Cheshire Food Blogger

The Railway Cafe, Alderley Edge

This place is kind of a dream. I visited late last November with my good friend Becky to celebrate her birthday. We both love adventurous food, gin, cocktails and decent restaurants with a bit of character so we thought this place sounded perfect. We visited on a Saturday taking advantage of their early bird deal: 20% off if you order before 6pm which I thought was a really great offer.

From the outside, the place looks warm, cosy and inviting. You walk in through a dark, curtained porch then straight into the bar and dining space. The place has plenty of character: the dark polished wooden floor has panels of intricately pattered tiles and the general décor is rustic and trendy. When a place gives me ideas for the decoration my own house, I automatically feel at home.

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When we arrived, the place was empty, but it was early and the staff were seemingly preparing themselves for a busy evening ahead. They gave us the best seat in the house; a cute table for 4 in the middle of the restaurant, opposite the bar.

We first perused the impressive cocktail menu – a great mix of gin cocktails; some short, some sweet, some with a spicy twist (guess which one I went for?). As it was back in November, and I can’t remember exactly which ones we chose: all I will say is that Becky’s was sweet, mine included chilli. They were both delicious. We drank 2, each.

Ready to eat – we studied the menu. It’s a mixture of snacks/nibbles, small plates, large plates (you can tell roughly by the price of the dish how big in size it is likely to be – advice from the manager who gave us the menus and offered to talk us through them). As we were spoilt for choice we decided on a mixture of small plates to share.

We ordered/devoured:

  1. Lamb Sliders mini lamb burgers in a toasted brioche, garlic mayo, cucumber raita and pickled onions
  2. Chilli Imli Chicken Wings ginger-tamarind glaze and cracked black pepper
  3. Super Green & Quinoa Salad with kale, tender stem broccoli, poached pear, asparagus, chilli and candied pistachio
  4. Beetroot & Avocado cumin yoghurt and garlic toasts
  5. Gunpowder Chips hand cut and served with garlic mayonnaise

It was kind of a feast. We could have done without the chips, but they were beautiful, and we thought it’s Becky’s birthday so ‘f*ck it’. No regrets.

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The lamb sliders were amazing. The meat was slightly pink in the middle, absolutely packed full of warmth and flavour from a gentle array of seasoning and spices and the accompaniments really complimented and enhanced the flavours. The buns were so, so soft and squidgy too. They were delicious.

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The chilli imli wings were also divine. So fresh and steaming hot, they arrived first with finger bowl to-boot. This was going to be messy. Sweet, sticky, meaty morsels of satisfaction. The portion size was impressive too.

The quinoa salad was an explosion of sweet, healthy flavours that did well to cleanse the palate between mouthfuls of the other dishes. In it’s own right, it was a big bowl of goodness that was filling enough to eat with perhaps just one other small plate as a main course for one person.

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The beets and avocado were lovely, so many layers of flavour and texture from the crunchy toasts to the sliky texture of the beet/avocado salsa on top. The ‘gunpowder’ chips were chunky, fluffy in the middle, crisp on the outside and seasoned really well with a dusting of chilli and paprika.

Somehow we had room for pudding, but again, we opted to share. We went for this delightful little chocolate and coconut mousse with coconut shavings, strawberries and big shards of thin, dark chocolate that just melted in your mouth. It was light but delicious and a great way to end such an absolute feast.

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Overall I was really impressed with the exciting and well-executed menu that The Railway Cafe has to offer. These guys also own two excellent Indian restaurants in the area (Mughli in Knutsford and Rushholme – the latter being my favourite of the two because of it’s more laid-back style). Find details on them both and Railway Cafe at them at www.mughli.com or tweet them @mughli. ❤


Note: We paid for our meals and Railway Cafe did not know I was reviewing their food.
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Thai Street Food at Chilli Banana’s Sunday Buffet

I have been eating Thai food until I pop, again. And this time was even more fun than last time. This time, Chilli Banana Wilmslow were shaking things up at their regular Thai Sunday buffet; introducing more street-food dishes including authentic Thai street carts to serve them up in! I got invited along to sample the whole lot and take some photos of the experience. Here’s how I got on….

We arrived just after 1pm and the place was almost full. Busy across both floors with hungry families, groups of friends and couples (old and young) meandering around the place with full or empty places getting their fill of tasty Thai treats. As we looked at the menu we were amazed at the variety on offer. Our table was upstairs on the terrace (that was covered up, with heaters on) directly opposite a cute Thai cart serving up fresh pork noodle soup… I knew what I was going to try first!

The list of dishes on offer featured an impressive 5 starters, 8 main dishes and 3 desserts plus traditional Thai coffee, all of which were being served up throughout the building. Each serving station had plates and an array of appropriate condiments/seasoning’s to enhance and personalise each dish to your liking.

You guessed correct, we started with noodle soup. Each bowl was made fresh to order by a lovely Thai chef. The dish comprised of a stunningly seasoned broth, pork meat balls, strips of pork, bean sprouts, cabbage and rice noodles.

Once chef had served you a bowl of hot soup, it was then time to top and season. Crushed peanuts and sliced spring onions added lovely texture and even more flavour to the dish. Sugar, fish sauce and chillies added an extra depth of flavour that you could tweak until you got it just how you like it.  This was such a stunning dish and I really couldn’t recommend it enough! A great was to whet the appetite!

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Goyteow Moo Namtok (pork noodle soup) the stunning finished product ❤

Downstairs, in front of the kitchen all of the starter dishes were laid out, being readily topped-up by chefs on the busy shift. We sampled the vast majority of them, and there were a few real stand-out dishes. The Kanom Gui Chai was dim sum stuffed with chives and marinated in sweet soy. They were also referred to as ‘chive cakes’ and they really were delicious.

