Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sunday Roast at The Grill on New York Street...

Ah Sunday, the day of rest and one day of the week which should definitely be all about taking it easy. One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday is undoubtedly to go out to for a Sunday Roast, but if you are anything like me you probably have very exacting standards when it comes to what you consider to be the perfect Sunday Roast. Potatoes roast to golden perfection, heaps of vegetables, Yorkshire puddings the size of small planets and rich gravy all have to feature whilst of course tender meat takes centre stage. Add a bottle of fruity red to the equation and you are pretty close to my idea of an exemplary Sunday Roast. I was over in Derbyshire at the weekend to see my family, so an invitation to dine at Grill on New York Street* Manchester last Sunday was opportune timing indeed. I like the location of New York Street, a street I was not familiar with before which is just off Piccadilly Gardens and has both The Grill on New York Street and a branch of The Alchemist just along the same street, to take care of a few after dinner cocktails.


For me, The Grill on New York Street is aptly named as it conjures up Manhattan as soon as you walk in with a sweeping restaurant floor, open kitchen and a raised area with cosy booths. The design is contemporary and understated, with polished wood, leather seating and soft lighting which creates a relaxing ambience.


We were led to a booth which gave us an expansive view of the restaurant floor and kitchen, where a busy lunchtime service was underway with the chefs working with choreographed precision. Soon, a bottle of La Serre Merlot was airing as we perused the menu, which boasts a wide range of options including aged British beef steaks and comfort food such as fish and chips


There is even a Bloody Mary menu which you can customise to make your own perfect spin on this classic cocktail. I decided on a starter of calamari with saffron mayonnaise, the tempura style batter was light and the saffron mayonnaise complemented the calamari well, as did a dose of freshly squeezed lime juice.


My dining companion enjoyed a hearty roasted tomato and red pepper soup served with a bruschetta croute and chive oil. The soup had a silky texture and the flavour was rounded off by the tangy bruschetta topping.


On to the main event and from the options of roasted half chicken, beef and pork (with crackling) I chose the chicken whilst my dining companion went for the beef.
The presentation was extremely pleasing to the eye, with gargantuan Yorkshire puddings piled high above the meat, roast potatoes and rivers of gravy whilst extra boats of gravy and dishes of vegetables were served on the side.


The chicken was tender, the roast potatoes were fluffy with crisp edges and the traditional gravy provided the ideal counterpart to the Yorkshire puddings.


 My dining companion enjoyed the roast beef served pink to his preference, which went well with a fiery horseradish sauce.


The dishes of carrot and swede, greens and extra gravy meant that we were so full, but naturally we still managed to find room for dessert. We opted for the apple tart with vanilla ice cream and the sticky toffee pudding. The sticky toffee was a sweet delight with plenty of toffee sauce and the apple tart proved to be a treat with short, buttery pastry.



Our wine selection of La Serre Merlot was a good choice to wash down this Sunday Roast, with layers of plum and blackberry as well as a subtle spice. There was excellent service throughout and this sophisticated environment is the ideal place for a relaxing Sunday Roast, with delcious food served in abundance without any of the dreaded clearing up to do afterwards.


Grill on New York Street 
New York St, 
Manchester 
M1 4BD


What do you all think, do you like having a traditional Sunday Roast and what do you think is vital for the perfect Sunday Roast? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,

Camille

xo 


*I was a guest of Grill on New York Street, this meal was complimentary. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A preview of The Alchemist Liverpool...

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a preview event for The Alchemist in Liverpool, which promises to be a glamorous new destination for drinks and food right in the heart of Liverpool on Brunswick Street. The Alchemist is renowned for the molecular mixology and alchemy of its cocktails as well  as a restaurant which serves an array of globally inspired food such as small plates, gourmet burgers and fajitas.
The well-proportioned building has an imposing air which conjures up a sense of history as you approach; I was eager to see the results of the extensive renovation which has taken place in the past few months and I was not disappointed.



