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

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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