My Lifestyle Lately – January

I thought I’d start this up again as it’s a nice way for you to get to know the person behind the blog and it’s a nice way for me to remember what I’ve been up to.

Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

Me and the Bloke celebrated new years eve by visiting Lotus a vegetarian restaurant in Withington which is often overlooked due to it’s location. We love it there, the food (which includes the most amazing mock meats) is superb. Then we came home and watched The X Files and Grimm and enjoyed an awesome firework display by a neighbouring family from the comfort of our sofa!

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The Bloke cooked us a New Years day meal which was even better than Christmas day’s with Quorn roast, al dente green beans, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, mashed potato, Yorkshire puds, stuffing, roast potatoes and veggie sausages.

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You know those thrifty programmes where they tell you to look in your parents or grandparents loft (attic) where you will almost certainly find hidden treasure? Well not exactly anything of value but I did find this vintage rucksack which would be perfect for festivals. Weirdly, no one has a clue how it got there!?

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I’ve added to my collection of the weirder kind of Funko Pops and bought Deadpool, The Cheshire Cat and Alien. As you can see Deadpool is the only person looking figure in my little collection.

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 I love it when it gets all foggy at night and makes everything under the street lights look all eery.

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I was emailed by vegetarian restaurant 1847 offering 50% off, yup half price! So obviously wanting too support Manchester veggie eateries we thought it rude not to book a table.

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The Bloke managed to get these cool shots of the beautiful super moon and I (using the same model of camera) managed to take a big fuzzy orange blob which I won’t bother showing you lol

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I’ve been trying to drink only gluten free beer lately but my local Coop run out so I bought this Brewdog beer (which isn’t one of their gluten free ones) instead. It’s the most fruity and refreshing beer I’ve ever had. Such a shame it isn’t one of their gluten free offerings.

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I’ve discovered an online shop called EMP which apart from stocking some amazing rock chick apparel also do Funko Pop! and other random cool stuff. I’ve been in need of a mug for ages so bought this kawaii version of Deadpool.

So to some up my purse is a bit lighter and my belly is a lot fatter ^_^

Chrissie

Bundobust Indian Vegetarian Restaurant & Bar – Manchester

Bundobust has arrived in Piccadilly supplying us hungry Mancunians with vegetarian Indian street food and craft beer. The name comes from an Indian-English mash up of the words collaboration and riot, which the decor and food suggest – in a good way! The Owners Mayur Patel and Mark Husak have created a simple canteen style space with a lot of personality where you would feel comfortable nipping in by yourself for lunch or with a large group of friends for cocktails.

Bundobust Manchester review

Bundobust Manchester review

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A lot of the furniture is made from recycled wood and the cutlery and food pots are made from vegetable cellulose which is biodegradable – genius!

Bundobust Manchester review

This giant skylight adds so much atmosphere and natural light, even on a rainy day.

Bundobust Manchester review

Even though I like the privacy of booths, there is something rather humbling and honest about sitting next to your fellow man on a wooden bench, tucking into tasty food together.

Bundobust Manchester review

The menu is traditional, yet original and inclusive of Southern and Northern Indian street food, with dhal, dosa, bhaji and chaat. I was surprised to see an ochra dish, a burger option and a dish with bhaji in a warm yoghurt sauce, things I’ve never seen on an Indian menu in Manchester before. There are vegan options and a surprising amount of gluten free options to choose from as well.

Bundobust Manchester review

I went for the aforementioned Bhajji pot and a Chaat pot consisting of samosa pastry, crispy noodles, chickpeas and sauce. The Bloke collected a paneer and mushroom kebab which was smothered in the most wonderful combination of sauces and also the Puri with tamarind sauce and crunchy dry noodles. The flavour combination in each dish worked perfectly together and the dishes we chose seemed to all compliment each other, so we mixed and matched throughout our meal.

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Perfect street food at reasonable street food prices. Portion sizes are decent-to-large and such good value for money. The range of craft beers, gluten free beers and creative cocktails on offer are really impressive.

