Sunday, 17 September 2017

Dinner at Baravin, Aberystwyth...

It may not come as a surprise that I always research the best restaurants when I go on holiday to an area I do not know very well, so when we went on a recent break to Wales I found out some restaurant recommendations beforehand. We stayed in mid Wales for a few days of relaxation at a cosy Airbnb cottage and when I looked in to where we should go for dinner on Saturday evening I came across some good reviews for Baravin. 
Baravin is a contemporary and relaxed restaurant which serves an impressive range of pizzas and pasta dishes, alongside a varied cocktail menu. The location is a definite plus point too, as it sits right on the seafront in the pretty town of Aberystwyth. 

Inside, the hubbub of music and chatter set a welcoming tone in the busy restaurant and we took our seats at a table by the window, affording us an exceptional sea view. I sipped a glass of red as we perused the menu, opting for a rosemary and Halen Môn flatbread to start our meal – the use of Halen Môn impressed me as I like to see restaurants supporting local suppliers and Halen Môn sea salt from the island of Anglesey is an excellent local sea salt. The bread itself was crispy and light, with a fragrant hit of rosemary counterbalanced by the salt flakes and the olive oil and balsamic mix. 

On to mains and for me there could only be one choice, since from our table I had a great view of the chefs as they whirled around, expertly producing pizzas. I think it is practically impossible to improve on a classic Neapolitan style Margherita pizza, so I went for the tomato, basil and organic buffalo mozzarella pizza which shone with simple clean flavours.

My dining companion was equally enthralled by the calzones he had seen on a neighbouring table, so he chose the slow cooked beef, spinach and parmesan calzone, which was a generous size with soft folded dough enveloping a rich and comforting filling, with a set of deep and well-balanced flavours.

On to dessert and I opted for a Cosmopolitan, which has been one of my favourite cocktails since it became popular years ago. As a sweet and zesty drink, it will always have a place in my heart!

My dining companion had already earmarked the dessert pizza, topped with raspberries, white chocolate, marshmallow and a scoop of Conti’s ice cream. Naturally, I sampled the dessert pizza too and the toppings were not overly sweet and they played well against the pillow-like base, while the scoop of ice cream was the perfect finishing touch. 

I would like to pop back again some time to try one of the pasta dishes or perhaps another pizza. Service was friendly and efficient despite how busy the place was and we were served with water as soon as we took our seats, always a plus in my eyes as I find this displays attention to detail and courtesy. 

Overall we liked Baravin, which had plenty of style and rustic food made with quality ingredients - a formula which could not fail to please.

1 Marine Terrace
SY23 2AP

What do you all think, do you like the sound of a casual restaurant with sea views and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



Friday, 8 September 2017

Sampling the new menu at O'Neill's ...

I enjoy dining at pubs, there is something about the homely, relaxed surroundings of a pub which always makes me feel at ease and I think a lot of the big name pub chains offer good value for money and menu variety. Pubs are a place to celebrate or commiserate, or simply to while away an hour alone with your thoughts. I have so many happy memories surrounding pubs, from long family meals at The Argyll Arms in Bunessan during summer holidays on The Isle of Mull, to many date nights over the years and evenings as a student spent in the local. Pubs will always have a place in my heart and I enjoy going to both independent and chain pubs. This week I went to sample the new menu at O’Neill’s; I have not visited an O’Neill’s pub since my student days (which were lamentably long ago) and I was keen to see the results of a recent refurbishment and the introduction of a new menu. 

In a cosy booth, we poured over the menu which offers all the usual pub food classics you would expect as well as reasonably priced deals such as pizza and a drink from £8.50 and burger and a drink from £7.75.

We went for a selection of ‘tapas’ style dishes for our starter and I was impressed by the smoked haddock croquettes which had a golden crumb and a fluffy filling with a subtly smoky haddock flavour; croquettes or ‘croquetas’ are often seen as one of the benchmarks of a good Spanish restaurant and these were comparable to some I have tried in big name Spanish eateries. 

Crispy potato skins with mozzarella, jalapenos and Sriracha tasted great with a glass of chilled Chardonnay and my dining companion enjoyed his order of succulent glazed chicken wings. 

