Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’

Kurt, Steven and Yelp are Close to my Heart

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Last night brought another delicious Yelp Elite Event into my life – this time we were welcomed by Bar 21 in the Northern Quarter to sample their wares and check out their disco-tastic dance floors. In recognition of Bar21‘s ‘Movie ‘n’ Music’ theme, the evening was to be focussed on all things famous. It was suggested that we dress up as something film-related. Considering my very poor effort at the previous Elite event where we were asked to dress in ‘Summer attire’ and I wore sunglasses, I decided to actually think about my outfit for this event. With the use of my office’s printing facilities, a pair of scissors and a box of safety pins, I transformed an average red dress into HOMAGE TO B-GRADE MALE ACTION MOVIE STARS THAT I LOVE.

So many handsome men have attached themselves to me.

So many handsome men have attached themselves to me.

Steven, Kurt, Chuck, Jean-Claude, Arnie and co were well received by my fellow Yelpers and there were some mighty fine film and music related tees worn on the night as well.

I had never been to Bar21 before and, to be honest, I had purposefully avoided it. From the outside it had always appeared a bit concrete and uncomfortable, so I was pleasantly surprised when I ventured inside and discovered a bright and cheery bar full of memorabilia. Anywhere with a giant photograph from Back From the Future on the wall is a winner in my world.

We were allowed to choose a drink from their extensive Happy Hour list and Hannah and I were particularly happy to see that Doom Bar ale was an option. An excellent start to the evening.

The super friendly staff made us feel very welcome and took us on a tour of their downstairs dance floor. I think I will need to return for some serious hot-stepping one evening. It has been a long time since my last dance session… too long.

Next was a cocktail master class where we were shown how to make two drinks and then allowed to sample the tasty concoctions. Unfortunately (although probably luckily for our brain cells) there were 30 Yelpers and 15 glasses of each drink so there were a few sharpened elbows pushing their way through to get their drink of choice. Humans + free alcohol = messy. Hannah and I decided sharing is caring and went halfsies. The cocktails were good although neither would be something I’d normally choose. One had a cream layer and the other tasted like liquid Haribo. SWEEEEEEEET.

Mixology madness

Mixology madness

After the cocktails we were all in need of some food and we were overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of dishes put out for us to gorge on. It was a meatlovers’ delight with chorizo, salami, ribs, burgers and more kinds of chicken wings than I’ve seen in a long time. And it was tasty! I wouldn’t normally have chosen to come to Bar21 for food but I was really impressed with what I ate. The beef burgers were served with proscuitto and blue cheese – so good. Sadly, they were also drenched in some sort of brown sauce that was far too strong and completely overpowered all of the flavours. After I had attempted to remove most of the sauce the burger was definitely a winner on my plate.

Food! Photo credit: Hannah's phone.

Food! Photo credit: Hannah’s phone.

Dessert came out as we were still stuffing our faces – lime curd or chocolate mousse tartlets were our choices. Surprisingly I went for the lime as the chocolate didn’t look dark enough for my liking. And the lime was good – nice and sharp and served in a deliciously buttery pastry. Yum.

If we hadn’t consumed enough, out came a birthday cake to celebrate Yelp Manchester’s 10th birthday. Marzipan covered red velvet cake anyone? Yes please. As we forced the cake into our mouths (ok, there was no force involved. It was delicious.) Bar21‘s Thursday night quiz began and in our teams of 4, 5 or 6, we competed to the death to win great prizes and ultimate glory. My team failed miserably and finished in third-last place. We were largely let down by the Australian on our team who didn’t know how many stars were on her own country’s flag. Yep. For shame.

As the evening came to a close and I headed home to bed like the Grandma I have become, I felt that great sense of pure satisfaction after you have had a great night out. Good food, good drinks, good friends, good times. Looking forward to Yelping it up once again in September.

P.S. My stupid phone died during the cocktail master class so I have a serious lack of photographs of food. Very disappointing.

Sitting High in Manchester

Monday, October 21st, 2013

In the seven and a half months that I have been living in Manchester, I have seen a lot of new cafes, restaurants and bars pop up around the city. While the UK is still going through economic difficulties, it seems the Brits will always have enough spare cash to go out for a drink or two. As a lover of food and drink, this all good with me and I have taken it upon myself to try as many of these new venues as possible. I am proud of my achievements to eat at as many of the BoBo-cool bistros of Paris and have brought this determination with me across the channel.

