suri manchester

 

I had seen a lot of talk banded around on social media about this place called Suri. I knew it was a restaurant, I knew it was on King Street… but that was pretty much all I knew. If I were to hazard a guess, I thought it could be some kind of sushi bar and I assumed it would comprise of an over the top setting and priced quite high.

Well I was totally wrong, first of all there is no sushi here (Lord knows where I made that assumption from?!?). The cuisine served is actually a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, though unfortunately not halal. The name Suri is actually the Persian word for rose.

The restaurant from the outside it’s quite a modest looking outfit. Inside, ooh the interiors are delightful. They’ve not gone for traditional or contemporary and boring plain. Instead, using a palette of creams, they’ve created an elegant dining space, with touches of marble, bare bulbs and plush leathers.

We were here to sample the new seasonal express menu, a reasonably priced meal at £15 per person for three dishes from the menu. Although the meat wasn’t halal, there was still plenty for us to choose from. Of course, a new place means trying new things, so we ordered a selection from across the menu and asked for them in stages – all of the below, apart from the dessert were from the express menu.

Actually, before we got cracking on exploring the menu, we grazed on some Persian spiced bread, made fresh on site. I can’t fault the bread in any way but what I can say is that the dip it came with, a sort of red pepper and chickpea smash was like no dip we’ve had before. It was so good we actually asked for another bowl to enjoy with the rest of the meal. Beth, our waitress, pointed out that all the dips were made fresh and vary from time to time, and they were firm favourites amongst staff too. Always a good sign.

 

To start:

Chickpea kibbeh with spiced yoghurt, Roasted cauliflower with tahini and ajvar and the Suri summer salad.

Chickpeas in kibbeh? delightful. I normally find kibbeh has quite a coarse texture but chickpea and root vegetable combination was much smoother in texture and the spiced yoghurt, was tangy and moreish.

Cauliflower really isn’t my favourite vegetable, I usually only like it in a curry. The dish here surprised me though, spiced and baked there was a punch of flavour in every floret. The Suri summer salad, in all honesty didn’t look like much, but don’t be fooled. Salad may be all about leaves, but the dressing on this is divine.

To fill up:

Hanout prawns with smashed avocado, Josper’d aubergine with citrus yoghurt, herby spuds and za’tar fries.

The hanout prawns were good, I’d get them again – although I would say they weren’t a real stand out dish. I’m glad we ordered them, they hit the spot perfectly. Though I can’t think of a taste or flavour that stands out. All I can say is that prawns and crushed avocado are a match made in heaven.

Now the aubergine, was very pleasing on my palate. Fresh pomegranate topping and laced with za’tar and sumac, my favourite flavour combinations all in one dish. Za’tar is such an underrated spice here, I doubt many people use it, but growing up in Saudi, it was a one we ate regularly. It’s so nice to see so many dishes utilising it here at Suri, even the za’tar fries worked well, the chili giving it a slight kick should you choose to eat it.

To finish off:

We chose three to try: Suri strawberries; preserved lemon curd with red berry rocks and the cardamom vanilla cream.

We chose dessert options from the ‘enjoy’ part of the menu, and enjoy we did. Lemon curd mousse was sharp but not too sour, the panna cotta was perfectly set and the gingernuts made for a perfect accompaniment. Keeping it separate was nice as we could add a little bit to every bite (probably not the idea but it worked well for us).

I have to say though Beth’s recommendation of Suri strawberries was the winner. Fresh and delightful, it was, as the saying goes, like summer in a bowl. I can imagine popping in on a warm day, sitting outside on one of their lovely café tables, indulging in a Margarita glass of Suri strawberries.

Gosh what a fantastic surprise Suri was. For a luxurious, reasonably priced meal out this is definitely hitting the top of my list. I was really happy to experience a meal that was spicy and rich in flavour, without being overpowered by chilli. It was really refreshing, and to enjoy such a meal in such comfortable surroundings made for a great meal out.

Oh and I really should point out the service here was just as exceptional. Beth was a great host for the evening. It was a nice change to be at a King Street restaurant and have a waitress who came across as quite personable. Her recommendations were spot on, and gauging from our reactions to certain dishes, gave us a bit of background on how they’re made or where the inspiration of them came from.

Poor Mo was not impressed he couldn’t join us, so I look forward to visiting again and experimenting with some more of their menu. The main menu has aptly named sections such as fields, farm, waves… unusual but to the point. (I’ve got my eye on the Josper honey’d salmon with avocado).

Just like its Persian floral namesake Suri has all the right elements; hint of sharp flavours, plenty of variety and both the food and venue are beautiful to look at.