My favourite place to get good value-for-money Indian food was always This & That, now it’s Bundobust food and a gluten free beer please!

Chrissie

*I attended the pre-opening of Bundobust as press and therefor did not pay for food or drinks. This does not bias my opinion in any way. Honest as always.

Banyan Restaurant, Corn Exchange

Banyan, Corn Exchange, Mcr

Me and the Bloke decided to take Banyan up on their offer of an amazing 50% off for black Friday. We booked for mid-week as that was part of the offer and because we like to avoid the weekend crowds for quicker service and a more chilled atmosphere.

 

We found the decor to be that mixture of reclaimed industrial and practical vintage that every newish bar in Manchester displays these days. The lighting and furniture was soft and lent a nice coziness to the place. The tables were a decent size and not too tightly packed – very dyspraxic friendly!

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This Revitalise was the best mocktail I’ve ever tried, with blended kiwi, blueberry, raspberry, passion fruit, apple and lime. Wow!

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Oddly enough this is the first time I’ve tried hipster-bar-staple smashed avocado on toast. The edamame beans complimented the avo perfectly, like they were born to be together. Huge plus – the bread was gluten free and really nice. The Bloke was not impressed with his olives (in a very cute kilner jar) as they were cold, straight from the fridge but how else can you store them?

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I ordered the roasted veg and halloumi skewer, with sweet potatoes and tzatziki dip (you can choose your accompaniment and sauce) which I really enjoyed. The side salad was welcome and refreshing as well. I’ve never been faced with (whisper) too much halloumi before and gave the Bloke a chunk as I thought his red thai veggie curry – although delicious – wasn’t as substantial as it could have been.

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For desert the Bloke ordered sticky toffee pudding as he always does and said it was one of the best he’d ever tried (on a par with Greens in Didsbury) and I went for the salted caramel options as I always do. Salted caramel and chocolate torte which wasn’t gluten free but I didn’t care! It was beautiful, the perfect mix of salty and sweet. If it were a person I would marry it. We weren’t that impressed with the vanilla pod ice cream as it didn’t taste like traditional vanilla but more like an average block of ‘white’ ice cream you used to get from the ice cream van for 50p.

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The service we got was friendly and our server pointed out gluten free options for me on the desert menu but I have to say the pace of the service – although not quite glacial – was rather leisurely. This was mid-week from 7.30, with only two to three other tables occupied upstairs so I can’t imagine what it would be like later, on a weekend. I got an apology for how long it took her to bring the bill but it was no slower than the speed it took to get anything else that evening so I was barley noticing by that point. Banyan is not a place you quickly pop-in for a snack but rather a place where you go to kill time, apparently.

I was quite impressed with the value for money regarding the portion sizes as I’ve payed similar prices for much smaller servings. I’ve payed less for portions that are a similar size but the food wasn’t as good a quality, nor the dishes as interesting.

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Clear indications on menu of foods which are veggie, gluten free and ones containing nuts. (V) (N) (GF)

Gluten free menu available on request

Vegan menu available on request

Banyan, Manchester
Exchange Square
Manchester
M4 3TR

0161 832 4798

Have you been to Banyan?

Chrissie

 

Dinner at the Metropolitan – Didsbury

On Friday we decided to go for a drink and then for a meal. We visited The Metropolitan as they have a chilled atmosphere in the pub and a nice restaurant offering several interesting and well considered veggie options.

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I wish I’d have known how nice the outside area was before now, as we’d have visited regularly over the Summer with cocktails from the incredibly well stocked bar. As you can see, I was eyeing up the cakes from the moment we sat down in the restaurant lol

Starters

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Goats cheese and chive hash brown with apple puree and mixed leaves. This was absolutely lovely. The apple puree really complimented the goats cheese and was a nice twist.

Mains

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Asparagus tagliatelle, asparagus spears, Gran Moravia cheese, white wine & asparagus sauce. I very rarely see a mains with a white sauce as a veggie option so I was really looking forward to this, so much that I started eating it before remembering to take a piccy – oops! The sauce was delicate and well balanced and the asparagus was al dente just the way it should be. The only addition I would have added were pine nuts possibly. 