The first thing which draws the eye is the spectacular bar area, flanked by dark red booths which wrap around the space, giving way to the open kitchen and the restaurant area on the other side. An air of sophistication abounds and exposed brickwork, eclectic artworks and warm lighting add to the striking design aesthetic. Pulling up a seat at the sweeping bar, I was warmly greeted by Johnny who was more than happy to guide me through the stylish menu, which has a design inspired by the periodic table and a vast selection of cocktails which are served in all manner of vessels.




I started the evening with a cocktail named Lightbulb Moment, a blend of Tanqueray Gin, Pimms, ginger beer, raspberry, lemon and mint which is heated up and served in a lightbulb shaped bottle. The scent of the mint was quite something and the spectacle of this drink was equally impressive whilst the taste was refreshing with a fiery kick from the ginger beer.
Next we moved on to sampling the Peaches & Cream, a sweet combination of Briottet peach liqueur, pink grapefruit, lemon and prosecco.




Gasps of approval were audible at the bar as the mixologists set to work creating everything from Key Lime Pie to Dead Red Zombie. I could not resist the Bison’s Brew, a heady blend of Zubrowka vodka, apple, lemon, breakfast tea and gold which is strained and served in a cup and saucer for an unforgettable spin on a traditional cuppa! The gold shimmer of this was pleasing to the eye and the tea and citrus paired well with the vodka.


We grazed on a selection of canapés throughout the evening, including tasty cheese quesadillas and pork bon bons which were the ideal counterparts to the abundance of cocktails.



I rounded off the evening with The Colour Changing One, a blend of Reyka vodka, apple, soda and lime which is served in two beakers before the colourful liquids are poured over ice.


We had a great evening at The Alchemist and I think it will quickly become a firm favourite on the Liverpool scene for its theatrical cocktails and tempting food served in a stunning space. Service was seamless and the bar team were so knowledgeable and helpful. It was good to see a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails on offer alongside classics and more unusual creations too.


Breakfast and Sunday lunch are also on the menu, so there is plenty on offer at all times of the day and as lights are turned down low in the evening this makes an alluring choice of venue for a few cocktails.

The Alchemist 
Brunswick Street 
Liverpool
L2 0UU



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


Until next time,

Camille 

xo

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Cocktail fun at Science and Industry...

Last week I went along to a special event to celebrate the launch of a cocktail festival called Manchester Loves Cocktails. The event was a cocktail masterclass at Science and Industry, an exclusive new bar which is located above Cane and Grain in the vibrant Northern Quarter of the city.
Science and Industry has an aesthetic which conjures up a secret hideaway and there is something very beguiling about the wood panelled room, with candlelit tables and a classic bar area flanked by high stools.


We were welcomed by Nick Fox, the founder of Manchester Loves Cocktails, who has hosted the hugely popular Leeds Loves Cocktails festival over in Leeds since 2013. This is his first year of transporting the concept to Manchester and between 8th-14th August there will be a host of events at more than 40 venues across Manchester, including masterclasses, competitions, tastings and parties. Nick started bartending aged 17 and his passion for cocktails really shone through as he talked about his vision and inspiration to begin the festival.
We were treated to a welcome cocktail which was a spin on a classic Aviation, called the Midsummer Murder which was a blend of basil, Death’s Door Gin, Crème de violet, lime, rhubarb syrup, classic syrup and a little salt. This flavour combination worked so well and this was an ideal summer cocktail for parties or barbecues.


I asked what the most difficult cocktails are to make, which proved to be an interesting question since we were then treated to a Ramos Gin Fizz, a delicious cocktail which requires considerable effort and skill to make due to the inclusion of egg whites in the recipe.


A gin based summery cocktail always sounds appealing to me, so I really enjoyed the Apple Collins made with Fifty Pounds Gin, a tall and cooling drink which is fairly simple to make.


I also had the pleasure of getting behind the bar to make a cocktail under Nick’s expert guidance!
The Pineapple Margherita we sampled next was a real treat, with a lovely hit of herbs from the thyme syrup and a tropical taste from the pineapple. Sherry and Tequila added a heady strength to this drink which is served long garnished with a little black pepper and basil.