*** Thank you to Suri for inviting us to sample the menu and thank you to Beth for recommending all the right things. Of course all opinions and thoughts on this review are my honest opinion and have not been influenced in any way ***

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I’ve known of Iberica Manchester for some time, but as a Muslim with no interest in anything pork related, it’s always been way off my radar. When I received an invitation to sample their new spring menu, I politely went back reiterating that ham really wasn’t my thing and that there may be a blogger better suited if they had a set menu in mind… however I was assured there would be plenty of pescetarian options available for me to enjoy: sans pork, sans alcohol.

Hmm… ok, I figured what the heck. Spanish tapas is something I loved in Spain, so hopefully there would be plenty to surprise me, even though the restaurant is actually named after a ham.

An interior scheme I’ve admired for some time, I was always in love with their large window front, shrouded by rich velvet curtains and mood lighting. In the heart of Spinningfields, I’ve only ever heard great things about Iberica, perhaps more from people who want to enjoy the wine rather than the food.

 

 

G and I arrived in time to enjoy some pre-dinner snacks downstairs by the bar area. The first thing to land on our table of bloggers… a beautifully laid out plate of meat. Oh Lord. I really hoped this wasn’t one of those occasions where the vegetarian options were going to be a few carrot sticks.

Luckily, after the plate of meat, came the plate suitable for vegetarians. Four different types of cheese and tomato bread. As the marketing director told us tales of passion, food preparation love stories, we tucked in to what was a great cheese board collection, something I would have happily enjoyed pre and post meal.

 

 

Next, came a bit of ‘porron’ education. A traditional Spanish wine pitcher, which pours the same way as a watering can. Porron’s are not only perfect bottles for storing wine in, due to the way you drink from them, it allows them to be shared by many people without any hygiene worries.

 

 

I know, you’re probably wondering why on earth am I explaining a wine vessel to you when I don’t even drink? Well, Iberica had filled said vessel with water that day for us all to have a go and it was so much fun!!! I must admit not many people were too keen on trying it, watching the waiters execute it with precision was a tough act to follow. G and I were more than happy to try it out, I obviously got water all over myself, G managed to do a much better job. I would totally buy a porron to bring out at dinner parties!

 

 

Porron activities over it was time to go upstairs. G had been nudging me to check with the staff whether they remembered we don’t eat meat, but between the walk from the bar to the first floor I just didn’t get a chance.

Nervous about what was ahead, we took our seats and boom. There it was. A menu. A set menu suitable for PESCETARIANS.

YES.

It turned out our dining companions opposite were also veggies (@eatandtwoveg) so we were in the right company.

Course by course, the dishes came out… some good, some great, some amazing. My little joke earlier about being fed carrot sticks actually came true as baby carrot tempura was on the menu – but I assure you these were no ordinary fried carrots. They were absolutely delicious and tasted nothing like they should have. Soft to bite into, lightly battered and a tapas snack I would order again for sure.

Alongside the baby carrot was crispy cauliflower and pak choi, octopus a la gallega and ensaladilla rosa. The carrots were up there as one of the favourites followed closely by the octopus, a dish I’ve only ever had in Spain but this was just as good.

 

 

Next up was a selection of mains: strawberry and beetroot salad; cod brandada; hake a la gallega and garlic prawns with pasta. We were also treated to a fresh, perfectly-cooked paella. Wait, let me rephrase that, the paella was originally for the two veggie eaters, but they were kind enough to share and we’re so glad they did. Simmered to the right consistency, it had all the feels of when G and I first had our first proper paella on Barcelonata beach.

 

 

One dish you absolutely must order, which I never in a million years would have considered is the strawberry and beetroot salad. I can’t even tell you how unusual it tasted. Unusual in a nice way, of course. I normally hate fruit in salads and have never liked beetroot. But this, I LOVED.

Oh, and no night at a Spanish restaurant is complete without churros 🙂

 

 

All in all, I was really impressed by the standard and service of the evening. I loved how knowledgeable the staff were and how in a restaurant which actually has quite a high profile alcohol reputation, everyone was very honest about which foods contained any form of alcohol or even animal gelatine, making sure that people like me can rest assured my dietary requirements have been met.

My only complaint, and its a BIG one, is that the croquettes on the menu are made with ham 🙁 I think my heart broke when I sat down and saw (and smelt) how amazing they looked. So Iberica if you read this, perhaps you could jazz one of those mouth-watering creations with a touch of fish some time? 😉

Had a lovely time meeting some new bloggers (Hey @madeupstyle and the aforementioned @eatandtwoveg) and spending an evening with my favourite friend tasting food that brought back some great Spanish memories.

Must take Mo back next time we start to feel some Spanish holiday withdrawal.

