Brunch at The Alchemist

The Alchemist – Trinity Leeds

The Alchemist is more than just a bar. With outdoor seating on rooftop terraces to full length windows and little heated lamps it’s not just the drinks that are a visionary dream to the eye. From bubbles to smoke to colour changing drinks; the Alchemist is one of the only few bars that still carry a magical selection for non alcohol drinkers. Plus all of their branches have a consistent beautiful aesthetic.

I’ve been to The Alchemist on so many occasions; birthdays, catch ups with old friends or sometimes just a quick drink to recuperate after a long shopping spree however I had never tried anything off their food menu. In January The Alchemist promoted a 50% discount on all food! I like trying new things, but I love trying new things with a discount.

We perused the menu online and immediately booked our brunch for the next available morning. Obviously with the promotion they were quite booked up but we managed to get a booking on the following Monday.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Mac n Cheese Bites. My fav! Not many restaurants do them and I don’t understand why. I absolutely love them and thankfully The Alchemist did not disappoint. In fact I can honestly say these were the best Mac n Cheese bites I’ve ever had.

They were bigger than I expected them to be. Crispy on the outside cheesy on the inside. The batter was lightly seasoned carrying a slight zing. It’s not something I would usually order for a brunch as it’s fried. However they were so tasty so no matter the time or day if I’m at The Alchemist I will definitely be ordering them again. Without a doubt. They were a good size with a tasty chipotle mayo dip, they were ultimately beyond perfect!


Along with the delicious Mac n Cheese Bites we also ordered Popquorn. I’m not the biggest fan of Quorn. I’m a die hard meat eater and just can’t find it in me to substitute. I can’t fault The Alchemist, Quorn just isn’t to my palette. Even with a crispy batter and a creamy sriracha mayo sauce it still lacks flavour. It also carries a slight rubbery overly chewy texture which I hate.


As the Popquorn and the Mac n cheese bites were on the nibbles and sharing section of the menu we really didn’t expect the portion size to be as big as it was. We had also ordered two mains off the breakfast and brunch section of the menu. I got the Eggs Benedict without the ham, and my foodbae got the Smashed Avocado & Pouched Eggs.

My Eggs Benedict were delicious! The Eggs were yolky and runny just the way I like them. The thick muffins were very lightly toasted, still keeping them soft and doughy with just a slight crunch along the surface. They were traditionally drizzled in a tangy hollandaise sauce, the zing to the sauce really complimented the soft flavours!


My foodbae is the ultimate foodie – always teaching me new cuisines. With her avocado and pouched egg she also asked for a side of halloumi cheese. She loved her brunch just as much as I did! I would never have tried avocado or even halloumi cheese with a pouched egg but it all went so well together!


As you can imagine after our two very hearty courses we were beyond stuffed! We decided to move over to the roof top terrace to enjoy the crisp cold midday air of Leeds over some mocktails. As I’ve already tried most of the mocktails on the menu I asked the bartender if he could just mix me up something different. I’ve done this before and have never been disappointed! I simply explain what kind of flavours I like and let them create the magic. As usual I wasn’t disappointed!

With or without a 50% discount I would definitely visit The Alchemist again for a hearty brunch. I can’t think of one plausible fault and if I did the Mac n Cheese bites simply overrides it all!

Lots of love

Hafsah x



Rocca Bradford

Rocca is a traditional authentic Italian restaurant. Its a friendly family run establishment that’s only a 10 minute walk from my home – what more could I ask?

It’s clear to see why the restaurant does so well. It’s a decent sized restaurant with floor to ceiling length large windows. The tables; square and round are all spaciously spread out, with beautiful lit lanterns to set a relaxing ethos. From large family gatherings to small intimate tables for two; the venue holds the perfect setting for every occasion.

Once seated guests are left to ponder over the menu with a complimentary basket of focaccia bread and olive tapenade. Majority of the reviews on Trip Advisor all mention Roccas generous basket; it clearly is appreciated by their loyal customers. The reviews are also beaming with comments regarding Roccas very welcoming and friendly staff, however I must admit on our last occasion neither of this was reflected. Im not sure if Rocca have stopped the complimentary side altogether or if it was just a one off that we didn’t receive but we definitely did not have a friendly waitress either.

Our waitress had a very stern look to her. She was by herself on the restaurant floor – whilst it wasn’t particularly busy on our late midweek meal it was clear she was overwhelmed trying to juggle between tables.

