Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Breakfast Lovin'

A healthy, high-protein, refined-carb-free start to your day!

Wack the Jack Johnson on full volume and get making these oh-so-simple yet delicious banana
pancakes! So there are JUST TWO ingredients in these pancakes. Yes, I know, hard to believe.
I was doubtful myself when my friend told me to simply blend 2 eggs with a banana. I mean,
surely that creates some sort of off-putting banana omelette? No my friends. It does not. I
urge you to give this a go. Top with whatever takes your fancy on that particular morning. My
personal favorite is Greek yogurt, blueberries and honey. Spot on.

2 x Large free-range eggs
1 x Banana (a good sized one)
A dash of cinnamon (optional, I like it)

That's it folks.
Pancakes, Greek Yogurt, Blueberries, Honey. 
I love lazy breakfasts. 

1. Simply use a hand blender to whizz the above ingredients together until you have a
smooth batter.
2. Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat - add some butter or coconut oil to the pan
and pour roughly half the mixture into the pan to make a good sized pancake.
Note: These don’t take long to cook so be careful not to burn them, simply flip the
pancake using a spatula after a couple of minutes to ensure both sides are cooked.
3. Repeat this with the rest of the mixture. It’s up to you how you do it- one massive
pancake, four little ones or a couple of standard ones. I usually make 2 or 3 - but this in
part depends on the size of your eggs/banana.

Topping Ideas:
● Greek yogurt, blueberries, honey/maple syrup.
● Whipped butter and maple syrup (cheeky).
● Crispy bacon and maple syrup
● Not-so-naughty chocolate sauce (recipe to follow) and greek yogurt

Happy Days!!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Autumn is definitely upon us...

The Gardener's Cottage at Tatton Park

In the Gardens
A timely escape to the countryside! I love living in central Manchester, but sometimes an adventure to some rural fresh air is a blessing. I headed to Tatton Park, a National Trust property - and somewhere I've been meaning to visit for a long time! As the parents were visiting, I seized the opportunity to take advantage of their car. We took a risk with the weather (October can be unpredictable at best) - but we were very fortunate in the end. That crisp British autumnal weather, crunching leaves beneath the foot, the fresh chill of the air awakening the soul and the comfort of the coffee break that invariably follows are key components to some of my favourite lazy weekend days. Once the cobwebs had been blown away and the garden wandering sufficiently exhausted, coffee was of course compulsory. We retreated to 'The Gardener's Cottage'.

Inside the house itself (not the cafe) - this was part of the servant's quarters

The menu includes traditional lunch and afternoon tea favourites. Fresh cakes are baked daily and looked awesome, and come in considerable sized slices! I couldn't manage cake as I had had a massive breakfast at Home Sweet Home. The cottage consists in three cute floors of quintessentially British rooms filled tastefully with wooden tables and delicate china for tea. There is a current trend to go for afternoon tea - this place seems like the proper job, although of course I can only comment on the coffee. 

They offer filter, espresso: latte and americano and an interesting selection of French press coffee of varying strength and origin. We each had a different one, they were all pleasant. The main attraction however, was of course the surroundings. A historic building set among the most beautiful countryside. A highly recommendable place for a weekend walk to escape the city and a charming cottage for coffee. There is also a market on at the moment with various Christmas gifts and local food, including Manchester honey and some delicious chocolate! 

I love autumnal days like these...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

'Mug' - A new place to chill.

There's a new coffee house in town called 'Mug'. I went for an americano on it's first day of opening. The prices are all really low, including the cake. Massive slices for £1.50! Seriously massive. Go check it out, have a chill and people watch in their window seats. It's a cool little place to have a pause from your busy day. My small americano was only £1.40. I don't think this place is quite the artisan coffee house serving up brews of the quality you'll find at Takk or North Tea Power, but it's certainly a pleasant addition to central Manchester. My friend had a large cappuccino, for me this was too milky and not strong enough. I always opt for a flat white if I'm going to have milk, however, the coffee flavour was pleasant enough. If you're craving a big wedge of chocolate cake and a large hot milky beverage - Mug will sort you out for a total of £3.50. They also had a tempting red velvet cake that day. Just as big.

