especially eager to try the second dessert, for which Ben Mounsey drew inspiration from some of his childhood favourites. He came to the table in person to serve his signature cereal dessert, which was topped with a swirl of mascarpone cream. This dessert was a bowl of fun, with light flavours, texture from chewy rice crispy, a hint of toffee from the bananas and a creamy milk skin which added further charm to this whimsical dessert. I love dishes like this which break the mould of the traditional idea of fine dining which can sometimes come across as intimidating and slightly stuffy, so it is refreshing to see this new vision of fine dining from a chef.

We moved on to coffee and handmade petit fours, which included beetroot, Florentine, pâte de fruits and an indulgent pear chocolate. A perfect note upon which to conclude an exquisite meal.

Dining at The Lawns is a must for fans of fine dining and there is a choice of the tasting menu, a six course gourmet menu and the à la carte menu as well as lunchtime dining and afternoon tea. The food is a journey for the senses and the opulent dining room is reminiscent of a stately home or castle. This is a good choice of restaurant to celebrate a special occasion or simply to treat yourself to a wonderful meal.

The Lawns Restaurant
Thornton Hall Hotel & Spa
Neston Rd
Thornton Hough
CH63 1JF

0151 336 3938

It was a pleasure to meet Ben and to experience his food. His enthusiasm shines through in the clean, refined flavours of his dishes and his creativity is self-evident, with touches of excitement in terms of flavour and presentation. This is imaginative cooking at its best, with the ability to surprise and delight in equal measure.

What do you all think, do you like fine 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 a guest of The Lawns Restaurant, this meal was complimentary. Opinions stated herein are my own and honest. 

Friday 14 October 2016

The Old Stables...

It is always interesting to have the opportunity to try somewhere completely new when it comes to dining out and this week I did exactly that when I went to dine at The Old Stables*. The newly opened restaurant is situated at Allerton Manor Golf Club a short distance from Liverpool city centre and we drove up the sweeping driveway to see trees adorned with fairy lights twinkling outside. The design aesthetic within is cool and contemporary, with a stylish green tiled bar area and there is a large outdoor terrace too. We were seated at a table by the window where we consulted the menu, which has a good balance of classic comfort food and sophisticated dishes including steaks, seafood, burgers and pasta as well as sharing platters which are a nice option if you feel like trying a few things. I had a good catch up with talented Head Chef Paul Feery, who is skilled at creating satisfying dishes with elegant flavours. 

We started the meal with a board of farmhouse and seeded bread served with oil, which was enjoyable as we awaited our starters. 

My starter of pan fried tandoori spiced scallops was excellent, with perfectly seasoned tender scallops served with pickled carrot and orange purée, fennel tips and sesame seeds. This dish showed flair worthy of a fine dining tasting menu, with a tangy smoothness delivered by the purée which complemented the juicy scallops and aromatic tandoori spice. 

My dining companion had the soup of the day, a hearty and rustic winter vegetable soup with a mild, creamy flavour ideal for this time of year. 

For the main course, my dining companion chose the 12oz sirloin steak, cooked to his preference of medium rare. The steak was succulent with an irresistible flame grilled, slightly smoky taste and the accompaniments of grilled tomato, mushrooms and watercress complemented the steak. The hand cut chips were crisp and chunky, while the blue cheese sauce was rich in flavour.

For the main course I selected the house curry, which was available with either chicken or vegetables. I went for the vegetable option and it was just the kind of curry I like, fragrant, creamy and mild at first but with a fiery finish which really woke up the palate. The accompaniments of Basmati rice and grilled naan bread were both pleasant and the strips of pepper in the sauce gave the curry added texture, this reminded me of a street food style of curry with a simplicity which allowed the individual flavours to shine. 

 A Cambio 7 Chilean Merlot was a good wine pairing for the meal, with notes of plum and black cherry as well as a slight spiciness. There was a varied choice of wines including sparkling on offer and a well-rounded cocktail list too

On to dessert and who could resist classic sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, which was so indulgent with a light sponge and rich butterscotch.

Our second dessert of warm chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream was another hit, this was one of the best brownies I have tasted in some time, with a chewy freshly baked texture and a rich chocolate flavour. 

I enjoyed a liqueur coffee and we settled back to enjoy the relaxed ambience of The Old Stables, which is a perfect place to unwind for casual dining or a Sunday Roast. 

The Old Stables
Allerton Manor Golf Club
Allerton Road
L18 3JTM

0151 428 7490

What do you all think, do you like the idea of a restaurant which offers a selection of classic and refined main courses 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 dine at The Old Stables, this meal was complimentary. Opinions are my own and honest.