Another great dish from this selection was the Si Ooah – Northern Thai spicy sausage. This was served in chunky slices, and it was spicy. It was packed full of Thai flavours like lemongrass, chilli and spring onions. I’d not tried this before but I really, really enjoyed it.

The marinated pork and chicken skewers were also gorgeous and the peanut sauce served with the chicken was particularly good. There was also salad bits to choose from if you wanted to keep things light. The only disappointing dish I tried was the vegetarian spring rolls, the filling was a little thin on the ground so all you could really  taste was the pastry.

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selection of Thai starters ❤

By this point, we were starting to get a little full. But there was still sooooo many dishes to taste, so we soldiered on. I wanted to try something a little different so went for the Kow Man Gai – steamed chicken and rice served with cucumber and a rich, fragrant sauce.  The chickens were steamed whole on a rotisserie, which made them unbelievably juicy and tender. I’d not tried a Thai dish like this before but I really enjoyed it and it did feel like quite a clean, healthy option that was still packed full of flavour through the sauce.

Back upstairs, and Bradley was getting stuck into ‘the curry shop’. A stall in the upper floor restaurant that was serving up Raan Kow Gaeng – a selection of Thai red, green and a pork stir-fry curry. We tried the Thai red curry and the port stir-fry… The curry was packed full of bamboo shoots and chicken and had a really nice creamy texture and was mild on the spices. The pork was a little on the salty side for me but overall it was a nice dish and the green beans were really crunchy.

As if that wasn’t enough, we still had some more dishes to try. This was one of my favourites, and I think another lighter option for those wanting to watch the calorie intake. The Pad Thai was stunning. This is one of my favourite Thai dishes, but to have it made fresh to order by a Thai chef and to watch him make it in front of your eyes in the middle of the restaurant is really special. I went for the vegetarian (tofu) option, but they also had chicken.

The finished product was stunning, and again you could add bits and season yourself to get the balance just how you like it with crushed peanuts and fresh lime. It was steaming hot, the tofu and egg tasted fresh and the veggies were crisp and delicious. The chef was a really nice chap too 🙂

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Traditional Pad Thai ❤

So after this epic feast, there was just puddings to go. I must admit, Thai puddings don’t really have anything on English, French or American. But we tried all options with an open mind and were in some cases, pleasantly surprised. First up was the Kanom Krok (coconut cakes) which were again being made fresh on a large purpose made hotplate that gently cooked the coconut milk, rice, sugar and spring onion (yes you read that correctly!) and the other dish we tried was the i-teem Kati (coconut ice cream with traditional Thai toppings). The coconut cakes were nice, quite light and sweet. However, I wasn’t keen on spring onion as a topping, I found this a little too savoury for a dessert!

The coconut ice cream however was delicious. The toppings were a little strange (diced sweet potato in a sweet syrup!) but overall this was a lovely way to end traditional Thai feast, particularly when washed down with a cup of kaffee bolan – Thai coffee served with sweet condensed milk. Naughty, but very nice indeed:-)

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed this culinary adventure and enjoyed the vast majority of all the dishes we tried. I think the introduction of street food to the Sunday buffet is fantastic. It adds a new sense of adventure and makes the whole thing a really fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.

There were lots of families there with young children, so I’d say the buffet was a great place for families and a good way to introduce kids to the exotic flavours of Thailand by allowing them try little bits that they like the look of.

This epic feast has also got us planning our trip to Thailand! Thanks very much to Steve and Mai for inviting me 🙂

Find out more about Chilli Banana on their website here, and to book a table at the Wilmslow Sunday Buffet, contact below:

The Chilli Banana Thai Restaurant,
71 Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5BQ

T: 01625 539 100

E: wilmslow@chillibanana.co.uk


I was invited to the Chilli Banana to sample the new menu and as such the meal was complimentary, However, as with all of my reviews, my thoughts and opinions are as honest and objective as possible.
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What the Pho?!

Before Christmas I ate out at Pho, Manchester, with my little sister Hannah B. We had a bit of a feast. Plus wine. We were catching up, it was a Saturday. It was all very fun indeed. Here’s a little more about the scran…

Pho brings Vietnamese food to Manchester’s Corn Exchange

Set in the newly refurbished and very stunning Corn Exchange, this place is a true delight. Over 3 floors, the ground floor welcomes you to high ceilings, super-cool decor (including trendy neon lights) and a little bar in the corner that serves some great wines, cocktails and beers. We tried their version of a mojito, rather aptly named the ‘Phojito’ and it was sharp, refreshing and delicious. I also highly rated their sauvignon blanc, and Hannah enjoyed the pinot grigio blush as we hungrily scanned the menu…

The starter collection is extensive “dipping, rolling and sharing is what our starters and sides were made for” it reads… Chicken wings, meatballs and summer rolls, to name a few.

We opted for the rather healthy fresh rice paper rolls (aka Gỏi cuốn) – king prawns meticulously wrapped in sticky rice paper with coriander, vermicelli noodles and pickles. You can choose from either ‘nước chấm’ or peanut sauce – we opted for ‘nước chấm’, a sharp, slightly sour chilli sauce that absorbs into the contents of the perfectly stuffed rice paper as you dunk.

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fresh rice paper summer rolls with herbs, vermicelli
& pickle

Being seafood lovers, we also shared the ‘Muc chiên giòn’ – tender fried baby squid with a salt, pepper & lime dip. The dip arrives separately and you get to mix it up yourself at the table, adding to it as you wish the array of table condiments (Siracha, soy or fish sauce). The squid was piping hot, juicy and fresh. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  The portion size was also very generous, so if you’re sharing like we were there is plenty to go around.