That's a bit naughty isn't it.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Mr. Cooper's House and Garden - Sunday Lunch in Style, Manchester

I wrote this a year ago when Mr.Coopers first opened, I started a blog ('Healthy Weeks and Weekend Treats') but couldn't find the time to write it with all the uni work and swimming (and so deleted it and restarted with this one). So I'm going to use some of my older material from over a year ago as it is still relevant! But yes, I still agree with all this about Mr.Coopers (hence why I'm posting it) and I have been back many times! Highly recommendable.

Simon Rogan's Mr Cooper's: take a step into a tranquil (indoor) garden-themed haven of sophisticated serenity. And I mean what I say - it was not a dead ambiance, it was busy for sure, but calm nonetheless. It was my father's birthday, accordingly, a celebratory Sunday lunch out was definitely required. Aren't lazy Sunday lunches just the best? Our table was booked for 1, but we didn't leave our little garden patch dining area until about 4. Good work. I have a thing about light, not only do I like the ability to see my food, it just raises the spirits doesn't it. The lighting should be appropriate -  a Sunday lunch in a garden themed pretty-gourmet restaurant should be light. The massive windows and immensely high ceilings did just the job. The décor of the place had good attention to detail, we felt private at our table yet simultaneously were part of a pleasant atmosphere. 

Enough of that interior crap: the food. Mr. Cooper's now does a fixed Sunday lunch menu, so we were fortunate enough to have the option of a very good value pile of excellent quality comforting nosh. 2 Courses for £15, 3 for £19. Considering the quality and delicate preparations, this was very good value. My mother opted for the a la carte option - the Duck with Sweet Potatoe Casserole, this was perfectly pink, beautiful flavours but a tad on the small size portion-wise. This suited her as she likes to eat lightly, but I wouldn't recommend Mr Coopers for a fat binge (unless you want to spend extraordinary amounts). The Sunday lunch menu is restricted to one option at each course, but this was no bother to me as they were all lovely. (Note, there is a choice of 3 options with the week-day fixed lunch menu). The parsnip soup was delicious with appropriate undertones of coriander and cumin, the mixed foccacia that accompanied it was fantastic. Both the sun-dried tomatoe foccacia and the non-tomato one, which incidentally was fantastically garlicky, were a delicious accompaniment to the soup. 

I opted for a starter from the a la Carte (not part of my set Sunday menu). Pretty crazy, I know. Nick's Meatballs I believe they were called, but any name was irrelevant once these round beauties hit your taste buds. I wanted to sit on a mound of pillows in a silent room, alone, with a massive bowl full of these exquisite taste explosions - just me and them. Unfortunately I received a measly three balls of goodness, but I guess I had to leave room for my roast. Six however, would have been nice! They were awesome, the crunchy stuff on top (don't even remember what it was) was fab and the mousse like light tzatziki, equally great. 

Tasty Meatballs!
Moving on to the hearty roast: it certainly was a hearty affair. I wasn't expecting such a considerable portion, I was pleased as I do have a massive appetite. I like to stock up on plenty of veg and meat and all things tasty on a Sunday - this was a good choice. The beef was nicely pink, the goose fat potatoes were good, although I would like them smaller and crispier (that may be just me on that one). The parsnip puree with parsnip crisp was the best thing, although the cabbage with smoky bacon was a joy. I'm not as in to Yorkshire puddings as most of my peers seem to be, but it was a big bugger so I guess that passed the standard test. The gravy was gorgeous, I always require a lot and invariably ask for more. On this occasion they took a painfully long time to get me my second jug of richness, but obviously the wait was forgotten once my Yorkshire pudding was afloat in the stuff.

THE roast. See what I mean, rather large potatoes.

My dessert was a toffee apple mousse with a ginger Parkin and peanut brittle. I feel too much of it was essentially cream which just tasted of...cream. The peanut brittle was definitely needed texture-wise and most enjoyable. It took way to many mouthfuls for me to actually get any signal that there was apple involved, so I'd say I was slightly disappointed in the pud. Additionally the waitress lacked the ability to describe to me what a Parkin actually is. That's really not on at a place like this, especially when it's a cake associated with Yorkshire! The caramel tart with the mascarpone ice-cream however, was an enjoyable affair. Although, when I hark back to my holiday in America - the desserts are by no means comparable. That chocolate molten cake is yet to be beaten! 