After waiting nearly 25 minutes we eventually managed to order. For our starters we decided to order Bruscette and Mozzarella in Corrozza,

Out of the many bruschetta toppings we opted for Goats Cheese and Caramelised Red Onion served on a toasted ciabatta resting on a bed of salad. If you don’t like strong overpowering flavours I would not recommend this. The caramelised onions were finely chopped and blended into a thick paste. It had very similar resemblance to marmite, carrying an extremely powerful flavour. I found the thick cut of goats cheese really neutralised the strong flavours. I quite liked the flavours and would order it again however not everyone on our table liked it so it’s definitely an acquired taste.


On the contrary a table favourite was the Mozzarella in Carrozza. Deep fried breaded mozzarella in a rich tomato and basil sauce. It’s simple, tasty and an Italian classic. I recommend eating it straight away, the fried breaded outer layer changes texture and the mozzarella can taste quite rubbery if it’s left to stand.


For our mains we were spoilt for choice but eventually decided on Cannelloni, Margherita Pizza and an Al Tonno Pizza.

Rocca’s Cannelloni consists of rolled out pasta sheets sandwiched in layers of minced beef, ricotta cheese and spinach in a rich bechemal sauce. Rocca doesn’t serve halal meat so we asked for ours without the minced beef. The Cannelloni was pleasant and flavourful. I can imagine with minced beef it would be a cross between a lasagne and a tortellini.

£6.60 as a starter || £8.95 as a main

Italian culinary is famous for its thin, crispy but floppy pizzas and fortunately Rocca do not disappoint. The Al Tonno was topped with a wide spread of crisp red onions and tuna. The tuna taste was quite pungent so if you’re not into strong flavour again I wouldn’t recommend the Al Tonno.

A Margherita Pizza is an authentic Italian classic. A lot of the food we shared carried rich flavours so a simple tomato, mozzarella and oregano thin base went along nicely.

£8.95 Al Tonno

£7.95 Margherita

Even though our service wasn’t as excellent as it usually is I would still recommend Rocca. The environment as well as the food is always amazing. The flavours are quite rich and strong; you can really taste each ingredient which is what I believe real Italian food should taste like.

Rocca definitely does transport you to a mini Italy!

I hope you enjoyed my review, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Happy eating!

Lots of love, Hafsah x


Creams British Luxury

Creams British Luxury Tearoom

After my disappointing visit to Just Grand! Vintage Tea Room I decided to make another trip to Leeds for afternoon tea. Creams British Luxury is a franchise set up by two brothers Tayeb and Unzar Aleem from Huddersfield. Their goal was to create luxury tearooms that catered to everyone.

Creams isn’t just luxury by name! Every single detail exudes a luxurious feel! From the large chandeliers to the grand piano it was clear no expense was spared in creating an opulent atmosphere.

Instead of the traditional tearoom menu Creams go above and beyond – they have a diverse offering of afternoon teas such as Arabian, Italian and British. From pizzas to paninis, salmon salads to egg benedict, sundaes to freak shakes their menu offers so much more than your usual basic tearoom.

Even though I was spoilt for choice I was still determined to get a good afternoon tea experience and ordered the Creams British Afternoon Tea for one. The afternoon tea consists of brioche bun sandwiches comprising of chicken mayonnaise, cheese with spring onion and egg mayo. Accompanied by a sultana scone with strawberry preserve and clotted cream and a selection of cakes & patisserie. All served with a pot of the finest English breakfast tea.

£11.95 per person

The luxury element was instilled within the presentation of the food too. Unlike Just Grand! Our afternoon tea looked just as amazing as it tasted. Just by the presentation alone I knew I would definitely enjoy this afternoon tea a lot more.

The scone was perfect and by far the best I’ve had in ages! Baked to a beautiful golden brown, the scone was exactly how a scone should be. It didn’t crumble when cutting into it, the flavour wasn’t overpowering and had just the right amount of sultanas.

The sandwiches were equally as delicious. The sweet brioche bun went well with the traditional fillings as well as the chicken mayo. They were quite filling and I only managed one full sandwich and a few bites of the other two.

On to the patisseries – The macaroon even though it was tasty I would’ve preferred a different flavour. They gave us a coffee flavour macaroon which wasn’t to my taste at all. I found the flavour far too rich. I didn’t eat the lemon drizzle cupcake, but my friend that did said it was too strong. She said the actual cupcake was tasty but far too sweet. The orange cheesecake however was really nice. The cream, custard and jelly were of the right balance.

As well as sharing the afternoon tea we also got a panini melt. I had my doubts – I’ve always thought when at a tea room you should stick to what they know best; sandwiches, cakes etc. We chose the lemon pepper chicken melt and didn’t regret it. The panini was delicious! The toasted baguette bread was soft and tender and the chicken was bursting with flavour. I’ve never had lemon chicken before as I’ve always thought the acidity from the lemon would overpower the chicken. However this was the complete opposite; the chicken and lemon went really well together, the chicken had a really nice tangy taste to it. It was served with a large portion of steak cut chips, equally as delicious.

