Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Michelin-Starred Chef Robert Potter presents his NEW Autumn Menu for The Bybrook

It was a lovely surprise to be invited to preview the new Autumn menu at The Bybrook restaurant at Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe. Michelin-starred chef Robert Potter served us eight Autumnal themed dishes – yes! I did say 8! I basically rolled myself back home after all that food! 

A 5 STAR COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB

“Standing to attention in the cosy Cotswold countryside, The Manor House offers a wealth of experiences to savour, from overnight breaks to unrivalled meetings, world-class dining to award-winning golf, dream weddings or the perfect setting for a private family celebration. Surrounded by 365 acres of spectacular Cotswolds countryside, The Manor House is one of the most beautiful destinations you will discover. At the heart of the 14th century village of Castle Combe, and waiting to be explored are the carefully tended parkland, woodland and gardens and village beyond.”

Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe

It was a pleasure to have Executive Chef, Robert Potter explain how each dish was created, drawing our attention to the locally sourced ingredients (some of which were grown in the hotel’s own garden). It was good to appreciate how much work went into each dish, making all of them memorable.

“Potter says he has “a dedicated focus to serving seasonal and classical food combinations” and his aim “is to create a relaxed fine-dining menu influenced by the seasons as well as being dictated by the beautiful British produce harvested from within the grounds of The Manor House.’’ The Bybrook.

The chef introduced each course, explaining how he created it and the flavours we would expect to taste, then the sommelier matched a wine to each dish and explained the pairing. I’ll give a brief overview of each dish and the photos will speak for themselves.

First, we were served with an amuse-bouche – a selection of three small dishes to get our taste buds fired up. One of which was foie gras in a small cone with golden raisin puree at the bottom.

Plus a selection of warm, homemade bread. The favourite of the night – the caramelised onion bread roll.

So, onto the main event!

1. CRAB – Hand rolled macaroni, Cornish white crab, mooli, Exmoor caviar, chervil, shellfish foam.

Served with Albarino, A20, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2016

This dish wasn’t too fishy, even with the Exmoor caviar, and the shellfish foam was light and delicate. I think this meal would even appeal to someone who isn’t too keen on fish.

Would I eat this again? Yes, but not my first option for a starter.

2. SALMON – Confit of citrus cured Loch Duart salmon, marinated garden beetroot, Yukon gold and horseradish mousse, dill.

Served with Crémant de Bourgogne, Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée, France, NV

I am going back to visit JUST for this dish. The combination of flavours with the salmon was amazing!

Hmm, so words to describe this dish – I’m not a food critic but let’s go with… succulent, tender, melt-in-the-mouth salmon with a tangy kick from the beetroot and horseradish. I wish I could create this meal at home!

Would I eat this again? Well, obviously, yes! ^^^

3. FOIE GRAS (controversial I know, but had to try it) – Torchon of Rougie foie gras, golden raisin puree, sweet wine jelly, date and walnut toast.

Served with Sauternes, Le Garonnelles, Bordeaux, France, 2015

It was interesting to try. The foie gras dish was accompanied with warm date and walnut toast. The foie gras was a smooth, rich, buttery pate, I wasn’t blown away by the foie gras flavour but with a little spread on the toast together with sweet wine jelly added some sharper flavours to offset the richness of the foie gras.

The wine that accompanied this dish also stood out – it was a sweeter tasting wine, the same wine used in the sweet jelly. The wine had a honey and toasty flavour which also went with the next dish.

Would I eat this again? Hmm, I wouldn’t order this as a dish but wouldn’t say no to a canape style version (like the amuse-bouche we had at the start).

How does the sommelier pick the wines for each dish?

Manuel, the sommelier, told us that he does not only take into account matching a wine with a particular dish but makes sure the wine taste actually goes with the next dish to be served – as that wine flavour will linger in your mouth as you start your next course.

4. HALIBUT – Braised Gigha halibut, buttered lettuce, sea purslane, cockles, mussels, chive beurre blanc.

Served with Chateau Pierr-Bise, Clos de la Couilaine, Savennieres, France, 2014

Perfectly cooked halibut that was buttery and tender and served with a silky smooth beurre blanc. The wine that accompanied this dish was perfect! A clean cut, mineral flavour with a hint of citrus fruit.

Would I eat this again? Maybe, I’m not a massive lover of seafood (well cockles and mussels), I would be more than happy with just the Halibut. So I guess, yes, I would, but a simpler version of this dish.

5. BEEF – Fillet of Herefordshire Longhorn beef, braised oxtail, pancetta, crushed salt baked celeriac, girolles, truffled heritage potatoes, red wine sauce.

Served with Fog Mountain Merlot, California, USA, 2015

Everything you want in a warm, hearty, Autumnal meal, but with added luxury taste of braised oxtail and truffled creamy heritage potato on the side.

