Bonbon Chocolate Boutique

Delicious treats from the Northern Quarter

 

With Easter fast approaching, we’ve been checking out Bonbon Chocolate Boutique in the Northern Quarter and chatting to chocolatier Sharon about some of her favourite flavours.

Regular foodie blogger Elaine and photographer Jenny were our lucky chocolate tasting duo! But we haven’t kept all the good stuff to ourselves – read on and you too could be getting chocolatey with our top Bonbon competition!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I say forget diamonds, chocolate is a girl’s best friend (well for this girl it is anyway!).

Especially chocolate that is made with love and has exciting flavour combinations.

I like chocolates you can savour and really enjoy, so when Sharon from Bonbon Chocolate Boutique came to tell us about what she does AND brought some to try I was very happy indeed.

Sharon has been making her own chocolates for just over a year and started by selling at local markets before Bonbon opened its doors.

 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique.

Hot chocolate

 

The boutique and cafe is tucked away on a corner of John Street and has just four tables inside to sit and enjoy their famous hot chocolate – some say the best in Manchester – or some of those renowned cakes from sister company Teacup Kitchen.

 

Handmade chocolates

 

Sharon prides herself on making all the chocolates and truffles by hand. She makes 100’s per day using fresh ingredients and no preservatives so they are actually better for you (good news) and many varieties are vegan or dairy free too, including the hot chocolate.

 

Sharon

 

Known for their flavour combinations, the chocolates are crafted so that you can taste all the different elements throughout.

We asked Sharon which was the most unusual flavour and without hesitation she told us it must be the Stilton & Caramel! However it’s one of the most popular flavours and so she makes them every week.

 

Salted Caramels

 

Our selection was less controversial but very enjoyable all the same.

 

 

Pistachio & Vanilla

 

A light vanilla cream centre that you actually taste first before the rich dark chocolate coating and then a subtle nutty flavour from the pistachio on the outside.

 

Coconut & Lemongrass

 

Toasted coconut pieces on a Valrhona milk chocolate shell. Inside is a fresh tasting lemongrass ganache – full flavoured but not overpowering. I would liken it to the ultimate Bounty, all that is missing is your own dessert island to enjoy it on.

 

 

Chocolates by Bonbon

 

 

Rose & Cardamom (v)

 

Dark chocolate with a gloriously perfumed centre. The filling has warmth from the cardamom and then the rose flavour really comes through to finish. It genuinely makes your mouth water and I think this is my favourite of the four.

 

Salted Caramel

 

A combination that is always a winner in my house. This unassuming looking cocoa dusted dark chocolate is generously filled with liquid salted caramel gold. You could very easily eat another so you get the enjoyment of the shell cracking and the caramel pouring out.

 

Chocolate and wine matching

 

If this has tempted you to pay a visit, Bonbon is open from Wednesday to Sunday (Monday and Tuesday are spent making more chocolates for us all).

There is also an upcoming event with Hanging Ditch where six of Sharon’s creations are being wine matched. Bon’ditch as the evening is called takes place on the 16th April (see Hanging Ditch website for details).

 

 

Competition time

Win

 

We’ve got a Bonbon Golden Ticket gift voucher (redeemable to the value of £10) and a box of luxury handmade chocolates to give away.

 

Bonbon vouchers.

All you need to do is leave a comment in the box below telling us all about your favourite chocolate story.

Me – It would have to be a trip to a chocolate factory in Switzerland where the air was so thick with the smell of chocolate you could almost eat thin air!

 

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique, 9 John Street, Manchester, M4 1EQ

Website: bonbonchocolate.co.uk

Tel: 0161 839 4416

Email: hello@bonbonchocolate.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/BonBonChocolateWorkshopt

Twitter: @Bonbon_NQ

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy, Bonbon

 

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Teacup Kitchen – Northern Quarter

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – Afflecks Palace

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Monday 21st April 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Monday 21st April 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February 2014). Winner Laura Vitty.

Ethical African Bags – win a BagsandMore demi lune bag and scarf (3rd March 2014). Winners Sandy Hendry and Jenny Miller.

Manchester Fashion Bee – win an Essential Burt’s Bees Kit (11th March 2014). Winner Angela Norton-Kelly.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – win a Mum’s Mumisms typography print (19th March 2014). Winner Natalie Gillham.

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Bonnie King.

 

 

Review – Teacup Kitchen

Taking afternoon tea to another level in the Northern Quarter

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you”

                                                                William Gladstone

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We’d heard great things about the afternoon tea at Teacup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter, so asked our regular foodie reviewer Elaine, and photographer Jenny to check it out for us.

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Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

It would seem there is never a bad time for tea, or a reason not to make time for tea.

As I write this at noon on a weekday afternoon a quick look at the UK Tea Guild website shows an estimated 84,997,936 cups of tea have already been consumed in the UK today.

I am responsible for just three of those.

 

In my opinion the only way you can improve on a cup of your favourite brew is with the addition of a cake or two.

Afternoon tea has seen something of a revolution in Manchester in recent years; no longer is it just the preserve of the high end hotel tea room or something to be saved for special occasions.

If like me though you still want some of the ceremony but without the stuffiness then I think we have found just the place for you…..

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup

 

Teacup Kitchen is tucked away on Thomas Street in Manchester’s Northern quarter. I have visited on a few occasions in the past – they do a mean fish finger wrap! I particularly like that they only take bookings for eight or more which means you really can feel free to just turn up.

 

Teacup Northern Quarter

 

All the cakes you can spy on the counter as you walk in are made in their own Teacup Kitchen and delivered every morning. You will always find their well known and well loved specialities waiting for you – the Rainbow Cake and the Flourless Chocolate Cake are not to be missed. Two girls travelling around the UK from Japan recently visited and ordered the rainbow cake, they told staff they had read about it online and made a point of adding it to their ‘to do list’.

Since expanding the bakery operation off site they also take external orders and have become very popular for wedding cakes.