£6.95 with chips

As previously mentioned in my last post the afternoon tea at Just Vintage was priced the same as Creams however the quality couldn’t have been more different. At Just Vintage we ordered the afternoon tea for two, but yet we got so much more in Creams even though we only ordered for one.

Creams definitely carries a luxurious and extravagant concept without the high price tag. I actually can’t wait to revisit!

Let me know your thoughts below in the comments section!

Take care, lots of love

Hafsah x


Just Grand! Vintage Tea Room

Just Grand! Vintage Tea Room

Situated in Grand Arcade in the midst of busy Leeds city centre Just Grand is one of the prettiest tea rooms I’ve ever been to. With its plush cushions, cosy blankets and pretty white doilies the tea room oozes warmth and comfort!

However once seated inside our first impressions of comfort slowly simmered away. The small tea room uncomfortably fits around eight tables; the tables are all very closely compacted next to each other. On our weekend brunch date we were given a small rickety table by the wall.

The table was full of little retro ornaments, menus were neatly taped onto the sleeves of old vinyl record and each table was labelled with a photo of a musician instead of table numbers – all reflecting the tea rooms unique and quirky 50’s theme.

The waitresses were dressed in polka dot red and white skater dresses with matching hair accessories. Their welcoming bubbly personality and friendly faces were a quality in itself.

Before our visit I had already scoured through Trip Advisor and knew I wanted the Afternoon Tea. The Just Grand Vintage Afternoon Tea for one consists of a selection of 4 sandwiches, a freshly baked scone, a choice of cake and unlimited tea or coffee.

£11.95 per person

We were a little disappointed with the presentation of our afternoon tea. The stand was slightly broken and like the tower of Pisa our afternoon tea leaned to its side. After playing about with it for a while trying to twist and tighten it we gave up and each just took it in turn to hold it straight for our much needed Snapchats and Boomerangs.

Starting from the top – our homemade buttery baked scones. The scones came with a choice of either butter, cream or jam. I’ve always thought the point of an afternoon tea is the pleasure of variety. The fact that we had to choose one was disappointing.

Despite that the scone itself was faultless! It had the right consistency between textures, hard on the outside and soft on the inside – light, tasty and perfect with tea!

On to plate two – the cakes. The menu doesn’t specify what cakes to choose from as it’s just what’s available on the day. I can’t remember what the white cake was called. (I should have done this review as soon as I visited – lesson learnt!) however all their cakes that are available are neatly displayed with their names by the till. This cake was similar to a gooey rice crispy cake with smarties – tasty but very very sweet.

The second cake was a fruit cake; we actually didn’t ask for a fruit cake… again I can’t remember what we did ask for but it definitely wasn’t the fruit cake. As the cafe was quite busy we didn’t bother asking if it could be changed. The home made fruit cake had the usual qualities a good fruitcake should have, however it was just too rich for us.

Last but not least plate number three consisting of a selection of four sandwiches. We chose two cheese and pickle, tuna and cucumber and egg mayo. The tuna and cucumber sandwich and the egg mayo were as good as any regular sandwich. The cheese and pickle had no pickle or at least we couldn’t taste pickle.

Just Grand! Vintage Tea Room do have a great concept and I can see why it’s so popular however I don’t think it’s value for money. For just slightly under £24 we were very disappointed with our afternoon tea. At £11.95 for one the afternoon tea simply consists of one scone, one cake and one basic sandwich cut into four. The stand was broken and order wasn’t exactly what we had asked for.

There are many other tea rooms that are similarly priced but offer a lot more for example Creams British Luxury tea room. The below picture is the Creams afternoon tea for one; in comparison the Just Grand afternoon tea was for two but still the Creams stand offers so much more. I will God Willing do a review soon!

Nonetheless if you are passing through Leeds City Centre and do have a love for the 50s era then I would stop by for a good Yorkshire tea and admire the hidden vintage treasures inside Just Grande!

Happy Brunching!

Lots of love, Hafsah x


Ezra and Gil

Ezra and Gil

Happy Pancake Day!

Ezra and Gil is a trendy uptown cafe based in Manchester City Centre. It’s quite a large cafe and has a vast seating area. With its wooden floors and open stone walls the cafe carries a popular urban culture atmosphere. As soon as we stepped in we noticed the diversity of customers; friends chatting over hot drinks, families enjoying a late lunch, solo customers reading a book and students working on Mac books. It was clear to see the cafe had a very welcoming environment.

