Food

what kind of millennial would I be if I didn’t share my food with you?

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

No really, it is. But then again I do say this a lot.

What’s better than having a day to celebrate the beautiful delicacy that is B u R G e R Z !

I was honoured to be invited by Byron Burger in Derby to celebrate their 10th birthday, and I was especially excited as I’d never been before. Their aim is to serve “simple, delicious hamburgers made fresh from properly-sourced British beef and the best ingredients possible, paired with a cold crafted beer or an extra-thick shake” and they didn’t disappoint.

For those of you that follow my blog, you’ll know I’m a lactose-intolerant pescatarian. So as incredible as properly-sourced British beef and extra-thick shakes sound my body can’t take it! So here’s a review of the vegetarian side of Byron burger.

I opted for the mushroom burger, as I feel like I’ve had my fair share of bean patties during my veggie life.

“MUSHROOM – Portobello mushroom, goat’s cheese, roasted red pepper, baby spinach, tomato, red onion, aioli”

 

How can you pass up the chance to have goats cheese in your burger? I also added avocado to bulk it up, which in my opinion was a massive win. You get a very generous portion so I gave some to Nat to put with his chicken burger too!

The peppers and goat’s cheese pairing is a genius pairing, I’ve never had them on a burger before and I’m wondering why! The brioche bun added a slight sweet flavour along with the aoili. It was a crazy combination of flavours, a welcome change from the regular spicy bean burger or soya patty decisions veggie’s are always bored of making.

“CLUCKY – Fried chicken breast, guacamole, sriracha mayonnaise, pickled red onions, pickles, shredded iceberg” (Nat went for grilled)

What else do you need when you have a burger? SIDES!

We went for onion rings and courgette fries (they’re healthy, right?)

The onion rings were incredible! Covered in a lovely light batter with incredible peppered seasoning, I would go as far to say they were the best damn onion rings I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

The courgette fries were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, just what you want. They’re not too heavy on your stomach either, so win win win!

And of course you can’t review a restaurant without trying their desserts, I was ready for the challenge despite how filling the burgers are! Nat went for an Oreo cheesecake and I chose the biggest brownie I have ever tackled in my life (seriously).

The juxtaposition of the cheesecake was a treat to the taste buds; the soft cheese filling teamed with the crunchy Oreo base was something that will be on my mind for weeks. I never usually go for chocolate based desserts, I’m an apple crumble girl myself, but this was just the right amount of indulgence.

Onto the biggest brownie EVA, it was heavenly. Considering the size of the brownie, it was soft, toasty and moist. I bloody love having cold ice-cream with a warm dessert too, so I was pretty pleased with my choice. It did defeat me though, and as I always say “I don’t want to look back and think, I should’ve eaten that”.

I. SHOULD. HAVE. EATEN. THAT.

 

 

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with Byron, I had never been to the one in Leicester (I thought it was only for meat eaters!) and I’m definitely regretting it now. Everything from the portion sizes to the decor, I was smitten. What I do know is that next time I go, I’m ordering 3 sides of onion rings. For real. Watch me.

I’m so thankful they gave me the chance to celebrate their birthday and I can’t wait to try the Byron in my home town!

 

❤ HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY BYRON! ❤

 

* I was invited by Byron Burger in Intu Derby to review their menu. All images and views are my own.

The Cultural Quarter of Leicester is one of the best areas of the city. It’s got bars like Manhattan 34 and The Exchange, entertainment from the wonderful Curve theatre and a number of gems in between.

So I was more than keen to visit the quarter’s local restaurant Chutney Ivy to take its new menu for a spin, and thought I would bring my lovely boyfriend as company. I was especially excited as Chutney Ivy bagged the prize of “Best Restaurant of 2017” at the Curry Awards – given Leicester’s renowned Asian heritage, this can’t have been an easy feat – so I was itching to sample the reasons why!