For the mains, Hannah went for prawns, again. Yes, there is a theme occurring. She chose the ‘Xào’ which was described on the menu as a ‘stir fry of chilli & greens in a mild gingery sweet sauce’. We both enjoyed it – but I would not, in any way, describe the sauce as ‘mild’. The sauce was in fact rich, light in its consistency (pictured below) and absolutely slapped you in the face with a fist full of tangy ginger and dark soy. It was amazing. But, I fear, possibly slightly misleading when described as mild!

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king prawn Xào stir fry of chilli & greens in a rich, gingery sauce

I, of course, decided to go for the Pho. I went all out and chose a house special; Pho dặc biệt: king prawns, tofu & flash fried steak with garlic in beef broth. The broth itself was full of flavour, piping hot and contained loads of fresh herbs and veggies which was delicious. The prawns were also really big, plump and juicy. The flash-fried beef however, was a little on the tough side. And I thought the tofu overtook the dish a little so I had to leave a load of it out. But apart from that the dish was tasty, filling, warming and fresh. Next time I’m going to try one of the spicy seafood broths instead! No tofu!

Overall we really enjoyed our meals and I am looking forward to returning to try more dishes. The staff were very attentive, although it wasn’t too busy as we visited at 4pm on a Saturday, so in between the lunch and dinner rushes.

Have you been to Pho yet? What did you think? Would you recommend any other  places to eat in Manchester’s Corn Exchange?

I was invited to Pho to review some options from their menu, as during the launch I didn’t get any food as there wasn’t enough to go around. 🙂 However, all opinions are my own and I have tried to be as objective as possible throughout my visit and review.

Sophie -x-

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Brunch (again) at Tomfoolery, Alderley Edge

It’s not a coincidence that I’m writing about brunch, again. I love brunch. It’s the ultimate weekend food. So when I got invited to try the brunch menu at Tomfoolery at 34, Alderley Edge, I just couldn’t resist.

Tomfoolery is a fairly new establishment and it’s safe to say it’s a unique little joint, located on Alderley Edge’s very popular London Road. It’s somehow seamlessly a bakery, café and burger restaurant all in one, which has been impressing its critics and customers since its launch in the summer.

It’s definitely got an eclectic style, which Bradley and I liked very much and felt instantly ‘at home’. It’s full of mismatched furniture, bright and colourful paintings on the walls and very retro wallpaper and lampshades. The theme is clearly focused on 80’s and 90’s film and game memorabilia – with miniature versions of Connect 4 and Hungry Hippos on the tables, which instantly take you back to your childhood in a way that really captures your imagination, and make you feel like a big kid again (not that we need any encouragement!)

We started by ordering coffees. It was 11am on a Saturday (Halloween to be precise) and we hadn’t yet ate or drank a morsel so coffee was in order. Bradley ordered his latte and I my cappuccino, both came served in big, cartoon-themed mugs placed on a vintage side-plate as a saucer and both with a homemade shortbread in the shape of a little cute ghost. A nice touch, we absolutely loved the coffee; strong as it should be but super smooth and the froth was silky and perfect. The biscuit was the bomb too.

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Cappuccino with home made ghoul-shaped shortbread

We also tried a shake. As although it was brunch, it would be rude not to try one. And you get the vibe that ‘anything goes’ in this place so we ordered a Peanut Butter Oreo Shake to share. Oh, my God. It was delicious. Naughty – but very nice indeed.

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Peanut Butter Oreo Shake ❤

So, impressed by the decor, mini-games, coffees and shakes – we were ready for what we came here for. The food. We browsed the menu, which had plenty to choose from, 2 pages of brunch delights, in fact and a nice little ‘toast’ section where you can build your own brunch by choosing the toast then a range of different toppings such as rarebit, home-made baked beans or smoked salmon.

Bradley, being the waffle-obsessed being that he is – went for the waffles with Maple Syrup. Except, this time – it wasn’t served with bacon. Tomfoolery’s version comes with fried chicken, and an egg – however you want it (he went for sunny-side up).

And me, being the avocado-obsessed being that I am – went for the smashed avocado, lime, pickled chilli and (poached) egg on a muffin. It was great to see such a healthy option on the menu, amongst others I must add.

Both dishes, overall, were lovely. Bradley did find the fried-chicken-instead-of-bacon a bit of a shock, but we had realised there was no bacon on the menu at all. This is because the guys at Tomfoolery at 34 don’t serve any pork in an effort at attract halal customers. I spoke to them about this to find out more, and they said they feel other meats are as good, if not better, for brunch therefore they don’t see pork as a necessity. It’s clear to see (especially from the eccentric theme of Tomfoolery) that they respect tradition but want to put their own spin and creativity on things and encourage people discover something new as a result… And that we did!

The waffles were delicious, as was the fried chicken, which was crispy, very well-seasoned and very juicy. We were not convinced that the egg went that well with the dish – but it was perfectly cooked as you can see from the picture, the yolk was so runny and the edges were a little crisp, just how we like them. It’s safe to say though, that Bradley is a bacon-maple-syrup kind of guy, as you can see from my last post!

My smashed avocado on an English muffin was lovely – the avocado was fresh and I really liked the addition of pickled chillies. The poached egg was slightly over-cooked for my liking, and the texture of the muffin was quite heavy and dense, but overall the dish was tasty and I enjoyed it.

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I feel bad pointing out the negativities here, as the guys at Tomfoolery clearly do know how to cook. Their other reviews have been raving. I just think the brunch menu could be tweaked slightly to suit all tastes, and that a few things need perfecting to make the overall experience one to totally rave about.