Another aspect we noticed was how clean the cafe was. Tables were cleared as soon as the customers had left. All tables were spaced out nicely creating an intimate atmosphere, making it easy to conduct deep, personal conversations for hours on end. Delicate pretty flowers were placed on each table, as well as cute large jars containing white and brown sugar cubes, a well replenished bucket of utensils and a small lit tea light.

However unlike other cafes I’ve been to recently Ezra & Gils menu is quite limited. A little note was attached to their wooden clipboard menu detailing their pancake day special – Crushed Oreo on a stack of pancakes served with whipped cream. Despite it being Pancake Day I would’ve expected more variety. I’m not the biggest Oreo fan and would’ve preferred a pancake with a chocolate spread and maybe strawberries or just lemon and maple syrup. Nonetheless we had no choice but to order two Crushed Oreo Pancakes.

To accompany our pancakes we also ordered two hot chocolates. On a cold day such as today a mug of rich hot chocolate is the best Winter warmer. Again there wasn’t much of a variety with the hot chocolate other than being about to request whipped cream for an additional 20p. We had to wait by the counter to collect our hot drinks to take them to our table. This meant the hot drinks were luke warm (nearly cold) by the time the waiter brought over the pancakes.


However I can’t complain the hot chocolate was divine. The chocolate was not overly rich and carried a creamy character. The texture and the sweetness were of the right balance. I’m assuming I would’ve enjoyed it even more if I had had it piping hot with my meal.

First impression of the pancakes was where were the pancakes? The pancakes were covered in a large layer of whipped cream, whilst I can imagine some customers may enjoy a large amount of whipped cream – I didn’t. My pancakes weren’t piping hot and I’m assuming the large load of whipped cream didn’t help that either.


The menu stated a stack of pancakes however there was only two. Initially I was slightly annoyed that at £7.50 there was only two pancakes. However as I began to get through my first pancake I soon realised two was more than enough. The pancakes were fluffy and light but were at least over an inch thick. After finishing my first pancake I couldn’t eat anymore.

It is reasonably priced coffee shop and the service and atmosphere is exceptional. We couldn’t help but notice the special little complimentary touches around the cafe. There’s a water fountain with little lemon slices as you walk in and a jar of dog treats beside it. It’s lovely to see establishments that actually do put their customers needs first and are pet friendly.

Their Instagram bio describes Ezra and Gil as being ‘an evolutionary concept in urban coffee, cafe culture and general provisions.’ Don’t let their food pictures on Instagram fool you it is definitely leaning more towards a coffee shop than an actual cafe. Whilst their menu is quite limited they did have a lot of fresh shortbreads, biscuits and cakes displayed by the front desk.

I do think I would visit again and would recommend the coffee shop to others. However next time I think Ill just get a hot drink with a fresh bun and just enjoy the atmosphere!

I hope you all enjoyed your pancake day! If you have any suggestions on where I should try out next please let me know in the comment section below.

Lots of Love, Hafsah x


Marco and Carl

Marco and Carl Bradford

After a disappointing first visit to the Bradford Marco and Carl I vowed I would never go again. However, a few family members and close friends kept telling me how great the food was. Maybe I just chose the wrong things on the menu? To top it off Marco and Carl announced a new and improved menu so alas I decided to give it another go. Bearing in mind I had also visited the Leicester branch in September 2016 and was left disappointed there too I must admit I wasn’t very hopeful.

We visited on a Wednesday evening and it was fairly busy. It’s quite large inside and the seating area varies from small tables for two to large booths, definitely ideal for birthdays and other celebrations. Its a nice friendly restaurant and carries a spaced out relaxed atmosphere.


There was a large variety of options to choose from; Mocktails, milkshakes and smoothies. We decided to go for mocktails – I chose the Aloha Lychee and we also got the Movie Star Martini.

Aloha Lychee pictured on the left was a mix of Lychee, Watermelon and Lime. The mix between the flavours went really well together. It was quite refreshing and a had a subtle kick to it. I would’ve preferred a taller glass, I think presentation wise a lot more couldve been done.

The Movie Star Martini was equally as nice with its perfect blend of fresh Lime and Passion Fruit. This came in a tall glass but noticeably did have a lot more ice than the Aloha Lychee. I did get the feeling that there was probably more ice than actual drink.

£4.50 each


Everyone I know has recommended I try out the Tear and Share bread which is a bread filled with chicken tikka, spring onions and cheese. It’s meant to be very flavoursome however as there was only the two of us and the bread is supposedly quite a large starter we instead opted for the Picante Bread and the Blazing Skewers.

