Since getting engaged, and the whirlwind affair that was Christmas, there hasn’t really been the chance for Jordan and me to have as many date nights as we would like to spend some quality time together. Instead, we’ve been spending a lot of time making home-cooked meals and spending the wintry nights on the sofa, but recently I’ve really been missing going out for dinner, as it’s one of my favourite things to do.

I was lucky enough to be contacted by the team from The Botanist, who invited us to try some of their new winter favourites on the menu and sample some of their famous cocktails (and although I claimed to be doing Dry January, I gave it up for good reason this night)

We visited the Alderley Edge restaurant on a Friday night, which is one of my local haunts when we go for a drink at work, so I was well versed with it. We were seated upstairs in a booth, in The Rose Room, which is one of the most beautiful bars I’ve ever been in – think rose blossoms hanging from the ceiling, intertwined with fairy lights.

We had a read of the drinks menu, and our server recommended some cocktails – that’s one of the things I love about The Botanist is that all the staff are so knowledgeable. I started with the blackberry and rosemary fizz, which was made with gin, sugar syrup, fresh blackberries and soda (whilst Jordan had a beer) and it went down a treat.

 

We ordered our starters, and I went for the smoked haddock fondue with a herb crumb, poached egg and bread (because it sounded hella interesting) and Jordan went for the calamari – which I obviously had some of because it’s my fave – and both were delicious and really good portion sizes as I couldn’t wait for my main.

For the main, what else could we have gone for but the famous hanging kebab – so famous its actually trademarked. I ordered the jerk salmon (but opted for the sweet potato fries over the rice and peas, obvs) and Jordan had the salt and pepper pork with skin-on fries. My only piece of advice here would be, if you’re ordering the salmon, it is very spicy – but perfect for this girl who likes hot food.

Once the kebabs are served, the waitress poured over the garlic butter, and it was ultimate food porn. The butter makes the kebabs so nice and moist and goes into the fries – I’m actually salivating just thinking about it. If you take one thing away from this blog it would be to ORDER THE HANGING KEBAB – and it’s in caps so you gotta!

After the mains, the waitress twisted our arm to have another cocktail (but it didn’t take much twisting, let’s be honest) and we moved into the next room to have these ones and take some photos. I went for the strawberry and cucumber breeze, made with gin and strawberry liqueur with apple, cranberry and lemon juice, and Jordan went for a very manly passionfruit and basil crush made with Disaronno and Drambuie – both of them went down a treat (and probably far too easily by this point).

After having a read of the dessert menu, there was no way that we could say no to them – the choice was incredible, with the likes of sticky toffee pudding, baked chocolate chip cookie dough and apple crumble – but the one that caught our eye was the smores pudding, made with warm chocolate brownie, peanut butter, chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream – talk about a way to end the meal!

Overall the food completely exceeded my expectations and the staff were incredible, so attentive and full of knowledge of the dishes and drinks.

And the best news? If you use this code you will get 20% off your booking at The Botanist on Deansgate in Manchester!

xx

 

 

You might remember my post a few months ago, about going to the beautiful Rosso Restaurant in Manchester, for the first instalment of the Blogger Dining Club, curated by Georgie Glass. I was lucky enough to be invited back again in December, this time to try Don Giovanni for their Christmas Showcase. It had been about a decade (wow…) since I’d last been to the restaurant, and in that time it’s been renovated and re-branded as one of Manchester’s best and the oldest independently owned Italians in the city.

I arrived at the restaurant and made my way through the very grand floor-to-ceiling glass doors and was greeted by the beautiful Holly and her adorable growing bump. After taking off my many December layers, I took in how festive and dazzling the restaurant looked in preparation for Christmas. A few more bloggers turned up, some familiar faces, some new, before we were seated at a gorgeous table towards the back of the restaurant.

The table was set out beautifully, with treats from Kiehls, Just Bee Water, Warner Edwards and Portobello Road Gin, with flower centres from The Flower Lounge in Didsbury.

We took some photos, had some lovely chats and catch ups and sipped on Prosecco before the first course came out. I always love pre-ordering my food because by the time the meal comes, I’ve forgotten what I asked for and it’s always a bit of a surprise without having to scour the menu again.

For the starter, I went for the Carpaccio Di Salmone, which was thin slices of smoked salmon, lemon oil, capers and dill. The amount of smoked salmon we were given was amazing, seen as in some places they can be a bit stingy with the portion – I’m looking at you, Northern Quarter brunch haunts. The capers and lemon and dill really brought the flavour of the dish out, and it was delicious. I’ve always been a big fan of fish, especially smoked salmon as it always feels like a bit of a treat as we never really buy it at home.

