Thursday 29 December 2016

A festive night out in Manchester...

I always like to make time for a relaxed night out before the holidays begin, so we went to Manchester last week for drinks and dinner. We headed to The Refinery in Spinningfields first, a stylish new bar from the Drake and Morgan group, where we decided to unwind with a round of espresso martinis which are always one of my favourite drinks on a night out. 

The space has a contemporary interior, with a sweeping bar area and tables adorned with romantic candelabras. After another round of drinks at The Refinery we headed off to Asha’s for our dinner reservation. I have been eager to dine at Asha’s for a while; I love Indian food and I have heard good things about it. 

The first thing that struck me was the elegant interior of Asha's; the low lighting, polished dark wood and spacious booths gave it an understated yet glamorous air. We settled in at our table and I selected a bottle of Acacia Tree Chenin Blanc which was the perfect partner to our meal, with light citrus layers. We ordered poppadoms to begin with and the accompanying chutney selection was tasty, I especially enjoyed the apple one which was zesty and bright. The cream cheese naan bread was a treat too; soft and doughy with a good amount of cheese filling. 

My main course of paneer jalfrezi had a fiery kick of spice and plenty of fresh pepper and paneer in a thick sauce. My dining companion opted for his favourite Murg (chicken) korma, which was creamy and mild with a sweet coconut flavour and tender chicken. 

All of the dishes were well presented with refined flavours and service was excellent too. 

It was time for dessert and we shared a warm chocolate chilli tart which had an intense chocolate flavour and a hint of chilli which was not too overpowering. 

47 Peter St, 
M2 3NG

We enjoyed a coffee to complete our meal before we set off in to the night having enjoyed a festive evening in Manchester, with great cocktails and delicious food. Happy holidays! What do you all think, do you like to make time for a festive night out before the holidays begin? As always, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



Thursday 22 December 2016

An evening at Yard & Coop...

Last week I went along to an event at Yard & Coop, which has just opened in Liverpool following on from the success of Yard & Coop Manchester. The evening was the chance for us to sample the menu, try some cocktails and find out what the restaurant is all about.

I was happy to retreat from the rainy evening outside and the real tree which hangs inside the entrance creates a cool atmosphere which continues downstairs in the spacious bar and restaurant. The aesthetic within is bright and stylish, with colourful armchairs and a bar (the 'Yard') complete with a great selection of spirits for the wide range of cocktails.

A striking chicken mural adorns one wall and the wooden ‘Coop’ is full of cosy booths. We were warmly welcomed by the team and the expert bartenders whipped up a round of ‘Rule the Roost’, a sweet blend of lychee and rose liqueurs topped with lychee juice and prosecco.

We chatted as we enjoyed our cocktails and soaked up the bustling ambience of the restaurant, then after our welcome drinks, we moved to the Coop where we took our seats in a booth and decided what to order. Although the focus of the menu is of course the buttermilk fried chicken, there is a choice of mac n cheese balls as well as salad and halloumi options to cater to vegetarians too. I opted for the buttermilk fried chicken breast with bourbon barbecue sauce and fries.

The portion size was generous and the chicken was tender with a crispy golden crumb and a topping of finely sliced chillies which added a welcome fiery element which worked well with the sweet and smoky barbecue sauce.

I also enjoyed a side order of ‘not chicken nuggets’, halloumi fried in crispy crumb coating which were tasty and ideal to share.

There is a selection of sauces available to accompany your meal, and large plates such as fries loaded with toppings and towering burgers also jostle for space on the menu. After our meal we headed back to the bar and settled in to a booth complete with vibrant printed cushions, where we sipped a round of whiskey sours and gin and tonics to complete our evening.

This place has relaxed charm in abundance, which makes it an equally appealing spot for cocktails or for a casual bite to eat.

Yard & Coop 
Hanover Street 

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Yard & Coop 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 18 December 2016

Small plates and cocktails at Love Thy Neighbour...

Bold Street is one of the best places in Liverpool for a good variety of restaurants and you can find so many types of cuisine along this bustling street, encompassing everything from Indian street food to fish and chips. I was intrigued to try out one of the newest additions to Bold Street recently, Love Thy Neighbour is a bar and restaurant with an interesting menu including superfood smoothies, brunch dishes, small plates and those all-important cocktails.
The interior design aesthetic is quirky and cool, with stripped back wooden panelling, neon signs, potted plants and custom logo artwork on the walls. It is a fresh concept with plenty of laid back charm and it embodies everything which appeals to the Instagram generation. After a warm welcome, we settled at a table by the window where we could watch the world go by as we sipped a coconut infused espresso martini and a warm apple spiced bourbon, which was so festive with a delicate spice and zesty freshly pressed apple. 

The sourdough bread served at Love Thy Neighbour is sourced from bakery Wild Loaf and we enjoyed thick slices of it with hummus before tucking in to roasted sweet potato wedges which were irresistible. We moved on to sampling a selection of small plates, all of which delivered in terms of both taste and presentation. 

The coriander falafel, spiced aubergine, confit yellow cherry tomatoes and Harissa dressing was an accomplished dish with bright flavours and I loved the kick of spice from the Harissa.

The next plate we tried was salt baked beetroots, raw golden beetroots, Blacksticks blue cheese and charred endive orange dressing, which was a revelation with bold flavours of earthy beetroot which contrasted perfectly with the punchy sharpness of the cheese and subtly sweet dressing.

The vegetarian and vegan dishes at Love Thy Neighbour are inventive with an eye for interesting combinations, as illustrated by the satisfyingly fluffy chickpea pancake with avocado and macerated heritage tomatoes which was tasty and filling. The goats curd with baked butternut squash, watercress and walnut pesto was also a favourite of mine as the tangy goats curd worked well with the butternut squash. 

