Food.

Eat Meat – Manchester

Eat Meat – Manchester

Thick steaks, amazing service and a pretty atmosphere – sounds too good to be true right? But that’s exactly what you get at Eat Meat. Eat Meat have been on the block for a while now but over a week ago moved to a new bigger and better branch. I visited their old branch over a year ago and really enjoyed my visit. It was pre blogging days so I didn’t really take clear pictures but Eat Meat has always been at the top of my list for great steaks and my most recent visit didn’t disappoint!

The new branch is still located on Wilmslow road and no more than a 10minute drive from their old branch however it couldn’t be anymore different. The new branch is a lot bigger and beautifully decorated with cherry blossoms and floral walls. Whilst the branch may be different the menu is completely the same as before which is great – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

To begin with we got two strawberry daiquiris which were nice however it was served in small tall glasses with very large pieces of ice. For the size of the glass I think crushed ice would’ve been perfect or maybe even larger glasses? A few sips and it’s just large rocks of ice left.

For our starters we got the hummus served with pitta bread and chicken wings. On my previous visit we got the mezze platter and lamb ribs. The mezze platter was nice but the lamb ribs were exceptional. Full of flavour and decorated with pomegranate, beautifully presented and really tender! Each stack was full of meat unlike some places that often just serve a rack of fat. The meat broke off the bone effortlessly and the sauce just made everything 10/10.

*above picture taken in my pre blogging days*

I did originally order the lamb ribs on this occasion too but the waitress advised it’d be an hour wait so we opted for the chicken wings instead. Unbelievably the chicken wings were just as good as the lamb ribs! Again beautifully presented; full of flavour! I’ve never known wings to slip off the bone so easily before. Literally at the slightest touch of the bone and the meat just slid off. Both portions were a generous size too and very filling!

For our mains we got the chicken steak with steak cut chips and a medium rare sirloin lamb steak served on a hot platter with mash and peppercorn sauce. The steak was perfect! So thick but still so juicy, usually steaks of that thickness become dry and chewy but this was the opposite. I was too fascinated by my lamb steak to try the chicken steak but my +1 said “it was nice” he’s a man of a few words but if he says it’s nice then it must be! Our side orders were pretty standard but again a generous portion so can’t complain there either.

*2nd picture taken by the +1*

I would fully recommend Eat Meat as I did over a year ago. There’s so many halal steakhouses but Eat Meat is completely killing the steak game and are in a league of their own. The quality of the meat is something else! The service was second to none and I can’t find anything to critic other than the drinks. There wasn’t a dish that we didn’t like and all the flavours really complimented each other. Everything was perfect!

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Best wishes,

Hafsah

x

Food.

House of Kai – Manchester

House of Kai – Deansgate, Manchester

It’s been a while since I’ve written up a food review – call it laziness but I just haven’t been anywhere that’s been worth writing about however Kai is a different story. I took the plunge and visited Kai a day after their official opening which may have been my biggest foodie mistake to date.

First impressions – the decor is beautiful! Modern and chic with a vast amount of booths, tall chairs and tables as well as smaller intimate tables for two. A beautiful moss wall as you walk in and the prettiest floral ceiling ever. For any instagrammer the interior decor is a dream!

We were sat down at 8.45pm and thanks to @TheGrubfellas_ on IG (check them out!) we knew exactly what we wanted and told the waiter we were ready to order however our order wasn’t taken until at least an hour later! By this point we were starving and already unhappy with the service. Granted they were quite busy but we had to remind the waiters we were still waiting to order on at least three separate occasions.

Once we had finally managed to order we got the Hot Mezze (£18) and Hummus (£8) for our starter and the Mixed Grill (£30) for our mains. For drinks we ordered the Watermelon Crush and the Passion fruit and Orange Mojito (£3.95 each).

Unfortunately we couldn’t get the Hot Mezze as listed on the menu – we were advised to choose 5 hot starters for our Mezze to which we chose Borek, Suzuk, Halloumi, Kofte and Falefal. In addition to this Kai (for some unexplained reason) couldn’t serve the Passion Fruit and Orange mojito so we replaced it with another Watermelon Crush.

The Watermelon Crush was definitely a good choice. One of the best drinks I’ve had in a very long time. Not only did it taste beautiful but it looked it too. Refreshing, light and sweet, nice enough to drink with a meal without giving you brain freeze.

Our starters followed not long after however the Kofte and Suzuk was missing. We were also served hummus but without bread to eat it with. The waitress took back the Mezze to rectify and explained the bread was on its way. 10.20pm and out comes our hot Mezze with the initial missing Kofte firmly on top but still without the Suzuk by this point we were too hungry to complain again.