 

Victoria Sandwich

 

This was the first time I had been for a full afternoon tea, but I will definitely be going back. I loved the cute individual stand it arrives on – no need to argue over who had a scone already or count how many sandwiches you’ve all had.

I also like that you don’t just get sandwiches as the savoury offering.

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So what makes up a Teacup Afternoon Tea?

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Egg mayonnaise and cheese & pickle finger sandwiches

 

The egg mayonnaise was far from bland – it was really herby, and the cheese & pickle had a caramelised onion style pickle which was sweet as well as having that lovely vinegar like tang. The bread was soft and they were obviously freshly cut – no one wants a curly corner do they!

 

Sandwiches

 

 

Savoury bites

 

My favourite items were the mini beef pie, which had crisp pastry with a well seasoned filling that reminded me of the potted beef my mum used to put on sandwiches when I was younger (yummy). There was a salmon slice a little like a wellington which had a subtle clean flavour and moist fish. And finally a mini quiche with fluffy egg and cheese filling.

I like that these form part of the ‘standard’ afternoon tea as so many other places would only have them as an upgrade selection.

 

Afternoon tea, Teacup NQ

 

Quiche at Teacup NQ

 

Cakes

 

On to the next tiers – squishy and rich chocolate brownies, mini Battenburg wrapped in wafer thin marzipan, vanilla fudge that melted in the mouth, a zingy lemon tart with fresh berries and a heart shaped scone filled with just the right amount of strawberry jam and clotted cream.

All were indulgent and constituted just the right amount of naughtiness for an afternoon.

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup NQ

 

Battenburg at Teacup NQ

 

Teas

 

You can choose any tea from the extensive list to accompany your afternoon tea. There are ‘traditional’ teas like Assam and Earl Grey, fruit teas, green teas, floral teas and even a separate Tea Explorers List if you are feeling adventurous.

I had the Jasmine Pearls Green Tea served in a mini glass tea pot with an insulated tea glass to drink from.

 

Afternoon tea at Teacup NQ

 

The staff in Teacup know their tea and it arrives with its own egg timer. They instruct you which colour sand to watch depending on your choice of tea and how to strain it into your second pot to prevent it over-brewing, ensuring you taste your tea at its best.

 

 

 

Teacup Kitchen vouchers

 

If you still haven’t planned what to do for Mothers day or you and your friends are looking to treat yourselves Teacup’s afternoon tea is £16.00 per person or £40.00 for two including ‘bubbles’.

There are also gift vouchers available to slip in to Mum’s card this weekend.

 

 

 

Teacup Kitchen, 55 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA

Website: teacupandcakes.com

Tel: 0161 832 3233

Email: eat@teacupandcakes.com

Facebook: facebook.com/TeacupOnThomasStreet

Twitter: @teacupandcakes

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – Afflecks Palace

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Ginger’s at Afflecks

Review of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium’s latest ice-cream venture

 

Surely it’s the best email to receive – “Can you go over to Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter and review a new ice-cream café”. Strangely both reviewer Elaine and photographer Jenny were free that day!

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

Many of us will be familiar with Ginger’s little pink ice-cream van and their infamous Chorlton Crack (award winning salted caramel and peanut butter ice-cream), but did you know that they’ve found a more permanent home?

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

Last week I went out and had a sandwich for lunch, an ice cream sandwich to be exact and if you’re tempted I have just the place for you…

Gingers Comfort Emporium have found a permanent home inside Afflecks Palace!

Originally planning a winter pop up they have jumped at the chance to take over the recently vacated café on the first floor.

 

It has had quite a transformation from the pink colour scheme they inherited and now boasts high backed red sofas and their name in lights above the custom made wooden bar.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium at Afflecks

 

We were met by award winning owner Claire (Gingers boasts the British Street Food Award for best dessert for 2011,2012 and 2013) who looked after us for our visit.

She told us how they now have had to master not only milkshakes but the barista coffee machine too for their new menu.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium at Afflecks

 

Never fear though, if you have ever visited the little pink van at events around the city the familiar flavours are all here, but the café allows a bit of expansion. You can now try Coke Floats, Brioche Sandwiches, French Toast, Affogato’s and on the day we went along apple crumble could be seen (and smelled) in the little oven on the counter.

 

Ice cream milk shake

 

To begin Claire made us a Margarita Shake, using their Tequila & Cointreau ice cream. The milkshake is then topped with lime granita and chocolate dipped cherries. The alcohol flavour is subtle but you can tell it is there, and even though I am not a tequila fan I really enjoyed it.

The granita is lovely and sharp and kind of makes this a grown up shake.

 

Ice cream milk shake

 

Next was the sandwich, a warm toasted brioche roll with an ice cream flavour of your choice inside.

As we were having trouble deciding Claire kindly did two flavours for us, so we had the famous Chorlton Crack (Salted caramel and peanut butter) and in the other half we went for the unusual sounding Orange & Liquorice.

 

Ice cream brioche

 

If you’ve never had the Chorlton Crack before it is a must try, especially if you’re a peanut butter fan. The salted caramel and peanut butter make this incredibly moreish almost savoury tasting combination with the same thick ‘roof of your mouth sticking’ texture of peanut butter.

We also loved the Orange & Liquorice deciding it was like posh marmalade or an orange version of the chocolate lime sweets from when we were little.

They are both sweet and indulgent and Jen proclaimed the ice cream sandwich a taste sensation and decided she was stopping at the supermarket on the way home to buy brioche and make them for tea!

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium Menu

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium Menu

 

 

We both left happily after purchasing some take home tubs (all the flavours are available and pots range from £6.50 – £8.00). I took some Toast and Marmalade to share at work and it went down a storm, it had crunchy bits of brown toast and sweet and zesty orange marmalade, I think the pot lasted about 20 minutes .

 

 

Buy the book!