Would I eat this again? YES! In a heartbeat!

6. YOGHURT – Whipped yoghurt, iced muscat grapes (+ grapes 4 ways)

This was a great palette cleanser and we all agreed that we would love to eat this for breakfast every day. Light and refreshing yoghurt with added texture from the grapes prepared in a variety of ways e.g. dehydrated, crushed, poached and a surprise frozen grape at the bottom.

Would I eat this again? I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t order it after tasting the other desserts. It would be a good choice if you only wanted something light as a dessert, but, I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth so this might be just a bit too healthy for me 😉 As I said, I would have this for breakfast!

7. BLACKBERRY – Brillat-Savarin cheesecake, blackberry jelly, confit lemon, blackberry sorbet.

Served with Dow’s Late Bottle Vintage, Douro, Portugal, 2011

I’m not always a fan of cheesecake but this cheesecake was the perfect combination of being indulgently creamy but still very light. The sharpness of the sorbet, lemon and blackberry arrangement on the plate and the sweet blackberry jelly layer on top made this cheesecake a delight to eat.

Would I eat this again? Yes, in a flash! Tangy blackberry is the perfect flavour to accompany this cheesecake. Also, I would order this dessert for the presentation too, just to impress my friends 😉

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

Blackberry Cheesecake at The Bybrook

8. LEMON – Amalfi lemon tart, Oakchurch farm raspberries, baby basil, raspberry sorbet.

Served with Tokaji, Late Harvest, Hungary, 2015

This was the dessert that Michelin highlighted across their social media when it was announced that Rob Potter had been awarded a Michelin star. Unfortunately, this dessert is only on the menu for the next two weeks as the raspberry season is over. We all felt very privileged to eat this dessert since it was a stand-out dish in the Michelin Guide this year!

Would I eat this again? YES! It’s exactly what you would expect from a Michelin-star dessert. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the BEST LEMON TART I have ever tasted. The smooth lemon filling was perfect, the pastry base melted in the mouth and I enjoyed the crunchy, sugary topping.

Thanks to everyone at The Bybrook. It was a pleasure to be invited to such a special evening!

Don’t wait for a special occasion, go and visit – you won’t be disappointed with the quality of food!

Book here: https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house/restaurants-bars/the-bybrook/Or call: 01249 782206

Breakfast Preview at The Ivy Brasserie Bath

BREAKFAST PREVIEW

I was invited to attend a little preview of the breakfast menu this week. We were given a small taster menu of the breakfast on offer.

We were given a selection of mini pastries and tea and coffee to start.

I chose the Eggs Royale and Green Juice.

Egg Royale: Poached eggs on top of an English breakfast muffin, with smoked salmon, lemon, and a hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise sauce is perfection!


Green Juice: full of natural goodness: Avocado, mint, celery, spinach, apple, parsley.

Not too “grassy” but maybe not the best green juice to start with if you are not a fan of green juices.

I really enjoyed the Green Juice however it was quite filling with the rest of the breakfast. Maybe just a juice and a couple of mini pastries would be enough for another breakfast.

One of the best seats in the house. With a view of the busy Milsom Street and below the stunning chandelier inside.

A little gift to take home…

Another £10 Tasty Bargain! Great Bath Feast ‘Tenner Treats’: The Clifton Sausage Bath

I had to make the most of The Great Bath Feasts amazing ‘Tenner Treat’ offer, AND this time, I visited somewhere that serves one of my all-time, favourite meals… EVER! The classic, BANGERS AND MASH!!

The Clifton Sausage, Bath.

“a trio of gourmet sausages (Bath Blue cheese & leek, Clifton and Old Spot Pork) served with creamy mash and homemade gravy and accompanied by a 125ml glass of house red, white, rosé wine or a soft drink for £10 at The Clifton Sausage throughout The Great Bath Feast

Perfect comfort food for the cooler Autumn months.

First of all, I was surprised at how big this restaurant was – covering two floors and extending out into a conservatory and outdoor terrace at the back, they have a great view of Bath. We sat in the perfect spot to see the view and were very excited to treat ourselves to a classic British dish.

So, get to it! The meal! 

As I mentioned above, this meal is my favourite meal, OF ALL TIME (not being over the top, it seriously is!). If it’s anywhere on a menu I have to have it! Sooo… I don’t think it’s going too far to say that I am quite the “connoisseur” of sausages and mash 😉

It was a delicious meal made up of three varieties of gourmet sausages – Bath blue cheese & leek, The Clifton (pork, cider and wholegrain mustard) and Gloucester Old Spot Traditional Pork, accompanied with mash potato, onion gravy and parsnip crisps.

The presentation was great, with a good amount of parsnip crisps on top and a generous serving of gravy on the side.