Beautifully presented and piping hot we decided to tuck in but woefully for us the Kofte was completely pink on the inside – Actual butcher shop mince pink! So for the second time we gave it back. Thankfully as we gave it back we got our bread – stone cold but at least we got it. (Just so you know I ain’t exaggerating about the kofte I will post a unfiltered picture below).

Everything else was perfect though. The borek was my fav – so cheesy just how I like it, the falafel was tasty, halloumi was perfectly cooked which is something places often get wrong. 10.45pm our thoroughly cooked Kofte was served again, which was also tasty too now that it was cooked properly.

11.20pm – starters finished and mains were served. Again beautifully presented; we had a portion of large Chicken pieces, one Adana Kebab, two Lamb Chops with a side serving of Bulger.

By this point though neither of us were interested. Our hunger had gone, we had taken enough selfies till our arms hurt and had had enough of constantly having to send food back and forth. I must state though the lamb chops were really soft and tender, slid of the bone with ease. Whilst we were only served two they were quite large. The chicken pieces were too dry for my liking though. We nibbled on a few pieces and left to take pictures and check out the rest of the decor.

Overall I think Kai needs a lot of work. The concept is great and the food was spot on (once rectified!) however with so much competition in Manchester at the moment they really need to up their game.

At most we saw 4 waiters working on the floor at a time, it was evident they were rushed off their feet and needed an extra hand or two. For a Friday night they needed a lot more staff on the floor and the iPads the waiters used to take the orders weren’t working properly causing even longer delays. Furthermore we didn’t get the drinks we wanted, we shouldn’t have had to wait so long to order our food and neither should the food have been sent back and forth. The pink kofte could have made us very ill to be honest. Silly mistakes like this need looking into immediately.

In addition to this we didn’t think the price tag matched the quality of food or standard of service we got. Our bill came to £70.18 which included a 10% service charge (?!)… what service? Usually I wouldn’t hesitate to pay but with all the problems we had and lack of service I don’t think the high end price matched what we received at all. Manchester is filled with Turkish spots serving similar tasty skewers packed with the same food for 10% of the price we paid at Kai. The reason why we as customers choose to eat at restaurants such as Kai is down to the service and the atmosphere but if that isn’t present what is the point?

We also overheard a few other tables complaining and we hope Kai take that feedback on board. At the moment unfortunately I would not recommend Kai to anyone. I do however have full faith that in the future this will be a great spot to dine at if they rectify a lot of their teething problems.

I hope you enjoyed my review, I’m hoping to get back into the routine of posting more frequently (IA) but for now take care and see you on my next post.

Hafsah x

P.s If you do visit Kai do not park at the NCP around the corner. We were in Kai for so long we ended up spending £20 on just parking alone – it was definitely a very expensive night.

Food.

Appetite Junction – Manchester

I initially wanted to visit Appetite junction when the branch first opened in Ramadan. Instead I ended up at Bukhara which was a blessing in disguise. When I eventually did visit Appetite Junction a few weeks ago we had soo many issues, granted the manager did resolve a few. Nonetheless I really wouldn’t recommend a visit.

We ordered the Chicken Manchurian, described as round marinated chicken balls with a coated batter on the menu. What we actually got was dry strips of chicken doused in soya sauce with no actual marinade on the chicken. It was more like chicken tikka botis, it definitely wasn’t Chicken Manchurian. We managed to get it sent back – we didn’t bother with a replacement dish.

The lamb chops were also very dry and chewy with little marinade. After realising how bad our starters were we decided to stick with one main and cancelled the other. Our mixed stir fry was another disaster but not as bad as the starters. The rice was brittle with no flavour but the noodles, chicken and meat pieces were fine.

On to the positives, the drinks were cool to watch. The list of positives ends right there. The mango drink I had was simply Rubicon Mango with dry ice, I wouldn’t describe it as a mocktail and don’t think I should have been charged for one.

We did raise our issues throughout the evening and the staff did apologise and try to rectify our complaints. I don’t really enjoy writing negative reviews however I really wouldn’t want anyone to waste their time or money at this place.

Best wishes,

Hafsah

P.s Bukhara is amazing! Definitely worth a visit.

Food.

Cat Cafe Manchester +vlog

If you know me personally you’ll know my happiness lies within two factors; food and cats so you can only imagine how happy I was to know we were visiting the Cat Cafe in Manchester.