 

The cook book is also available in the café and on line – it’s been on my wish list since the summer when I first visited the van and I think I will have to drop a few more hints in the run up to Christmas.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

If like us you too “scream for ice cream” then you know where to go for something a little out of the ordinary, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Ginger's Comfort Emporium

 

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, First Floor, Afflecks Palace, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Website: gingerscomfortemporium.com

Tel: 07980 628 868

Email: hello@gingerscomfortemporium.com

Facebook: facebook.com/GingersComfortEmporium

Twitter: @GingersComfort

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Artisan – Spinningfields

Caffine & Co – Longford Park Chorlton

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Artisan

Checking out one of Spinningfield’s latest additions

 

We’ve done something a bit different for this review. Normally the place in question knows that we’re going – you can’t miss us as we take a photographer – and we make it an interview as well as a review.

I know that brings with it the label of ‘special treatment’, but if the restaurant has had mixed reviews, I (Editor Alison) go in separately and mystery shop them just to double check.

This time, our regular foodie blogger Elaine popped into Artisan (which has had some mixed reviews) with her husband. She was unannounced and incognito, armed only with her camera phone – just like Secret Squirrel. Read on to see whether she agreed with the other reviews or not!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I am going to go out on a limb and confess that I like Living Ventures.

I know from Twitter that not everyone feels the same way – be it down to not liking ‘chain restaurants’, or the perception of some that they are trying to take over Manchester.

Having now visited all but one of their establishments I have to say I am yet to be disappointed.

Yes they have a lot of outlets (Gusto, The Alchemist, Australasia, The Grill On The Edge and Manchester House) but I find they all have their have their own personalities and for me do not have a chain feel to them.

What you do always get is very well trained staff (I know a few people who have gone through their intensive bar staff training) with knowledge and enthusiasm; a thing you cannot fake in hospitality – you have to genuinely love it to do it well!

 

A long overdue trip to Artisan

 

So following some recently read mixed opinions of Artisan Mr B and I decided we would go and form our own opinion.

 

Artisan

 

As we climbed the stair case my first thoughts looking around the open loft design, artwork and styling were towards one of my favourite films American Psycho, not in a murders and acquisitions way, but that it reminded of the uber cool 80’s New York places that Mr Bateman et al compete to be seen in.

 

Drinks & Nibbles

Potato Wedges, baked in paprika and beef dripping with a sour cream dip.

Thornbridge Kipling pale ale and a Smokey Lynchburg.

Starter

Baby scallops with curry butter and cauliflower / pork rib with chilli and garlic.

Main

Home smoked salmon with potato cake and hollandaise sauce.

Dessert

Too full!

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Food at Artisan.

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Nibbles: Potato Wedges, baked in paprika and beef dripping with a sour cream dip

As we ordered our drinks we also ordered one of the nibbles from the menu while we chose our food.

We opted for the Potato Wedges, baked in paprika and beef dripping with a sour cream dip. They were nice and fluffy inside and the skins had a very moreish flavour; well as my Yorkshire brother in law tells us “dripping makes the best chips”.

 

Drinks: Thornbridge Kipling pale ale and a Smokey Lynchburg

Our drinks arrived and Mr B loved his bottle of Thornbridge Kipling pale ale, I had gone for the Smokey Lynchburg, the Artisan version of one of my favourites made with the usual ingredients and the additional flavour of Hickory smoke.

As it’s a favourite of mine I enjoyed the dry slightly sour flavours but I think that the smoke flavour could do with being ramped up a bit as it wasn’t particularly noticeable to me.

 

Starters: Baby scallops with curry butter and cauliflower / pork rib with chilli and garlic

The scent from my baby scallops with curry butter and cauliflower reached me just before the plate appeared. The butter was aromatic and lightly spiced so it didn’t drown out the cauliflower puree or the sweetness of the scallops and the florets of cauliflower added a firmness to the textures and soaked up the buttery flavour.

I also stole a bit of Mr B’s pork rib with chilli and garlic and the sauce was incredibly good!

 

The Bitchin’ Room

 

In between courses I went to investigate the ladies or ‘The Bitchin’ Room’ as it’s titled! A large heavy glass door leads you into a sizeable powder room with sofa’s and dressing tables, perfect for those on a girls night out to do what comes naturally and have a bit of sit and a gossip.

 

Mains: Home smoked salmon with potato cake and hollandaise sauce

On to the main course! My ‘home smoked salmon with potato cake and hollandaise sauce’ was a well cooked salmon fillet with subtle smoky flavour (I don’t like overpowering smoked fish so just a hint was perfect for me).

It was sitting on a crispy potato cake that was like a big hash brown, sweet and moist, and importantly they were generous with the hollandaise so there was enough to add to every fork full.

Dessert: Too full!

As tempting as the desserts looked we were feeling quite full so we decided to save dessert for next time!

Our total bill for food, drinks and cocktails was roughly £70.00.

We will definitely be back, the menu is varied enough to try something new every visit and find a few favourites. For once Mr B had plenty to choose from too – far be it for me to call him picky!

Artisan, Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BZ

Tel: 0161 832 4181

Email: manchester@artisan.uk.com

Facebook: facebook.com/artisan.spinningfields

Twitter: @Artisan_SF

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Artisan, Elaine’s own

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Caffine & Co

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Caffeine & Co

The little café in Longford Park, Chorlton

 

I love it when established names try something a bit different. Longford Park is one of my favourite parks in Manchester – it’s got chickens – what can I say!

We sent our regular foodie blogger Elaine and photographer Jenny down to Chorlton to give this new (ish) venture the once over.

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

It was a lovely sunny autumn day in Longford Park (quite a relief after the weekend downpours) so my stroll through to Caffeine & Co was colourful and very pleasant.

I also think the park must have the one of the highest squirrel to people ratios in the country.

They seem quite tame though and happy to run about while you walk by.

 

Outside & inside

 

The cafe is situated near the centre of the park next to the play area and has ample picnic benches outside and cute little extendable tables inside like the one my Nan had in her kitchen.