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I love skin-on sweet potato fries so ordered them as a side. The portion size of my mains and the side were so generous, I had to ask for a doggy bag for half of the fries!

Desert

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Lemon posset with lemon shortbread biscuits. This was delicious! Imagine the thickest, creamiest, smoothest cheesecake you’ve ever had. The biscuits were crunchy and buttery. I’ve tried a lemon posset and biscuits before at Greens restaurant and this was as amazing as that.

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The bloke ordered the same starter and desert as myself but chose sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce and ice cream. He said it was perfectly cooked on the outside and slightly gooey in the middle and really complimented by the sauce and fresh berries.

The only negative aspect of the night was that every time I ordered a cocktail I had to wait ages for it to arrive and flag someone down to inquire about it. I ordered one straight after my starter and had finished my main dish by the time it had arrived! Oddly, later as I went to the bar I got served instantly and was asked by two more people if I was being served. Maybe best to go to the restaurant on a weekday instead!

Chrissie

 

1847 Vegetarian Restaurant

I’ve reviewed 1847 Vegetairan Restaurant twice before, first in 2013 and second in 2015 but it’s such a great restaurant I think it’s worth a mention every time I visit.

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I was hoping to get a cocktail down me before my starters had arrived, as my body was a little tense and needed to relax, however the drinks order was taken with the food order and both cocktail and food arrived around the same time. Some might say this is an improvement on the way most restaurants take orders. I was surprised to see the only cocktails on offer were either gin based or vanilla vodka based so hating gin I ordered a vanilla vodka, rhubarb and Prosecco creation, which was sweet and really refreshing.

1847 Manchester review

For my starter I ordered aubergine rolls stuffed with buckwheat, soya yoghurt (which tasted incredible), parsley and sorrel. The bloke ordered the Spring Pie, puff pastry stuffed with smoked cheddar, beetroot, greens, marrow served with cress & marjoram pesto.

My first thought when our starters arrived was “Restaurants are still using slates?” and then “My god the high pitched screeching of cutlery on slate is physically going to be painful to me” but only two minor screeches ensued so it was totally fine. Both of our starters were well balanced, a little sweet, a little savoury and thoroughly enjoyed.

1847 Restaurant Review

With my mains I ordered an American chardonnay which was really quite different to any white I’ve tasted before, fruity and slightly biscuity. Such a change from crisp fruity wines.

I ordered my usual ‘fish’ and chips (halloumi cheese) with mint peas and lemon curd and the bloke ordered herb breadcrumb oyster mushrooms, sautéed asparagus and quinoa with a roasted garlic sauce. Yes he’s got into quinoa finally! We ordered a side of roasted vegetables, with the sweetest, flavourful radishes I’ve ever eaten. I really liked that the peas were al dente and not mushy peas this time but I also noticed the portion size of the halloumi had been reduced. As traditional fish and chips often come with a slice of lemon, I wished the lemon curd had a little more zing and less sweetness but that’s just my palette. The coating of the blokes mushrooms tasted so wonderful I should have asked what the flavours were.

1847 Restaurant review

The bloke ordered the 1847 brownie, which he really enjoyed but wished it were a little more gooey inside. He didn’t think the chilli brittle was strong enough in flavour until I told him if it were any stronger it would over power everything else. He’s such a chilli freak! I went for vanilla ice cream which was simple but beautiful.

I was incredibly impressed to see so many vegan and gluten free options included, often both together in the same dish. I stupidly forgot to ask for gluten free batter on my halloumi but I don’t feel bloated today at all, which is a nice change.

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1847 Vegetarian Restaurant, 58 mosley street (entrance on booth street), manchester, m2 3hz.

Tel 0161 236 1811

Monday-Friday: Midday-3pm & 5pm-10pm
Saturday: Midday-10.30pm
Sunday: Midday-8pm

Chrissie

V Revolution Manchester – Vegan Cafe

 

For the record let me state I’m a part time vegan. I do add honey to sweeten things if it’s already in the cupboard, I do buy leather shoes but also lots of pleather ones and I eat pizza with real cheese sometimes and fake cheese a lot of the time. Glad we cleared that up.