My partner decided on the stone baked ‘duck n’ hoi’ pizza for his main course, topped with pulled duck, hoisin sauce and mozzarella. The pizza was a generous size and the base was light while the hoisin, duck and spring onion made for an intriguing oriental style taste. A side order was not really necessary since the pizza itself was so big, but he soon devoured his order of topped garlic pizza bread nevertheless. 

For the main course, my choice of grilled halloumi and red pepper burger was a wise one, the bun was chargrilled and topped with generous layers of halloumi and pepper while the extra toppings of sour cream, guacamole and salsa worked well. The balance of tempting flavours made this one of the best veggie burgers I have eaten in a long time. 

Despite feeling full, we naturally managed to find room for dessert and the ‘doughnuts for sharing’ rounded off our meal on a sweet note; these churros style doughnut strips came with chocolate and toffee sauce and whipped cream which tasted amazing with the warm cinnamon dusted doughnuts. 

I was impressed by the service and food, while the new interior design was stylish and modern with exposed brickwork and industrial style lighting. All in all, O’Neill’s delivers on tasty, good value food and you can’t go wrong stopping off here for a casual bite to eat, while the sharing options make it ideal for a meal with friends. There are O'Neill's pubs nationwide, I visited the Liverpool location. 

68 Hanover Street, 
L1 4AG

What do you all think, do you like dining in pubs and which of these dishes catches your eye? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



I was invited to sample the new menu at O'Neill's, this meal was complimentary. all opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

An Indian feast at Purple Lounge...

It is always a pleasure to be invited to review somewhere new, especially when it happens to be an Indian restaurant. If you have followed this blog for a while you will know that Indian is one of my favourite cuisines, so I was happy to check out Purple Lounge in Worsley, Manchester, which opened in June. I went along last week to try the restaurant for the first time and indeed I was to be the first person to review it. The restaurant is located within a retail park, a bonus since there is plenty of free parking right outside, while inside the contemporary interior design features cool tones of silver and purple as well as eye-catching lighting.

We were warmly welcomed and led to a spacious booth, where we consulted the varied menu while enjoying a stack of poppadoms accompanied by a chutney tray; the homemade chilli sauce was especially good with a real kick of spice.

The menu offers a pleasing balance of traditional curry dishes such as korma and jalfrezi, alongside house specialities. There is a good range of meat, seafood and vegetarian options to choose from, as well as dishes cooked in the Tandoori charcoal clay oven and sharing platters.
We went for a trio of starters to share, including our favourites of onion bhaji and vegetable samosa, as well as a Thai style chilli paneer, battered in corn flour and stir fried in sweet chilli sauce with onions.

The bhajis were huge and they were a treat paired with mango chutney, while the samosas were light and crispy with a tasty vegetable filling.

The Thai style paneer proved to be outstanding, the sweet and sticky sauce delivered a hint of fiery spice and I would order this fusion dish again without hesitation.

On to the mains and my dining companion went for one of the house specialities, a Purple Lounge chicken Thawa, prepared with medium strength herbs and spices and garnished with coriander. This rich curry was full of flavour and it was served sizzling in a cast iron dish, with mouth-watering aromas filling the air.

I love the Indian cheese paneer, so I decided on a paneer tikka masala for my main course, which was creamy and delicate with a thick texture and generous chunks of tender paneer.

Dishes of Pilau and coconut rice and cheese and Peshwari naan breads completed our feast.

The relaxing ambience made us want to linger, as did chatting to the friendly team who were always on hand. The restaurant was busy and several walk in customers arrived throughout the evening too, a promising sign for a relatively new restaurant which gets the combination of authentic Indian food and warm hospitality right.

Purple Lounge 
Ellesmere Retail Park
M28 3UD

What do you all think, do you like Indian food and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



I was invited to review Purple Lounge, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Dining at The Galley...

The Galley in Ellesmere Port is a restaurant I have been meaning to visit since it opened, but somehow I have never got around to it until last week when my partner booked us a table there on the spur of the moment. The first thing which struck me about the restaurant is the attractive location; it is situated on the riverbank and the tranquil views immediately set a relaxing mood.
Inside, The Galley has a welcoming feel, which is fitting since this is a family business and the space is bright and cheery, with windows overlooking the river and plenty of natural light. We decided to skip starters, though options like Thai salmon fishcake and their renowned bubble and squeak cake sounded tempting.