The versatility of cauliflower is often overlooked, so I was pleased to see slow cooked cauliflower, celeriac, Ras El Hanout, golden raisins and toasted almonds on the menu; this dish successfully combined sweet and woody flavours and the fragrant spices added an exotic element. 

We could not resist sampling one of the freshly made smoothies, which was so refreshing and I think these would be the ideal pick-me-up during a busy day in the city. 

It was time for dessert next and we were lucky enough to sample two slices of cake from Studio Raw, which make raw and vegan cakes. One slice had a mince pie and Christmas pudding base with a mulled blood orange spiced cheesecake topping and the other slice was chocolate and almond. Both cakes were divine and the mince pie and Christmas pudding slice was incredible, combining sweet, zesty and fruity flavours.  

There is such a relaxed ambience at Love Thy Neighbour, it is the kind of place where hours just fly by without you realising it; always a good thing in my opinion. It is great to see another place offering small plates and cocktails of this quality, as well as an impressive array of  vegetarian and vegan dishes. Above all, this place has bags of personality and it does not take itself too seriously, which makes it all the more appealing. 

Love Thy Neighbour 
108 Bold Street,

What do you all think, do you like places which offer a selection of dishes to cater to everybody 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 14 December 2016

CHPR Christmas Party at Gusto...

Party season is well underway and I was lucky enough to attend a lavish Christmas party recently, held by Carolyn Hughes PR at Gusto Restaurant at the Albert Dock, Liverpool. The annual party is a glittering occasion and I was excited to attend an event which is held in aid of such a worthy cause, the charity Cash for Kids which helps disadvantaged children in the Liverpool region.

Each place setting was adorned with delicious cupcakes and we were treated to a three-course lunch as we enjoyed live music and entertainment.

We were welcomed with a drinks reception and we relaxed at the bar before the meal, where we soaked up the party atmosphere as guests arrived to enjoy the afternoon. The whole restaurant looked so festive, with a giant Christmas tree and long tables set for lunch.

A bowl of hearty roasted red pepper and tomato soup served with oven baked focaccia was the perfect starter for a chilly day and for the main course I ordered the traditional roast turkey which was served with braised red cabbage and pine nuts, sprouts, sausage wrapped in Pancetta, stuffing, roast potatoes and red wine sauce.

The chocolate and ginger tart with vanilla Chantilly was a delicious conclusion to the festive meal, a rich and indulgent dessert which complemented the other courses.

The lunch raised over £20,000 for Cash for Kids, an incredible sum for such an amazing charity. Radio City’s Pete Price & Simon Ross were the hosts of the afternoon and there was such a fun atmosphere as everybody got in to the party spirit. 

With many thanks to Carolyn Hughes PR for inviting me to this party in support of an inspirational charity.

What do you all think, are you looking forward to the party season and what do you have planned for the holidays? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time, 



Saturday 10 December 2016

A festive dinner at Malmaison...

I cannot believe how quickly the festive season has come around this year and I was pleased to have the chance to get in to the holiday spirit this week when I went along to try the seasonal fixed price menu at Malmaison* Liverpool. The hotel is in a great location next to the river and I have reviewed the Malmaison Brasserie before.The whole place looked so festive, with glittering Christmas trees festooned with decorations throughout and we took a seat in the stylish Mal Bar to enjoy a pre-dinner drink. There were several seasonal cocktails on offer and I decided to try the Praline Sidecar after it was recommended to me. This cocktail tasted as good as it looked and the blend of Courvoisier VS, Frangelico, walnut bitters, lemon juice and a frosting of hazelnut sugar was a wintry delight.

We were led through to the spacious brasserie and we settled in to a table next to another magical Christmas tree. The Mal Brasserie has a stylish appeal, with exposed brickwork, soft lighting and abstract art on the walls. We both decided on the curried red lentil, parsnip and apple soup as our starter which was rustic and hearty with a subtle spice.

A traditional Christmas dinner is one of my favourite meals of the year, so for my main course I could not resist ordering the ballotine of free range turkey with prosciutto, cranberry and orange stuffing, bread sauce and cranberry compote. This main course was very festive, combining the best elements of a Christmas dinner with a flair of sophistication in terms of flavour and presentation. The tender turkey was complemented by the tangy cranberry compote, zesty stuffing and crispy roast potatoes. while the garnish of pigs in blankets (sausage wrapped in bacon) was a tasty touch.

My dining companion equally enjoyed his main course of slow roast smoked short rib of beef with parsnip purée and crisps, roast potatoes and red wine jus. The beef was succulent and the earthy parsnip perfectly offset the slight smokiness of the meat. We also shared a selection of winter root vegetables roasted in maple syrup, which were the ideal dish to complete the meal with delicate,  sweet flavours.

We moved on to dessert and as usual the difficulty was deciding what to order from the enticing options. I love Christmas pudding, so I chose the classic Christmas pudding with Cointreau custard which was fruity and boozy, exactly as a good Christmas pudding should be.

My dining companion selected the Valrhona chocolate mousse with honeycomb and Chantilly cream, which had a smooth chocolate flavour with a slight bitterness which worked well with the crunchy honeycomb.

The Malmaison seasonal fixed price menu offers two courses at £19.95 or three courses at £24.95 and booking is advisable. We had a fun evening sampling the menu and this is a great dining option in the city, with a great variety of tasty dishes and elegant surroundings.

7 William Jessop Way
L3 1QZ

0151 363 3640

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

Until next time,



*This meal was complimentary, all opinions stated herein are my own and honest.