 

Caffine & Co Longford Park

 

Caffine & Co Longford Park

 

Teapots

 

The interior is bright and homely with a large counter displaying the homemade cakes and sandwiches and with an open kitchen at the heart of the cafe behind.

 

Sandwiches

 

As Jenny and I were looking at the sandwiches on offer the nice young man behind the counter suggested we try two of the new fillings; chicken in saffron mayonnaise for Jenny and ham hock with homemade chutney for me.

 

chicken in saffron mayonnaise sandwich

 

ham hock with homemade chutney sandwich

 

All the breads used by Caffeine & Co are from a local baking co-operative and the ciabatta our lunch was served on was lovely and crisp outside but fresh and soft inside.

The ham hock had been cooked on the bone the night before and was lightly salted; the chutney was sweet and slightly acidic and gave the filling an interesting little kick. The chicken and saffron mayonnaise was sweet but we thought it could handle a little more saffron as it was quite subtle.

 

Drinks

 

To wash down our sandwiches I had a pot of Lancashire breakfast tea, it was nice to get a pot of loose leaf tea and big enough for at least three cups too! Jenny had a glass of homemade raspberry lemonade, made with raspberries from their allotment.

 

Bags of tea

 

Cake

 

Keeping with the homemade theme we moved on to cake.

First up a firm favourite of mine Lemon Drizzle, soft moist sponge topped with a crunchy, zesty, zingy sugar crust.

 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

 

Our favourite however was the Chocolate Orange and Almond cake. Jenny hit the nail on the head calling it a “giant Jaffa Cake” it was topped with rich dark chocolate but the almond sponge was lovely and light.

 

Chocolate Orange & Almond Cake

 

It was good to see such a focus on local and homemade, and the café is clearly very popular – we saw families with children coming in throughout our visit.

If you live locally it would be part of a great family day out to the park, for those of us a little further afield there is also a Caffeine & Co in St James’ Square and a larger version due to open in Spinningfields aswell.

 

4MCRWomen's Caffine and Co Longford Park album on Photobucket

 

 

Caffeine & Co: Longford Park Bungalow, Longford Park, Manchester, M32 8DA

Tel: 07787 118578

Email: welovecaffeine@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/CaffeineandCoLongfordPark

Twitter: @caffineiandco

 

 Elaine & Jenny x

 

Photographs: McAvoy Photography

 

 

Other restaurant & café reviews:

Manchester Food & Drink Festival preview

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester Food & Drink Festival

We look at the nominees for this year’s awards

 

MFDF

 

It’s the Manchester Food & Drink Festival at the end of the month (26th September – 7th October 2013).

We asked our restaurant blogger Elaine to have a look at the nominees for the Food & Drink Awards, tell us who she’d vote for and see if there’s anyone she felt had been missed off the list.

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I see from my telly box that another vote hungry reality show has started again. Myself I prefer to put my voting energies into something a little more worthwhile (and not requiring the use of a premium rate phone call)

So the recent announcement of the shortlist for the Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards has naturally been cause for discussion and debate amongst my friends and work colleagues.

We all hold our favourite haunts dear and even if we have yet to experience some of the establishments that have made it we have an opinion on what we think they might be like.

 

Room Restaurant

 

There can be no doubting the popularity of the festival itself, last years was a record breaker. It is estimated that it brought in a cool £2.8 million spending boost to this fair city of ours through the festival village itself and in the transport and hotel rooms of foodies from near and far.

Last year all 70 businesses shortlisted for an award reported an increase in customers and revenue once the voting was opened (so really everyone is a winner in their own right).

 

Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards

 

I know some who are sceptical about how the shortlist comes about but although businesses can self nominate there is still a panel of judges who decide the final lists and it is their mystery visit scores as well as our own votes that decide the overall winners.

So who would get your vote? I have given mine some thought, and although I have not been to all the choices available I have still chosen who I prefer for each category – some based on where I would most like to go.

 

Restaurant of the year

 

Nominations

  • 63 Degrees, City Centre
  • Yuzu, City Centre
  • Michael Caines Restaurant, Abode Hotel, City Centre
  • Cicchetti, City Centre
  • Damson, MediaCityUK, Salford
  • The French at The Midland, City Centre

I’m going for 63 Degrees for this one. The menu had appealed greatly to me and I finally went for dinner before Christmas with the ladies from Manchester WI. The food was more than lovely and I have to admire a restaurant that can manage a large table without delays, mistakes or glares from neglected other diners.

 

Newcomer of the year

 

Nominations

  • Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, City Centre
  • Solita, City Centre
  • The Albert Chop House, City Centre
  • Damson, MediaCityUK, Salford
  • Artisan, City Centre
  • The French at The Midland, City Centre

 

Fish dish

 

I have been to a couple of the places in this category and I am giving my vote to Albert Square Chop House. I am a fan of its older brothers Sam and Thomas and enjoyed it’s more refined version of classical British fayre.

 

Pub of the year

 

Nominations

  • Marble Arch, City Centre
  • Station Buffet Bar, Stalybridge
  • The Magnet, Stockport
  • The Eagle Inn, Salford
  • The Baum, Rochdale
  • The Oasthouse, Spinningfields, City Centre

 

The Oast House Manchester

 

I am a fan of The Oast House it has to be said. Post work pints in the afternoon (it’s just around the corner) and plenty of seats indoors and out.

I like the beer options and the fact that we can take my nephew (he’s four) without worrying we will disturb other patrons. It has a good family feel and a wide range of customers.

 

Food pub of the year

 

Nominations

  • Hearth of the Ram, Ramsbottom
  • The Wharf, City Centre
  • The Parlour, Chorlton
  • The Red Lion, High Lane, Stockport
  • Mark Addy, Salford
  • The Albert Chop House, City Centre

I know who I would like to see on this shortlist but more on that later. Out of the list I would go for Albert Chop House again.