 

 

*** Thank you to Iberica for inviting us to sample the Spring menu. Of course all opinions, thoughts and musings are my own and the pictures once again have only had brightness adjusted (it was quite dark upstairs!!) ***

 

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mumu steakhouse preston

 

Travelling all the way to Preston on a weeknight is not really my idea of a fun evening, however I had been hankering for a good steak for some time and if I had to go all the way to Preston to get it than so be it. Worth the risk I thought. Not only that, but it had been some time since my dad and I had indulged in an FD day (Father-daughter) and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to spend an evening together, seeing as I’ve been so busy over the last few months.

The minute the clock ticked 5, I was off straight onto the motorway and within the hour I was back amongst the familiar landscapes of Lancashire, ready to tackle an evening at Mumu steakhouse.

We walked in, earlier than our booking, but luckily the restaurant was empty so we were shown straight to our table. Table of choice as it happens, as there was no one else to compete with. It’s always a bit unnerving to enter a restaurant and be the only ones there, but I knew it wasn’t quite dinner time yet and it wasn’t long before the crowds started piling in.

The first thing you’ll notice is although there is good looking bar to the right as you enter, not a drop of booze is visible. Everything here is non alcoholic, juices, milkshakes and a selection of mocktails for those wanting something a tad more interesting. All the meat here is halal and it’s good to know that it’s also locally sourced too.

The menu has a great selection – but not too much. A lot of similar restaurants tend to go OTT with their menu and it really dilutes the quality of the dishes. The menu clearly explained the different steak cuts, a big help for anyone unsure (my dad still felt the need to explain it to me anyway).

 

 

After giving our drinks order, I asked our waiter, Mani, for his recommendations. The burger, rib-eye steak and chicken wings were his top tips. Funnily enough, that was pretty much what I had in mind anyway, I tweaked my order ever so slightly to correspond with the sauces he recommended.

Our starter, chicken wings in buffalo sauce landed, I immediately gasped at the portion size. Wow there were six wings on our tray, all a pretty decent size. Best plan of action was going to be to taste a few and take the rest home. We had both ordered a big main to get through so we had to be sensible.

Turns out, it just wasn’t possible. The moment I sunk my teeth into that first piece of chicken, I was hooked. That buffalo slightly spicy sauce was delicious. Both of us just didn’t stop. My dad’s not one for a large appetite and he’s not usually a big fan of chicken either, but this starter really went down a treat. It was only a starter, but I would certainly return just for this, bring the rest of the family too.

 

 

Needless to say, we finished the lot. As much as I love Mo, there was no way any of that chicken was making it home that night. Mani popped up almost on cue with a warm bowl of lemon water as we obviously hadn’t even bothered with the niceties of cutlery, we’d decided to go traditional and picked our wings apart by hand. the cleansing bowl meant we could simply remain where we were and await our next dish without having to get up and wash our hands.

Our energy levels lifted a notch, as we excitedly waited for our mains. The starter was impressive and we hoped it bode well for the what was to follow. Pretty soon we were lost in our usual weird and wonderful conversations, my dad educating me on the importance of good quality socks (bizarre I know, but my dad assures me it is an important topic).

Another great thing about this restaurant, the open plan kitchen, visible as soon as you walk in. It was so clean! When you’re dealing with meat, grills, sticky sauces… it was nice to see such a clear kitchen workspace. and there were no issues with intense smells or smoke (very unlike how it would have been had I been cooking in my own kitchen). The standard of the whole restaurant was very impressive. The music wasn’t blaring, allowing us to have this very serious ‘socks’ conversation without having to shout over background noise.

Just as my dad was getting into the nitty gritty details of how he had scoped out the appointed sock-maker for the Queen in his quest for perfect pair of socks, I was saved by the arrival of our hefty mains.

I had chosen the famous homemade 6oz burger with smoked cheese and shoe string fried onions and portion of sweet potato fries. My dad, the 11oz rib-eye with secret Mumu sauce and hand cut fries.

 

 

Ultimate test, was it how we requested? Yes it was! Both were medium rare, perfect. You know what, when it comes to halal steak restaurants, getting the meat exactly how you ask is pretty much most of the battle. It was refreshing to finally have somewhere that got it just right first time.

With the burger, a handmade patty is always going to win my heart, this one was beautifully topped with caramelised string onions and the salsa was a fab addition. There was a special offer that month, free milkshake with every burger meal and it made for a great accompaniment.

Alas we were faced once again with the dilemma that finishing our mains would result in us being full to the brim and wouldn’t allow any room for dessert. It was a risk we decided to take. There was no way we were about to waste any of this quality meat. Dessert would simply have to wait for our next visit.

I’ve never been very complimentary to halal steak houses, everything is usually quite samey-samey. Mumu have done a fantastic job, choosing a few dishes and putting their efforts into doing them well. I’ve read further reviews since then which actually compliment the fish dishes as well as the meat ones, which is good to know.

