Wednesday 30 October 2013

William Curley, London

After coming across the wonderful creations by William Curley, a highly decorated luxury patissier & chocolatier based in London, I was extremely looking forward to trying the beautiful cakes. We already planned what cakes we wanted, earl grey, milk chocolate and coconut entremets and the rose, raspberry and lychee dome. 

Sadly we got to the Belgravia branch around 4pm after a trip to nearby Medlar and most of the cakes had sold out. I was devastated but ordered the yuzu and praline tart. The stunning creation with a vanilla yuzu bavaroise was nice with a slight hint of citrus. The praline was a tad too sweet but it was gooey and heavenly with the hazelnut and almond pastry.  

After one cake I wanted something more, although there were many tantalising chocolates displayed, but I did not feel like eating anymore chocolate. The ice cream selection was exciting and with different from the norm flavours which were enticing such as jasmine and miso & white chocolate. I chose the jasmine flavour, the ice cream or shall I say sorbet since it was quite icy was lovely; the jasmine was refreshing and so pure that the taste was lingering in my mouth for ages, a good palate cleanser after the sweet tart.

I hope to get there earlier next time or to visit Harrods to sample the other William Curley cakes I originally wanted. That will be the near the top of the agenda during the next London trip!

William Curley on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Mughli, Manchester

We don’t often try Indian/Pakistani cuisine; this post is the first of its kind on the blog following a visit to Mughli on Wilmslow Road, Manchester.  One of the reasons being that Mrs Nom and hot food do not mix well, we broke the trend however following glowing reviews and the introduction of an interesting menu with smaller plates showcasing Indian/Pakistani street food.

Anticipating the heat from the food we ordered a jug of mango lassi rich in yoghurt along with refreshing watermelon lemonade to help cool Mrs Noms taste buds when the going would inevitably get too tough for her.  The drinks menu has a large range of cocktails and mocktails on offer. 

Like a kid in a sweetshop we ended up ordering too many smaller dishes as starters including Pani Puri, beautiful parcels filled with chickpea and potato chaat topped with sweet yoghurt, red onions and pomegranate seeds. These were light and fresh helping to cool down the fiery sensations from the other dishes. Gunpowder chips, chilli sweet potato fries which packed a punch. The tamarind masala fish, chunks of masala battered haddock in a chilli tamarind & lime dressing had the biggest kick of the all the dishes and we were thankful for the mango lassi.

Halloumi menander, battered and fried spicy cheese pieces were a joy.  The Kati roll, generous amounts of smokey tandoori chicken pieces with spinach and red onions in a wrap.  It was so packed with chicken that we felt full after the starters and were dreading the rest of the meal. We skipped the charcoal pit section of the menu, but made a mental note as a must order next time after seeing the mixed grill arrive on the next table.

We chose two curries and a garlic naan, we were relieved to see reasonable potions of deboned lamb shank nihari and butter chicken with a couple slices of naan.  We were worried incase a large manhole cover sized piece of bread appeared as we had experienced at Akbars.  The nihari was filled with big chunky pieces of tender lamb which finished me off, the spices were subtle with the bone marrow juices showcasing the lamb. The fragrant butter chicken was a rich creamy dish and we struggled to make a dent in this and ended up having it boxed up to take away.

Mughli is far from the old school curry houses of the past, refreshing it’s offering moving with the times by bringing in delicious street food into a restaurant setting along with the classic curry dishes.

Mughli on Urbanspoon

Monday 28 October 2013

Per Tutti, Manchester

Per Tutti meaning ‘for all’ in Italian re-launched in August with a 50% off food offer during September.  The restaurant is situated on Liverpool Road, Manchester.

Between two we shared a starter of crab & avocado cocktail with tomato, mango and chilli since we weren’t too hungry. A dainty looking starter but there wasn’t a kick with the chilli; in fact I couldn’t taste any chilli. It really needed some heat to lift the crab cocktail.

For mains, my friend ordered the 6oz steak frites, she was digging her way through the steak but wasn’t too keen on the seasoned fries.

I chose rosemary and garlic marinated lamb chops, a generous portion of 3 lamb chops. This was not bad but not knocking my socks off. I wanted to swap the fries for the buttered new potatoes and ended up getting both in the end, so nothing to complain about there!