As we ventured downstairs after brunch, we couldn’t help but have a nosy at the incredible looking cake counter. They had all sorts on offer from giant home-made cakes with loads of wonderful flavour combinations and some epic looking cookies too (the white choc chip and M&Ms ones really caught my eye!) We opted for a slice of the rather seasonal 4 tier pumpkin and carrot cake with honeycomb cream – and it really was delicious. So moist and absolutely packed full of flavour!

Impressive cake counter!
Impressive cake counter!
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4 tier pumpkin and carrot cake with honeycomb cream ❤

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It is genuinely impressive that everything is handmade in-house at Tomfoolery, and overall I must conclude it was really great to finally visit these guys, and I can’t wait to go back for a burger!

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Amazing decor ❤
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Chefs at work in the kitchen upstairs
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Wild wallpaper upstairs at Tomfoolery at 34

Follow the crazy world of Tomfoolery at 34 on:

Twitter: @Tomfooleryat34
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tomfooleryat34
Or visit the weird and wonderful website: https://www.tomfooleryat34.com/
Tomfoolery at 34 Burger Joint and Milk Bar, 34 London Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7DZ.
Cheshire Food Blog

Brunch at No. 12 Easton, Bristol

A couple of weeks ago, Bradley and I went on one of our road-trips to Bristol to visit close friends. It was a bit of a Glastonbury reunion and also an opportunity to see our friends’ really cool new house. It was a weekend of epic proportions; they were amazing hosts and we really did enjoy ourselves… probably a little bit too much judging by the enormity of the hangover that was to follow! But, hey, it was all worth it…

We arrived on the Friday evening, ready bright and early for Saturday’s antics. Our hosts, Becky & Craig, know how much we like cool and quirky places to eat, so they picked out somewhere to take us for brunch on the Saturday morning. We needed something tasty, hearty and filling to keep us going throughout the day… So we headed to No. 12 Easton.

A cool, down-to-earth little coffee house and Deli, situated in the Easton area of Bristol, not far from Stapleton Rd station. The place was busy when we arrived (always a good sign) and the girls on shift were quick to welcome us. They helped us find some seats (as there was 7 of us) outside in the, bright, sunny little courtyard.

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Impressive selection of free range cured bacon, pork sausages, chorizo and free range chicken ❤
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Healthy selection of fine cheeses, butters, cooked meats and pickles ❤
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A stunning selection of cakes – the short bread was absolutely gorgeous ❤

We ordered a range of brunch/breakfast style dishes, and some of the guys opted for more ‘lunchtime’ options with sandwiches.

I opted for the sausage sandwich with mustard & red onion marmalade. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I have an unadulterated obsession with sausages. The bread was incredible, soft but sturdy slabs of white, bouncy bread – perfect to fuel a day of drinking alcohol in the sunshine! The onion marmalade was sweet and sharp, and the mustard was wholegrain which gave it a lovely, savory kick. The sausages themselves were thin, sliced chipolatas, but very meaty indeed. Delicious.

Brad opted for the waffles and bacon with maple syrup, of course! He tells me it tasted as good as it looked (amazing), even though the table was wobbly and he dropped it on the floor, quickly preceded by him picking it up and devouring the whole thing anyway… strictly adhering to the 3 second rule… of course.

Becky and Craig went all out for the sandwich option and both got the house smoked chicken and gammon sandwich with Pitt Cue sauce and pickles. It looked lush.

The cakes on offer also looked absolutely divine. We had a big slab of shortbread and it tasted amazing – chunky, sweet and buttery. It crumbled perfectly then just melted in your mouth as you washed it down with a cup of their delicious coffee, which they source from Extract Coffee  and Round Hill Roastery. I don’t know much about coffee – but compared to the usual Starkbucks or Costa, this stuff had such an epic depth of flavour somehow and really gave you a nice little wake-up buzz from the caffeine.

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Epic sausage butty and door-stop bread
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house smoked chicken and gammon sandwich with Pitt Cue sauce and pickles
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Coffee with a added art, which does look a little bit like a willy! ❤

Overall this place was great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, coffee or cakes. If you’re in the area I would highly recommend!

Follow No. 12 Easton on Twitter.

No. 12 Easton, Bristol, 12 High St, BS5 6DL.

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Chilli Banana Thai Street Food, Bramhall, Cheshire

This week I got to go to the launch of a really exciting new eatery in Cheshire: Chilli Banana Thai Street Food in Bramhall. It’s the ‘little sister,’ of the already very well established Chilli Banana restaurant in Wilmslow, but this time with a street food twist that’s focussing mainly on take-away dishes complete with delivery service for the surrounding areas.

The launch evening was from 5-8pm, and on offer was a fantastic range of enticing street food dishes inspired by the streets of Bangkok, Thailand. I really couldn’t resist, so Bradley and I rocked up at 7pm (the earliest we could get there due to traffic issues) with empty bellies and open minds towards this new and exciting concept.

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One of Chilli Banana’s talented street food chefs, making Pad Thai to order

We were greeted by the very friendly face of Dawn, who took our coats and immediately fetched us a drink – there was lots on offer but we opted for a glass of red wine each. A stunning, fruity glass of Merlot which we both agreed was delicious (some launches serve nasty tasting wine so even before we tasted the food, we were impressed).

The place was packed which was really great to see. I have been to a fair few restaurant launches now and believe it or not some actually have next to no food on offer, which in my opinion isn’t great for a restaurant launch. It also makes it impossible to blog about… After all, how can I blog if I have no yummy looking content or tasty experiences to report back with?