The Caramel Tart (minus cheeky taste, soz)

  • The building: set in the sophisticated Midlands Hotel, a peaceful garden-like atmosphere. Top marks.
  • The service: nice staff, but didn't know enough about the menu (she didn't know what a parkin was!) and too slow, I was kept waiting far too long for my extra gravy!
  • Prices: Good value Sunday lunch, A la carte was fairly priced too when the quality is considered, but the portions are small! (often the case with fine dining, but the whole point of this restaurant is that is more informal and appeals to a less select demographic -compared to Simon Rogan's 'The French' - also in the Midlands Hotel).
  • Recommend?? YES. A lovely experience and can be 3 courses under £20 if choosing economically! 
  • I'd liked to add - the drinks menu looked great (I WANT the 'affogato blazer', under the nightcap section) but I stick to tap water when I'm out. Athlete lifestyle innit! Plus limited funds of course.

I advise you to book - this place fills up fast - especially Friday through Sunday (I booked a few weeks in advance!). Plus, once word gets out about how good the gravy is, there will be Mancunians queuing up for the Sunday roast affair. They like their gravy up north. 

Quick Rating:
Ambience: 5
Service: 3
Value for Money: 4
Treat worthy? Its not really unhealthy here, but I'd say I have had better desserts elsewhere. 
GF/DF/Vegan: Not ideal

Mr Cooper's House and Garden on Urbanspoon

Tiffins, Bristol

Authentic curry takeaway on St. Michaels hill.

This is the kind of place I wish there was more of. There's often far and few between of little authentic gems like Tiffins. The husband and wife who own and run this business are the ones who were serving the curry. Nice and personal. The wife Jay, who served me, was so friendly and happy to talk me through all the curry's on offer that day - even with the ever growing queue of avid curry eaters behind me! I felt like a friend of her daughters that was visiting for the first time and a little shy.

If you're after a greasy classic 'British curry' that leaves you feeling lethargic and overly full then this is NOT the place. Instead what you will find is a reasonably limited menu of authentic Gujarati curry's made that day. Gujarat is a western state of India with extensive coastlines providing wholesome seafood dishes. However, the state is primarily vegetarian (due to Jain vegetarian and Hindi influence).  As such, Gujarati cuisine has a reputation for being healthy, with an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Gujarati cuisine, including that which is available at Tiffins, uses less oil, none of their dishes contain ghee (clarified butter) or artificial colourings/flavourings. At Tiffins, they really do provide authentic real Indian food.

Each day you will find something different but if you become a regular you will soon learn your favourites and some dishes are more frequent than others. In addition to the wide range of vegetarian dishes, there is a chicken and a lamb dish everyday. It's £6.50-7 for a meat curry and £6 for a vegetable curry (for the larger boxes). At lunch time its £5.50 for a vegetable curry and rice = bargain. The food is chilled in a counter from which you can choose your feast for that day. The food can be leisurely taken home to warm in the oven/microwave -unlike the traditional takeaway, where, with my family there is always a mad rush to get home in order to keep the food as hot as humanly possible. My mum is very fussy. Plates must be heated at least 30 minutes in advance. Cold plates are for heathens in her household.

Alternatively you can eat in - they will happily warm it up for you. However, its not really a place to be dining in, I think there's just the one table. It's designed to be taken away, besides I think there's more fun to be had that way. Also, there are chappatis, naans, and their home-made chilli and coriander chutney. For some, the chutney alone makes the trip to Tiffins a worthy one.

Quick Rating:
Ambience: N/A really (takeaway)
Service: 5
Value for money: 4
Healthy? YES
GF/DF/Vegan? Yes great for all gluten/dairy/animal avoiders!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Bakers & Co, Bristol

'Bakers & Co', the most recent and most certainly welcome addition to the Gloucester Road foodie fiesta, is instantly a firm favourite of mine and all those I know to have given it a try. During popular brunching hours, a seat at a rarely vacant table is highly sought after. Upon entry you are instantly greeted with an array of baked delights- as you would expect, the quality of which however, you would only hope for. 'Bakers & Co' provide treats worth savouring, devouring and maybe over-indulging for by a slice or two; go on. Trust me, from the classic brownie with a hint of cherry tang (that simply works) to the more unusual (but not unheard of) options of courgette cake or pistachio meringues, they're worth it. 'But why should I trust you?' I hear you cry, because I'm brownie obsessed, have a mild/severe addiction to indie coffee houses and rarely diverge from my super-healthy diet. That's why.