The portion sizes are decent at Per Tutti, it’s a nice chilled and relaxed restaurant. Great for a catch up with friends and I think they had a jazz night that particular evening so it’s perfect for evening entertainment.  With 50% off the food it is great value, but at full prices then some refinements are needed to lift the food to compete with the embarrassment of riches on offer in Manchester right now.

Per Tutti on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Thursday 24 October 2013

Camp & Furnace - Food Slam Fridays, Liverpool

Camp & Furnace are undoubtedly one of the current pioneers of the Liverpool food and drink scene. Making best use of the large warehouse premises they hold numerous events catering for all sorts of diner. We have previously posted about one of its Social nights, where small plates and sharing are the order of the day.  One of the mainstays introduced in the summer was Food Slam Fridays, a chilled out Friday evening event offering casual food and drink coupled with entertainment.  It has proved to be roaring success evidenced by the fact by the crowds it attracts and that it is still going strong now as we head into Winter.

The main attraction to us is the constant change and innovation in the food offerings; no two weeks are the same.  Sometimes dishes for forthcoming Social nights and supper clubs are tested at the Food Slams.  There is a constant stream of guest stalls, most notably Bakchich before they opened up shop in Bold Street. Over the last few months we have been at numerous Food Slam Fridays, below are a sample of some of the dishes.

A no knives and forks stand served suckling pig with buttered pork gravy and chunky apple chutney (£5), the pork was melt in the mouth and as good as it looked. Apparently the whole suckling pig with head and all sparked some controversy but where do these people think meat comes from! We also chomped away on a cheese fondue (£4) with carrot sticks, gherkins and brioche.

The chippy tea stand served up beer battered sausage hotdogs with chip shop curry sauce (£5). This was rather heavy and salty leaving me feeling uncomfortable and full for hours afterwards!

We first sampled Bakchich at a Food Slam event. We ordered the Chicken shawarma and falafel platter (£6). It was a great platter with an explosion of wonderful flavours.

Sticky chicken with thyme potatoes (£4), a great snack with a pint or two!

At one of the larger Food Slams, I guess they differ in size due to weather and how close it to payday and other commitments etc, the Grand Garden menu was one of our favourite Food Slams.  Some of the dishes were a test run for one of the Social nights.  The highlight being a Sirloin Wellington with mild mushrooms (£7). Displayed as a gorgeous gigantic slab of sirloin encased a golden pasty we were worried the Wellington would be a little dry; but past the first few slices the meat was wonderfully moist and pink and well matched with the wild mushrooms.

Red Mullet with olives, tomatoes and basil (£6), this was a light summer dish, flaky fish with a range of tomatoes; it was a shame the skin was slightly burnt. Always wanting to try green tomatoes it was a bonus to see them presented with the mullet.

A ham hock terrine with pineapple relish and a crispy egg caught our eye, the dish was atractively presented. We particularly enjoyed the pineapple relish and the crispy egg which was lightly fried with a runny yolk. It was a very moreish dish, something worth reordering when it reappears!

Having a break from the food we went on to sample the cocktails at Slam Wars, a competition between Camp & Furnace and Berry and Rye. Mr Nom picked a Clover Club - Bombay Gin shaken with Noilly Prat, fresh lemon juice and raspberry jam. I chose the Aromatic Cherry Aviation -Tanqueray gin shaken with Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and spiced black cherry syrup. The cocktails were beautiful and the added extras of the chocolate coffee beans were lovely little nibbles.  I’m sorry but I think Berry and Rye just edged the cocktail wars this time. 

We had been eyeing up the Wood Fire pizzas from Maltidas from the beginning. We settled upon the courgette, spinach and goats cheese pizza (£6), the toppings were different to our usual choices. We added a touch of garlic oil to the pizza which definitely lifted the flavours. The pizza was lovely, not heavy on the stomach with just the right dough depth and the toppings were fresh. Mr Nom loved the goat’s cheese and I guess I rather like it too! Normally I don’t like to eat the crust on pizzas but I had no problem with devouring them.

As we still felt peckish, we headed back to Grand Garden for Serano ham, honey and feta (£4) which was a good snack, and the lovely addition of mint leaves adding another flavour to the plate. We ended the evening with a white chocolate and pecan tart (£3). The tart was loaded with pecans, a fabulous dessert and the white chocolate was mellow and not too sweet, perfect!