This – my friends, was not one of those occasions…

From Bangkok to Bramhall…

The first thing that caught our eye was THAT PORK. This baby had been slowed cooked ‘since sometime yesterday’ according to the owner, Steve, basically meaning that this beast had been slow cooking for a serious number of hours. The meat was so succulent, juicy and the flavours were amazing – you could taste soy, star anise, a sweetness too – it was all perfectly balanced and everybody was totally blown away by it. I thought this was a great dish for owners May and Steve to choose for the opening night; it was a show stopper that really showcased May’s culinary skills and ability to transform a simple ingredient into something truly amazing. Hats off to the chef!

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The slow-cooked Thai pork belly ❤

Next we tried the Thai red chicken curry – a burst of fresh, spicy, vibrant flavours that really took your breath away and was so moreish. Lots of green beans too so you got a nice amount of veggies to accompany which was a really nice, fresh touch to the dish.

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Spicy Thai red chicken curry with green beans

We also tried the Thai green curry – much more mellow and coconut focussed but still light and packed full of flavour.

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Thai Green Chicken Curry with Thai sticky rice and Aubergine curry on the side ❤

There was Pad Thai being rustled-up to order too, which was really great to see one of their talented cooks at work. This was a veggie option with tofu, which was lovely and firm and gave the sweet yet spiced dish a nice bit of substance, overall a great veggie option. Their menu includes a great variety of noodle dishes too – meat versions of the Pad Thai with chicken or king prawns, or their famous ‘Drunken Noodles’ which come served with either chicken, pork or beef. I’ve had these from the Wilmslow branch and they are absolutely delicious, so if you love noodles make sure you give one of these dishes a try.

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Pad Thai with tofu ❤

Other dishes freely on offer to sample were the miniature Thai spring rolls with chilli dip, chicken skewer bites and also tempura vegetables. We tried the sweet potato tempura and it was an absolute delight.

Overall, Steve and May were very welcoming and it was clear to see from the turn out that the people of Bramhall are really buzzing about this place. It seems likes a fantastic addition to a place which is already full of foodies who appreciate exciting food. I just know this place will do really well.

I want to say a big thanks to Natasta for extending the invite to me via Twitter, Dawn for the very warm welcome and of course to May and Steve whom it was great to finally meet. Bradley and I are now seriously considering a move to within 1.5 miles of Bramhall, just so we can eat super amazing take-out food each weekend. But, for now, the Bramhall branch’s older sister in Wilmslow will do just fine as a still-loved alternative!

Follow Chilli Banana That Street Food on Twitter and take a look at their full menu offering on their website, here.

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Glass Noodle Dish ❤
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Crazy-good Thai street food makes us pull funny faces… ❤
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THAT PORK and the Thai Green Curry in all it’s glory…

Yard & Coop, Manchester

If you live in Manchester, you’ve probably already heard – there’s a new kid in town in the uber cool Northern Quarter. You may already know from my own recipe, I LOVE Buttermilk Fried Chicken, so when I heard about this place I was so clucking eggscited I just had to go see what all the wing flappin’ was about… SORRY, I’m bad at that, I will stop now I promise!

Yard & Coop is the brain-child of Carl and Laura Morris, the co-owners who are actually not married, or even related for that matter! Carl has a background in Sales & Marketing having worked for Revolution for over 10 years, and Laura has formerly worked for Northern Quarter’s Terrace and Simon Rimmer’s Greens in Didsbury. The pair saw the trend of quality fried chicken taking off in America, and wanted to bring the hype back to the wonderful city of Manchester. And boy are we thankful for it.

Carl has spent the past year perfecting the recipes – from the signature seasoned crumb, Buttermilk frying technique and all the homemade speciality sauces and sides that go with it. On the launch night I also met the lovely Clair, Carl’s wife and also front of house manager for the new fried-chicken shack. She’s also in charge of their social media, so chicken-puns-a-plenty: and yep, she’s really clucking good at it 😉

The Food Menu

Let’s waste no time and get straight to it, the chicken. The menu itself is easy to navigate and starts with their main offering – Buttermilk Fried Chicken with their secret crumb recipe. First you chose from Breast or Thigh (£6 and both boneless, yay!) or for veggies you can opt for ‘Not Chicken Nuggets’ – crumb coated nuggets of halloumi cheese which are absolutely delightful. I tried both the thigh and breast varieties and I must say both are super-succulent, although I think the thigh pips the post everso slightly. Next up you chose your ‘style,’ you can keep it simple with the Yard & Coop classic, or chose from their extra seasoned varieties; Chip Shop Curry, Cajun or Afrika Bombaataa which are all seriously good and distinctive in their own ways. Personal fave is the classic, followed by the curry-style for something a bit different. It just works really well (pictured below coating a fat, juicy thigh!)

For the finishing touch – you choose your speciality sauces. On offer is Bourbon BBQ (a surprise favourite for me), The Bee’s Knee’s (which is Cayenne pepper, lime and honey) or the classic Blue Cheese. All the sauces are light, packed full of flavour, shiny as you like but without being sticky. Absolutely nailed it.

Next you pick from ‘Small Plates, Sides, Bits and Things‘ which is a deliciously colourful mix of light and tasty side orders to accompany your chicken. A few noteworthy options we tried were ‘Peas and Love’ (£2.5); garden peas with fresh mint and chilli, ‘Thai Street Salad’ (£3.5); red cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and red chilli, ‘Heritage tomato salad’ (£3); chunky heritage tomatoes, red onion and fresh basil in their home dressing, Chips (£3) which come with a topping choice of Chip shop curry, Monterey Jack cheese or gravy. And finally ‘Battered Salty Jalapeños’ – salty, pickled peppers lighted coated in crispy batter.