 

Bar of the year

 

Nominations

  • Revolucion de Cuba, City Centre
  • Liquorice, City Centre
  • Australasia, City Centre
  • Kosmonaut, City Centre
  • Gorilla, City Centre
  • Jackalope, Chorlton

 

Liquorice Bar Manchester

 

This is an easy choice for me, it has to be Liquorice. A firm favourite of mine and the other half. Great cocktails, great music and staff who make a genuine effort to get to know their customers.

 

Chef of the year

 

Nominations

  • Eric Moreau, 63 Degrees, City Centre
  • Robert Cox, Michael Caines Restaurant, ABode Hotel, City Centre
  • Mike Jennings, Grenache, Walkden, Worsley
  • Sam Everett, Harvey Nichols, City Centre
  • Mary-Ellen McTague, Aumbry, Prestwich
  • Adam Reid, The French, City Centre

I think for the repeated success that Grenache has had I would go for Mike Jennings.

I lived in Walkden until twelve months ago and this restaurant is one of a kind for the area, close enough to Worsley but by no means an easy commute from the city centre, plenty of customers must be making the effort to visit and that deserves recognition.

 

Cheap Eats of the year

 

Nominations

  • Home Sweet Home, City Centre
  • San Juan, Chorlton
  • Trove, Levenshulme
  • Lilys, Ashton
  • Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, City Centre
  • Salvi’s, City Centre

Another easy choice in Salvi’s, a visit for 4Manchester Women that produced a big thumbs up for being all round, fresh, delicious and affordable whilst still feeling a little bit special.

 

Mozarella sharing plate

 

Coffee Bar / Tea Shop of the year

 

Nominations

  • Coffee Fix, Gatley
  • Caffeine and Co, City Centre
  • Richmond Tea Rooms, City Centre
  • Macaroon, Rochdale
  • Home Sweet Home, City Centre
  • Takk, City Centre

I’m going Home Sweet Home, the cakes are a sight to behold and they do a mean Eggs Benedict (a personal favourite).

 

Family Friendly venue and Food & Drink Retailer

 

There are two further categories which ask for your own nominations, Family Friendly Venue and Food & Drink Retailer.

I would have to nominate Hanging Ditch for retailer; it is a shop I have used numerous times in the last few years. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and the wines available cover most budgets. It’s a must visit if you haven’t called in yet.

 

wine bin ends

 

 

The ones that missed out

 

So who do I think is missing?

Personally I would like to see The Angel in the mix for Food Pub. It started with a visit for 4Manchester Women but we are now regulars and the food is fantastic.

I think a chef that deserves a nomination is Ernst van Zyl who transformed the food at Etrop Grange and would get my vote for the bespoke menu he created for my husband’s birthday dinner alone.

 

The Angel Pub restaurant Manchester

 

Supper Clubs

 

I think next year it would be nice to see an extra category for supper clubs. This is a growing and popular scene in Manchester producing some brilliant menu’s each month. Maybe a little difficult to shortlist but a great addition to the voter nomination section.

So that’s my opinion on were my votes are heading, how about you? Voting is open now until 1st October on the Food & Drink festival website, make sure you go on and have your say.

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: MFDF, Jenny McAvoy, Albert Square Chop House, The Oast House, The Angel

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Our restaurant reviews:

Room Restaurant – City Centre

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Room Restaurant

Beautiful food – with a twist

 

Room has been one of my favourite Manchester restaurants for a while. In my experience they push the boundaries just far enough to make every visit interesting.

So when they launched their new menu, our foodie blogger Elaine was at the front of the queue to check it out. Turns out it was a bit of a 4Manchester Women gathering!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I think I’m right in saying that Room on Manchester’s fashionable King Street was the first restaurant I noticed ‘putting a twist on things’ many years ago; and we are talking at least 7 or 8 years ago.

It was nice to see on our recent visit that they are still doing the same and successfully so too!

 

The decoration in the restaurant is as quirky as some of their dishes with huge crystal chandeliers hanging around the window seats and oversized ceiling lamps and lampshades over the main dining room with enormous light bulbs. I can’t imagine where you would buy these from to replace them, certainly not with your weekly shop that’s for sure.

 

Room Restaurant

 

Room Restaurant

 

It was a beefed up 4Manchester Women visit as myself and photographer Jenny were joined by Crafty contributor Charlie and our very own Cocktail Girl Keeley.

Cocktails were how our evening started. I plumped for the Ginger Bread, firstly because I love anything with ginger in and secondly because it’s base is rum. It lives up to its name, the blend of syrup and ginger beer creating a lovely biscuit taste that was grown up and not sugary.

 

Cocktails in jars

 

Starter

Sharing plate: Salmon Terrine with Bouillabaisse, Tomato Consommé, Tempura Battered Prawn Cocktail, Crab Meat, Mushroom Croquettes and Game Terrine.

Main

Monkfish Bhaji with Saag Aloo, Lentil Dhal, and honey Lassi dressing.

Dessert

Selection of desserts to share: Carrot Cake, Sticky Toffee Sponge and Chocolate Truffle Cake

………

Sharing plate: Salmon Terrine with Bouillabaisse, Tomato Consommé, Tempura Battered Prawn Cocktail, Crab Meat, Mushroom Croquettes and Game Terrine.

To help us decide our waitress suggested a sharing plate of starters so we could try a couple of different ones.

 

Sharing Plate of starters

 

We were brought a very pretty looking selection of Salmon Terrine with Bouillabaisse, Tomato Consommé, Prawn Cocktail with a twist of tempura batter and crab meat, mushroom croquettes and my favourite of the selection the Game Terrine.

 

Salmon terrine

 

Game Terrine

 

The terrine had guinea fowl, pigeon and ham and was topped with a layer of foie gras instead of butter. It was served with a rack of brioche toast with worked well once topped with the terrine, and the accompanying rhubarb, giving a lovely salty and sweet flavour overall.

This was a rich but very tasty dish and the foie gras for me made it more special (although I appreciate not everyone is a fan).

 

Main: Monkfish Bhaji with Saag Aloo, Lentil Dhal, and honey Lassi dressing.