Our favourite Food Slam to date which was epic given the choice and variety on offer.  We also met Steven Burgess, the food director for the first time and watched him in action as he prepared the most of the dishes.

Another Food Slam saw a Peruvian theme with flamed salmon, fresh lime, chopped tomatoes and passion fruit. It was the first time for me pairing fish with passion fruit; I found it created fresh and interesting flavours. The salmon was just cooked ever so slightly using a blow torch and very zesty lime juice was squeezed onto the fish. 

Chicken wings, spiced salt, tamarind and pomegranate salsa. The pomegranate salsa was great, one I might actually try to make at home.

Salt cold, pickled red onions and toast, it was lovely and not too salty. I have had salt cod before but this was balanced perfectly. I like the addition of pickled onions the acidity to cut through the dish.

A recent trip to the supermarket was side tracked due to a quick excursion to Food Slam. We stopped at the Chippy Tea stand where they were serving scallop & scallop, accompanied with malt vinegar, pea puree and pea shoots. The dish was even presented in one of the polystyrene plates reminiscent of chip shops. The potato scallop would of been better if it deep fried a little more and the scallop was just about seared on both sides. Mr Nom liked the malt vinegar gel as it was set and didn’t run all over the other parts of the dish.

We look forward to seeing what new dishes will be unveiled at future Food Slam Fridays. There is always a good range of dishes which cater for all including vegetarians. So if you’re looking for somewhere to chill after a long week then look no further to Camp & Furnace on a Friday night.

Camp and Furnace on Urbanspoon

Wednesday 23 October 2013

The Lord Clyde, Macclesfield

It is great to finally try Chef Ernst Van Zyl’s food at The Lord Clyde in Macclesfield.  Having previously worked at The Fat Duck and Noma, we anticipated exceptional cooking. After months of seeing Chef Ernies beautiful food on Twitter I was eager to visit.  Set down a country lane cows freely roam the fields opposite the restaurant.

The journey was a breeze for me as I don’t live very far from Macclesfield.  Although it had been years since I have been back in the area as I used go to Poynton high school.  Driving to The Lord Clyde brought back those memories and also the gruelling trips to the orthodontist, bad times!

As we were reading the menu a little taster amuse was brought to the table. Flavoursome crispy chicken skin with plum for sweetness and chicken liver parfait, a well-balanced yet bold flavoured treat.  Chef Ernie came out to introduce himself and we took the opportunity to ask him for his recommendations to which he replied everything! We were torn between the starters and ended up ordering three between us.

Next up was freshly baked sourdough bread presented in a sack with hot smoked butter which was the star of the show. It was fabulous and worked really well with the bread.

The venison tartare dish was new on the menu, with wild mushroom and salt baked celeriac. Simply stunning.

As for Mr Nom, he ordered the wood pigeon with granny smith, parsley root and caramel. I got to confess, that was probably my favourite starter of them all, the breast was lightly smoked and the caramel notes running through the dish were stunningly executed.

Our eyes were too big for our bellies and I nearly regretted ordering the mackerel starter as well as I was already getting a bit full which wasn’t helped by a late lunch at Australasia. The mackerel was cured, the soft fish contrasting with the crunch from the celery and shallots. Ernie told us it was one of the most popular starters.

For the main course Mr Nom picked monkfish wrapped in chicken skin, potatoes and poached pear. The explosion of flavours on the plate was incredible from pickled vegetables to poached quince for the sweetness. The monkfish was certainly kept moist with the chicken skin wrapped around the meaty fish.

I chose the main of Rabbit loin, figs, sweet potato and dried scallops. I loved the buttery sweet potatoes against the crunchy yet sweet dried figs and the succulent rabbit loin.

We both decided to share the lemon curd, meringue, wild rice and blueberries dessert, as it seemed the lightest of all the desserts. The lemon curd was extremely zesty, exactly how I like my lemon desserts. The wild rice added interesting flavours and texture along with the pickled blueberries.  There was a mixed selection of fresh and pickled blueberries and Mr Nom didn’t believe me when I said they were pickled at first.  Although he was probably just fobbing me off whilst quietly finishing all the lemon curd.

Overall, we enjoyed the food that Chef Ernie produced. His cooking techniques and presentation are fantastic and I like that he plays with textures which I am fond of. It’s definitely a great beginning for The Lord Clyde and I look forward to numerous visits in the future with it being so local to me. 

Lord Clyde on Urbanspoon