REVIEW: TAMPOPO CORN EXCHANGE

A couple of weeks ago I was invited my Tampopo to come and try the new menu and as someone who often books people in for reviews, I jump at the chance to be on the other side! So I headed to Tampopo based in Manchester’s Corn Exchange to enjoy the delicious treats on offer.

Tampopo offers a wide selection of Pan-Asians delights and as a vegetarian I know this type of cuisine is always a pretty safe bet for variety.

The meal starting out with a vegetarian platter (sorry to the girl on my table to missed out on the meat haha) – the platter included Vegetable Tempura, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Corn Fritters and Balinese Tofu style! The selection on the starter was amazing and it was so nice to have as much variety as the meat eaters! The selection was the perfect mixed of fried, sweet, savoury and spicy – definitely would recommend.

To go along with my starter I opted for a Singapore Sling – the balance of sweet, from the cherries and pineapple and tart from the grenadine! It went down a little to easily if I’m honest.

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From my main course I had the Vegetable Spicy Rebus Noodle Soup – this dish can also be made for Vegans too! The soup is perfect for those who enjoy a little kick of spice, as my boyfriend think hotter is better when it comes to food I’ve slowly started to embrace the heat! The soup is topped with an hard boiled egg which I think is the perfect accompaniment as it offer a little relief from the heat. Our lovely server for the even explained that Tampopo had worked with a veggie/vegan chef who appeared on MasterChef (her name escapes me) to create some of the new dishes for the menu – which I think is great! It’s so excited when restaurants embrace everyone dietary requirements to create tasty and flavourful meals, rather than the simple and plain dishes other restaurants offer.

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Another note, the portion sizes are very generous! I couldn’t even finish all of my soup – which was not a reflection on the taste but just shows that my eyes are too big for my belly!

I really enjoyed my visit to Tampopo – the food, drinks and service was all great and there is a lot of options for vegetarian which makes me a very happy girl! I can’t wait to go back with my other half to try out some more dishes from the menu (to be honest I used to only having three options at a restaurant haha!) I would definitely recommend you go and try it out.

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LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

Manchester is my home – I work here, I live here, I fell in love for the first time here and I’ve had my heartbroken here and on Monday night my heart was broken again. Manchester Arena, a nostalgic place for many, was attacked which took the lives of 22 people, injured over 50 and left scars on thousands more. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing your city on its knees, especially a city like Manchester – known for its music, its culture, food, comedy and history! It’s honestly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve had the pleasure to live in.

The city has been praised worldwide for pulling together in a time of need, but I don’t think people truly realised how spectacular it has been. From the moment it happened, on and off duty police officers raced to the scene, paramedics and firefighters all put their lives at risk to help the victims. The people of Manchester opened their doors, offered free taxi journeys, suppled tea & coffee, donated blood and thousands of people stood strong at the vigil all to show their support and to mourn the loss of the victims.

As I write this, victim’s names are slowly being release and families are trying to come to terms with the lose of their loved ones – I could never imagine being in their situation, and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. When I first heard the news I was in disbelief and to be quite honest I didn’t cry – I couldn’t cry but the dull ache in my heart has turned in sadness, helplessness, uncertainty and I can help my cry over the lives lost and changed forever. However, I hold hope in my heart and I know Manchester will rise from its knees, lifting up the people who need it most.

My friend quoted Mr Rogers and reminded me to ‘look for the helpers’ and that is what we have to do! Tragedy has struck Manchester but so has love. Paula Robinson rescued 50 children after the attack and took them to a local hotel for safety, a homeless man by the name of Stephen Jones raced to help the victims without hesitation and the Manchester Evening News along with the people of Manchester have raised over 1 million pounds to help the victims.

Manchester needs to make a promise now, a promise to those 22 people who we’ve lost, who are not just a number or a statistic but apart of our family – whether we knew them personally or not. We’ll never forget this attack but we need to ensure the kindness and hopefulness in our community continues for years to come.

Stay strong our kid!

x

ENZO MANCHESTER

pizza

I was invited by the lovely team at Enzo to head down to the launch party and try some of the delicious pizza and pasta dishes from the menu, and as a girl who never refuses free carbs how could I resist?

Enzo’s Manchester site is bright and spacious, the restaurant is colourful and has a light laid back atmosphere – perfect for a quick bite, a coffee with a friend or even a first date venue!  The venue also has seating outside which will be perfect for lazy summer days (fingerscrossed we get more sun).

When we entered the restaurant we were met with smiley and welcoming staff who offered us a cold glass of prosecco to start the evening.

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As a vegetarian I was really impressed with the menu, there are so many options for veggies, vegans and anyone who is gluten free – it was refreshing to have exciting and tasty options – not only just a standard cheese and tomato pizza.

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As a lover of pesto I really enjoyed the Pesto Genovese which is made with fresh penne, homemade basil pesto, toasted pine nuts and rocket – I really enjoyed the flavours and the pasta tasted really fresh and the texture was just perfect.

One of the most popular items on the Nantwich menu is the all-day-breakfast pizza, which features two fried eggs as well as all the usual breakfast trimmings. This was made clear as when the breakfast pizza arrived it was met with cheers and excitement from many of the other guests.

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The first pizza I tried was the Pesto Genovese which is made with pesto and feta base, peppers, cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil olive oil. As mentioned before I LOVE pesto and the feta cheese was the perfect pairing! The base was lovely and thin, as pizzas go this is definitely one of my favourites and I’ll definitely be ordering this again.