 

Monk Fish Bhaji

For my main course I went for something a little different, Monkfish Bhaji with Saag Aloo, Lentil Dhal, and honey Lassi dressing.

This was beautifully presented with the Saag Aloo in its own little casserole pot, and the Lassi in a miniature milk bottle with a tiny drinking straw.

It looked like fun, and was really vibrant and colourful.

 

Monk Fish Bhaji

 

The lentils were creamy and rich and were the perfect accompaniment to the main event. The Bhaji’s were light and crisp the onion was soft and sweet and each one contained a centre of perfectly cooked bright white monkfish which was meaty and tender.

The Saag Aloo was spicy and had lovely fresh flavours of spices and herbs providing a nice kick. My only negative comment would be that there may have been just one bhaji too many as it was a very filling dish.

 

Dessert: Selection of desserts to share – Carrot Cake, Sticky Toffee Sponge and Chocolate Truffle Cake

 

Dessert sharing plate

 

Once again we were offered a selection of desserts to share, which contained classics such as carrot cake, sticky toffee sponge and chocolate truffle cake.

 

Carrot cake

 

It may be down to the heaviness of the previous courses before them but I found the cakes a bit too much. The flavours were good but I think I needed something lighter.

I did however really enjoy the Toasted Marshmallow, with mango, passion fruit and coriander sorbet and shaved coconut. This was light and the sorbet was refreshing. It was an interesting combination that cleansed the palette. The Marshmallows were gooey and had a toasty caramelised flavour. And when you ate them with the coconut and the sorbet you got a summery pina colada effect which was lovely.

 

 

alstaples's Room - restaurant album on Photobucket

 

 

I think Room is great choice for dinner with the girls; there’s no stuffiness so you can chatter away without worrying whether you’re disturbing other diners and it’s 2 AA rosettes guarantee you quality food and service. It’s probably in the higher spending bracket but worth a visit for the atmosphere and variety of its menus – this goes for the cocktail selection too.

Room, 81 King Street, Manchester City Centre, M2 4AH

Tel: 0161 839 2005

Website: roomrestaurants.com

Facebook: facebook.com/RoomRestaurant

Twitter: @RoomBarUK

 

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy – McAvoy Photography, Elaine Bowers

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Other restaurant reviews:

Didsbury Lounge – Didsbury

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sushi making masterclass

Become a sushi master with YO! Sushi & Get Your Eat On

 

I’ve always been a little bit scared of Yo! Sushi! It’s irrational but not entirely unfounded – I refer of course to that famous scene in TV’s Miranda where Miranda Hart gets her necklace trapped in the conveyor belt and the rest is comedy gold!

So when we were invited to try out a sushi making masterclass, I went along having tucked in, tied back or removed anything dangly.

Us thrifty ladies like a bargain – so the double whammy was that it was all to promote a whole smorgasbord of special eaty offers. So with our regular foodie blogger Elaine – and my good self as photographer, we did our very best not to create a sushi shocker!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

I know a place where you can play with your food and you won’t get told off!

It’s the YO! Sushi – Sushi School!

We were lucky enough to be invited to a sushi masterclass last week by Manchester Arndale as part of their #TweetSeatEat event to launch their Get Your Eat On campaign.

 

Get Your Eat On runs through August – enticing shoppers to try the various eateries with discount vouchers which you can pick up in the Arndale or print from their website manchesterarndale.com  – and the best bit is you can print them out as many times as you like during the whole month.

 

Sushi making

 

Get Your Eat On

 

The sushi school is also part of the voucher booklet at £30 per person or £50 for two for a two hour class.

Our evening at the school was hosted by Lawrence, a chef at YO! Sushi and Charlie.

 

Sushi making

 

Founded in 1997 YO! Sushi and offers traditional Japanese Kaitan style dining where dishes which are prepared daily are delivered via a slow moving conveyor belt. Their focus is to be “Unconventional, Colourful and Respectful”.

 

 

Preparing a side of salmon

 

All the salmon used is ethically sourced and is mostly from Scotland – taking no longer than 72 hours from lake to plate!

Chef Lawrence was an expert salmon slicer – 15g per slice for sashimi and 10g a slice for nigiri. He does it by eye and experience alone and told us that if you visit the restaurant regularly you will often see the manager with a scale weighing the fish at random from the conveyor belt.

The whole side of the salmon is used, the skin is salted and baked until crisp for other dishes and the central ‘spine’ is used for making the new salmon burgers.

 

 

Sushi making

 

As part of the class we made four different types of sushi:

  • Cucumber Maki
  • California Hand Roll with crab sticks avocado and sesame seeds
  • Futomaki with avocado, cucumber, carrot, pickled radish and tamago (a sweet egg yolk omelette)
  •  Masago Gunkan or the Battleship as they liked to call it – a bit more exotic with orange masago (Capelin fish roe).

 

Armed with a rolling mat, a big bowl of sushi rice and some disposable gloves we were good to go. And just to make sure we didn’t get in a sticky rice pickle, they shared a trick of the trade! You get nicely lubricated beforehand with a small blob of mayonnaise; then the real fun began!

 

Sushi making

 

Step by step we were shown how to roll each one, all of which used varying amounts of rice from tennis ball size, squash ball size, or at one stage shuttle cock size. It soon became clear that none of us play much racket sport as we muddled through.

 

Sushi making

 

Sushi making

 

The class is a great bonding experience. You can’t help but laugh at one another  – it would definitely make a great work night out. And even better, once expertly sliced, you can either eat your best sushi as you go, or have them packaged up to take home.

 

Sushi making

 

Sushi making masterclass

 

We had enormous fun and learned some new skills to impress our friends with – I recommend trying this particular voucher out before August slips by. Make sure you pick up a Get Your Eat On voucher book and see what’s on offer elsewhere in the Arndale on your next shopping trip.

 

Competition Time

 

Try your hand at becoming a sushi master! We’ve got a fabulous sushi making kit to give away!

