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Bars and restaurants within hotels always get a bad reputation, I find. I was so passionate about this at one point that I even considered starting a whole new blog about them, but then realised how difficult it can be to keep this one up to date and quickly knocked the idea on its head. I am a regular visitor to Store Street within the Hilton Doubletree and love its close proximity to Piccadilly. It makes it the perfect spot for one last drink before home, but now…. there’s a new spot in town. Dakota is the newest hotel to land in Manchester. Straight from its roots in Scotland, this small luxury chain is slowly moving its way South with a property in Leeds, and now the spot in Manchester. Located between Piccadilly and Ancoats, Dakota offers luxury style and service with a ‘local’ feel. The staff are keen that guests feel at home, whether you’re staying overnight or just visiting the bar. The bar interior is cool, dark and moody with a touch of sparkle and a splash of animal print. Through the bar is Dakota Grill, where the interior is lighter and brighter but stays with the brown leather […]

The post Luxe Dining At Dakota Grill, Manchester appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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As much as I love a new opening in Manchester, local openings make me particularly excited. Stockport is having a bit of a revival recently, with Red Rock and the Produce Hall opening in the last 12 months to bring a new entertainment and dining hub to the town. Even more local to me is Davenport with our local coffee shop now licensed to serve alcohol at the weekends, our local pub The Jolly Sailor has been completely overhauled and opened last month. The Jolly Sailor has always been popular within the local community but has now been taken over by the Almond Family, who run a chain of carvery pubs in the Stockport area. Adding The Jolly Sailor to their growing list of establishments, the site has had a massive renovation with a large and airy orangery at the rear including a vast car park. The whole 19th Century pub has been updated into an open plan space with large bar area and ample seating to accommodate both drinkers and diners. As with the other Almond establishments, the carvery is the star of the show. I am partial to a carvery and rarely visit anywhere other than the Three […]

The post Dining In Davenport At The Jolly Sailor appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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Hard Rock Cafe is one of those institutions that welcomes you with open arms, pretty much anywhere in the world. When I first visited Thailand, Bangkok completely overwhelmed me. It is extra hard when the language is symbols rather than letters, but the Hard Rock Cafe sign was such a welcome sight that I went straight in. I know exploring is all about trying local dishes, but at that moment, it was just what I needed. The company have just announced the biggest shake up of their menu in its history and I was honoured to be invited to the Manchester restaurant to try some of the new additions. The pun was totally intentional as they have launched some pretty impressive freak shakes, which are also available without alcohol. The Strawberry Cheesecake option is topped with Party Ring biscuits, which is the absolute icing on the veritable cake if you ask me. Unlike other boozy shakes, you can really taste the alcohol in these, which is a bonus for me. Now to the menu, and the new Steak Burgers are seriously exciting! The patties are made with 4 different cuts from 100% Aberdeen angus beef to create a juicy and […]

The post Hard Rock Cafe Shakes Up Their Menu appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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Popcorn seems to be a popular snack at the moment. I’ve seen lots of different brands and varieties that I hadn’t noticed before and the cinema has also started stocking different ones alongside the standard salt or sweet option. I love the extra variety and regularly pop a few bags into my shopping trolley whilst out and about, so when Popcorn Shed offered to send me a selection of theirs, I knew I was the right woman for the job. Popcorn Shed make gourmet popcorn using all natural ingredients that are also gluten free. They are keen to provide something different to other brands that are on the market so have made their packaging bright and bold, with their flavours also packing a punch. They add extra texture to the regular crunch of popcorn with nuts, chocolate pieces and berries, to give a little something different and a premium quality theme. When it comes to the different flavours, I love that they have sweet and savoury options. Their Sweet Cheesus flavour is an absolutely genius combination of cheddar cheese and caramel, who would have thought to put those two flavours together? The kernels are firm and crispy, which makes them […]

The post Award Winning Gourmet Popcorn From Popcorn Shed – A Review appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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I was lucky to try the delicious Everfresh breads made with sprouted grains a few weeks ago, so when they asked if I would like to try their new range of cakes, I knew it was a no brainer. I commented on my previous post, that the breads were a little dense and bland when eaten on their own. I wondered how the cakes would fare and I was not disappointed! They are made with apple juice to add the sweetness you would expect from a cake, but with no added sugars, additives or preservatives so they’re as healthy as a cake can be. I worried that they would be a little dry but that is definitely not the case. Look at the sticky sheen on the stem ginger version! They remind me of a good Jamaican ginger cake in terms of texture. They are dense with a coarse texture and a rich yet sweet coating to make them even more moreish. My favourite is the date and pecan version as I really like the added texture the pecans creates. I like to eat my Everfresh cakes sliced and buttered, the way I eat my Jamaican ginger cake. I love […]