For the second course, I had the Ravioli Aragosta (lobster ravioli) which was incredible. It wasn’t overly fishy and had a hint of chilli, which was lovely and tasty. I’ve only had lobster only a handful of times, and this was by far the best and made me feel super swish and fancy when it came.

After the main course, we all chatted for a bit longer and took some photos of the beautiful surroundings before having a festive champagne cocktail which tasted of mince pies – very fitting indeed.

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian meal in the heart of the city centre, I couldn’t recommend this place more. The staff are incredibly attentive, the menu has original classics, as well as a few modern dishes for those who want to try something new and the setting is beautiful.

xx

My meal at Don Giovanni was complimentary. All views are my own. 

Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to be invited to the newly-refurbished 19 Cafe Bar in Manchester City Centre so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see my favourite girl, Hannah, before we both went our separate ways for the festive period.

Located on Lever Street in the Northern Quarter (literally 2 minutes from Picadilly Gardens), you’ve probably walked past this place a million times if you’re from Manchester, but next time, I would highly recommend giving it a go: They also sell locally sourced produce, including honey and coffee, which is another great reason to check it out.

I met Hannah outside on an incredibly busy Saturday in Manchester, and we took refuge in the cute little cafe, admiring the exposed brick look vinyl on the walls and filament lights – it is the Northern Quarter after all. After ordering a couple of teas and having a read of the menu, the lovely waitress took our order – we both went for the poached eggs, smashed avocado and halloumi on a toasted bagel, which will set you back a very reasonable £8; definitely worth it for the amount of food you get.

Anytime I can have halloumi for breakfast (or any meal for that matter), I usually will, and this time was no different. The eggs (which were perfectly runny) were also drizzled with a rosemary oil, which is something I don’t recall having ever tried before, but was a very delicious addition. The dish was enough to fill you up and for once I felt full after the meal.

After breakfast, I took some pictures of the cafe, which, although it was grey and rainy outside (it is Manchester after all) came out incredibly bright and colourful, which says a lot about the vibe of the place.

The waitress overheard the news of my recent engagement and offered us a cocktail off the list to celebrate, which we very humbly accepted – you don’t have to ask me twice to day drink! I went for a passion-fruit martini and Hannah went for an espresso martini, both of which were lovely, and made the experience even more special.

The good thing about 19 Cafe Bar is that they are open late night Thursday – Saturday, and the space is available to hire if you so please. They also have a separate evening menu with pizzas and platters on it, which I will definitely be trying out at some point this year.

If you’re after something tasty and quick, I think 19 Cafe Bar is a safe bet, and the staff are so lovely that you won’t actually want to leave after you’ve finished your food. It’s in the perfect location if you’re in the centre of Manchester, but set back enough so you don’t feel overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the city.

Have you been to 19 Cafe Bar before? What did you think? 

xx

My meal at 19 Cafe Bar was complimentary. All views are my own. 

Ever heard of Enzo in the city centre? Maybe not, but I guarantee you’ve walked past it before. Situated on Fountain Street, at the back of Primark, this popular little pizza joint is quite the hidden gem in Manchester so when I was invited to try out their brunch menu last week, I was intrigued.

When you think of brunch in Manchester, its natural to think mainly of the Northern Quarter and all of the popular places there, but Enzo is one to keep an eye out for. More popularly known as a pizza joint, Enzo has been open since summer this year. Specialising in fresh pizza dough baked daily and their own recipe tomato sauce, it’s easy to see why there’s a buzz around this place.

Why you walk in, you’re greeted by the smell of fresh herbs and spices, garlic and pizzas cooking in the oven; what more could you want? The decor is very colourful, with brightly coloured lights against exposed brick walls, and big wooden tables. The word pizza is also done in festoon lights at the back of the restaurant.

The restaurant is owned by James, who has quite the story about how the brand was born: One day when his car wouldn’t start, he was forced to get the bus to work, when he was greeted by a smiley driver named Enzo. After getting the bus daily for a number of months, he struck up a friendship with him based on their love of food, and they discussed their dream in which to start a restaurant. Unfortunately, Enzo’s mother became ill, so it was down to James to start the business alone; fast forward to the present day and Enzo is certainly coming into its own.

I visited Enzo back in July for a blogging event, but as I had just started my new job, I only caught the last 10 minutes. As the staff as so lovely, they boxed me up some food to take away, but I have always wanted to go back to try it out properly. When I was invited to brunch by the lovely Sophie, my first thought was, brunch, in a pizza restaurant, I wonder what that entails?