 

Sushi Making Kit

 

We want to know your sushi stories.

Me? It would have to be learning how to be a sushi master …… but then I’ve told you that one already!

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

So don’t be shy – tell us your sushi stories.

Good luck!

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Alison Staples

We received a free sushi making class and goodie bag – which I’m giving away as the competition prize. We were not asked to write about the event or offers and opinions are our own.

 

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Friday 23rd August 2013.

 

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Friday 23rd August 2013. The winner will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions, loquax and  Competitions Time. If you are the lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (6 months)

Opera stories – win tickets to the Opera (Carmen & Tosca) at The Manchester Opera House (20th February 2013). Winner Sue Robinson, 2nd Prize Liz Ferguson.

Favourite wine – win tickets to see The Three Wine Men (10th March 2013). Winners Petra Hora, Julie Fisher, Ruth Houlihan.

Real Nappy Week – win a selection of real nappies (16th April 2013). Winner Sarah Fisher.

Stylish Summer Homes – win Next home goodies (6th June 2013). Winner Ann Calland.

Lady Boys of Bangkok – win tickets (8th June 2013). Winners Rachel Fisher, Catherine Anderson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Didsbury Lounge

What you want – how you like it!

 

I’ve had my eye on Didsbury Lounge for a while. Even before it opened, it was busy making it’s presence felt across social media. With it’s supper club, fan of the week and free Prosecco during Wimbledon every time Andy Murray won a set, Didsbury Lounge has certainly got itself noticed.

I’m delighted to say that when our reviewer Elaine and photographer Jenny visited last week to give them the once over – Didsbury Lounge didn’t disappoint!

And just to double check – two nights ago me and my husband mystery shopped them. They didn’t know who we were and we paid for our own meals. I can honestly say that I loved it – and I’m going back again very soon with the girls!

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

Didsbury is a leafy and stylish suburb of Manchester. Look at a map and stick a pin in it – and I’ll guarantee you’ve got a 90% chance of landing on a bar, cafe or restaurant.

If, like me, you don’t live there you’ll be wanting a good recommendation to make sure you get the best the area has to offer, and I have a cracker for you right here……

 

Situated on a quiet tree lined road just far enough from the hustle and bustle is the Didsbury Lounge. Only four months old it has a chic and stylish interior, bright and airy with plenty of outdoor seating at the front to enjoy our lovely summer weather.

They boast a well chosen variety of wines, cocktails and bubbles (with magnums of prosecco also available soon), and keeping to their motto of ‘Drink – Eat – Hang’ the food menu offers sharing and grazing tapas size dishes for a laid back dining experience.

 

Didsbury Lounge

 

Didsbury Lounge

 

For those wanting something more substantial there is a weekly supper club menu with two courses for £12.95, and a tasty looking breakfast selection served from 10am-1pm.

Owner Abbi talked us through his philosophy behind the food. He wants customers to be able to have what they like how they like it, so the grazing menu has a wide selection of dishes that cater for most tastes, available as individual portions or as part of their popular Smorgasbord options where you chose 6 for £12.99, 8 for £15.99 or 10 for £19.99 and have a smaller amount of each beautifully presented on a large platter.

 

 

Main

Sharing plate – Lamb meatballs in Thai broth, Risotto balls, Coca-Cola beef skewers, Chicken Rollito, Tuna Tartare, Aubergine dip, Greek salad, Wee scotch eggs, and Squash and cheese parcels.

Wine

Lounge White and Verdejo ‘Vega de La Reina’

……

 

Main: Sharing plate

The sharing option was what photographer Jenny and I decided for go for so we could try the best and most popular items.

 

Sharing Plate Didsbury Lounge

 

Scotch egg Didsbury Lounge

 

Sharing Plate Didsbury Lounge

 

We let Abbi choose the selection for us so ours consisted of: Lamb meatballs in Thai broth, Risotto balls, Coca-Cola beef skewers, Chicken Rollito, Tuna Tartare, Aubergine dip, Greek salad, Wee scotch eggs, and Squash and cheese parcels.

Quite a selection and all homemade, although very different dishes the flavours were complimentary and you get enough of each dish to share between two.

I think our favourites were the Tuna Tartare, the Lamb Meatballs and the Aubergine Dip.

The Tuna Tartare is marinated in chilli, soya, sesame, lime and ginger and has a tiny hint of wasabi. It was fresh and clean tasting with just enough chilli and had an almost sweet flavour from the ginger and sesame. I’ll definitely be ordering this again!

 

Tuna Tartare Didsbury Lounge

 

The Lamb Meatballs are simmered in a Thai broth which made a fragrant reduced sauce which was served on the top. The meatballs were juicy and not over cooked and the sweet lamb together with the Thai spices were a winning combination. If you go for the tapas style portions you have to try these as you won’t want to share them.

 

Sharing Plate Didsbury Lounge

 

A surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the Aubergine Dip as it’s not something I would normally chose for myself. Served with toasted ‘soldiers’ of bread it is a mix of char grilled aubergine with tahini and yoghurt. It was thick and creamy and would go perfectly with a nice bottle of wine.

In fact if you visit on a Thursday evening you can enjoy free dips with your drinks and listen to some laid back ‘sun setter ‘music from the lounge DJ.

 

Wine: Lounge White and Verdejo ‘Vega de La Reina’

We had a taste of two white wines to accompany our lunch; the ‘Lounge White’ is a quality house wine from Sicily, well rounded on the palette with soft fruits and a dry finish.

A stand out wine on the list is the ‘Lounge recommended’ Verdejo ‘Vega de La Reina’ from Spain. This was awarded the title of best white wine in the world in 2012 and is fresh and crisp with notes of citrus and herb and equally enjoyable on its own or with food.