Upon entering the cafe we were met with the receptionist that guided us through the rules of our visit. No flash photography, no running after or picking up the cats, do not wake the cats up or feed them anything. Shoes were to be taken off or covered with liners. Pretty understandable as essentially this was the cats home that we were coming into.

The cafe was immaculately clean, I genuinely didn’t expect it to be considering it was home to at least 7 cats. I expected cat fur everywhere, scratches around the furniture and strong cat food odour but instead it was pristine.

The offer we chose allowed us an hour at the cafe with unlimited drinks and a choice of patisserie for £21 for two. We decided on two English breakfast teas, a lemon drizzle cake and a scone with clotted cream and jam. The food was great and I’m pretty sure the cakes were homemade. I would’ve however preferred my scone warm but instead it was stone cold.

For anyone intending on visiting the cafe it’s important that you realise cats sleep A LOT and these cats are no different. As we’re not allowed to wake up or approach the cats the hour that you pay for is majority spent on waiting for the cats to come near you. The cats are used to customers coming and going so they are completely oblivious to new visitors.

We were lucky enough to visit during feeding time which woke all the cats up. We just about managed to get around 15minutes of play time with the cats before they all disappeared off to sleep again. Before my visit I watched and read a few vlog/blogs stating they were really disappointed with their visit to the Cat Cafe. The cats slept in high places so they were away from the customers and didn’t come down throughout the hour. Cats have a mind of their own, some days they will want to be left alone and other days they won’t. Its definitely something to keep in mind when booking.

However I would definitely recommend this to all feline lovers. The cats are well behaved and well looked after, the staff are attentive and the cafe itself is immaculate. It’s definitely an experience thats worth the price even if the cats do completely ignore you!

Best wishes, Hafsah x

P.s My first time creating a vlog, let me know your thoughts 🐾

“Time spent with cats is never wasted” – Sigmund Freud

Food.

Mini review on Angelica – Leeds

Angelica – Leeds

Angelica is a plush roof top terrace bar that over looks Leeds city centre – perfect for the long summer days we’ve had recently.

On our visit back in April we enjoyed two refreshing mocktails and devoured a plate of beetroot and goats cheese salad. To accompany we got sweet potato fries. There wasn’t a single thing we didn’t like about the food and drinks in front of us. The salad was yum – the beetroot and goats cheese were slightly chilled and went along really well with the tangy purple dressing it was drizzled in. The sweet potato fries were crispy, slightly on the thin side but were still tasty. The view was great and the drinks were perfect.

Portion sizes are quite small for the price you’re paying. It’s more of a light snack or something to nibble on with your pre-drinks before you actually go for your meal. If you take into account the relaxing atmosphere, the very friendly quick service, the amazing views and the great tasting food I do think its worth it! Even if you do just go there once, it’s definitely an experience.

Best wishes Hafsah x

Food.

Mini Review of If Coffee – Leeds

If Coffee – Leeds

If Coffee is based a few minutes away from the Corn Exchange. Me and my Foodbae dropped by this week and shared a lovely light lunch.

We got the American pancakes – with a lot of toppings to choose from it took us a while to choose. We eventually chose salted caramel and bananas. The salted caramel was very salty but I actually liked it. The pancakes itself were amazing! Really thick but light, and for £7 we thought it was a reasonable portion size.

Looks can be deceiving as from the outside the coffee bar looks really small but it’s actually really big. They’ve also got a seating area upstairs as well as outside.

If Coffee offer a wide selection of cakes and patisseries, however unfortunately for us when we came just before 3pm there wasn’t much left. Definitely means another trip back!

Best wishes, Hafsah x

Food.

Mamas Shack – Manchester

Mamas Shack – Manchester

Mamas Shack serves halal Caribbean food at the heart of the curry mile on Wilmslow Road. I was kindly invited to visit Mamas Shack and on my visit was very welcomed by all the staff. The team are originally from London and already have a well loved restaurant there. They claim to deliver soulful and authentic food at a reasonable price to Manchester.

For starters we shared a portion of Jerked Wings. The jerk flavoured wings were nice and were definitely a good portion size as each wing was quite large. The wings rested on a tasty sauce which added to the already flavoursome wings. I’m usually not a big fan chicken wings as chicken can sometimes be quite dry however these weren’t like that at all.

£4.95*

I was craving a burger and after seeing Mamas Shacks IG feed I wanted to try out their Jerk burger. The Jerk burger is a chargrilled beef patty, with an Adoba seasoned hash brown served with Mango Chutney. Adoba is a Caribbean season which has a mix of paprika, chilli flakes, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. The burgers all come with mayo and American cheese and are sandwiched in a sweet brioche bun. The chef informed us the beef patty was completely fresh and homemade, he had got the meat himself from the butchers on that same morning. The patty didn’t have an ounce of fat on it and the burger didn’t have a greasy aftertaste that readymade patty’s do. It was a proper burger.

