Food.

Bucket List

Taking it back to September 2016.

I’ve just graduated. Got myself my first full time job. Passed my driving and finally on the roads with my little car. Beaming with excitement I began noting down a list of all the places I wanted to try out.

Trip Advisor became my daily go-to; from cute little cafes to award winning restaurants, rooftop terrace bars to dessert parlours, Indian street food to British afternoon tea. I wanted to try it all!

Nearly two years later and my list is nowhere near complete. Every time I tick one place off I end up adding another few on.

Whilst I’m trying to post reviews as regularly as possible there’s no way I’m going to be able to catch up on the places from my pre-blogging days. I’m always getting asked where I’d recommend so I thought it’d be easier to post my list.

One day when I’m feeling extra OCD I’ll put them in some kind of order…

✓ Marco & carl Leicester

✓ Las iguanas Leeds

◦ Salt & pepper Manchester

✓ Scene Manchester

✓ Vermillion Manchester

◦ Iceberg Preston

✓ Manjaros Leeds

✓ Angelicas Leeds

✓ Tattu Manchester/Leeds

✓ Frangos Halifax

✓ Tipu sultan Birmingham

◦ Al feena Leicester

✓ Pizza in a Cone Bradford

◦ Heavenly desserts Birmingham/Leicester

✓ Gourmet Oldham

✓ Sizzling Palette Bolton

◦ Dessert republic Manchester

◦ Vapiano Manchester

◦ Managerie Manchester

◦ Neighbourhood Leeds

◦ Ziya Manchester

✓ Bison Leeds

✓ Cona Bradford

✓ Dejavooo Liverpool

◦ Kaspas Manchester/Liverpool/Leeds

◦ Rebus domes Leicester

✓ Mughals on the rocks Keighley

✓ 50s diner Keighley

✓ Chaiiwala Bolton/Leicester/Birmingham

✓ East z East Liverpool st Manchester

◦ Sa-ha Steak Rotherham

◦ Al cazar lounge London

◦ Terrace lounge London

◦ Tiger Bay Lounge London

✓ Yayas Steakhouse Manchester

◦ Evelyn’s cafe Manchester

✓ Molasses Manchester

✓ Rakkaposhi Bradford

◦ Sher akbar Manchester

✓ Zouk Manchester

✓ Sky lounge Leeds

✓ Cloud 23 Manchester

◦ Syon lounge London

✓ Cardamom Black Harrogate

✓ East z East Riverside Manchester

◦ Sky Gardens London

◦ STK London

◦ Hakkasan London

✓ Sweet Diner Manchester

✓ Akaash Cleckheaton

✓ Dhanak Deira Bolton

◦ Shajan Blackburn

✓ Argeela lounge Birmingham

◦ Manchester house Manchester

✓ Emperors lounge Birmingham

✓ Creams Leeds

◦ Kobe sizzlers Leicester

◦ Nivikov London

✓ The next desserts Birmingham

✓ The Alchemist

✓ Godfathers Batley

◦ Sky lounge Manchester

✓ Bibis italiannisimo Leeds

◦ Zoya Leeds

✓ The Indian Tiffin room Manchester/Leeds

◦ Fazenda Manchester

◦ Rosso Manchester

✓ Grand daddy’s Manchester

✓ Sweet diner Manchester

✓ Estabulo Leeds

◦ Huqqa lounge London

✓ Moose Coffee cafe Manchester

◦ Restaurant ours London

◦ Dessert republic Manchester

◦ Zaraks grill Oldham

✓ Azeems Keighley

✓ Handmade Burger Leeds

◦ Ibrahim’s steak house Birmingham

◦ Tru burger Birmingham

◦ Basrah lounge London

✓ Carluccios Leeds/Manchester/Liverpool

◦ Grillz steak house Birmingham

◦ Amigos Mexican Kitchen Sheffield

✓ Akbars Sheffield

◦ New Yorker American Manchester

◦ Mughli charcoal pit Manchester

◦ Brew and brownie York

✓ Temples Coffee Leeds

◦ Slattery Manchester

◦ Gingers comfort Manchester

✓ Dakota Deluxe Leeds

◦ Mowgli Birmingham

✓ Kabanas Huddersfield

✓ Eat Meat Manchester

✓ Bills Restaurant Leeds

✓ Pearls tearoom Bradford

◦ Patisserie Lidere Manchester

◦ Brunch and Grill Bolton

◦ LaGlacier Blackburn

◦ Ambience Blackburn

◦ Junction 51 Blackburn

◦ The Clove Blackburn

◦ Black Milk Manchester

◦ Fig and Olive Blackburn

◦ Grindsmith Coffee Manchester

✓ Frankies Batley