I had of course already checked out the menu online and I was drawn to the roasted butternut squash curry with chickpeas, spinach and coconut milk, but I eventually settled on the spinach and ricotta tortellini with a side of chips, since I was in the mood for comfort food! There is a good variety on the menu, with mains like pork tenderloin saltimbocca sitting alongside classics such as steak and fish and chips.

My dining companion perused the burger choices, as I had already seen The Galley burgers on Instagram and they looked more than impressive. He ordered the crispy marinated chicken BLT burger served with bacon, lettuce and tomato. I started the night with a gin and tonic and our mains arrived rapidly with both of us struck by the generous portion sizes, which I always appreciate. My spinach and ricotta tortellini was elegantly presented, garnished with beautifully fresh peas and broad beans and a silky basil pesto cream sauce. The dish was light and full of fresh flavours, while the homemade chips were chunky and golden. The sheer scale of my dining companion's marinated chicken burger was gargantuan and it matched its size with big, bold flavours of tender chicken, crispy batter and smoky bacon. I hesitate to use the word 'epic' when describing food, but sometimes only the word epic will suffice and ordering this is a must for burger fans.

They source their ingredients with care at The Galley and it shows in the quality; local provenance matters here and on a recent Sunday lunch menu there was a white onion, marrow and cider soup made with marrows grown on a nearby allotment. It does not get much more local than that!

On to dessert and we had spotted the special of banana split on the chalkboard, so it had to be that, as I was happy to see such a fun and retro dessert on the menu. This was pure indulgence, with a trio of locally made ice cream scooped on top of banana, topped with chewy chocolate brownie, cream and sprinkles. Even though I declined my own dessert I naturally had to try some of this and it was just so good. Yes, I cracked open the Italics. It was that good!

We had a lovely evening at The Galley and we left just in time to see a rather spectacular sunset. This was our first visit as I mentioned and I certainly hope it won't be our last - with afternoon tea and Sunday roast also on the menu, there are plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more. 

It is good to see a family restaurant thriving and deservedly so, since the great food was paired with attentive service and we left feeling like we had been friends with congenial Chef Patron Tom forever. Be sure to pop in if you are ever in the area, this place is well worth a visit. 

The Galley 
1 South Pier Rd, 
Ellesmere Port 
CH65 4FW

What do you all think, do you like the sound of The Galley and which of these dishes catches your eye? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!

Until next time,



Thursday, 17 August 2017

Dinner at George's

George’s* is a restaurant and bar located just outside Manchester in the village of Worsley, the elegant building is situated opposite the canal and there is a large outdoor terrace ideal for sunny days. Head Chef Mike Brand has created a menu full of modern British dishes and classics and on Monday the restaurant serves a themed menu alongside the usual à la carte. We went along to sample the Monday menu and we visited on Spanish Night, when a three course menu of Spanish inspired dishes was on offer. We sipped a round of drinks in the bar area before taking our seats for dinner; the high ceilings, chalk boards, suspended feature lighting and neutral colours create a modern aesthetic which feels welcoming. 

We were led to a table in the spacious dining room and took our seats at a corner table with leather banquette seating; trade was brisk for a Monday evening and the room was already busy with diners. We deliberated between starters and the marinated grilled shrimp with garlic aioli caught my eye, as did the gazpacho, before I eventually settled on the roasted pepper and aubergine salad with honey dressing. The choice of mains was equally tempting with seafood paella and pan fried hake with patatas bravas and chorizo oil among the dishes which I was drawn to.

Our starters arrived in no time and my salad was nicely presented in a generous portion and the mixed leaves had a sweet and tangy flavour from the honey dressing while the roasted pepper and aubergine added to the enjoyment of this Mediterranean dish.

My dining companion went for the Iberico platter with homemade bread and Jamon pâté, which was full of flavour with a fresh salad topped with crumbly feta which complemented the rich pâté.

My main course of smoked cheese tortilla with tomatoes and saffron aioli delivered too; the fluffy tortilla had layers of finely sliced potatoes and combined with the smoked cheese and side salad this was a satisfying dish which was lighter than tortillas I have tried before. 