The sausages were great! I really enjoyed all the flavours but the flavour that stood out for me was the traditional Gloucester Old Spot pork sausage. Second in line was the Bath Blue cheese and leek sausage, it was nice to have a stronger flavour come through but the sausage meat was slightly crumbly (if that’s the right word to explain it). Finally, The Clifton sausage with pork, cider and wholegrain mustard. This was nice, however, I would have much preferred to eat this sausage in a casserole (such as my Mum’s homemade sausage, apple & cider casserole). Still, it was great to be able to try three different varieties of sausage in one meal!

One small issue to note – not a massive issue, just a small one – was that I was a little disappointed in the amount of mash. Maybe this is just me being a mash fiend and maybe I don’t need/shouldn’t have a giant mountain of mash potato on my plate (think of the carbs Katie!) but let’s just say for me this wasn’t my “normal” portion of mash (…usually a half plate’s worth if I’m being honest). But I guess that is what you are paying for, £10 for a meal and a drink.

Still, if you are a sausage and mash connoisseur like me I would definitely pay The Clifton Sausage a visit – these sausages are too good to be missed!

FYI: NOT PART OF THE GBF OFFER BUT… we finished our meal off with a cheeky Eton Mess 😉

GBF Tenner Treat abbey hotel bath

Not to be missed! Great Bath Feast ‘Tenner Treats’: The Abbey Hotel Bath

GET INVOLVED. BE INDULGED. ENJOY THE BIG BATH FOODIE EVENT OF THE YEAR!

On the hunt to treat yourself to some delicious food and drink at this year’s GREAT BATH FEAST?

GBF Tenner Treat abbey hotel bath GBF Tenner Treat abbey hotel bath

Make the most of their great ‘Tenner Treats’ offers for the next two weeks (ends 8th October).

Myself and fellow Bath blogger Georgie visited The Abbey Hotel ArtBar for their ‘Tenner Treats’ offer. Choose from a selection of delicious bar snacks (2 dishes per person) and a glass of wine or beer for only £10 each. What a bargain!

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We chose the salt and pepper squid with tomato and chilli salsa, two scotched quail’s egg with a DELICIOUS homemade brown sauce and finally some salt cod croquettes with saffron and garlic aioli. Out of the three dishes, I think the Scotched quail’s egg was my favourite – particularly because the homemade brown sauce was amazing! (And for someone who isn’t fussed about brown sauce that’s saying something!)

GBF Tenner Treat abbey hotel bath

GBF Tenner Treat

Don’t miss out! Go and try one of these great Tenner Treat offers at one of the many restaurants in Bath. Instead of using that tenner you would normally spend on an “occasional” weekly takeaway, use it to experience a local foodie hotspot in Bath instead.

Find the offers here: Great Bath Feast ‘Tenner Treats’

**I would advise calling any of the restaurants ahead of your visit to check what times the offers run – sometimes only Mon-Fri or only afternoons with some venues.

NEW! NANABAR London: “like ice cream, but good for you”

“NAUGHTY BUT NICE-CREAM”

“like ice cream, but good for you”

London’s first made-to-order Nice Cream bar – 45 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch.

OPENED: SATURDAY 1ST JULY


After popping to London for a few errands, walking through Shoreditch where I used to spend a lot of time visiting my sister, I stumbled across a new foodie hot spot.

It caught my eye as I saw a photographer outside taking photos. As I glanced in I could see people sat on giant wooden steps (picture below), loud music blaring out and a buzz of people inside. I glanced at the sign and read MADE WITH FROZEN BANANAS, before reading on I immediately thought back to my old uni housemate showing me how she made healthy ice-cream by freezing bananas and blending them. I remember it tasted amazing – thanks for introducing me to it Alice 😉

Then, reading on, I realised they were selling just that!

The second time I walked past that day I popped in to explore. I walked up to the counter and saw a sign saying ‘Today’s flavour’… it said mango (I hate mango). As I couldn’t see any other flavours I thought, ‘Naah, I’ll give it a miss’, but as I was walking out the founder Justin caught me and asked if I needed any help. I said I didn’t like mango so I wouldn’t be a fan and I couldn’t see any other flavours.

He went on to tell me that they serve one flavour per day and reassured me that they had other great flavours to try too. I started to get interested when he asked if I liked chocolate (how did he know), and mentioned that the Sunday flavour, HAZELNUT TART, is basically Nutella. (Now I’m interested!)

Justin told me that all the ingredients they use to make their Nice Cream are Natural, Organic & 100% Plant-based and persuaded me to try the SATURDAY FLAVOUR:

Mango Nice Cream topped with Coconut flakes, Pumpkin Seeds & Broken Brazil Nuts, served with a Medjool Date caramel.

You can also add extra toppings like chia seeds, nut butters or granola. I chose to add peanut butter, thinking that at least if I didn’t like the other flavours I could just eat the peanut butter. Whilst I was waiting for my order I thought, “How will it be successful… with just one flavour per day, and with people like me, who have a MASSIVE sweet tooth for all things chocolate – how could I be converted to a fruity, healthier option?”