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The best way to describe V Revolution in the Northern Quarter is to say it’s a vegan version of a 50’s American diner, with a retro look and really creative junk food. There’s no juke box but the staff play seriously good tunes all day ranging from rock, hip-hop and dance. iPod’s on shuffle maybe?

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I think this menu is fab, even though it oddly lacks an option for fries or onion rings on the side. Me and the bloke chose the Barbecuban Missile Crisis which came with nacho’s.

The crispy onions (the little brown pieces) added a really nice crunch to what was a very tasty, slightly soft and incredibly slippy burger. The ‘cheese’ melted and tasted like regular cheese and the burger was a great consistency also. Both me and the bloke agreed it would have been easier to eat if the slaw was on top of the natcho’s rather than pilled on the burger. I liked the taste of the facon but would have preferred it fried so it was firm rather than floppy.

V Revolution Manchester

There were four indulgent looking cakes at the counter but I didn’t get a slice as I would have preferred something a little lighter like a scoop of vegan ice cream. The staff had prepared lemon infused water and there were also a selection of teas available. I chose jasmine tea which was lovely and refreshing, the bloke chose of cup of builders tea and didn’t moan about the soy milk for once! I was able to stock up on a range of meat and cheese substitutes while I was there, which was really convenient!

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

V Revolution, 88 Oldham street, Manchester

Open 12.00pm – 6.00pm (except Tuesday)

Lilly’s vegetarian Indian restaurant – Ashton

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Lilly’s Indian vegetarian restaurant in Ashton (Thameside/Greater Manchester) can make substitutions to all dishes so they can be vegan and Jain rather than just veggie. The menu is extensive and covers Indo-Chinese dishes, South and North Indian dishes. They know exactly what ingredients go into their food and tend to use traditional gram (chickpea) four instead of wheat, so a great place to go if you have food intolerances or allergies.

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I recently went to Lilly’s with my bloke and our friend L and we all chose similar starters as it was a hot day and we wanted something cooling. I chose Dahi Puri, Crispy puri filled with puffed rice, sev, potatoes, onions, chickpeas, yoghurt and tamarind sauce. My three faves: Puri, yoghurt and tamarind combined!

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Our friend L ordered The Sizzla, a literally sizzling dish with grilled green peppers, panner cheese, spring onions and a meat substitute which was amazing, the whole dish was amazing actually. The bloke ordered a Vegetable Lasinya, mixed veggies cooked with butter, garlic and traditional Indian spices and a (very strong) garlic bread. I ordered Paneer Makhani, Paneer cooked in creamy sauce with onions and spices along with the best vegetable pilau rice I’ve ever tasted.

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All of our dishes were wonderful but that’s no surprise. We’ve all visited 4 four times together (we do tend to avoid the South Indian dishes as we generally don’t like that style of cooking) and we’ve never found anything which we didn’t like. I’ll be trying the Indo-Chinese section on my next visit.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Lilly’s 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton, Tameside, OL6 7DF Tel: 0161 339 4774

Open: 11.00am – 8.00pm (7.00pm Sunday)

Chrissie

 

 

 

Mowgli Indian Restaurant in Manchester Corn Exchange

I have a huge love for Asian food so as soon as Manchester’s Corn Exchange opened I knew Mowgli (Indian) and Pho (Vietnamese) were essential destinations. First up, Mowgli.

The decor downstairs has a repurposed vintage tree house feel, while upstairs is clean and spacious with reclaimed vintage touches.

Mogli Manchester

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Because of the Indian street food vibe the dishes are freshly prepared and arrive as soon as they are ready in little metal tiffin boxes. You can stack them to keep various things warm if you want. The Bloke ordered rice with his Rhubarb Daal (we suspect he got served the traditional Daal by mistake as he couldn’t taste any rhubarb or ginger!?) and I ordered two puri’s – mmm, fried round goodness.