Bakers Breakfast

Huevos Rancheros

Like their sister jaunt 'Bravas' (terrific tapas), 'Bakers & Co' seek their inspiration from abroad. It's the San Francisco brunch scene that they aim to emulate with their reasonably interesting breakfast/brunch menu. This offers both smaller dishes (such as their home-made salted chocolate spread on their sour-dough toast) and more challenging portion sizes with the likes of the 'Bakers Breakfast' which is essentially a meat feast. The custard toast with bacon, maple syrup and yoghurt is potentially (definitely) the best of the sweeter brunches I have ever tried. I'm not overly enthused by the likes of soggy French toast drizzled with mediocre artificial sweetness, but 'Baker & Co's' custard bread, prepared with egg yolks,  is akin to a Portuguese custard tart and is genuinely lush. I wouldn't usually go to the extent of typing 'lush', but hey, 'when in Rome'. Anyway, if you're invariably dismissive when provided with sweeter breakfast options for want of a good poached egg and sausage (like me), repress your inner waffle prejudice and order this. It's not overly sweet and far from bland, go with it and thank me later. Maple syrup, streaky bacon, natural yoghurt and mint - match made in brunch heaven. 

Custard toast AMAZING

Hold the sugar-frosted phone! I'm yet to say a single word about their coffee. Don't be thinking that's because it ain't good, the Extract single origin Brazilian espresso they served me went down a treat. I had a Cappuccino on one occasion, a Flat White another - both wonderfully smooth with rich chocolate flavour notes - just how I like it. I usually start with coffee but the heavenly custard toast distracted me. They offer iced coffees too that I can imagine being more of a temptation during hotter weather whilst enjoying the sun (please be sunny!?) at one of their outside tables. The coffee isn't cheap, but the best never is. If I complain about the Flat White price here, I would have to do the same for all my favourite coffee houses in Bristol and Manchester. I think the brunches are a tad over-priced, its not cheap due to it's exquisite (local) quality and  it is wonderfully prepared.  However, I think it could be a little less pricey. 

I couldn't quite finish the Bakers breakfast.  This literally never happens. I always finish my meals. On this day, food certainly won. An honourable defeat. The fennel sausages and morcilla (Spanish black pudding) were excellent quality and combined with the pintos negros provided an enjoyable twist to the traditional full English. I think the smaller breakfasts are over-priced. I don't really want to ever spend more than £3 on granola - anything more than that is a big ask given granola is essentially oats (cheap). The chocolate spread on toast that I had was seriously gorgeous, just maybe a quid less would be more appropriate.

What 'Bakers & Co' do is nothing extraordinarily different. What, instead, they give us is a great environment in which to enjoy quality coffee, breads and meats that are freshly and well prepared. The staff are friendly as you'd hope from such a place and the menu varies and changes appropriately. It's my favourite local breakfast spot when I'm back in my home town and wanting a treat.

Quick Rating:
Service: 4
Vibe: 4
Value for money: 3
Treat worthy? Definitely
GF/DF/Vegan? GF and DF bakes available, but not much on offer for vegans - you'll just have to have some coffee! They have bread options that will be vegan topped with avocados etc.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Moorish, Bristol

'Moorish' is an authentic Moroccan den nestled in the heart of St. Nicks Market, Bristol. A peaceful, patterned and almost palatial feel that triggered memories of my summer in Granada - a city that still very much lives in the backwash of Spain's Islamic conquest so long ago. What a summer. Whilst comfortingly surrounded by 'Moorish''s pattered drapes that formed the café's walls, memories of my Spanish summer flooded back. Whilst sipping on a mint tea my mind took me to the magical Alhambra palace - the red city majestically gripping the Sierra Nevada mountains, the enchantment of the Spanish guitar in the background and  the sweet smells of the street tea vendors drifting through the city's ancient cobbled alleys. For many, 'Moorish' won't evoke the nostalgia that I felt, instead it will bring something new and exciting to those who haven't visited the likes of Morocco or Granada. The eatery isn't a cheesily Moroccan themed tourist melting-pot, instead it gives off a genuine vibe. Admittedly Moorish is found in an area frequently inundated by tourists, yet all the same, it didn't feel like that.

The menu isn't massive, instead 'Moorish' provide quality food, served fast and leaving little impact on the old wallet. I went with my mum whilst lazily ambling through Bristol's historic centre. Suddenly gripped by hunger  and a little chilly, my mum couldn't resist 'Moorish's' enticing fabric cavern. The Mint tea is £1.50 and served traditionally in a metallic tea pot. With the addition of some sugary sweetness its perfect when feeling a little cold (standard's August). We hardly had time to stir in our sugar before our food arrived. We shared the Lamb and prune stew, and the 'Moorish Chicken'. The portion sizes were great!