The last drink of the evening was the perfect conclusion to the masterclass, which would make the ideal after dinner cocktail. The Negroni Ristretto combines coffee liqueur with vermouth and contains a delicious saffron perfume which is made from scratch. The drink is served in a cafetiere and it is a refined cocktail which is perfect for sipping after dark.



It was a privilege to learn all about cocktails and to hear about Manchester Loves Cocktails from Nick during the course of the evening. Any cocktail fans who will be in Manchester between 8th-14th August should definitely check out the events! Wristbands cost £10 and entitle you to entry to the events as well as £4.50 cocktails and there is so much going on.




Cane and Grain
49 -51 Thomas Street,
Manchester
M4 1NA


What do you all think, do you like the idea of a cocktail festival and which of these drinks appeals to you? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.


Until next time,

Camille 

xo 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Barbecue Experience at Titanic Hotel...

Most of us love a summer barbecue and I was happy to attend the launch of a special new barbecue evening in Liverpool recently. The Titanic Hotel is a stunning building, and the vast space has been converted in to a stylish hotel with restaurant, spa and outdoor terrace. The Colonnade Barbecue Experience is a great concept; every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July until 4th September, the barbecue will welcome both hotel guests and visitors to dine on barbecue food and sip cocktails. Luckily, it was a warm evening and The Pantasy steel band were on hand to welcome us with music which had a distinctly Caribbean flavour. With the music underway, the party atmosphere was added to by special huts where we were invited to customise our own prosecco with elderflower or pomegranate elixir before choosing from the array of fruit to decorate our drinks with. There was also a mini rum stall, where we were served delicious punch made with Mount Gay Rum. 




The terrace was set out with tables overlooking the water, and we took our seats at a table for two where we could watch evening kayakers drifting by. Meanwhile, an array of tantalising aromas filled the air as a team of skilled chefs got the barbecue going and sizzling meat was prepared. Titanic Liverpool’s Head Chef Gill Moss and her team have prepared a mouth-watering menu featuring Barbecue and Tobacco rare breed pork with courgette fries as well as an Aberdeen Angus and horseradish burger.



When the food was ready, we were spoiled for choice with succulent slow cooked pork, burgers, chicken skewers and a varied selection of fresh salad, bread and accompaniments to choose from. The food was so good and the warm weather and vibrant atmosphere of the party made this such a fun evening. Beauty experts from Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar were on hand inside to add a little pampering in to the mix and there was a holiday feeling in the air as we enjoyed the food, cocktails and music. 



I enjoyed customised prosecco and some of that delectable rum punch, which made me dream of lying on a white sand beach (well, a girl can dream!) I think that the Barbecue Experience at Titanic will be a popular new dining experience for Liverpool this summer.



I really like the idea of having all the good parts of a barbecue without having any of the preparation to do, especially on an outdoor terrace with beautiful views. This takes barbecues to the next level and it was a stylish evening with a great ambience all round. 


The Colonnade BBQ food menu is £15.00 per person and will be served from 12pm - 5pm
every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 4th September at Titanic Hotel Liverpool. Reservations are recommended.

Titanic Hotel
Stanley Dock, 
Regent Rd, 
Liverpool 
L3 0AN

0151 559 1444


What do you all think, do you like the idea of a luxurious barbecue dining experience overlooking the water and what is your favourite barbecue food? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.


Until next time,

Camille 

xo 

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Barista style coffee all day with Nescafe Azera...

Barista style coffee on the go is something that definitely sounds like music to my ears, coffee is a drink which I see as a real treat at any time of the day. It is a pick me up and I find it an oddly soothing ritual to make coffee at home. I make a cup first thing in the morning to wake me up as I go through emails and organise my day and I drink it in the afternoon as I often spend time in coffee shops when I am working. As a writer, coffee is something which I associate with creativity and I love the idea of different coffees which match my mood throughout the course of the day. I was delighted to work with Nestle Azera recently, and I had the chance to sample a range of their Azera coffee. The first thing I loved about these was the eye catching arty designs of the limited edition tins, look out for them in major supermarkets at the moment. Aren't the designs striking? I will definitely be finding another use for these tins when I have worked my way through the coffee! 