Chutney Ivy offers Indian cuisine that respects its heritage but isn’t afraid to innovate – Shaf the co-owner’s enthusiastic insight into the kitchen’s culture attested to this. The restaurant isn’t afraid to take on the features of a swanky bar either, so don’t hesitate to go even if it’s just for a cocktail! Interested? Read on…

Berry Mojito – Chutney Ivy

Starter

Indian Tapas Platter

“A combination of Siek Kebab Stacks (kebab with sun-dried tomato on a nan square), Aloo Tokki, Paneer stacks and Fish Pakora.”

This platter is a perfect companion to after-work cocktails with a gal pal or significant other, but be warned, it will leave you wanting more. The catfish pakora stood out as the showcase portion: its sweet, rich seasoning was so delicately paired with a light batter that made the texture so irresistible. The Akoo Tokki is worth a mention too – the crisp of the potatoes was heavenly and gave a great earthy balance to the dish. Nat and I agreed that this platter was a well-thought-out way of exciting the palette and prepping the appetite – it was light, flavoursome and moreish in a way that really set up for the mains.

Dim Bhajee Salad

“Boiled eggs, sautéed in caramelised onions, roasted jeera and turmeric. Served on a bed of greens.”

This is something I want to attempt at home as a snack salad that has some character to it. I would never have thought the combination of boiled eggs, jeera and turmeric would be so powerful! This dish complemented the platter well, providing a crisp alternative to the hotter flavours.


Mains

Because I’m a little fusspot that lends herself to the pescatarian style of living, I wasn’t able to try the new mains. Fortunately though my human vacuum of a boyfriend is, in his words ‘a conscious meat-eater’, or in my words ‘a part-time, zero-hour contract vegetarian’, so he permitted himself to eat what I could not.

Muragh Jaal Qurma

“Roasted chicken from the Tandoor gently cooked in sweet spices of cinnamon, Bay leaves, green cardamom, milk, yoghurt and a hint of green chilli. Garnished with caramelised onions and fresh coriander.”

Now it’s very rare that I ever wish that I had meat on my plate, but this was genuinely a struggle. This is a Bangladeshi Korma, which Shaf was keen to differentiate from the slightly saccharine, cream-centric Korma we’re used to in the UK. This dish is made with milk and yoghurt rather than cream, making the dish a lot less sweet, and while it takes longer to cook, the flavours were richer for it. Nat described it as more complex than kormas he’d had in the past, with a welcome heat that gladly superseded the general theme of sweetness he was used to. That isn’t to say this wasn’t mellow and accessible to those with a more sensitive tongue though – these flavours are indiscriminately pleasing. The aroma alone wowed me.

Capsico Keema Mattor

“Juicy bell peppers chargrilled in the Tandoor; stuffed with spiced minced lamb, paneer and peas.”

Another chef-favourite that challenged Nat’s capacity after the Korma, the pairing of paneer with tandoor spice was a harmony that explained Shaf’s enthusiasm for the dish.

There was “a lot of interesting tastes at play in this dish,” with Nat describing it as a “introspective lesson in flavour,” (yeah he’s that guy) that required quite a few mouthfuls to really get to the bottom of.

Sea Bass Bangla Massala

“Whole sea bass fillets gently infused with a blend of caramelised onions, tomatoes, fresh garlic, turmeric and lemon juice. Garnished with spring onions and fresh coriander. The favourite dish of the Bengal.”

I, hand on heart, think this might be one of the best fish dishes I have ever had.

Shaf explained he uses sea bass as it’s a dark fish, and one that is most similar to the Bangladeshi fish that is traditionally used. The fish was beautiful, it melts in your mouth and the sauce made a lasting impression. The lemon juice played a huge part in this dish, teaming up with the spring onions and coriander to deliver one of the most refreshing curry dishes I’ve had the pleasure of trying. Needless to say I didn’t leave one bit.

Dessert

Kalajam 

“sweet milk dumpling, marinated in ghoor.”

After the feast we’d just had, this dessert was welcomingly humble, but not at the expense of character. I’m a big fan of the very similar gulab jamun thanks to my colleagues, as they often bring Indian sweets into work. I was told I needed to try them warm with vanilla ice-cream so this felt like a sign! Kalajam has sugar added into the batter, and after frying the sugar it caramelises, giving it the name kala jam or “black jam”. This did not disappoint and lived up to my work pal’s recommendation. I’m normally an apple crumble kind of girl, but this sweet little beauty is always going to be top of my dessert list given the option!