BUT…

(you knew this was coming),

…after trying a pot of flavours/ingredients that don’t usually take my fancy I was completely surprised! I don’t like mango, or coconut or brazil nuts but I devoured the whole pot!

 

Homemade caramel made out of medjool dates

After thinking that I wouldn’t like any of the ingredients I was so surprised that I loved every single mouthful. 

It was refreshing and moreish, and even after eating a large pot of Nice Cream you didn’t feel over indulged on sweetness. It was just the perfect amount of sweet, icy, deliciousness!

The NICE-CREAM (as they like to call it) had the lightness of sorbet and the yummy, moreish-ness of ice-cream.  As you tucked into the flavoured nice-cream you occasionally came across a lump of frozen banana, adding a nice refreshing crunch.

You also get a substantial amount of nice-cream for your money, and it is definitely enough to share between two!

PRICE
One pot of Nice Cream £5.50 (with no added extras)
Upgrades:
– Granola 50p
– Regular shots: Chia/Flax/Peanut Butter 50p
– Premium shots: Hemp/Almond Butter 75p
 
 
So far I’ve tried one flavour combination and it was delicious. On my way to London again today and I’m definitely popping back in to try the MONDAY FLAVOUR SENSATION. 

Check out my Instagram to find out what flavour I try next >> @katiewoo_

NEW Smashburger Bath Review

“…proving that the burger experience can be a superior one”

Smashburger originated in Denver in 2007 and now has over 370 locations within ten countries. Luckily, in May this year Smashburger was brought over to the UK. Starting in Milton Keynes and then setting up in Brighton, Newcastle and now Bath.

“an innovative approach to the humble burger, transforming the fast food staple from the predictably mediocre to a must-try explosive taste sensation.”

Once we sat down and had a look through the menu the lovely Gordy talked us through the menu and told us why their burgers are unique and different to anyone else’s.

SMASHBurgers unique cooking method:

The secret’s in the “smash” – a unique method of cooking whereby 100% British Red Tractor Assured beef is hand-formed into a meatball and then smashed onto a hot buttered grill, searing in all the juices and flavour, producing a burger unlike any other.

The burgers are always made-to-order, never frozen, and all produce is sourced from reputable, local UK suppliers and designed to be cooked and ready to devour in less than six minutes.

What I liked is that you could choose either a beef, veggie or chicken burger (chicken either grilled or fried), and you could also create your own burger combo too! Gordy did mention that someone has had both beef and chicken in one burger before (interesting choice!).

Since we could not decide on what burgers to get we decided, upon Gordy’s recommendation, to try THREE (yes, THREE!) different burgers. I really don’t know how we ate it all… but all for a good review peeps 😉

“Developed by Smashburger Founder Tom Ryan in Denver USA, the founding location, original recipes such as the Classic Smash, BBQ Bacon Cheddar, Truffle Mushroom Swiss and Bacon Cheeseburger can be found worldwide alongside a menu of many more.”

“Part of Smashburger’s rich ethos is to develop a Local Smash dish for every location meaning that there are now over 370 unique recipes keeping locally produced food items at the core of their ever-expanding menu. The UK exclusive Stilton Stack burger marries the signature “smash” patty with sweet chutney, fresh rocket, crispy haystack onions, Applewood smoked bacon and Stilton cheese, all piled high on a Smashbun.”

THE BURGERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st burger: BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar

BBQ sauce with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar & haystack onions on a Smash bun.

Order again? Yes! Great combination of flavours and enjoyed the crispy crunch of the haystack onions.

2nd burger: Sweet Butternut & Chickpea Veggie Burger

Chutney with rocket and pickles, served on a multi-grain bun.

Order again? I enjoyed the veggie bean pattie and the chutney, however I wasn’t as keen on the burger bun. Maybe because it was the healthier option 😉 Also, after eating half of the BBQ burger before, with a brioche bun, I think this bun had a lot to live up to.

3rd burger: The Truffle Mushroom Swiss with Grilled Chicken

Sauteed chestnut mushrooms with truffle mayo & aged Swiss on a Smash bun.

Order again? Oh. My. Goodness. YES! This is the POSH Smashburger. The chicken was moist and the truffle mayo was absolutely delicious. For someone who isn’t a massive fan of mushrooms, this was incredible!

Easy to eat!

I loved the size of the burgers. The bun wasn’t gigantic so you could easily pick it up and eat it – unlike some restaurants where you find they put a stick or knife in it just to hold it together.

THE SIDES

We also ordered a side of SMASH Fries, tossed in garlic and rosemary.

You can tell when fries are really good, when you don’t need a dipping sauce!