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One day I may get out of the habit of automatically ordering the paneer dish…Maybe. The tomatoes were a welcome change from saag (spinach) paneer and tasted fresh and sweet .

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I ordered Bhel Puri ‘Bombay’s best loved street food. Puff rice with crisp gram threads, peanuts & tantalising spiced sweet & sour dressing.’ I love a good Bhel Puri and this didn’t disappoint. The sweet and & sour dressing tasted a lot like tamarind (which was a shame as I’d already ordered a tamarind based dish). This was the dish which was shared the most and disappeared the quickest.

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I was very surprised with my Treacle Tamarind ‘fries’ as you can see they skinless potato wedges! Mowgli’s treacle tamarind is sweet, sticky, mild and very more-ish. The Bloke found this dish to be a tad too sweet and wished it had just a little more heat.

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An impractically large scoop of salted caramel ice cream in a waffle cone. I know we’re probably bored of overtly trendy salted caramel flavoured offerings on every menu by now but this tasted fantastic! A perfect balance of salty and sweet, it disappeared rather quickly!

Overall I really enjoyed my visit and will definitely be eating here again. Friendly staff, quick service and nice atmosphere. I just wish that some of the dishes we tried were a little more pequent as I felt I hadn’t fulfilled my appetite for something spicy.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Have you visited the Corn Exchange or a Mowgli in your area yet?

Chrissie

3 Nights at Greens Vegetarian Restaurant Didsbury

  
How many times have you looked at a menu in a restaurant and been totally spoiled for choice? How many times have you said “I’ll have to try those next time” only for the menu to have changed by the time you go back? Well, The Bloke had the wonderful idea of condensing at least two months worth of eating out into three consecutive nights!

Night One

Tasters

 ‘Black Pudding’ with mustard mayo. I’ve never remotely fancied the idea of black pudding but as this was veggie I gave it a try and it was lovely – especially with the amazing mayo. The Bloke told me that yes, they really did get the flavour and texture spot on. The only criticism I had was that our tasters arrived separately with quite a wait before the second one arrived.

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Starters

Beetroot and whipped goat cheese salad with cucumber jelly and walnut vinaigrette. This was sweet and luxurious but also fresh and light. All three ingredients complimented each other perfectly. I just wish there were more of it!

Main

Chestnut mushroom, roasted pumpkin and chestnut gnochi with pumpkin sauce. This is wonderful comfort food for a cold Autumn evening. I found the three main ingredients had very similar earthy flavours so I was grateful for the vegetables surrounding the gnochi and wished there were a little more.

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Night Two

Starters

Thai potato cake with wasabi sauce. I’d never had anything with the flavour of wasabi without extreme heat before and I realised it is really complex. The wasabi really complimented the flavour of the potato cake without overwhelming it.

Main

Lancashire cheese and basil sausages with confit garlic mash, beer gravy and tomato chutney. Sausage and mash can be done so well or messed up so easily. This was the best sausages and mash I have ever eaten in my entire life! The sausages were tasty and moist, the mash was creamy and fluffy but still had some body to it. The gravy had a rich BBQ style to it and the tomato puree had a beautiful sweet tang.

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Desert

Lemon posset with ginger short bread. The lemon posset was beautifully thick and very tangy. The accompanying raspberry sauce was also very tangy so the ginger in the biscuits didn’t really stand a chance. They did have a lovely buttery consistency though. I’d have preferred the raspberry sauce to be a little sweeter and the ginger a little stronger.

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Night Three

Taster

I ordered olives and The Bloke ordered tomato humus with pita bread. They obviously worked well with each and even though The Bloke wasn’t sceptical about the flavoured humus at first, he actually really enjoyed it. I really liked the home made texture which was thick but not grainy.

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Starter

Pumpkin and blue cheese pie with winter slaw.. This little slice of pie was so creamy, savoury and indulgent it put a very big smile on my face. This really has taught me that I’m a massive fan of blue cheese, which before this visit I never thought I would ever say! The slaw was a creamy but tangy addition which I appreciated.