 

I had a lovely time exploring this new menu, and I will definitely be back! If you want fearless food in a relaxed open space (the whole front of the restaurant can be opened up!), visit Chutney Ivy.

 

To book in and try Chutney Ivy’s new menu, call 0116 251 1889 or head to their website.

 

I was kindly invited by Chutney Ivy to sample their new menu. The views are my own, as are the images unless stated otherwise.


If there’s one thing you should know about me, it should be that I am grossly obsessed with food. I get through my day just thinking about what I’m going to eat next. You know the feeling right? I’m sure you all do.

So when I heard from a good blogging pal Dizzy Miss James that The Orange Tree was hosting a vegan food festival I was dying to get a spot! Being a lactose intolerant vegetarian tends to take me to the vegan side of the menu more often than not, but this time I was incredibly spoilt for choice.

I decided to go for the vegan burger and Oreo sundae (omfg) and this was my experience:

(P.S I was a little piggie and helped Victoria with her hot dogs too ❤️)


Big O’s Burger

Beef flavoured soya patties with vegan cheese, gherkins, sliced tomatoes and baby gem lettuce topped with house sauce cuddled by a tasty bun

The first point I wanna make is how incredibly real the patty looks – pair this with the combination of a home-made sauce and vegan friendly cheese and I was buzzing with excitement! And I can’t forget to mention the mix of sweet and regular potatoes as the wedges; variety keeps the mouth moist (ew).

I EVEN HAD VEGAN MAYONNAISE. M A Y O N N A I S E !

I do love a vegetable-themed burger as much as the next veggie, but there’s something (somewhat guiltily) satisfying about having a burger that resembles meat, whilst knowing no animal was harmed during the process! This burger was warm, juicy and had all the complex textures of a mainstream (*cough* meat) one. My mouth is watering just thinking about it… ahhhh…

Hot O’s Dog

Vegan sausage in a hot dog roll, topped with sauerkraut, fried onions, cheese sauce and mustard (oh hot damn)

What first caught my eye about these delicious ‘dogs was that there were two – I mean, what’s better than one hot dog? You get the jist. This photo doesn’t do justice to just how good these ‘dogs tasted; they were a classic example of a meal becoming more than the sum of its ingredients, the mustard and sauerkraut complemented each other as Rick complements Morty (if you don’t get the reference, seriously get watching Rick & Morty – it’s on Netflix). I couldn’t tell the difference between the vegan sausage and a regular one, and I actually had a dream about this hot dog recently. True story.

Oreo and ice cream sundae

It’s Oreo, strawberries and vegan ice cream, duh.

OH THANK THE HEAVENS, OREOS ARE VEGAN! I didn’t realise this before attending Sloppy O’s, what’s inside of them?! I’m not complaining, I had a dope ass sundae to finish off me stuffing my face; so happy I think I actually shed a tear.

There’s not much to reveal about an Oreo and ice cream sundae (the secrets of the Oreo were discovered long ago), but I have to comment on how luxurious the crunch of Oreo tasted alongside some smooth and silky ice cream.

Why can’t Sloppy O’s be every month?

I always thought the Orange Tree was merely a place for great drinks and a top pub quiz, yet my eyes have been opened by their amazing selection of vegetarian and vegan foods and I’m desperate to try some more! Huge thanks to Orange Tree in Leicester for accommodating us veggies and I can’t wait for the next event!

If you haven’t been already, make it your next stop for lunch or dinner. You won’t be disappointed! Plus you might see me lurking in the corner with Tofush and chips.

Cue drooling.

It’s almost the most commercialised, tacky day of the year!

I kid…

What I mean to say was… Soon it shall be the 14th February, the day St Valentine (supposedly) shot you in the ass and you found some love.

Whether you’re spending it with the one you love, your mum or your best girl friends, Veeno is definitely the place to spend it!

