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.

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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.

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.

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