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Main

Fennel and potato mandra curry with lemon and sultana pilaf and carrot & cumin salad. I’ve eaten many times on the curry mile, I’ve eaten in many Thai and pan Asian restaurants including Chophraya so I know what a brilliant curry tastes like. This was one of them. There was no over ridding flavour of any one ingredient. All of the different flavours were apparent, yet they blended together perfectly.

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Side

Pecorino and rocket salad. This actually came with the half sun dried tomatoes which were marinaded in something I couldn’t place and they weren’t mentioned on the menu so that was a nice surprise!

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I have never been so consistently impressed with the food and the service in any restaurant before – including the one’s I’ve come back to time and time again. I don’t just think this is one of the best veggie restaurants in Manchester, I think it is one of the best restaurants in Manchester full stop. I promise meat eaters won’t miss the meat at all!

Chrissie xx

Foodie Review – Chalk Bar and Grill – Didsbury

As a vegetarian it’s easy to dismiss some where with ‘Grill’ in the tittle but I’ve tried a few places like this and been pleasantly surprised at the veggie options – Chalk being no exception.

Me and The Bloke chose to visit on a Friday because “Yay Friday!” where there was a live singer singing some classic pop ballads which added to the atmosphere, he also happened to be a friend of a friend – small world eh. I wasn’t really a fan of the minimalistic decor but the low lighting did give it a cozy feel.

They have a fantastic selection of cocktails, wines and spirits but I missed a trick by sharing a very nice bottle of Chardonnay with The Bloke and not ordering myself a cocktail!

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For starters I ordered courgette fritters with sour cream and chive. The sauce went beautifully with the fritters which were crunchy on the outside and had a surprisingly creamy texture to the courgette. The portion size was large for a starter but I wasn’t complaining!

The Bloke had ‘some of the best mushroom soup’ that he’d had for a long time. Thick, tasty and creamy.

Chalk Bar and Grill, Didsbury

This is were things started to go a tad awry. Both pie and jacket potatoes are my go-to comfort foods but putting them together to make a meal? Still I thought I’d give it a go. The potato came with sour cream which the made the cheese in the pie taste overly sweet by comparison and the dressing on the salad (tangy and sweet) was yet another dimension of flavour which clashed with the others.

The pastry on the bottom of the pie had completely welded it’s self to the dish but the sides were beautifully light and tasty. The outside of the potato was so tough I couldn’t actually cut through it. I ordered chilli and garlic broccoli on the side to share which didn’t turn up so I had to flag down a waiter and ask after it. It then eventually arrived as I was half way through my main. We were so disappointed to find it utterly drowned in some kind of sesame oil with no explanation as to why.

Chalk Bar and Grill, Didsbury

Compared to the huge amount of food included in my main The Bloke got a rather small souffle with one mushroom, salad and skinny fries. He was very glad there were fries and said that they complimented the dish well and that the souffle tasted lovely. I think he just wished it was larger and not surrounded by so much salad – so I shared some of my pie with him.

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This is my ‘posh snickers’ desert which did not remotely disappoint! Dark chocolate logs with a snickery filling (yes that’s a thing now), caramel ice cream, peanuts and burnt sugar. Personally I would have preferred some sweet milk chocolate in there if we are being true to the real snickers but I love salty sweet combinations so I really enjoyed this. I was so full after my main but somehow managed to clear my desert slate completely, heehee.

Overall…

Our experience was a bit of a hit and miss affaire which, when it was good it was very good and when it was bad it was really quite disapointing. Something that I also noticed was that we really had to make eye-contact along with a big smile to get the attention of the wait staff as they whizzed by and the usual little head nod just didn’t work.

Would I come here again?

There is just so much high quality competition in the Didsbury area I’m already spoilt for choice which has a great influence on my decision. If I’m being honest (as always) I’d visit again if I was with a lot of meat eaters but otherwise I’m not quite sure.

We were kindly invited to review Chalk and did not have to pay for our food and drink.

Chrissie xx