In an ideal world I would always be within a short distance of one of my favourite coffee shops, but in reality when I am travelling to different places for work I do not always have time to grab a coffee. The Nescafe 'Coffee to go' cups proved to be the ideal solution and I have relied on these when I have a train journey or an early start. We love to walk by the water in the evening close to where we live too, so these are the ideal drinks to take with us on those evening strolls. The latte variety has a creamy, slightly sweet flavour with a good strength to the coffee too. I liked the Americano also, which had a real depth to it, and they are very easy to make, requiring no more effort than pouring hot water over the powder and giving it a quick stir. The ingenious no-spill lids came in handy too, as I always seem to manage to spill coffee on myself usually! These are a good coffee to take with you when you walk out the door ahead of a busy day and they come in handy for a variety of situations.




The Intenso variety of Azera quickly became my preferred coffee in the morning as I found the full bodied flavour and creamy texture was the perfect thing to give me a much needed burst of energy. When I have been working from home recently, I have enjoyed a cup of Americano in the garden during the afternoon. It is really important to take some time out for yourself during the course of a busy day, so my afternoon coffee is always a nice chance to regroup my thoughts and gather my motivation for the rest of the working day. In the evening, my partner and I have got in to the habit of having a cup of the Espresso variety after dinner, this makes a nice after dinner coffee due to its intense flavour.


What do you all think, have you tried Nescafe Azera and do you like the idea of coffee shop style coffee at home or on the go? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.


Until next time,


Camille 


xo 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Wine tasting and Pinchos at Roja Pinchos...

Last night I went along to a restaurant which will always be very special to me, Roja Pinchos is located on Berry Street in Liverpool and specialises in Pinchos (also known as Pintxos) and a great selection of wines and gins served in their downstairs Abajo bar. Roja Pinchos was one of the first restaurants I reviewed here on Coco Cami and I have remained good friends with the proprietors Edward and Clare who are very hard working, lovely people. When I received an invitation to the launch of their new wine selection, I knew that I would be in for a treat. After a warm welcome, we headed downstairs to the Abajo. Roja Pinchos has two levels, the restaurant upstairs and the Abajo beneath which is a cool bar which has a hideaway feel to it with low lights, candlelit tables and of course the all important bar area at the back. Wine experts from Matthew Clark Wines were on hand to talk us through the selection for the evening and there was quite an array with a wide spectrum of both red and white Spanish wines to choose from. We started off with white wines and worked our way up to the reds!



We heard all about the origins of the wines and the stories behind each one as well as a little about the tasting notes. These wines are not widely available, which made tasting them even more special. Each wine was accompanied by a selection of Pinchos and we enjoyed brie and onion, date with cream cheese, seafood and meat varieties during the evening as well as an artichoke heart variety and one of my favourites, Manchego cheese topped with quince jelly. The mild and creamy Manchego cheese paired extremely well with the many outstanding wines we sampled during the night.



If you have not tried Pinchos yet, they are essentially similar to tapas the key difference being that they are served on a wooden stick. These are very moreish and they deliver such a wide variety of flavours. These snack style morsels are often served with drinks in bars especially in the Northern region of Spain, and I can see why they are so popular as they make an ideal accompaniment to drinks.



Some of the amazing red wines we tasted included Maquinon Casa Rojo, Contino Rioja and Portia Sierra del duero. The Maquinon was one of my favourites and it has a slightly spicy taste as it is made using the best Garnacha grapes from Priorat in Catalunya. The Contino Rioja was one of the more expensive wines we tried and it had a very deep and rich flavour which paired beautifully with some of the Pinchos. 




It was a great night and we learned so much about wine and each choice complemented the different flavours of the Pinchos, making the wine tasting much more of a gourmet experience. 


I had a wonderful time and it was so nice to catch up with Edward and Clare and to enjoy irresistible Pinchos paired with such an exquisite choice of wines.


Roja Pinchos
50 Berry St,
 Liverpool 
L1 4JQ

0151 378 9563



What do you all think, do you like the idea of a wine tasting evening paired with Pinchos and have you ever eaten Pinchos before? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

 Until next time, 

Camille 

xo