£9.00

To accompany my burger I got sweet potato chips. They were seasoned, crisp and thickly cut; just like our starter these were also a reasonable portion size. They were different to usual sweet potato chips and I believe were also homemade.

£3.00

For desserts we had Churros, the chef explained that their churros are completely different to others as theirs had a Caribbean twist. The churros at Mamas Shack was served with a creamy soft ice cream. It had a very similar texture to kulfi and went really well with churros. The churros itself were soft and sugary, and very lightly season with paprika which must’ve been the Caribbean twist. They were really light and tasty and went down perfectly after all the strong flavours we had had.

*

Their menu is filled with authentic Caribbean food such as Curry Goat, Chicken and Chickpea Stew with Jallof Rice and sides such as Calamari and Plantain. There’s definitely a lot to choose from especially if you already have a love for Caribbean cuisine.

Mamas Shack are definitely introducing something new to the market. If you’re willing to try new things I would definitely recommend this place. Everything was fresh, homemade and beautiful presented, it’s evident a lot of time and care has gone into making sure the food tastes and looks perfect.

Best wishes, Hafsah x

Disclaimer: everything marked with an * were very kindly given to us complimentary. Portion sizes may slightly differ as we were offered these to try. All my reviews are completely unbiased and are solely my opinion.

Food.

Laynes Espresso

Laynes Espresso – Leeds

Laynes Espresso is a great little cafe right by Leeds Train station. It’s a very little place however with large glass windows the place is full of natural light and oozes the smell of fresh coffee from your first step in.

Laynes Espresso only serve food from 7am – 2pm during the week and 9am – 4pm on the weekends. At first glance it looks like there isn’t much on the menu however each meal is served with a healthy sized side.

I got the Sweetcorn fritters; it was served with halloumi, kasundi, pouched egg, avocado and pickled chilli. I expected maybe one or two small fritters, one egg and one slice of haloumi with a little decoration of avocado, kasundi and chilli. However I couldn’t have been more wrong. On my plate was three very well sized sweetcorn fritters, three thick cuts of halloumi cheese sitting on a bed of kasundi with a perfectly poached runny egg and a decently sized avocado.

The sweetcorn fritters were delicious, slightly on the heavy side but we’re still very delicious. The haloumi was grilled to perfection and didn’t carry that rubbery texture that it sometimes can. I’ve never had kasundi before but a quick google search right before I ordered told me that it was a spicy type of Indian ketchup. I wouldn’t say it was spicy but it definitely had a powerful kick to it. All of it put together created a mini heaven.

£7.00

Along with my food I also ordered a cup of English tea. The tea was nice and strong however my only complaint was the mug was slightly dirty – little coffee finger prints probably from the waiter. They also don’t serve white sugar, isn’t really an issue but is just something to keep in mind.

£1.60

Overall I had a great lunch at Laynes Espresso. Price, service and food were perfect. I actually can’t wait to visit again!

Lots of love Hafsah x

Food.

The Indian Tiffin Room

The Indian Tiffin Room – Manchester

Authentic, bold and vibrant; the Indian Tiffin Room is a pure representation of real India.

Having a Gujarati mother I’ve obviously had my fair share of Indian food. From fluffy dhokla to spicy pataka varas, thaalis to masala dosas I have proudly stuffed my face with it all. However since our move from Leicester to Bradford it’s become quite rare. Culinary Indian cuisine in Bradford has slowly moulded into your every day tikka masalas and boring baltis.

Street food is one of the main characteristics of India so I was excited to hear about The Indian Tiffin Room. Their website boasts ITR ‘specializes in authentic Indian street food that is inspired by the bustling streets of India.’

ITR has three branches; Cheadle, Manchester and Leeds, all three branches are very busy. I would therefore definitely recommend you reserve a table before hand. We visited the Manchester branch mid week in January but were told there was at least a 2hr wait for a table. After seeing how busy it was I was even more determined to tick ITR off my bucket list. So a few weeks later I reserved a table online through their website for that same evening.

It’s evidently clear why it’s so busy; the style and layout beams a contemporary but yet traditional feel. At the side there’s booths designed like rickshaws, in the centre a large open kitchen with a booming open bar next to it. Even though ITR are extremely busy their mannerisms and hospitality are first class. As soon as we sat down we were given a jug of water that the waiter poured out for us into traditional stainless steel cups.