 

Wine bottles

 

Coffee & wine

 

The Didsbury Lounge is a relaxed yet stylish experience; the food and drink offerings are well thought out to cater for all tastes and reasonably priced. It is the sort of place where you could become a regular and it looks after its fans (early followers on Facebook where invited to a pre-opening wine tasting to help choose what made it on to the list)

It will definitely be my first choice when I next venture out down Didsbury way.

 

 

alstaples's Didsbury Lounge album on Photobucket

 

 

 

 

Didsbury Lounge, 43 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, M20 6TW

Tel: 0161 434 2408

Web site: didsburylounge.co.uk

Facebook: facebook.com/DidsburyLounge

Twitter: @DidsburyLounge

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy – McAvoy Photography, Elaine Bowers

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Other restaurant reviews:

Salvis – Exchange Square, Manchester City Centre

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Review – Salvi’s

The Mozzarella Bar that’s a little ray of Italian sunshine

 

When I think of Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, I remember a warm summer Manchester evening and an overwhelming urge to sit outside in Exchange Square – all European like.

I stumbled across Salvi’s almost by accident and spent a fabulous hour watching the world go by – just me and my beautiful Mozzarella platter and a nice glass of cold vino. At that moment in time I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

 

Salvi's Manchester

 

Although the weather wasn’t quite so kind to our regular foodie reviewer Elaine and photographer Jenny when they went to visit Salvi’s, they still managed to find a glorious little piece of Italy in Manchester.

 

Over to you Elaine ……

Elaine

 

It was a rainy day in Manchester – a very very rainy lunchtime indeed.

But then along came a little ray of Italian sunshine in the form of Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar.

A deli full of delights, with a display of meats, cheeses, pastries, liqueurs and many other goodies to make your mouth water.

 

Once seated inside myself and Jen (photographer) looked through the menu and agreed that we didn’t know where to begin, should we have pasta, a sharing plate, fish or prawns?

We asked our host Claire what she would recommend to show off their best ingredients – a quick word with the man in charge behind the counter and he was soon busying away making us our own sharing plate.

 

Starter

Olives

Main

Sharing plate

Dessert

Cannolo Siciliano, Torta Della Nonna, Stogliatella

……

 

Starter: Olives

A bowl of mixed olives arrived at our table. I have to confess that olives are not something I have ever been fond of, but I had to try, so skilfully avoiding the black ones I went for the green. I have to say I actually quite liked them – so much that I had three!

 

olives

 

Whilst we were waiting more customers came in, many were welcomed like old friends even though not all had been before.

Conversations began about cheese! It is a lovely friendly atmosphere, with a genuine warmth that you cannot fake. I also loved the soundtrack of 60’s classics sung in Italian – House of the Rising Sun was a particular favourite.

 

Main: Sharing plate

Our plate of savoury treats arrived looking deceptively manageable, beautifully presented with vivid fresh colours, and accompanied by warm soft Ciabatta bread in a paper bag topped with  drizzle of olive oil.

 

Mozarella sharing plate

 

We had mozzarella as you would expect – smoked, original, chilli, and a hard variety filled with cream cheese and rocket. Gorgonzola, salami, mortadella, Parma ham, spicy salami, caramelized onion, sun dried tomatoes, dried chillies, roasted aubergine and tomato, artichoke hearts in olive oil and more green olives.

 

Mozzarella & ham

 

We started with the ball of mozzarella.

Now my experiences of mozzarella has been on pizza and salads. I always thought it somewhat of a nothing cheese – a bit bland but a nice texture.

I am now a full convert to the quality stuff.

This was creamy and fresh with a lovely subtle flavour and a soft smooth texture. It went well with the salads and caramelized onions and the different meats, but you could still taste the cheese itself.

The smoked mozzarella was something very different. With a subtle yellow colour and darker ‘smoked’ outer layer it had a woody smoky taste that complimented the creamy fattier hams very well. Definitely one to add other ingredients too in a salad, it is well worth a try if you decide to pay a visit.

My favourite cheese on the plate was the mozzarella with chilli. A harder variety with flecks of red chilli that held the creamy taste and texture but had a lovely little kick to it, I ended up buying a piece to take home too!

 

Bread & cheese

 

I think the best way to sum up the food is to say that you know it’s good when you forget you have bread (and the bread was good too).

 

Dessert: Cannolo Siciliano, Torta Della Nonna, Stogliatella

Feeling very full and satisfied we were taken up to the counter by Claire while she explained the traditional Italian pastries and offered us a small taste of each to try.

Cannolo Siciliano is a sweet pastry wrap with sweetened ricotta cheese and chocolate sauce – perfect if you have a sweet tooth.

 

Italian pastry

 

Torta Della Nonna is a lemon and almond tart (a teeny bit like an Italian Bakewell). The lemon layer and the almond topping reminded us of Swizzles or Love Hearts – it had a sort of sherbet taste to it.

 

Italian pastry

 

Finally our favourite Stogliatella – clam shell shaped with lots of thin layers of pastry filed with a ricotta cheese and flavoured with orange peel. It was very crisp with a filling that was not too sweet. This would be perfect with coffee sat outside in the sunshine (when we get some)

 

Italian pastry

 

So – great for lunch or coffee and cake or stocking up your fridge with lovely things but also perfect for dinner as Salvi’s is open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

alstaples's Salvis album on Photobucket

 

 

I’m waiting for some summer weather so I can go back and sit outside.

 

Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar, Unit 22b The Corn Exchange, Manchester

Tel: 0161 222 8021

Facebook: facebook.com/Salvis-Manchester

Twitter: @SalvisMCR

 

Elaine x

 

Photographs: Jenny McAvoy – McAvoy Photography, Elaine Bowers

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Other restaurant reviews:

The Parlour – Beech Road, Chorlton

Linen – Manchester 235

The Angel – Northern Quarter

Stock Restaurant – Manchester City Centre

The Oxnoble – Potato Wharf

Etrop Grange – Manchester Airport

Thomas Restaurant – Northern Quarter

Saffran – Trafford Centre

The Blue Pig – Northern Quarter

Yang Sing – China Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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