Lamb & Prune Stew

Moorish Chicken
I had rice with the lamb, but you can have cous-cous. It also comes with some lentils and some chickpeas which were very tastily cooked. I absolutely love slow cooked lamb with the sweet and soft prunes. Although, I actually think I preferred the chicken dish, this we had with cous-cous - the sultanas were a welcome addition to the tagine. The chicken was really tender - I highly recommend it. This place has a rapid turn around, if you're after a quick but by no means meagre lunch this is the place. It's sociable- as such a small place and plenty of places to sit outside if you're blessed with good weather. There are a few large tables that area ideal for larger parties or as a communal space. The value for money is great - the lamb was £6.50, the chicken £6.00. There are daily specials, for example there was pita with a selection of three dips and spinach with chickpeas.

If you're after an extensive menu or a more fine-dining experience this isn't the place. For a fast lunch with  character this place is ideal. You can eat a large, healthy and pretty cheap meal here.

Quick Rating:
Service: 4  quick & efficient but not rushed or abrupt
Vibe: 4
Treat Worthy? This isn't really a treat place - it's all pretty healthy! No desserts. Go to the cake place further up - looks awesome!
Value for money: 4
GF/DF/Vegan options? Great for vegetarians, very flavoursome non-meat options. I think also good if avoiding gluten as there's plenty of rice and easy to avoid dairy if you're vegan too. No dishes explicitly say vegan but you can choose carefully.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Wilks, Bristol

Wilks is a modern, understated yet sophisticated and  informal yet fine dining experience. Their set-lunch menu gave me an opportunity to try three well presented, locally sourced and skilfully cooked courses for a mere £20. Relatively speaking, this is great value. Eating out generally isn't cheap. Yes, there's the odd lunch spot gem that leaves you well fed for a fiver, but all too often am I found resolutely uninspired by a mediocre main course that costs £12. The only value of which is to create a momentary and reasonably deluded sense  of  cooking skill superiority.  That's a positive right? Sometimes its fun to feel better than everyone else. I digress. The accomplished and attentive cooking at Wilks demonstrates what talent lies out there, if you know where to go...
Bread selection
The atmosphere was lovely, the décor is calm, simple and with a good attention to detail. The restaurant isn't big, the combination of the place's size and the well placed tables (there's a good distance between) creates a pleasing ambience. The waiters were very professional but not overly formal. They were friendly, relaxed and most importantly knowledgeable. With thick French accidents they proceeded to charmingly describe each delicate plate full that we received. The whole sexy French waiter theme that Wilks has going on is a bonus not to miss for 'ladies who lunch'.

The front of house persuaded us to have the bread as an appetizer and assured that we wouldn't be disappointed. A selection of five organic freshly baked breads arrived with olive oil and butter. She was right, the bread was very good and a worthy treat. As a side note, I enjoyed the butter knives that cleverly stood up. The sharp knife that came with my main course was also well designed.  Whilst we indulged in the bread selection, an amuse-bouche arrived. I've never received this before, so it was a pretty exciting moment within my personal culinary journey. Two little bites to give a taster of what the chef has in order for us. Salmon with creamy cheese and Yew's curd with caramelised onion. I preferred the later, but both were good.

 To start I chose a saffron risotto with parma-ham and fennel seeds. This was beautiful, rich and creamy. Saffron used in such a way brings a warming glow of yellow to the plate. The starters were well portioned. So often with fine dining I feel I'm having to savour each mouthful a little too much due to the minuscule helping size. My dad had pan-fried guinea fowl, spinach, trompettes (mushroom) and poached duck-egg. This was a deliciously rich starter that suited the lighter fish-main that he opted for. 

Guinea fowl - starter
Saffron Rissotto - Starter

An array of richness

For the main, both my parents had John Dory Fish served with a delicious sauce - I tried a little of everything. It was quite creamy and complemented the delicate fish well. The sauce played a pinnacle role with both the mains we ordered, but particularly with this one. It really made the dish. The French beans that accompanied with fish were 'Coco de Paimpol' according to our waiter very famous in France. They were comparable to butter beans and worked well with the crunchy romanesco that were studded around the otherwise creamy plate. I really love romanseco broccoli and wish I could eat it more! Where do I buy these crunchy green gems? To me these edible flower buds look like miniature green palaces in some fictional vegetable wonderland.  