To accompany we ordered two mocktails. There wasn’t a large selection of non alcoholic drinks to choose from. However there is an option to order a cocktail off the menu and request them to minus the alcohol. We decided to stick within the mocktails section; We got the Nimbu Lychee and the Lemon Berrigon pictured on the left hand side.

The Nimbu Lychee was a very light mix of Lychee and Lemon. I thought the flavours blended nicely together but in my opinion it needed a bit more. It was a very boring and flat drink. It could have done with a bit of soda water or more lemon – just something to give it more of a kick. It was garnished with rose petals, a nice little touch except near to the end of my drink I kept finding little pieces of the petals stuck in my straw, slightly annoying.

£3.50

Our second drink was the Lemon Berrigon which was a mixture of berries and lemonade. This one was slightly more refreshing than the previous however it still carried a slight watered down feeling. It was garnished with berries which again is a nice little finishing touch.

£4.00

For starters we were spoilt for choice. The starters are split into three sections; veg warm, veg cool and non veg warm. We decided to opt for Paneer Pakoda and Vada Pav both from the veg warm section and the Grazing Platter from the veg cool section.

Just as I would expect from Indian street vendors the starters were ready straight away. The Paneer Pakodas came out steaming hot with a thick mint chutney. Paneer pakodas are often made in different ways but the basics remain the same; cottage cheese covered in gram flour and then lightly shallow fried. Unfortunately the pakodas at ITR looked better than it actually tasted.

Whilst the platter reflects a very generous portion, it was only until I actually bit into a piece that I realised the lack of actual paneer. All I could taste was the gram flour (besan) with just a very thin layer of paneer inside. Paneer has a chewy soft taste that I love and I was quite disappointed to realise that this was more pakoda than actual paneer.

£4.50

Secondly, the Vada Pav. It’s not something I would usually order but my mum chose this and I am so glad she did. The menu describes it as a veg burger but in fact it’s so much more. The filling is a large vegetable mix; quite spicy and very flavoursome, fried and then sandwiched between a buttery soft bap. The crunchyness from the batter and the spicyness from the filling makes it a delicious starter.

£4.35

Lastly for our starters is the grazing platter. The grazing platter consists of ITRs famous puris; bhel puri, dahi puri and sev puri. The puris comes in twos and are little crispy pastrys each with their own filling. It’s a great idea if you’re indecisive like me.

Bhel puri is served with seasoned potatoes and really nice date chutney. Dahi puri is again filled with seasoned potatoes but this time with yoghurt and sev puri is filled with a tamarind chutney, pastry vermicelli and chopped onions. Each puri is uniquely mounded with flavour. I’d never been able to pick a favourite so the grazing platter was perfect.

£7.75

We knew from the get-go that we definitely wanted to try out ITRs Masala Dosa but we didn’t know what other main to get. After speaking with our waitress she advised ITR is 100% halal – it isn’t displayed anywhere but the waitress offered to show us a certificate. This gave us even more to choose from on the menu; we eventually chose the Lamb Kashmiri curry.

Masala Dosa is a staple south Indian dish and can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The thin crepe like pastry (dosa) is made with rice and black lentils, very finely grinded into a pancake batter. Specifically Masala Dosas are stuffed with a spicy potato and lentil curry. It’s a long process but when made properly it’s so worth it.

The ITRs Dosa was served with two other lentil curry’s and a yoghurt chutney. Whilst the Dosa looks huge the actual filling inside wasn’t – just a tiny ball of curry in the middle. Slightly disappointing but it was still nice and carried a lot of traditional flavours.

£4.95

The Kashmiri Lamb curry is either served with naan or rice, as we were sharing we requested both. The lamb itself was soft and tender with a thick curry; really well made! The rice was just plain boiled rice which is the norm at most restaurants but I did expect a little more flavour from ITR.

£9.85

By this point we’re really full and shouldn’t have even looked at another course but for dessert we tried Kesari Bath. Kesari Bath is a semolina cooked in saffron milk, sprinkled with cashews and pistachios. A really light fluffy dessert, nice and sweet to end off a hearty meal.

£3.75

Overall our experience at ITR was amazing! Its a lovely family friendly restaurant that brings out a snippet of the real India right to Manchester. The service was great; smiley and helpful. The food could’ve been slightly better, some of the food could’ve done with a lot more flavour. However I would definitely recommend and will be back soon!

Lots of love, Hafsah x

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

Food.

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!

£5.00

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.

£5.00

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!

£7.75

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!

£8.25

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

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.

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

Food.

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

Food.

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.

£2.90

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.

£7.50

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