Finally, we ordered the deep fried pickles. I don’t even like pickles AND usually take them out of burgers, however, for some reason these were so moreish I kept going back for more. The slices of pickles came with a ranch dipping sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SHAKES

‘handspun’ shake made with Häagen–Dazs® ice cream in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, Oreo and chocolate Oreo flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried the Oreo and chocolate and Strawberry shakes. The oreo and chocolate was gone in about 5 minutes (that’s quick right?). Luckily, with the shakes, we also given the leftover shake in the mixing tumbler, which surprisingly was another glass worth of milkshake.

Once you start drinking these shakes you can’t stop – I had to move it to the other side of the table to carry on with my meal again – it was very difficult to choose between burger and shake.

The Strawberry shake was also delicious. I am not usually a fan of strawberry flavoured milkshakes however this flavour wasn’t too sickly sweet. I think this shake has converted me into liking strawberry milkshakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESSERTS

We didn’t try any desserts – obviously, after 3 burgers, 2 sides and the milkshakes we couldn’t find the room to indulge in a sweet treat to finish. However, look at the options – I think I’ll go back just for the Oreo Chocolate Doughnut!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANT VIBES

As soon as I walked in it felt like a traditional American diner, with sofa seats, sit up bar along the window and the Coca Cola Freestyle touch-screen soda fountain (apparently with over 100 different fizzy drinks). It felt like we were in an American teen movie, sipping our giant shakes and listening to their epic playlist of songs. The modern diner experience was continued upstairs, with more sofa bench seating AND great round sofa seating for larger groups – called “curved banquette seating”. We could not ignore the epic black and white photos of New York as we walked up the stairs and spread across the wall.

All the staff were friendly and chatty, and you could tell you were being served by people who really loved the food. Smashburger is relaxed enough for you to pop in for a basket of fried pickles and a shake (just a casual healthy snack), but also nice enough to take friends and family out for a special meal.

“the quality of high-end casual dining with speed, efficiency and value.”

So! Overall, I would definitely choose to come here again.

  1. You can create your own burger.
  2. I like the size of the burgers and the size of the bun burger. Easy to eat.
  3. The flavour combinations, sides, shakes…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ok, I tried to narrow it down to three points but I couldn’t.                                                                                 Let’s just say, 5 days later I was eating another Truffle Mushroom Swiss Chicken burger again!!                                                                                             

SMASHBurger Bath: https://smashburger.co.uk/

Order on Deliveroo: https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/bath/bath/smashburger-bath

NEW Tapas Revolution Restaurant in Bath

 

FIRST LOOK INSIDE TAPAS REVOLUTION BATH

It was lovely to be invited to Tapas Revolution Bath last week ahead of their opening. We were greeted by the chef and founder Omar Allibhoy who has seven tapas restaurants over the country. This restaurant is his biggest restaurant so far. He has been a busy man, releasing his second cookbook alongside launching Tapas Revolution in Bath. Whilst sipping on their range of different gin and tonics drinks and nibbling on small tapas plates we were introduced to Omar.

We were then taken into the kitchen to get our hands dirty. In groups of three we made our own paella, following a traditional recipe. Omar talked us though the ingredients and cooking techniques used to make a glorious, flavoursome paella.
Omar’s Top Tips for cooking a traditional paella
A few things surprised me…
  • Seasoning the pan first, which I have never done before.
  • Not stirring the chicken, searing it instead to keep in moisture.
  • Finally, the technique I couldn’t get my head around, because it goes against everything I have learnt whilst cooking – STIRRING THE PAELLA ONCE! YES, ONCE!! Instead of stirring we occasionally shook the pan. Omar told us that the more we stir the dish the most starch will come out of the rice, making it sticky.

The weird rabbit face you pull when you think you’ve done something wrong and messed up the dish… 😉

 “With paella there is no exact recipe – it’s all by eye” Omar Allibhoy

Paella de pollo: Chicken, green beans and chicken stock.

We then sat down to enjoy our delicious paella and were served lots of other tapas plates. The ham and cheese croquettes being my favourite (Croquetas de jamón: deep-fried Ibérico ham and béchamel croquettes). These were little melt in the mouth joys! Not too stodgy or rich – so you can end up eating them VERY quickly. According to Omar, you can judge how great a tapas restaurant is depending on how good their croquettes are.
Classic Patatas Bravos

Pulpo a la gallega: steamed octopus with potatoes and pimentón paprika.

First time trying octopus and it was delicious! 
Not only were we served a moreish selection of tapas dishes, we were given endless amounts of cocktails to try. Yes, that is three cocktails in front of me… I tried them all 😉

The restaurant will also serve breakfast and lunch.

Finally, finishing our meal with a sweet treat.

Torrija, caramelised brioche bun soaked in custard, served warm. This was extremely moreish and actually surprising light.

