Tuesday 11 November 2014

Revolucion de Cuba, Manchester

Revolucion de Cuba, Manchester
I'm lucky enough to get invited to lots of exciting food related events. Every so often, one blows my little socks off. A bit of a dark horse. Revolucion de Cuba was like bloody Black Beauty.

I'd often seen folk queuing on a Saturday night in the rain and wondered what all the fuss was about. It looked nice inside, but was it really worth queuing round the corner for? A couple of weeks ago my friend Lee and I were asking ourselves that very question as we wandered off for posh tequila at Mr Coopers Bar like a pair of old lushes. Then, like fate intervened, I had a lovely invite from Revolucion de Cuba to sample their new menu. I had to take Lee.

We picked the wettest day since records began (only a slight exaggeration), and turned up with soaked kecks and cold feet. We were welcomed in and seated in a spacious booth by the window. We sat and defrosted as the lovely front of house staff started to bring dish after dish of deliciousness to our table.

Crispy tortilla chips with guacamole: The best guacamole I have ever tasted. Fresh and zesty with a chilli kick. Devoured in about two minutes flat.
Revolucion de Cuba - Tortilla chips
(Clockwise) Patatas bravas, cajun chicken quesadilla and cajun cream mushrooms: I fear fungus at the best of times. I was feeling brave and plunged into the cajun mushrooms first. Amazing. This is my perfect kind of food; lots of things to pick at with big flavours. Perfect for sharing.  
Revolucion de Cuba - Tapas
Chimichurri rump steak: Served beautifully rare with a drizzle of chimichurri sauce and more of those crispy patatas bravas. Heavenly.
Revolucion de Cuba - Steak
Paella de Cuba: I never order paella so was really pleased when this rocked up. The rice was beautifully sticky and there were big chunks of prawn, chicken and chorizo hiding underneath.
Revolucion de Cuba - Paella
Churros and Columbian chocolate brownie: I've got that thing again where I get angry because I was too full to polish these off, but could just eat them now. This is the curse of the food blogger. Churros are one of my favourite things in the whole wide world. I could have kissed their faces when these arrived. They came with the most delirious chocolate and rum caramel dips too. The brownie was as light as a feather and went perfectly with that vanilla ice cream, which was strangely soothing in our gluttonous state.
Revolucion de Cuba - Desserts
We ordered some hot drinks in an attempt to revive our sorry-selves. Hot chocolate possibly wasn't the best option for someone semi-comatosed by food. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth like me though! Lee sampled one of the new coffees which seemed to do the trick!
Revolucion de Cuba - Drinks
Now then. Cocktails. This is where it got interesting. It started all sophisticated-like and ended in getting papped by a group of rowdy Norwegians. Actual truth. I recall having a Zombie and an Apple and Cinnamon Sour. That's about the measure of it. I remember them being sensational though!
Revolucion de Cuba - Rum...Then this happened. 'Would you like to come and learn how to make cocktails?' Yes. We were then introduced to the wonderfully charming Eamonn. He said we could make something off the menu or pick anything else we liked. I went off piste and insisted on making a Drumstick Lolly (my absolute fave) and Lee opted for a Nuclear Daiquiri. As you can see from the photos below, we are clearly naturals and folk in there should fear for their jobs... Revolucion de Cuba - Cocktail Master Class
Revolucion de Cuba - Cocktail Master Class
Revolucion de Cuba - Cocktail Master ClassWe then went on a tour of the private bar area downstairs with the manager Ronnie - what a lovely bloke! I really should have taken some photos, but I was far too giddy. Eamonn showed us how to make the most magical gingerbread concoctions I have ever tasted. I remember talk of £200 shots of rum, Cuban drinking games and stories which will never be repeated. We also met Manchester's most fragrant doorman. That was nice.  Revolucion de Cuba - Cocktails
I can't even tell you what a great time we had. We left rabbitting on about how Eamonn and Ronnie were our new besties and plotting our return with our other pals. Not only was the food outstanding, but we sampled a gorgeous array of rum based goodies and had a really good laugh with the guys who worked there. Today I found myself recommending it to a lovely lady who works in Dunelm Mill...

I urge you to go. It's the perfect place to go as a group and have a giggle with friends. We spent all afternoon there and laughed all the way home. Perfect.

Disclaimer: I was invited to sample the new menu at Revolucion de Cuba with my friend Lee. I'm not sure if the PR company ordered those lovely men to charm us, or whether they did that of their own accord. Either way I was under no obligation to write a nice review or drink so many cocktails. I'd also like to apologise to Eamonn for being a pair of drunken buffoons and insisting we will be attending his recital. We still plan on doing. 

Revolucion De Cuba on Urbanspoon

Saturday 8 November 2014

All Star Lanes, Manchester - New Menu

All Star Lanes, Manchester
I bloody love All Star Lanes. I've been to a couple of them now, but the Manchester one at The Great Northern has to be my favourite. We had my friend Lucie's retro bowling party there when she turned 30, we've been for Cake Club 'Meat Up', and I go regularly with my friends for the most amazing cocktails.
All Star Lanes, Manchester
Imagine the level of giddiness when I got invited to sample their new menu?! I could have kissed their zombified faces! (I'm not being offensive, it was Halloween). Even better, my pal and I took the afternoon off work and started the weekend early. All Star Lanes, Manchester
Their lovely events manager Natasha greeted us and ran through some of the changes to the menu. Most people associate All Star Lanes purely with bowling, but they also have a fantastic restaurant serving some great diner style food, and a pretty swanky bar.