The Picante Bread is simply a soft oven baked bread stuffed with cheese, spring onion and pomodora sauce. It was seasoned well and was a nice starter. No complaints but it isn’t something that I would rush back for.


On the contrary the Blazing Skewers I would definitely come back for! It’s a new addition to their menu and is basically chicken skewers in a breadcrumb coating served with a thick garlic sauce. The seasoning on the chicken was spot on. The chicken was tender and cooked very well. It had just the right amount of breadcrumb coating ensuring it didn’t overpower the chicken. My only issue was that whilst there was the right amount of skewers, some skewers had a lot less chicken than others. As me and my date shared both the starters it got a little awkward when each skewer had a different consistency. Oh and dipping the skewer into the really nice garlic sauce was a mission in itself, only other option was to carefully pour a bit of the sauce across the skewer.



After trying their burgers at the Leicester branch (pictured below) and Pulled Steak Chips previously at the Bradford branch I decided to try out their Pastas this time instead.

With over 10 choices of pasta we were a little undecided on what to go for but eventually chose the Penne Pollo Al’Arrabbiata and the Chicken Pesto Mac n Cheese which is in the newest section to their menu titled Funky Mac n Cheese.

Penne Pollo Al’Arrabbiata is as simple as its name entails. It’s penne pasta with chicken breast in an arrabbiata sauce. A basic Italian classic that holds a lot of flavour. Whilst the pasta wasn’t terrible it also wasn’t the best. It could’ve done with more seasoning, the rich tomato paste overpowered every other flavour. I also felt like it could’ve done with more chicken, the pasta to chicken ratio was slightly off track and all we could taste was tomato.


P.s not the best pictures – sorry

The Chicken Pesto Mac n Cheese actually comes as a side dish but it’s quite large and was enough as a main. On my previous visit to Marco and Carl I got the Pulled Steak Chips as a main even though it was labelled as a side. That came in a similar sized dish as the Mac n Cheese so I do think their sides could pass off as a main.

Overall the Mac n Cheese was nice, again it didn’t have much flavour and could’ve easily been forgotten about. The actual macaroni shells were quite small but it did carry a lot of cheese, chicken and pesto.



I usually never have room for dessert but the only advantage of not being a 100% keen on my mains meant that I could definitely order a cake or two!

Again there was plenty to choose from – we decided to get my favourite Banoffee Pie and the Red Velvet.

The Red Velvet was light and fluffy and everything you would expect a nice fresh cake to taste like. The only downside was that it came with the tiniest little jug of custard. Aesthetically it looked good but realistically it barely covered half the slice. To make matters worse the service was very slow throughout! At the most we saw two waiters at a time on the floor, it was clear to see they were rushed and panicked. It took at least 15minutes to get the waiters attention to bring us more custard.

The Banoffee Pie however was one of the best I have ever had and trust me on this one I have eaten my fair share of Banoffee Pies. It was light but very flavoursome! It had just the right balance of banana, toffee, biscuit and cream. Portion size was spot on too – it was just the right amount to hit the spot. Very pleased with my dessert!

(I can’t remember the prices to the desserts)

Overall our experience at Marco and Carl was mediocre. I wouldn’t be the first in the queue to come here again but I wouldn’t completely rule it out altogether either. The drinks, the Blazing Skewers and the Banoffee Pie will eventually bring me back to this place (and the fact that I still need to try the tear and share bread!)

The service definitely needs improving – for them to be struggling on a mid week really does show there’s something lacking. The place itself is clean and well presented. The staff that were present were friendly and welcoming. The portion sizes are quite large and if you like the food the prices are very reasonable. I definitely had a better experience at the Bradford branch than the Leicester branch.

Till next time, lots of love

Hafsah x


Ice Roll Factory

Ice cream rolls is a new concept that’s taken over most dessert parlours, however there’s only a few that can do it right. One that can is Ice Roll Factory in Keighley.

That’s us; Wild, loud and with a sweet tooth. We tried out nearly everything on the menu from Vimto blizzards to chocolate fudge cakes, ice cream rolls to waffle sticks and not one complaint!

I like my desserts quite light so I got a waffle stick. There was quite a few toppings to choose from, I chose Heaven. Heaven gave grace to its name with its sprinkles and marshmallows all drizzled in Nutella. It also came with a fresh roll of ice cream and squirt of cream.

A lot of desserts usually leave you with a stodgy, sickly, bloated feeling however this was very light. The waffle still kept its original fluffy feel to it and the toppings reflected the same to compliment.

For their full menu check out their Instagram page icerollsfactory or their website. They also do deliveries and cater for events.

Visited 30.01.18.

With love

Hafsah x