Veeno was brought to us by Nino and Andrea, lovers of football, quality wine and authentic food. They only opened their first wine bar in 2013 and have taken the UK by storm, opening 10 bars since then! I was ecstatic to hear that one was opening in Leicester as I love the Nottingham one so much! 

I was kindly invited along to their Selezione Wine Tasting back in November, and it was amazing! It consisted of two white wines, one rose and two reds, accompanied by a platter of appetisers that were specifically chosen to compliment each of the wines. All of this was finished off with a dessert wine and their homemade tiramisu (WHICH WAS TO DIE FOR). All of Veeno’s wines come from their family vineyard in Sicily, Italy, ensuring only the best quality wines make it from their vines to your glass!

It was such a great experience to meet other bloggers, bring my love along and try so many different wines, I never knew I liked rosé until I went Veeno! But I am a red girl at heart ngl.

Anywho, back to the point!

Get booked in as soon as you can, even if it’s not for Valentine’s day. It’s great for all social situations, I even went after work to catch up with my gal pal! (hey Izzy) where we tucked in on a mini cheese board and talked the night away at a little instagrammable table decorated with corks! Such a beautiful place I tell ya.

Veeno really is the perfect setting for a Valentine’s date – for only £26.90pp you and your significant other can partake in this incredible Selezione experience, I am definitely going to book in again. They also cater for vegans & vegetarians too so you wont feel like you’re missing out!

Also, if anyone wants to join me on the Blind Wine Tasting they have on offer, let me know! I’m desperate to try it!

Are you feeling Christmassy? I’m feeling DAMN Christmassy.

We’ve finally touched down in December and now it’s all about mulled wine, blankets and endless amounts of food.

So what’s better than trying out all the new Christmas menus our favourite food retailers have to offer? Nothing I tell you, nothing. Especially when you get to meet some of this lovely lot…

I was invited by the lovely PizzaExpress to check out their newly renovated digs and to try their new Christmas menu. What’s really cool about PizzaExpress is that each of their restaurants are individually designed, and are usually based on well known places, people or historical events from the area. I couldn’t wait to check out what they had done with the place and get my hands on some new fancy food!


Starter: 
Terrina Festa: “A soft terrine of salmon, crab and prawn, served with rocket, house dressing, a wedge of lemon, fresh parsley and flat bread”

Fresh and fishy… in a good way! The nicest starter i’ve had in a while. This was incredibly refreshing and you get a good portion of terrine to use with PizzaExpress’ amazing bread. I would definitely recommend this to fish lovers, ridiculously tasty!


Main Course: 

Cauliflower Cheese Romana: “Roasted cauliflower florets, Pecorino cheese and garlic oil on a creamy cheese & mustard sauce base with pink Tropea onions and pine kernels, finished with fresh parsley and shaved Gran Milano cheese”

I had the Cauliflower Cheese Romana (within minimal cheese hello lactose intolerance) and it was INCREDIBLE! For my fellow lactose intolerant sufferers, you know when you sometimes play the risky game of eat the dairy if you think the food is worth it? This is worth it. I will say I wasn’t fully convinced with cauliflower on a pizza to begin with, but I am never looking back. The mustard in the base was probably my favourite part, it gave the pizza a warming spicy kick… now I’m drooling. Yummy.

Dessert: 

Snowball Dough Balls: “Our famous Dough Balls with cinnamon and icing sugar, served with a vanilla cream dip and a chocolate straw”

Due to stuffing my face with the starter and main there wasn’t much room left for dessert, but did I let that stop me? HELL NO! I absolutely love the famous dough balls at PizzaExpress, so this was a good choice for me. This is great as a sharer as I feel I couldn’t eat al the cream dip to myself (though I did try).

Now I know you’re all frantically putting your shoes and coat on to get down to PizzaExpress as soon as you possibly can, but wait! PizzaExpress have given me a 30% off voucher (now expired) for my readers! Enjoy your little Christmas treat! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

 

 

 

 

*A huge thank you to PizzaExpress for inviting me along for a complimentary meal. All words are spoken from the heart and accurate.