I also tried the bread twists which are made with chilli, rosemary & sea salt and oregano. These were served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze and tasted amazing! Definitely worth the extra hours in the gym! One of my favourite sides of the night were the dough balls which are served with homemade garlic mayo and they can also be made cheesy! Mozzarella and dolcelatte inside a warm dough ball? Hell yes! (sorry for the lack of pictures of these – I just couldn’t help myself)

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I also tried the Veggie Feast pizza which is made with lashings of fresh vegetables and topped with fresh basil oil – this version of the pizza was also made with vegan cheese! As a veggie, I’ve often thought about becoming a veggie but the thought of giving up cheese was also the deal breaker! However, after trying this pizza I could hardly tell the difference – the cheese wasn’t as strong but topped with veggies it was beautiful.

 

Bill’s Restaurant – Review

An indulgent meal at Bill’s Restaurant based in the Intu Trafford Centre was exactly what I needed after a long day and a lot of pampering.

The restaurant is very kitsch and there is a lot to look at while you wait to order, I love the decor of this particular restaurant as it’s very warm and inviting! Bill’s is situated on the top deck of The Orient, opposite The Weatherspoons. Its location was spectacular for people watching but also for the food, staff and atmosphere.

Bill’s offers a number of delicious drinks and cocktails including a Bramble Mojito and an imperial punch, but as I was driving I stuck to something soft. I decided against a boring Coca-Cola and chose a snazzy Pink Lemonade. (I’ll definitely be back to try some cocktails)

 

For my starter, I had the Roasted Squash, Red Lentil and Coconut Soup with crème fresh and coriander which tasted incredible. The dish was really warming and had a great collaboration of flavours, I really enjoyed the infusion of coconut and the roasted squash which created a delicious taste. The soup came with two slices of beautifully toasted bread which left me set to burst. I lost the picture I took with my professional camera so this one will have to do! It does not do it justice..

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For my main, I had the Halloumi & Hummus burger with a side of skin on fries, as a vegetarian I have had my fair share of Halloumi & Hummus burgers, therefore, I was expected good things from Bill’s. I was presented with a burger towering on the plate, the burger filled with halloumi, hummus and salad! It was so big I had to cut it before trying to eat it. Once I halved the burger I began to dig in, the halloumi and hummus worked really well together and the halloumi was the perfect side of salty. I also really enjoyed the skin on fries, they were crispy, tasty and grease free which is a massive plus. Overall the burger and fries were delicious and it left me with a serious food baby.

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To end the evening, I had a latte as there was no room left for dessert and I needed some energy for the drive home! The service was outstanding and I notice all of the customers received the same out of care and attentions (not just those who were reviewing). Everyone was very welcoming and on hand to help with meal choices! This was my first time at Bill’s in the Intu Trafford Centre but it certainly won’t be my last.

Breakfast at Banyan Bar & Kitchen

As the Corn Exchange continues to undergo it’s transformation my colleagues and I were invited to Banyan Bar & Kitchen to try their breakfast offering during their soft launch.  On arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff and on first impression the restaurant was open, fresh and beautifully decorated. We were sat by one of the large front facing windows from where we admired the sunny Manchester morning (we don’t get many of those).

I ordered a breakfast tea which came in a black teapot and a beautiful tea cup, which if I’d had the chance would have left with me in my bag!! For my meal, I ordered the smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs and was immensely impressed be the perfectly cooked eggs and delicious avocado recipe.

The only point of improvement I would make would be to offer more vegetarian options on the main menu. Yes, there are less vegetarian, but when eating with carnivore friends.. we pull rank!

I fell in love with the Banyan decor, the walls were coloured in a beautiful sea blue and the pick ‘n’ mix chairs were an eye pleasing teal colour. The restaurant was decorated with copper/rose gold accessories such as the light bulbs and vases and as someone who loves copper/rose gold I couldn’t have been happier! The decor is fresh, on trend and appealing to everyone but it also has a sense of character which will definitely help Banyan to stand out in the Corn Exchange.

The experience at Banyan was perfect and I really enjoyed spending my morning there. I can’t wait to go back and sample the evening menu

For the first look at all the places/events I attend, follow me on Instagram: @sarahraynard

WHITE HEAT

Summer 2015 is finally here and white is hot! It’s the perfect time to lighten up your wardrobe with some simple and stunning staples that you will be able to adapt and that will compliment any outfit. Whether your grabbing a drink, jetting off on holiday or heading to a festival all-white everything is having a serious moment. Now we know the Great British Summertime is not as forgiving as tropic sun, but there’s something about the crispness of white that provides the perfect solution to looking and feeling summery, without having to bare all.

With so many different shades and accessorises to choose from, white does not have to be boring. Just put on all the white pieces in different textures and make a chic outfit. In fact, white is simply beautiful all around the year, especially when days are getting hot. Whether you’re going for white on white on white look or adding some killer colour block shoes Summer 2015 is sure to be a complete white out

Here are a few white pieces I’ve pick up for this season:

white heat blog 6Topshop – £46

white heat blog skirt 6Miss Guided -£12

white heat blog dress 6Riverisland – £38

white heat top 6  Missguided – £5

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 21.36.54  Riverisland – £10

white heat coat blog 6 .43.25 Miss Selfridge – £39

white heat blog bag Asos – £70

white heat sunglasses  Asos – £15