I must say, the peas are delicious. My sister and I totally fell in love with them and found them very addictive. They are served cold, the mint is super fresh which is nice between the bites of chicken. The Heritage tomato salad is also deliciously fresh and sweet, and the slaw is crunchy, vibrant and healthy. Really nice to see such fresh sides with such a variety too.

Another stand-out section of the menu is the Wings and Balls section (personal fave) but don’t be alarmed, it’s not an entire section dedicated to deep fried chicken offal. The Wings come in 2 varieties (both £4.50) Bourbon BBQ and Bee’s Knee’s. The ‘Monkey Balls‘ are in fact one of their bestsellers and are their take on the American ‘monkey fingers’ dish (tender bits of chicken deep fried and apparently popular on Halloween!) Yard & Coop style they are balls of buttermilk fried chicken served with 2 of their speciality sauces for dipping (£6.5). Originally intended as a bar snack, these balls were merely meant to be nothing but a nibble between friends over a pint, but the chicken-lovers of Manchester have insisted they are a firm favourite as a sharing side to accompany main dishes! WHY NOT!

Monkey Balls with Bee's Knee's and Bourbon BBQ speciality homemade sauces
Monkey Balls with Bee’s Knee’s and Bourbon BBQ speciality homemade sauces

Other offerings are their Large Plates which includes a range of Burgers, Wraps and Salads (£8.5-9.0), all complete meals so no side orders required. But I BET you order the Monkey Balls anyway… it would be rude not to. In true chicken-restaurant style they also have a sharing bucket, complete with beers, which I think it a great option and awesome alternative to a KFC or a Maccies.

The Drinks & Cocktails

As well as a totally epic food offering, these guys have also properly thought out their entire drinks selection. I will soon be returning to sample more of their cocktails – but for now I can tell you that the following ones are awesome;

Jimi Hendrix; invented by Paul the barman and I must note what an absolute GENIUS he is. El Jimador Blanco tequilla, Hendricks Gin, Fevertree Elderflower tonic garnished with cucumber and watermelon. So refreshing and summery and LOVELY.

Mini Jimi Hendrix Cocktails
Mini Jimi Hendrix Cocktails

Rule the Roost; Lychee and rose liqueurs with Lychee Rubicon topped with Prosecco and garnished with rose petal. A very lady-like and pretty tipple. Sweet but not overly so and very pleasing on the eye!

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Rule the Roost ❤

Juice Springsteen; Vodka and Blue Curacao with lemon juice and cherry bitters topped with apple juice. Extreme refreshment and very thirst-quenching which was delicious.

They also have a range of Hard Shakes – alcoholic milkshakes all served in their signature Yard & Coop paper cups with a straw. We tried the Pina Colada and and Salted Karamel, each feature lashings of silky smooth vanilla ice cream, spirits, juice and/or syrups. They are light and fluffy in texture but pack-a-punch in terms of alcohol content which is perfectly balanced to make them very slurpable indeed. Three words: Who needs pudding?!

I haven’t yet tried the wine, but fell in love with the simplicity of the menu and its options. Dependant on your budget, simply choose ‘Great, Better or Best’ and check the board for the most recent wines available. Simple, effective, helping indecisive wine-pickers since 2015. Nice work, guys!

Visit Yard & Coop’s website and give them a follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by chickin’ these links 😉

37 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
0161 710 2570


I was invited to review Yard & Coop on a complimentary basis, however, all opinions are my own and are completely honest.

Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour, Manchester

I have now been to this place a few times, and I love it. Their pizzas are so delicious and the vibe in there is just kind of cool. Very laid back, you eat off paper plates, drink outa plastic cups, no table service. It’s that sort of vibe. Everybody is just having a good time. The beers are decent and the cocktails are lush too. Happy days.

So this is going to be a quick and dirty review. Put simply – these guys make awesome pizzas & cocktails and there’s some images below to support this. They have an impressive mexican beverage selection too, including tequilas and mezcals – and have recently been declared “the finest mezcaleria outside of Mexico,” pretty impressive stuff.

Also, DON’T be fooled by the name – these guys are open daily from Midday ‘til 4am serving up their delicious slices of quirky and adventurous Italian-American style pizzas. They are £12.50 for a whole 16″, or just £2.50 a slice. So an absolute bargain too if you ask me. Plus, if you live in Manchester you can order their pizzas via Deliveroo, if you really cannot be arsed to leave the sofa. Winning!

My first visit was (sober) with my family. My Dad, Sister, Brother and I decided to hook-up there one Saturday afternoon for a bite to eat and an overdue catch up. We sat down on the stools and tall tables to the right of the front door and started perusing the menu (which is now new since my last visit and looks even more epic!) it didn’t take us long to decide on 2 large pizzas to share between the 4 of us. We went for a bit of a meat-frenzy: the classic Pedro’s Pepperoni, and one that featured Salami, Ham, pulled chicken, red peppers and onions (the exact name escapes me).

As for drinks, I chose the ‘Freddy Fudpucker’s Revenge’ as recommended by Jo from Taste Today. In fact, she recommended the whole place to me. This cocktail is a mix of El Jimador Bianco, Aperol, Lemon, Vanilla, Blood Orange, Peach & Lemon Sorbet. It comes served in a tall terracotta-type vessel with a straw and a wooden spoon for the sorbet. Absolutely delicious. Hannah went for the Peach and Black Pepper Frozen Margarita. Like a slushy for big kids, she thoroughly enjoyed it and it was very prettily presented with pink peppercorns atop. Delish.