I love that this restaurant is suitable for all kinds of occasions, casual drinks and a few tapas dishes sat at the bar, breakfast (very intrigued to find out more about the brekkie dishes), or a full sit down meal. Sharing paella and a jug of sangria. What is also very helpful is the set menus, a ready-made selection of tapas dishes – because if you are like me it would take a year to choose just a few of their delicious dishes to try.

Thanks again to Omar Allibhoy for giving us a tapas masterclass. Cannot wait to go back and eat that paella again.

 

Absurd Bird Bath Cocktail Masterclass

ABSURD COCKTAILS & THE BEST PANCAKES EVER

Back to Absurd Bird Bath for an evening full of tasty cocktails, melt in the mouth pancakes and good ol’ Deep American South soul

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I was invited back to Absurd Bird Bath for a cocktail masterclass – to taste a few of their new cocktails and learn how to make them. The theme was Mardi Gras – the table was decked out with colourful party necklaces and masks to wear. The dressing up, cocktails being shaken and the live band playing definitely got you in the party mood.

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Celebrating Mardi Gras with some lovely chickies last Tuesday.

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And wow, are these cocktails something! Absurd Bird really do make some tasty cocktails. I love the food AND drinks here but I would happily come here just for a few drinks with friends.

(FYI: Happy hour 5-7pm)

My particular favourite Absurd Bird drinks contain Moonshine – I am a massive fan of moonshine. MASSIVE fan! It is a shame you can’t buy it in supermarkets… (Read more about Moonshine cocktails in my previous blog post here). However, the cocktails we made this night didn’t contain Moonshine but were equally as delicious.

The talented mixologist Nicole showed us the ropes, making us a selection of different cocktails. With help from Absurd Birds Bath barman Palo, I had a go at making two classic New Orleans cocktails.

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Bottles of Hooch

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Staying with the Southern spirit, all of Absurd Birds cocktails compliment the flavour of all their dishes – always sticking to the American South theme.

Starting with Hooch, made up of lemon juice, saint german, traditional lemonade, simple syrup and vodka. In New Oreleans it would usually be made with Moonshine, but we used vodka. It can also be made with bourbon, gin or elderflower. This was the welcome drink given to us which didn’t taste alcoholic at all – but trust me, after a few it did!

The first cocktail we learnt to make was the Hurricane. Nicole gave us a quick run down the the history of this cocktail and informed us that this drink was developed in World War II. With this cocktail Nicole told us that they would usually only add a dash of orange juice in bars in New Orleans, however, we used more orange and cranberry juice in the Absurd cocktails. (I would have been happy with just a dash of juice – but it’s probably safer to add more). We garnished the drink with a slice of orange and a sweet cherry on a stick.

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The second cocktail was called Hand Grenade!

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This cocktail was made famous in a bar called 717 in New Orleans. A celebrity wanted a cocktail stronger than the Hurricane and this is when the Hand Grenade was created.

The true cocktail contains 200ml of alcohol, which an illegal amount of alcohol to sell in bars here in the UK. However, five bars in New Orleans can serve this cocktail with the traditional measurement of alcohol. This cocktail is made up of 15ml gin, 15ml melon liqueur, 15ml (of something I can’t remember right now), 25ml orange juice and 25ml of cranberry juice.

 “It looks like a cos-mojito…” – as said by my pal Rosie

Full of bad jokes that girl 😉 But it did… it did look like a combination of both those cocktails. It was a lovely refreshing cocktail, the melon liqueur really stood out, giving it a fresh, light taste and making it taste slightly creamy too.

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Now not only did they supply us with a selection of delicious drinks but they then brought out a plate of American pancakes with fried chicken on top and a drizzle of maple syrup.

(There was more syrup on the table, don’t worry, a drizzle of syrup is never enough for me).

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I know this blog post is about cocktails but MY GOD WERE THESE PANCAKES AMAZING! Fluffy but a little crispy on the edges, just the right amount of thick pancakeness. A melt in the mouth delight. Once we all received our food the conversations stopped. I can truly say they were the BEST PANCAKES I’ve had in a VERY LONG TIME! Best pancake day ever!

Two extra little cocktail masterclass tips I learnt:

  1. You can tell when the cocktail is ready and shaken well because the shaker will become frosty on the outside- making your hands extremely cold.
  2. The garnish on the side of a cocktail glass is usually placed by the straw so you can smell the garnish as you drink; to compliment the flavours of the drink.

Amazing music duo!! The Belle Adventure

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If you haven’t visited Absurd Bird yet GO! They currently have four restaurants around the UK: Bath, Soho & Spitalfields London and Exeter. Insta: @absurdbirduk Website: www.absurdbird.com

Absurd Bird Bath

NEW! Absurd Bird Bath

I think I’m ready to say this will be my favourite restaurant in Bath!