✓ Just vintage! Grand Tearoom Leeds

✓ Tawa House Dewsbury

◦ Fargos food factory Birmingham

◦ Gelato Amorino Leeds

◦ IfCoffee Bar Leeds

✓ Hepworths Deli Kitchen Leeds

◦ House of Koko Leeds

✓Laynes Espresso Leeds

✓ Chaophraya Leeds

✓ Tipu Sultan Birmingham

✓ Tinseltown Birmingham

◦ Sukhothai Leeds

◦ Santorini Bar and Grill Leeds

◦ Out of the Woods UK Leeds

◦ Heaney and Mill Leeds

◦ La Chalet French Tea Room Leeds

◦ East 59th Rooftop Bar & Grill Leeds

◦ Le Bab London

✓ Ezra and Gil Manchester

◦ Sweet and Salted Dewsbury

◦ Jamie Oliver’s kitchen Leeds

◦ Gusto Leeds

◦ Gino Di Campo Leeds

◦ Alberts Shed Manchester/Castlefield

✓ The Refinery Manchester

◦ Salvis Manchester

◦ Dukes 92 Manchester

◦ Chino Latino Leeds

◦ Victors Hale Manchester

◦ Thaikun Manchester

◦ Stories in Leeds

◦ Soft Serve Society Desserts London

◦ Bukhara Manchester

◦ La Vina Manchester

◦ The Locals Cafe London

◦ Mrs Athas Leeds

◦ XO – Sakana Manchester

◦ Maitre Choux London

◦ Fargos Food Factory Birmingham

◦ Fress Restaurant Manchester

✓ East Z East Liverpool

✓ The Refinery Spinningfields Manchester

◦ Sugar Junction Manchester

◦ Indique Fine Dining Manchester

◦ Kings Full Veg Birmingham

◦ Luna Rossa London

◦ Bubblewrap Waffle London

◦ Baker st Cakes Leicester

◦ Konak Leicester

◦ Bundobust Street food Leeds/Manchester

◦ Royal Piri Piri Oldham

◦ Dum Biryani London

◦ German Donner Kebab London

◦ Australasia Manchester

◦ Tamarind of Mayfair London

◦ Fillmore and Union Leeds/Harrogate

◦ Dhosa Xpress Manchester

◦ Chappati Cafe Manchester

◦ Nurooz Grill House Sheffield

◦ Sirkars Buffet Middlesbrough

◦ La Creme Desserts Sheffield

◦ Syhiba Halifax

◦ 3 Five 1 Coventry

◦ Bun and Steak Birmingham

◦ Heritage Deli and Kitchen Huddersfield

◦ The Wild Plum Breakfast Harrogate

◦ The York’s Birmingham

◦ Med One Lebanese Huddersfield

◦ Fargos Food Factory Birmingham

◦ Upshot Esresso Sheffield

◦ The Botanist Leeds/Manchester

◦ Try Thai Manchester

◦ Alabama’s All American Manchester

◦ The Sipping Room London

◦ The Edgbaston Boutique Birmingham

◦ Lemon Pepper steak hut Leicester

◦ Steak Out Leicester

◦ Wolf of Green Park Leeds

◦ The Cats Pjs Leeds

◦ Limeyard Leeds

◦ Four Seasons Tea Room Blackburn

◦ 20 Stories Manchester

◦ Lokkum bar and grill London

◦ Embassy Lounge Leicester

◦ The Food Box Manchester

◦ Haute Dolci Cheshire Oaks Outlet

◦ Tampopo Manchester

◦ Saints of Mokha Leicester

◦ L’eto Cafe London

◦ Bun and Steak Birmingham

✓ Snowcold Batley

✓ Comptoir Lebanai Leeds

◦ Malmaison Afternoon Tea Birmingham

◦ Taste Buds Leicester

◦ Barnis Desserts Huddersfield

Please note some of these places are sheesha lounges and do not do food but they’ve managed to find their way on to my list.

Comment below or message me on any of my social media platforms if there’s anywhere that you recommend I add to my list.

Kind regards, Hafsah x

Advertisements
Food.

Rocca

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.

£5.50

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.

£6.95

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

Food.

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.

Drinks

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

Starters

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.

£3.95

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.

£3.95

Mains

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.

£8.90

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.

£3.95

Dessert

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