Two weeks ago, I met up with some of the girls that I worked with at Artisan. Our night’s plans included heading to one of Manchester’s latest additions that has some very high expectations weighing down on its shoulders. Set up by Living Ventures, the same company who owns Artisan and half of the restaurants in Manchester, Manchester House has been established as being THE RESTAURANT in Manchester that will earn a Michelin Star. High expectations mean high prices and while I would love to be able try the 10 course tasting menu, the £95 price tag (an extra £70 for wine) means it is a little out of my budget. That said, if anyone wants to demonstrate how much they love me… I’ll book the table.

Manchester House is spread out over two floors of a tall office block in Spinningfields – level 2 is the Potentially-Michelin-Starred restaurant, while high up on the 12th storey is the bar. Sarah, Ceri and I felt a little underdressed and lacking in gold credit cards as we walked into the ground floor foyer and were greeted by a host. She didn’t seem to notice our lack o’ cash and we were shown into a lift and whisked up to the 12th floor. Here we were  greeted by another smartly dressed and very good looking host. The handy thing about working for a company that owns every bar in the city is that you get to know the staff, so we were instantly made to feel comfortable. We were taken on a tour of the bar which has 360 degree views of the city – very cool. The layout of the bar has pockets of seats, benches and outdoor seating areas. The layout was great but the white leather couches were already getting dirty and parts of the ceiling appeared to detaching themselves and the bar hadn’t even had its official opening yet.

We made our way to the bar and started perusing the cocktail menu. The most ‘budget friendly’ drinks were around £10 each but when you include the whole experience of drinking high above Manchester it didn’t seem so bad. The guys behind the bar were friendly and helpful but both were clearly ‘learning’. Luckily they were serving three girls who know what it is like to still be coming to grips with a new menu.

Flame thrower.

Flame thrower.

I would like to go back to Manchester House when there are a few more people in it. We went before the official opening party and on a Tuesday night so not many people even knew it existed. That said, it was nice to have the place almost to ourselves and to be able to pretend that we were rich high flyers who always spend that much on drinks.

A drink with a view.

A drink with a view.

One last thing I would like to mention/whinge about is that the glassware in Manchester House reminded me of my Nanna’s crystal glasses that she gets out when she has guests. Clunky, old fashioned and not very cool.

Fun Times Count Down

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

You may have realised by now that I enjoy counting down to things – moving to Paris, my birthday, Christmas. Things become even more exciting if you watch the time drop away and the thing that you are looking forward to moves steadily closer. Counting down to things that you are less excited about isn’t quite as good and so I have decided to forget about the days in January as my flight back to Perth inches closer and closer.

However, people around me have suggested it might be a good idea that I look at the bright side of going back to Perth (ie. sunshine, the beach, family, no French people) and so I have decided for the next however-many-days I have left in Paris I am going to make sure that I do (at least) one thing that is new, exciting, fun or delicious. That way, if the French government says I can’t come back to France then I can say, “Oh well, that’s your loss. I’ve already eaten ALL of your nutella crêpes.”

I will, of course, be informing you of my adventures over this count-down period so that you can either be pleased that I am enjoying myself or just plain jealous. Although I decided to do this last night while having a shower (it’s where I get all of my good ideas) I will include yesterday as my first day of Fun Times Count Down. Here is the fun thing that I did:

FUN TIMES COUNT DOWN #1

After spending most of the day at home, at 5.30pm Tom and I went and met our friend, Phillipa (she is also leaving Paris in a few weeks and is feeling as despondent about the whole ‘going back to Perth’ thing as I am), and we had a drink at a bar. It was a last minute decision that turned in a few hours of laughter, chatting, cocktails and tapas. It isn’t called Happy Hour for nothing. We were eventually kicked out so that a table of people who actually wanted to eat food could sit, and Tom and I walked home through the streets of Paris with a bright, potentially full moon guiding our way back. A simple yet enjoyable experience that will kick start my Fun Times Count Down.