John Dory fish - Main
 As my main I had local deer haunch (from bath). This dish was full of flavour and right up my street. The meat was perfectly cooked medium-rare and well rested. The sauce, and particularly the Juniper jus teamed with the butter-nut squash purée and tender deer to produce a heavenly melt-in-the-mouth delight. The slightly crispy onion was a welcome texture amid a very comfortingly soft mouthful. The meal was well presented and the colours aesthetically pleasing.

I was pretty full after my satisfying two-courses, but what's another £3? An offer not to be turned down I say. I chose the panna cotta. Not the kind of choice I normally make but the other option involved meringue. I'm not a meringue fan - although I'm sure Wilks would have done it well as the flavour combination sounded awesome (chocolate, coffee, almond and vanilla - yes please). The panna cotta came in an elegant bowl and was dotted with lushness: sweet blackcurrants, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Personally, crème -brulees are a classic that I think are pretty easy to do well. Panna-cotta however, is more tricky. The chef at Wilks did a very good job. The strawberry sorbet atop the creamy-smoothness had a well-judged sweetness. The crispy ring that majestically adorned the dessert was not only a feast for the eyes, the brittle texture took the creamy dessert to the next level of complexity. A welcome bit of crunch and vanilla caramel sweetness. 


My dad opted for the cheese: local Stilton and cheddar. Served with quince jelly, sliced pickled walnut, grapes and some more of the fantastic fresh bread. The sliced walnut was a nice touch, hadn't seen it served like that before. 

All-in-all it was a wonderful experience. We felt really content upon leaving Wilks and will definitely go again for a special occasion.  I just love that feeling when you have enjoyed taking your time to eat, lapping up the social dimension of food and consuming some quality local ingredients. Ain't nothing better.

p.s. Wilks has 1 Michelin star. I think this is my first ever Michelin star experience. COOL. Totally worth it - well done Wilks.

Quick Rating:
Service: 5
Atmosphere: 4
Treat Worthy? 5
Value for Money: 5 (for the lunch menu)
GF/DF/Vegan Options? Not a place for vegetarians or vegans if you are going at lunch as the choice is very limited (one fish dish, one meat as the mains). The a la carte has more to offer and has vegetarian options. Additionally when you book you can warn them of any dietary requirements, I would imagine that they'd be as accommodating as possible but I don't know for sure.  I think avoiding gluten would be reasonably easy, but again you'd have to tell them in advance. No explicit GF options. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Colonna & Smalls, Bath

Atlast I am back in the south-west, my home! A trip to Bath was in order. I specifically sought out Colonna & Smalls - another place that has been high on my to-visit list! 

This place deserves the reputation it has earned. The co-owner and coffee-world legend even has an awesome name: Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood. Fab. Colonna & Smalls (read: Maxwell) wouldn't dare employ just any average barista. The staff here are at the top of their game. Complete with smart Colonna & Smalls shirts, the whole set up is very professional. They do indeed take their coffee very seriously.

Both my mother and I had espressos, but there is a brew bar where you can try different filtration methods in order to find your perfect cup. I had a Kenyan (Kanthi) blend that had tasting notes of lime, brazil nut and black tea (when drank with milk, I had a flat white). My mother opted for a softer espresso from Ethiopia with floral tasting notes as well as a hint of vanilla and malt. The flat white's were prepared to perfection. Temperature, latte art and espresso, all spot on.

The staff were friendly and more than happy to share their knowledge and passion for coffee. As I sat at the brew bar, I spent a good chunk of time watching their careful work and chatting to the baristas. As they extracted a perfect shot, I tried to extract as much of their valuable knowledge about the coffee world as possible!

In addition to coffee, there's a selection of cakes and pastries. They all looked appealing, especially the carrot cake. If you don't want a wedge of cakey indulgence, there were small shortbreads with interesting flavours- for example rosemary and Stilton. These were two for £1. I think in general the cake looked to be fairly priced, cheaper than many cafes I visit in Manchester.

UK Barista Competition awards!

The interior of the cafe is light with interesting décor. The writing and drawings that decorate the walls looks really cool and appropriately coffee related. They also sell a reasonable array of beans for you keen home baristas. I spotted some 'Hasbean' products.

In terms of coffee, this really is as good as it gets.