For the main course, my dining companion was tempted by the Spanish meatballs with tomato and couscous, but he ended up ordering the paprika and garlic bavette with vine tomatoes and fries. The steak was tender and well seasoned, with a good balance of garlic and paprika, while the zesty tomatoes and generous portion of fries added to the enjoyment. 

Dessert choices called for more debate, with options such as Catalan cream with nut crumb and white chocolate and rum panna cotta vying for our attention. We settled on a portion of churros with chocolate and a custard tart with coconut ice cream to share. The golden churros had crispy edges drenched in sugar and cinnamon and they tasted incredible with the thick melted chocolate. The second dessert choice made the perfect contrast to the churros and the creamy custard tart worked well with the exotic taste of the coconut ice cream. 

17 - 21 Barton Road
M28 2PD

Service was friendly and attentive despite how busy the restaurant was and I thought the Spanish menu offered value for money, with starters and desserts at £5 and mains at £10 as well as offers on wine, cocktails and Prosecco. 

What do you all think, do you like the sound of George’s and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post. 

Until next time,



*I was invited to review George's, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dinner at Muse...

I enjoy going to restaurants in an area I have not visited before, so this week I was happy to dine at Muse*, a bar and eatery which is located in the pretty village of Uppermill in Greater Manchester. Muse is owned by the actor Rob Norbury and the venture is set in a pretty, rural area. The stone building adorned with hanging baskets of flowers creates an inviting first impression and inside, the contemporary style continues with exposed stone walls, plush leather booths, neon signs and a sweeping bar area which serves an eclectic cocktail menu. We were warmly welcomed and led to a table in the spacious dining area; the windows overlook the outdoor terrace and a wall of plants adds a tropical air to the space. The menu is varied, with a good selection of starters and sharers, flatbreads, skewers, salads, grill dishes and mains. I was impressed by the variety of vegetarian and vegan options too, something which is often surprisingly lacking in many restaurants.

I went for a starter of tempura soft shell crab with Asian salad and sweet chilli and ginger sauce. The tempura batter was light and golden and the succulent crab worked well with the tangy salad, while the sauce added a sweeter contrast. 

My dining companion decided on the gourmet burger sliders topped with Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce and tomato and served in brioche buns. The sliders made an appetising starter and these are also great to share. 

I consulted the cocktail menu and found a well-rounded offering of classics and more intriguing creations such as the rhubarb sour and the raspberry and cucumber crush. I went for a Rose Bellini and the combination of fragrant rose syrup and prosecco made this a pleasant aperitif, perfect for a summer evening. 

On to mains and I ordered the halloumi curry; this was my first time having a curry made with halloumi and it was creamy and mild with a subtle kick of spice while the addition of butternut squash, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and chilli spinach added a wealth of flavour. Fluffy saffron rice and naan bread completed this tasty dish which I would order again.

A friend had already recommended the skewers which are something of a signature dish at Muse, so my dining companion chose the mixed grill skewers and he was not disappointed. The plate arrived groaning under the weight of two skewers, laden with chicken and beef fillet, sausage, gammon and roast vegetables the tender meat was complemented by a dressing of Sriracha mayonnaise and the addition of charred piegata bread. This was a hearty main course packed with tasty flavours and ideal to satisfy a larger appetite. 

We also indulged in side orders of truffle Parmesan fries and hand cut chunky chips, both of which were a treat!

On to dessert and I have to say that the Nutella gnocchi alone make a trip to Muse worthwhile, they were crispy and light, reminiscent of a mini doughnut and the Nutella filling was lovely with the salted caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce.

My choice of New York style baked cheesecake with strawberry compote and granola was summer on a plate, with a burst of sweetness from the strawberries, welcome texture from the granola and an impossibly light baked cheesecake which was as good as any I tasted in New York. 

There are several things I loved about Muse, not least the modern interior, delicious food and drink but special mention must go to the service as well. I have spoken before about how much poor service ruins an experience for me, even when the meal itself is tremendous, and service at Muse was attentive and swift throughout from the friendly team. All in all, a lovely evening and I look forward to dining at Muse again. 

27 High St


What do you all think, do you like the sound of Muse and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,



*I was invited to review Muse, this meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.