Crazy Pedro’s 16″ Pizza’s – all £12.50
Salami, pulled chicken, ham, red peppers & onion <3
Salami, pulled chicken, ham, red peppers & onion ❤
Pedro’s Pepperoni ❤

As you can probably see from the photos, these pizzas are f***ing epic. They really are delicious. The bases are thin, a little crisp on the bottom and the ingredients are fresh as they come. The pizzas are also not overtopped (even for some of the big ones, like the Nacho Libre, for example). These guys take their time to ensure each pizza is cooked to perfection, oh and serve it with a smile too, which is a lot more than you can say for some other fast-food pizza establishments!

Here are a few more images for you to drool over from my other visits…

Summer B - a delightful mix of Wild Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Truffle Oil. YES! <3
Summer B (V) – a delightful mix of Wild Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Truffle Oil. YES! ❤
Nacho Libre (V), Chilli sauce, American Cheese, Jalapeño, Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, Sour Cream and fresh Pico de Gallo - HELL YES
Nacho Libre (V), Chilli sauce, American Cheese, Jalapeño, Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, Sour Cream and fresh Pico de Gallo – HELL YES ❤
Fried Chicken & Waffle - Fried Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Maple Syrup & Waffle. Seriously. A TASTE SENSATION!
Fried Chicken & Waffle – Fried Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Maple Syrup & Waffle. Seriously. A TASTE SENSATION! ❤
Service with a smile... told you.... :-)
Service with a smile… told you…. 🙂
0161 359 3000 Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour 55-57 Bridge Street Manchester, M3 3BQ
0161 359 3000
Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour
55-57 Bridge Street
Manchester,
M3 3BQ

Follow these crazy cats on Facebook and Twitter.


Each time I have visited Crazy Pedro’s Part Time Pizza Parlour I have paid for my meal in full, and they did not know I was going to review their pizzas.

Urban Burger Bar, Altrincham

I recently joined a couple of workmates in a local burger bar for dinner.  We chose the Urban Burger Bar in Altrincham, as the reviews were pretty good, and of course, we all love burgers.

Photos of our visit are quite limited (to just 2!) as my phone battery was running low and I was driving to Liverpool that evening and needed it as a sat-nav. So, instead of going wild and taking copious amounts of photographs, we sat down, relaxed and got to choosing our burgers from their rather extensive range!

Located on Greenwood Street, they are just a 5 minute walk from Altrincham Station, and very close to Altrincham Market. The place has been decorated well with a rustic, laid-back vibe which I really liked. We didn’t book, so we opted for a window seat where we settled ourselves on high, grey metal stools and high wooden tables. Other seating options included regular tables and chairs and some comfy looking, bright cushioned booths towards the back of the restaurant. The bar is situated in the middle of the dining space.

The staff were very friendly and attentive, offering to talk us through the menu and explaining that all their beef burgers are served pink, unless you wish to have them cooked otherwise.

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The Wellington

Having saved ourselves all day, we were hungry. So (2 of us) we went for the double-stack options, which I thought were really reasonable in price. Lucia ordered the “The Wellington” which was a double beef patty, toasted bun, truffle mayo, sautéed mushrooms, maple mustard, spinach, double Jack cheese and dill pickle. I know, right!? A FEAST IN A BUN! She really enjoyed it. Ate every last bite. Little fatty!

The Firecracker
The Firecracker

Being the spice-lover that I am, I could resist in going for “The Firecracker”. This one was also a double beef patty (also a fatty), toasted bun, jalapeño and chilli’s, Jack cheese, tomato, salad and ‘Urban’ sauce. The meat itself was tender, juicy and absolutely full of flavour. Well seasoned and cooked as described – ‘just through’. The chips were also delicious, freshly cooked and crispy, as well as lightly seasoned with some salt which was nice. The garlic mayo was also a highlight, it came served in mini glass Kilner-style jars, which was a little awkward, but I can see what they were trying to do and it does fit in with the ‘trendy’ theme.

Aimee, my not-so-greedy friend, went for the “Urban Chick” Chicken breast burger, toasted bun, urban sauce, salad Jack cheese, bbq sauce, bacon & salad. She really enjoyed it and went for the grilled chicken option, as opposed to the ‘Urban fried chicken’ version. I know, good on her. She healthy!

As we were nearing the end of our meal (around 7pm), the place started to fill up. To my surprise, the clientele was very mixed in age, which I think is a good sign. There were families with children aged about 10-12 years old, all seemingly enjoying chowing down on a proper beef burger. Goes to show this place is popular with local families, for a reasonably priced treat for the kids after school.

Overall, I would recommend the Urban Burger Bar to anyone who is a fan of a decent burger. Their restaurant is cool and the menu is pretty extensive. They also have an ice-cream bar where you can choose your own sweets and chocolate toppings – probably very popular with the kids (and the big-kids, of course!) The only thing I would say is that with burger’s becoming (and staying) increasingly popular, especially in Manchester, it would be good to see some more adventurous options on the menu, to ensure they keep up with this well-established trend.

I paid full price for my meal at Urban Burger Bar, and they did not know I was going to review their food.

30-32 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ

Follow Urban Burger Bar on Facebook and Twitter.

Miyagi’s, Bold St, Liverpool

Liverpool is a place I am very fond of. I lived there for 3 years, in Wavertree, whilst studying a Psychology undergraduate degree at Liverpool Hope University. Many, many memories were made there. But when it came to Graduation (I graduated with a first!) it was time to leave the city as my housemates (all Irish and heading back across the pond) were doing the same. I was too much of a wimp to brave it alone.