King prawn taco in a hard shell with guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños and salsa: Not a fan of prawns myself (I find them untrustworthy), but this looked and smelled amazing! I'm assured by Phil that it was beautiful, and they were 'proper prawns, not little ones'!
All Star Lanes, Manchester - King Prawn Taco
Nachos to share - nacho cheese, guacamole, jalapeños and salsa: I'm a total nutter for nachos at the moment. Some may say I have become a little obsessed with melted cheese... These were unreal. A good ratio of topping to nacho too. I'm fairly confident I could graze on these all afternoon. 
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Nachos
Chicken parmigiana burger - grilled chicken breast, marinara sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil: A nice alternative to your standard burger. The only thing that could have made this better would be a toasted bun for a bit of added texture. 
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Chicken Burger
Nacho cheeseburger - ground chuck and rib patty, taco shards, nacho cheese, guacamole and jalapeños: I stayed with my nacho-obsessed theme. Not for the faint-hearted, or those who like to look at all graceful when they eat. A gloppy pile of wonder. I managed half - what a lightweight! 
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Nacho Burger
Monterey Jack corn grit chips and truffled mac and cheese: We had to sample sides... Corn grit chips are a bit like cheesy polenta with a crunchy exterior; unusual but very pleasant! The truffled mac and cheese is likely to induce a heart attack in any decent quantity, which makes it an instant winner!
All Star Lanes, Manchester - SidesDrinks: I'm going to be honest with you. There were more than the photos below. These are the ones I remembered to take pictures of! I seem to recall sampling...
  • Aloha Jar (left) Finlandia vodka, pineapple juice, passion fruit, lime juices and orgeat.
  • Sidecar - H by Hine Cognac is the driving force in this Parisian classic from Harry’s American Bar in Paris, shaken with Cointreau and fresh lemon.
  • Roller Girl - Finlandia vodka, Crème de Peche, pomegranate and lemon juice and bubblegum syrup.
  • Gin and Elderflower Julep Jar - Bombay Sapphire, elderflower, mint, lemon and apple juice. Churned over crushed ice and served in a jar.
  • Bramble - Bombay Sapphire shaken with lemon juice and sugar, with a splash of Chambord black raspberry liqueur.
  • Blue Moon - Iconic American wheat beer, Belgian style, notes of coriander and zesty orange.
  • Pacifico - Corona’s big brother, rich pale lager with mild hops.
  • Pinot Grigio - Matrai from Hungary. Classic dry style with nice acidity, fuller flavour than your average Pinot Grigio, 2012.
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Drinks
Warm cherry pie with vanilla cream and toasted almonds: Sing with me... 'She's my cherry pie!'...No? Oh bugger you then. Very sweet but perfectly sized. I think a dollop of ice cream would assist here rather than cream.
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Cherry Pie
Choc chip cookie ice cream sandwich with maple syrup: Not too sickly and a good ratio of cookie to ice cream.
All Star Lanes, Manchester - Cookie and Ice Cream Sandwich
After suffering from a bit of food overload, we braved a spot of bowling, which was the perfect way to get our backsides into gear after being such horrific gluttons! I'd like to tell you that we both ruled the lanes, Kingpin stylee. Fact of the matter was I got thrashed and we were both equally as terrible as each other. Children at the side of us were practically pros in comparison. However, we didn't damage anything (or anyone) and didn't send the ball hurtling down the gutter too often...

We had a great time at All Star Lanes. The new menu is fantastic, the service was attentive and the drinks were pretty special too. I don't think either of us will be topping the bowling leader board any time soon though...

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Disclaimer: I was invited to sample the new menu by All Star Lanes. In return they wanted our honest feedback on the food. I was under no obligation to write a review, be nice or get drunk on cocktails whilst I was there. I did that of my own accord.

Monday 3 November 2014

National Bundt Day Nordic Ware Giveaway!

Nordic Ware

It's the most wonderful time of the year... Forget Christmas, it's nearly National Bundt Day dammit!
National Bundt Day
It's getting a bit out of hand in our house. I stopped counting the Nordic Ware at 50 items, and if my husband asks - no, I've had that one for ages. They're in the kitchen, under the stairs, in the study, on the walls and even in the loft.
National Bundt Day
I have tins I haven't had chance to use yet (the occasion has to match the tin, naturally) and ideas popping out of my head left, right and centre. Basically my life is getting in the way of my bundt baking.
National Bundt Day
I've been baking bundts for nearly four years now, and I can't see me stopping any time soon. Since that fateful Christmas where I battled with bundt perfection I've been spreading the word, baking a bundt a month for cake club, guiding others and generally eating lots of cake too.
National Bundt Day
The cakes displayed on this post are just a few of the bundts that I have made this year, which show some of the beautiful designs Nordic Ware have to offer and highlights the versatility of what is the ultimate sharing cake.

If you fancy having a go, perfecting your skills or trying a new recipe, there are lots of hints and tips on my Bundts on the Brain page, including my Build-a-Bundt recipe creator.
National Bundt Day
There's a bundt for every occasion, and once you've cracked it, you really won't need an excuse to make one. I've been known to bake them just to celebrate Thursdays being Friday eve... whatever works for you really...
National Bundt Day
So then, fancy winning the lovely goodies above? It's really easy...

How to Enter 

  • Simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.
  • To be in with a chance of winning you must complete ALL the mandatory fields, and then can move onto the additional entries if you want to increase your chances of winning.
  • All entries will be checked and verified before a winner is announced.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a random winner.
  • The competition runs until midnight on 15th November 2014.
  • Please see the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter widget for the rules and more information.

Please feel free to share this giveaway!
National Bundt Day

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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