When I got there, I remembered how central the location is, literally less than 5 minutes from the tram station. I was greeted by Vicki and Sophie and saw Tanesha on my way in before Christine joined us shortly after. We met at 11:30am, and the place was already packed full of families, couples and groups of friends, which is always a good thing.

We ordered hot drinks and had a peruse of the menu. I was pleasantly surprised to see my favourite, poached eggs, with loads of different side additions as well as eggs benedict, pastries, and ciabattas, but the thing that caught my eye was the breakfast pizzas, which Sophie went for – I opted for the poached eggs, cherry tomatoes and avocado.

The brunch menu is served until 12, and I would definitely recommend giving this place a go – the staff were so friendly, the food was delicious and the portions were huge, although I didn’t struggle one bit, naturally. We finished the meal off with some lovely girly chat over a mulled wine and a mince pie; very festive indeed.

If you’re struggling to find somewhere in the city centre, I would highly suggest Enzo, and I will definitely be back to try some more of the menu. It’s right in the centre of town, but away from the hustle and bustle of Market Street, and the menu has something for everyone including gluten-free and vegan options.

xx

My meal at Enzo was complimentary. All views are my own. 

On Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to be invited by my friend Georgie Glass, a very talented photographer, to attend the new menu launch at Rosso restaurant in Manchester. It had been a while since I’d been to a foodie related blogging event so I was really excited to catch up with some of my favourite girls over what I knew would be a great meal.

It had been a few years since I’d been there, and in that time they’ve gone through a multi-million pound revamp, meaning that the decor is beyond dreamy. They pulled on this girl’s Christmas-obsessed heartstrings by already having their Christmas tree up and beautiful decorations all over, including fairy lights, luminous stars and bauble wreaths, which only added to the already stunning backdrop. Even from the outside, the lights, grand entrance and architecture are your first indication that there will be a spectacle beyond the iron door – and that there is.

The first thing I noticed was how bright the restaurant was, but not overpowering in the slightest. The white interiors were really beautiful and gave an overall luxury feel to the place. There is a separate bar and dining area (with little alcoves for people to come and do work – a blogger’s absolute dream) a grand dome ceiling and stunning marble surfaces everywhere. The bar isn’t cramped at all either, which can be the problem with some of the restaurants in Manchester.

For the dinner, we were seated on a raised section of the dining area, in a stunning booth with white leather seats, enough for the group of us that there was without us feeling cramped at all. The table was laid out beautifully with gifts from Evelyn’s House of Beauty, Louboutin perfume, a ring from Brand Attic and a little treat from Hey Little Cupcake. Being the blogger cliches that we are, we immediately all got our cameras out to capture the stunning dinner setting and gushed over how good a job that Georgie had done.

I was lucky enough to be sat next to my partner in crime, Jacinta, and the beautiful Faye from The Fussy Feeder. I was also able to catch up with the founder of We Blog North, Holly Wood, and Spamella, which was lovely as I hadn’t seen either of them in a while, and Pam brought her little boy with her who was an absolute dream.

We were there to sample their new menu for winter, which is always music to my ears. The main course was tagliatelle con gamberi e pollo (egg pasta ribbons with garlic chicken, prawns, courgettes and fresh cream) and the dessert was crostata di mandorle (almond tart, pickled damson and homemade Garstang Blue cheese ice cream).

The main was such a delicious pasta course, nice and creamy and probably one of the nicest dishes I’ve had outside of Italy… and I’ve eaten A LOT of pasta in my lifetime: You can tell that Rosso is up there with their knowledge of true Italian flavours, and the dish was put together really well.

The dessert was an interesting one: Once I read blue cheese ice cream on the menu, I was immediately intrigued as to what that might entail. The tart was light and flavoursome with a puff pastry crust, and the pickled damson was a very welcome acidic accompaniment to break the overall sweetness. I couldn’t recall a time of ever trying damson before, but it really complimented the whole dish. The ice cream worked well with the overall flavour of the pudding, but I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much by itself.

Once dinner was finished, we had a group catch up and started talking about our Christmas plans which made me really excited for the season ahead. As much as I love putting Christmas music on as soon as it turns to November, I’ve refrained slightly this year, so it was nice to be eased into the festive spirit ever so slightly. Georgie did such a fabulous job with the whole evening, and it was nice to meet the team behind the food choices as well.

Rosso is such a stunning venue to go for a meal, and I would definitely recommend the food that we had. The ambience of the restaurant matches the sumptuous food that we experienced and I can’t wait for there to be more meet up’s coming up in the future.

Have you ever been to Rosso? What were your thoughts? 

xx

My meal at Rosso was complimentary. All views are my own.