Looking back, sometimes I wish I had stayed – but I have no regrets. The life I live now is amazing, and honestly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I do however keep an eye on the Liverpool food scene as much as I can, and my ‘Liverpool List’ is becoming increasingly longer! And I happen to know a few MCR foodies who’d agree!

So as my Irish best friend was back in lovely Liverpool for a few days this weekend, how could I not go and reminisce with her over food & cocktails. After a bit of Twitter research, I decided it had to be MIYAGI’S.

Hannah & I enjoying our cocktails upstairs in KYO bar
Hannah & I enjoying our cocktails upstairs in KYO bar

MIYAGI’S is set at the top-end of Bold Street (number 77, to be precise). They serve up a wonderful range of sushi, yakitori, hearty bowls (including Laksa), Japanese ‘soul food’ and some impressive sounding ‘big plates’. Their menu is Japanese inspired and it’s honestly stunning – I could have closed my eyes and cast my finger on the menu and literally eaten anything from it. ❤

They don’t take reservations for less than 6 people, so as we arrived just after 7:30pm (on Sunday evening) it was a short 20 minute wait for a table for two. We had the choice of having a drink in the bar downstairs or upstairs, and as we were intrigued by upstairs… up we went. To our surprise, the first floor had a completely different look and feel to downstairs, and we later found out this is KYO, their sister late-night bar serving a smaller food menu (until 1am!) and a load of #GuiltyPleasures which sounded epic. Basically a mix of puddings, cocktails and milkshakes with sweets and chocolates and ice-pops and all sorts. We ordered a cocktail up here and the nice bar lady whipped us up a treat – I chose the Ghetto Geisha: pineapple, coconut water, lychee, Havana 3 year Rum & coconut rum – beautifully garnished with a flower and a pink sugar rim. Honestly the best cocktail I have ever tasted, and it looked gorgeous too. You could certainly taste the rum but it married so well with the other fresh, delicate flavours. Hannah went for the Cho Cho San: fresh mint, grapefruit, cranberry, green tea syrup, Giffard pamplemousse & Finlandia grapefruit vodka. Another absolute cracker.

When our table was ready we were escorted downstairs by (another) lovely member of staff. We were seated on a nice table with a low-hanging light above it, with a stunning Japanese-style lampshade. We decided to order a mix of things to share between us both. Our lovely waitress (also named Sophie) was happy to talk us through the menu and also made some great recommendations.

I was really keen to try the Miyagi Fried Chicken with Kimchi mayo, so we ordered 6 pieces which was great value at £9.95. Also from the ‘Soul Food’ menu we chose the Fried crispy duck gyoza with hoisin,£5.75. Keen to try their sushi offering, we ordered a portion of the Yellowfin tuna Nigiri (£6.95) and the Salmon California Rolls (£5.95). Last, but by no means least, we opted for a portion of Mr M’s Tempura, the vegetable option as recommended by Sophie (asparagus, courgette and broccoli, £6.95).

We were told the food arrived when it was ready, so we got straight to catching up on old-times, when only about 20 minutes later the food started to arrive. First up was the sushi, and Sophie came across to the table and asked if we liked wasabi. Yes, was the definitive answer from both of us, so she proceeded to serve up some freshly grated wasabi using traditional (and stunning) Japanese utensils. She told us that there’s only 1 place in the UK who produce proper wasabi – and that’s where this stuff was from. It was barely green, more so a creamy-beige colour and the taste was hot yet milder than other varieties (which are commonly Horseradish dyed green to imitate real wasabi).

The sushi itself was delightful. It was served, of course, with pickled ginger and soy, and the quality of the tuna was absolutely fantastic. It was so tender and just melted in your mouth.

Next came along the duck gyoza with hoisin. The duck parcels were hot, crispy and packed full of delicious, meaty duck. The sauce was smooth and light and tasted so fruity. Sometimes hoisin can be heavy and sticky but this was neither, it was yum.

Crispy duck gyoza with light hoisin
Crispy duck gyoza with light hoisin

We were able to have a short break after these three dishes, but then shortly after came out the vegetable tempura. I really liked how it was served as long batons, obviously complimenting the natural shape of the tenderstem broccoli and asparagus, but the courgette was cut to match and it just worked really well. It came with a creamy/seasoned/mayo-like sauce which was also delicious.

Mr M's vegetable tempura (asparagus, broccoli & courgette)
Mr M’s vegetable tempura (asparagus, broccoli & courgette)

Next to adorn our table was the Miyagi fried chicken. A great mixture of thigh, (huge) wings and drumsticks. It arrived with a plate of something we had never seen before – pickled watermelon rind! It sounds strange but it was really tasty, it was sweet and sour and went with the spicy chicken surprisingly well. The chicken itself was crispy on the outside and absolutely tender and succulent in the middle, the meat almost fell off the bone. The kimchi mayo was spicy, which was great, and dunking the chicken in it was so satisfying! A really great dish.

Soul Food: Miyagi Fried Chicken with spicy kimchi mayo
Soul Food: Miyagi Fried Chicken with spicy kimchi mayo

Overall, this was a fabulous meal and very reasonably priced in my opinion. The staff were so lovely, chatty and helpful too which was great (especially Sophie!) The only downfall is that the menu is so brilliant I will have to take many trips to Liverpool and back just to try the rest of it! Next time I want to try their amazing sounding steamed hirata buns, one of their big bowls of Ramen or Laksa AND one of their big plates e.g. Teriyaki rib-eye steak! Gonna have to wear my stretchy pants!

Follow Miyagi on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. And check out their full food menu here. ❤


I paid for my meal in full and Miyagi’s did not know I was going to review the meal.