The post Naturally Sweet Cakes From Everfresh appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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For a city with so many bars and restaurants, finding a good Sunday roast is still hard to come by in Manchester in my opinion. I loved the roast at Refinery but I am yet to find somewhere that will lure me into journeying in Manchester from home and my own home cooked version! I am happy to be proven wrong though, so let’s see if Alston Bar and Beef could encourage me into the city for a roast more often. THE SETTING Alston Bar and Beef is within the Corn Exchange, with the main entrance being down a small side street near the Cathedral. From here, you will be led down a beautiful staircase to the main bar area of Alston, with the restaurant area being in front. There is a strong monochrome theme with murals on the walls, which allows the space to feel bright yet slightly moody and elegant at the some time. The dining area is open with smaller areas screened off around the side for private functions and events. You can see the kitchen staff at work on you dinner and there is a really nice laid back vibe about the place. It certainly has an […]

The post Sunday Roast Days At Alston Bar And Beef appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you how much I love a bottomless brunch, the quirkier the better. In fact, I have made it my personal mission to try all the ones on offer in Manchester and Albatross and Arnold were the latest one I gave a whirl. THE SETTING Albatross and Arnold is above Beastro in Spinningfields and I have featured them before, when I visited for their collaboration with Tappers gin. I remember commenting at the time about the wave of golf ball lights that pours from the ceiling towards the windows and this is all linked with The Range, which is located within the site and offers a virtual driving range to golf fans. It is a fairly small restaurant space but sumptuously decorated with fresh flowers on each table and gorgeous crushed velvet seating. On a Saturday, their ‘classy bottomless brunch’ takes place and you will find a DJ busting out the tunes from 12pm-6pm. The volume is at just the right level. As you may know, I have a bit of an issue with the music being too loud in restaurants (I mean, isn’t it supposed to be a social event, eating […]

The post Classy Bottomless Brunch At Albatross And Arnold appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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The last time I wrote about Grand Pacific, I told you about the beautiful building and the changes that had been made to the space since Living Ventures took over the site. I won’t tell you about it again, although you can read the old post as it looks so pretty. What I will tell you about are the changes to the menu and the difference since my last visit. During the week, the ambience in Grand Pacific has changed to how it was when I first visited. I remember commenting on the music being too loud and they have really rectified that now. We visited on a Tuesday, early evening and it was audible but in the background rather than dominating the room. Anyway, onto the food. There isn’t a full menu change which is a good thing. The Grand Pacific favourites, such as the sushi bowl starter and the lamb massaman, are still there but complimented by the odd change for a quick refresh. We tried some of the new additions to see how they would fare. The ‘Thali’ Plate sharing starter is supposed to be for two people but it is a really generous size and you […]

The post Summer 2019 Menu Reviewed At Grand Pacific, Manchester appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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With the stress and workload of doing my Masters, I have really stepped away from the kitchen over the last 12 months. I have become a slave to the microwave, easy stuff to chuck in the oven or the dreaded takeaway. With the news that I have passed and will graduate in July (yay me!), I have started to get back into cooking over the last few weeks and try some simple yet different recipes. I have more time to cook but anywhere I can save time, I am definitely still doing that and getting my shopping delivered means I save money too. Ciao Gusto now have their own area on the Ocado website, meaning all their Italian deli items are easily accessible on the site. It makes it super easy to gather the ingredients for your favourite dish, which are then delivered to your door. Ciao Gusto challenged me to use some of their ingredients in a recipe so I thought I would push my boundaries and try a Chinese recipe that I hadn’t cooked before. Here is my chicken and broccoli with cashew nuts. Ingredients – Serves 2 400g Chicken Breast – Diced 1 Teaspoon of Toasted Sesame […]

The post Recipe – Chicken And Broccoli With Cashew Nuts appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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Elizabeth Shaw are one of those brands that have been in my life since way before I started blogging. It wasn’t Christmas if their Mint Crisp chocolates weren’t passed around after our turkey dinner, and munched through whilst watching the Christmas specials on the TV. I didn’t know Elizabeth Shaw were about more than those mint crisps, but oh boy, are they. The biscuits by Elizabeth Shaw are a little bit special. They are the biscuits that you get out when you have a special guest or when you want something a little bit indulgent. There are four different varieties; raisin and hazelnut, coconut and hazelnut, raisin and cocoa or mint and cocoa. I was kindly sent the first two in the collection, although the mint and cocoa sound like a luxurious twist on the mint crisps that hold such lovely memories for me! Each biscuit is on the small side but is topped with raisin and hazelnut, before being covered in lashings of chewy caramel and a thick coating of rich chocolate. Even the biggest chocoholic would not be able to manage more than a couple as they are seriously rich, but a lovely treat to enjoy with a […]

The post Making Biscuit Breaks More Luxurious With Elizabeth Shaw appeared first on Phat Cupcake.

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