Wednesday 25 October 2017

Sampling Vegan Monday at Santa Maluco...

Writing about food means that I am fortunate enough to eat out regularly and every so often an invitation comes along which really intrigues me, which was the case this week when I went along to Santa Maluco* in Liverpool to try their new vegan menu. This is a fun restaurant with a vibrant atmosphere and a menu of wood fired pizzas made in their custom built oven, as well as an impressive selection of cocktails such as their renowned $5 Dollar Shake.

I reviewed Santa Maluco for Olive Magazine a while ago and I have long been a fan of the restaurant, so I was pleased to hear that they are introducing their ‘Vegan Mondays’, which sees a selection of vegan pizzas available either by the slice or ‘rodizio’ style, an all you can eat concept where pizzas are brought out to you fresh from the oven so you can continue having slices until you are full. Tables are equipped with a wooden spinner, which allows you to indicate when you want more pizza and when you have had enough. We settled in at one of the long communal tables overlooking the open kitchen, where the pizza chefs were whirling around creating their masterpieces.
First up, we tried the ‘what the duck’ vegan pizza, topped with mock duck, char sui, spring onions, cucumber, mozzarella and sesame seeds. This was packed with flavour and I loved the idea of an oriental style pizza.

I am something of a traditionalist when it comes to pizza and I love the unbeatable simplicity of a good margherita, which was the next variety we tried. This vegan take on the classic Neapolitan style pizza worked a treat, with vegan mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce on their signature thin and bubbly wood fired base.

We moved on to trying the Buffalo Soldier pizza, which showed imagination, with buffalo style cauliflower marinated in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce as well as mozzarella, blue cheese and celery. I loved the spicy kick of the hot sauce and it was the first time I have tried cauliflower on a pizza, which worked well.

The Falaffin’ pizza topped with falafel, tomato, cucumber, tahini and walnuts was our next choice and the crunchy, delicately spiced falafel really added to this pizza.

We moved on to the Return of the Mac, which delivered the enjoyment of a vegan burger in pizza form with toppings of vegan mince, mozzarella, big mac sauce, white onions, pickles and lettuce. The ratatouille vegan pizza was another winner, and the chunky ratatouille made this a rustic treat which was the ideal winter warmer. 

We just about managed to find some room for a slice of vegan dessert pizza, spread with thick chocolate and sprinkled with strawberries, hazelnut and sweet cream. This was the perfect treat to round off the evening.

Santa Maluco 
2 Castle Street
L2 0NA

Vegan Monday is priced at £10.95 before 4pm and £15.95 after 4pm for Rodizio pizza or £3 per pizza slice. With so many exciting vegan pizzas to choose from, it is no surprise that Vegan Monday at Santa Maluco is already proving popular and we loved the variety of toppings and the irresistible wood fired base which this restaurant is known for. 

What do you all think, do you like the sound of Vegan Monday and which of the pizzas 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,



*We were invited to try the Vegan Monday menu at Santa Maluco, this meal was complimentary. Opinions stated herein are my own and honest. 

Wednesday 4 October 2017

A festive press dinner at Provenance...

With the start of October suddenly upon us, it is that time of year when many of us start to think about the festive season and last week we went along to a press dinner at Provenance to sample their festive menus. I have dined at Provenance before and I love the way the owners have combined a premium food hall and a fine dining restaurant in one space, just outside Bolton in the village of Westhoughton. All the produce at Provenance is carefully sourced as locally as possible and this is reflected in the quality of the food on offer here and they have gained a mention in the prestigious Good Food Guide 2018. We arrived to welcome glasses of Prosecco and we were treated to canapés including chicken liver in filo, potted salmon and mushrooms on toast which all appear on the Christmas Fayre menu. Chef Lewis Gallagher is continuing to make his mark in the culinary world and his creations showcase both technical skill and a flair for innovation - looking at the menu it was clear we were in for a treat. 

A light appetiser of cauliflower espuma proved to be a taste sensation, the foam was full of mild and nutty cauliflower flavour and the addition of caramelised Granny Smith apple in the base of the dish brought in a bright and zesty contrast. 

Pan fried cod with chorizo cassoulet and basil pesto was another elegant dish and the flaky cod paired well with the rich cassoulet while the pesto added fresh flavour. This was such a Mediterranean dish and the simplicity of the meat and seafood paired to make a satisfying combination. 

Duo of lamb with potato and celeriac dauphinoise was another outstanding dish and the peppery dauphinoise was delicious while the sweetness of the honeyed carrots complemented the other flavours, as did the Malbec paired with this course. 

Onion tatin was a dish which illustrated how incredible vegetarian dishes can taste when made by a skilled chef. I loved the idea of putting a savoury twist on the classic tarte tatin and the onions were sweet and sharp while flaky pastry, caramelised onion purée and burnt onion powder added to the finesse of this creation. 

Scallops are such a classic and we enjoyed the scallops with butternut squash textures and chorizo which was beautifully presented, with both diced and puréed butternut squash. This course was paired with a Pouilly-Fumé, the ideal wine to partner with this dish.

We were treated to a dessert of 'oops chef dropped the Manchester tart' a fun take on the infamous dessert by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana. The shattered pastry gave way to a smooth and creamy filling with a subtle hint of vanilla.

Christmas pudding macaroons and bite sized squares of silky milk chocolate tart with candied clementine were the perfect petit fours to conclude the meal and spoons laden with cranberry panna cotta were equally tempting.

Provenance Food Hall and Restaurant
46-48 Market Street

01942 812 398

Having tasted the Christmas Fayre menu, I can certainly say that booking a meal at Provenance would be a lovely way to celebrate the festive season. Their quality, local produce in the hands of such a talented chef makes for a winning combination. Two courses from the Christmas Fayre menu cost £16 and three courses are £19.

What do you all think, do you like to dine out during the holiday season 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,