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I was invited by the lovely people at Absurd Bird to a cookery demonstration ahead of the opening of their new restaurant in Bath. This was opportunity to try some of their delicious ‘Hero’ dishes and cocktails. But this wasn’t just a sit down and watch demonstration, no no, they got us involved. Not only did a few of us go up and help spatch-cock a chicken – chef Andy made it look so easy! We also helped to make some of the melt in the mouth jalapeno biscuits. We were encouraged to come up with cringey chicken related puns throughout the evening, and the best pun would win something at the end of the night.

THE FOOD!


This restaurant is all about the American South. Southern spirit oozes from all the dishes and drinks. After each dish we got to try them and by the end of the cooking demonstration we had a feast of food to indulge in.
We tried multiple dishes including;
 Mac and cheese Absurd Bird
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Mac and cheese with their ‘house spice’, topped with Cheeto crumbs, panko bread crumbs and parsley. Moreish, creamy but not too heavy like some mac and cheeses can be. I just wish I didn’t have to share this dish with the other guests that night.
Mac and Cheese Absurd Bird
Dish 2 – Spinach and Artichoke dip with fried tortilla chips. This dip was creamy and  very addictive. Again I wish I didn’t have to share it with everyone else.
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Dish numero 3 was the Jalapeño cheese biscuits – not something I would look at on a menu straight away but these are little melt in the mouth moments, very much like scones.
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These biscuits had a hint of spice and heat but nothing too over powering. The warm biscuits were served with a delicious apple butter which added the right amount of sweetness.
Then onto the chicken, the main contender. The skin was crisp, not too thick or greasy with a selection of different sauces on top. My particular favourite was the Smoked Garlic and Parmesan chicken wings.
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Me attempting to cut up the wings – and yes, I did about 4 in the time the girl next to me did about 10! And I thought I was a good cook.
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To quench our thirst we were served two cocktails by the lovely Nicole and Ed – Kentucky Barn Dance and Ol’ Blue Eyes. For each cocktail Nicole explained how she made it and provided us with great knowledge of where Moonshine came from and how it is made.
The first, Kentucky Barn Dance, tasted like eating apple pie, not too sweet to have with a meal but full of flavour! The second is for the person who enjoys a strong, musky taste of whisky, includes Jack Daniels, apple and cinnamon Moonshine, lemon juice, simple syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters.
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We then had a chance to taste the fried chicken wings in ‘Dirty buns’ garnished with spicy sriracha mayo and a pickle on top. Plus two of their salads on the side, Quinoa and Mango salad and the Watermelon and Feta salad. Perfect to refresh the palette after all these strong spiced flavours.
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A BIT OF SWEETNESS


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Dipsy Buns – these are like brioche but with a little extra sugar in. They were steamed rather than baked making them a light fluffy texture. Served with a creme anglaise on top and two dipping sauces, chocolate and caramel, on the side.
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And finally with the Dipsy Bun dessert we were served the final cocktail of the night – the Mississippi Mud Pie cocktail. Made up of vanilla Moonshine, chocolate sauce and cream. This was so delicious, you really couldn’t tell you were drinking a strong alcoholic spirit.
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The dish that stood out to me was the chicken, which isn’t a surprise when Absurd Birds’ main focus is on great cooked chicken. You could tell the chicken was prepped for hours as it was so succulent and tender, and the sauces sticking to the thin crispy outer layer were delicious.
My friend and I could NOT stop talking about this chicken for the rest of the evening, we just wanted more!!
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Ever since this event I have raved too all my friends about how they need to try all their food. I think I’m going to have A LOT of food on my table when I visit – don’t judge me.
It’s indulgent but not as naughty as it may sound to some of you who are more health conscious about fried chicken. All the dishes tasted light, and that’s why I could eat a lot of it!! The chicken didn’t feel greasy, it was all prepared and cooked to a high standard, so you would never feel guilty about treating yourself to some fried chicken.

As Andy the chef said, this is ‘In your face street food’. Nothing too fancy but just prepared well, flavoursome good food.

So I would recommend visiting the restaurant as soon as you can, I think this is going to be a popular foodie destination in Bath so get in quick!

Start prepping for your visit now and take a look at the menu.

Thanks again to Absurd Bird Bath for the invite and for Hobson’s Choice showrooms for hosting us all that evening.
Jamie's Italian

Reviewing Jamie’s Italian New Menu

The mid-week treat you don’t have to feel guilty about
Menu Review: Jamie’s Italian NEW Evening Favourite’s Menu
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I was invited by Jamie’s Italian to come and review their new Evening Favourite’s Menu. Of course I said yes, anything to do with Italian cuisine and I’m there! Jamie’s Italian, offers good quality food, a great variety of dishes, and I knew I was in for a treat.
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And what a lovely surprise it was, to find out that this menu means you can have a three-course dinner for £18.95! Bargain! This is the ideal menu for anyone who, like me, doesn’t want to feel guilty for going out for a meal. I always love when restaurants have offers like this as I know I can treat myself to a starter, main and dessert. I brought my lovely chum Rosie along for the three-course dinner.

Down to business… what we ate!
STARTER
Mmm, yum! Even thinking about it all now makes my mouth water all over again. We decided to share two starters as we just couldn’t choose between the two. And these starters were incredible! I wish I could eat it everyday! We had the Tomato and Ricotta Bruschetta and the Truffle Tagliatelle. The bruschetta was topped with a whipped buffalo ricotta, sweet slow roasted tomatoes, basil and with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sometimes, in other restaurants, they can skimp on the toppings on a bruschetta, but they definitely didn’t here. It was the perfect ratio of ricotta, tomato and toasted Italian bread.
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Now the Truffle Tagliatelle… (I know what you’re thinking – very fancy – which is was). It was INCREDIBLE! This might be going a little over board but I really have never had anything like it before. We both said that we would both be happy if this dish was a main, we just wanted more and more of it, making it very diffcult to share! (Tip: Don’t share this dish with anyone!). The truffle flavour was delicious, it wasn’t too strong but had a strong enough hint of truffle flavour. If you are not a massive mushroom fan like me, don’t be put off, try it! Especially if you haven’t tried truffle before.

There was a good amount of pasta, but not too much as it was a starter. The tagliatelle was tossed in a light truffle sauce and decorated with a few truffle shavings, as well as a good amount of parmesan cheese. The ultimate indulgence!

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MAIN

For the main course we had one of Jamie’s artisan pizzas and their famous prawn linguine. The pizza was great, as a huge pizza lover I am very fussy about pizzas. My version of a perfect pizza is a good amount of sauce, a good thickness easy enough to cut into, and a cheese full of flavour. This pizza ticked all those boxes.

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As soon as it arrived I thought “Yes, I can even see there is a good amount of tomato sauce on that pizza”. Easy to cut into, you can find some places that make pizzas so hard on the bottom you are struggling to cut into it, but not here. Even though the pizza was a margerita, which was some might think is “boring” (not for tomato sauce lovers like me) it was topped with Italian herbs which gave the cheese a lovely rich flavour.
Rosie had the famous prawn linguine. At first I wasn’t sure if I would like it, I didn’t know if it would be too fishy, however I was pleasantly surprised. The pasta was tossed in a tomato fish broth, which offered the perfect amount of fish flavour and fennel, saffron and chilli complemented the overall flavour of the dish.
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DESSERT
Finally, the dessert, this was a hard choice to make! I had the Vin Santo Tiramisu and Rosie had the Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake. Again, this menu had a great selection of puddings which made it very hard to choose. I swear we sent the waitress away twice as we just couldn’t make our minds up!
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Now, this might be a bit much but honestly, THIS WAS THE BEST TIRAMISU I HAVE EVER HAD. The combination of dark and white chocolate shavings on top and a sprinkle of fresh orange zest tasted amazing with the creamy coffee dessert! I didn’t even think of putting orange with tiramisu but it really added a lovely fruity flavour. Sometimes tiramisu can be quite heavy and sometimes too sweet, but this dessert was surprisingly light, the whipped filling and the coffee soaked sponge was perfect. Adding the chocolate shavings and orange zest on top was a stroke of genius!
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Rosie’s Baked White Chocolate cheesecake was delicious too. Jamie’s Italian offer classic, traditional dishes but seem add a slight twist to them. The cheesecake was accompanied with fresh raspberries, a drizzle of raspberry compote, and broken up amaretti giving it a sweet almond taste. The cheesecake was creamy and light, with a hint of white chocolate.

I really think we might have to go back and have it all again! Or maybe go back multiple times because I want to try nearly everything on this new menu. One thing I would love Jamie’s Italian to do, in relation to the desserts, is to offer small tasters of all four puddings on one plate. As it really was too hard to choose between them all. But if not, well, I guess we’re going to have to have two desserts each!

This menu offers a selection of traditional Italian dishes with a contemporary twist. It really is amazing value to get, a normal portion size, three-course meal for £18.95, and I’m not just saying that. This menu would be great for occasions out, especially if there are a large number of you dining, but also great for that mid-week treat!
Jamie’s Evening Favourites Menu – Monday – Thursday from 6pm

Thanks for reading! I hope I have made you hungry for Italian food! I’m now off to plan my next visit to Jamie’s. I want to try their Super Lunch Menu – again, similar offer, two courses for £10.95. Or maybe I will just go back in to order another Vin Santo Tiramisu…

 

The restaurant is located in Milsom Place which is a lovely hidden oasis away from the busy high street.
Click below to see another NEW menu at Jamie’s Italian:

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Milsom Place