I’ll be honest, there was a chance this experience could have gone terribly wrong as my dad is probably one of the fussiest eaters I know (not an exaggeration, dad you know its true!) but it was such a relief to see we both left behind empty plates. My dads only criticism, he could’ve done with some more mushrooms.

Mumu steakhouse was definitely the perfect venue for an overdue FD day, met all dads criteria: clean, well cooked meat and we had no other distractions.

Definitely worth the 60 mile round trip.

 

 

*** Big thanks to Mumu Steakhouse for inviting us down that evening, and to Mani and Matthew for providing us great service that night. Thanks to my dad for joining me after work and for providing me with some thought-provoking conversation 😉 As always all opinions and photographs on here are my own. The only editing once again has been brightness (it was quite dark in the restaurant). My dad and I very much look forward to returning with the rest of the family!! ***

 

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Enzo Manchester review header image

 

New pizza place in Manchester?

Oh yes please, let me just call up my pizza-loving sister and we’ll be there, don’t you worry.

Enzo has had a successful run from its base in Nantwich and there was a lot of hype online when the news spread that they were looking into opening a city centre restaurant. Sure enough they followed through with their plan and last week we called in for the launch evening.

Traffic had been an absolute nightmare, so the minute I flung my car into a space, I ran to secure my seat at the new Fountain Street pizzeria. Walking in a bit flustered from my run, I was greeted with smiles and was offered a nice cool drink as I chose a perfect, people-watching window spot.

A few moments later, a wonderful waitress came round with a plate of marathon peanut butter bars, cut into bitesize pieces ready for tasting. Not a great lover of chocolate, but hungry and with still no sign of my guest, I decided to try one as a tummy teaser. So much nicer than I was expecting! In fact so nice I needed another when she passed by again. I had my eye on that plate for an apres-pizza treat.

 

 

It wasn’t long before my sister showed up and we were ready to try a selection of the menu and see how Enzo had managed to establish itself in the competitive world of pizza making.

When I ran past earlier, I thought it was quite strange that they were so close to Pizza Hut, setting themselves not just on the same street but literally a few feet away from an established brand selling the same product, very strange no?

As the pizzas started to be brought round I realised that they may both be selling pizza, but that’s about the only similarity. There’s no deep pan here at Enzo, all the dough is prepared fresh on site daily and it’s very much all about the authentic crispy, Italian-style pizzas, offering a variety of unusual – well thought out – toppings.

As the meat wasn’t halal, they made sure to pass round a selection of vegetarian options for us, including some that were vegan friendly. Vegan cheese isn’t one of my favourite things on earth, but it wasn’t bad, and my un-enthusiasm is linked more to personal preference rather than taste.

 

 

The pesto pizza with feta was a real treat, as well as the buffalo mozzarella. With all these delicious varieties being showcased, I grabbed at the menu wandering where they planned on fitting themselves in price wise. Nice surprise, the prices of even the fanciest sounding pizzas were very reasonable.

Before heading off we were also treated to a couple of pasta dishes to try out, just like the dough all pasta is homemade, fresh on site! Now thats impressive.

 

 

The energy at Enzo was really refreshing. They look like an established franchise-style restaurant, but the service and grounding of the company is very much that of a family-run independent, where the focus is on keeping things fresh, wholesome, ensuring there is real taste and passion in everything they do and serve. Nice to see such a place in the middle of the big City.

It’s a feat making the journey into a high profile city centre location, for anyone, but more so for restaurants. The food scene in Manchester has definitely taken off over the last few years, with seriously stiff competition. Hopefully Enzo will continue doing what they do best, focusing on keeping the food ‘real’ and the atmosphere positive. I look forward to seeing them stay on for the long haul!!

Can’t wait to take the boys with us next time, see if the coffee is as good as the pizza…

 

 

*** Many thanks to Enzo Manchester for inviting us to the launch evening. As usual all opinions, thoughts and images are my own. In keeping with my last article on going ‘real’ with my photos, all images here have not been adjusted in any way! ***

 

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Grand Pacific Manchester Review

 

When I first received the email for the Grand Pacific launch, I didn’t even look at it, I just said yes. I was away at the time and all I had received was an invite stating it’s location, the date and there was a cool graphic image of a pineapple. Honestly – that pineapple was the only reason I agreed, I simply thought pineapple accessories are Mo’s favourite so if that was the theme of this place, I was all for it.

 

The Venue

If you’re familiar with Manchester City Centre, Grand Pacific is situated where Room used to be, Spring Gardens – a great location. We arrived on the cold launch night starving and ready to eat. The first thing I noticed before walking in were the beautiful door handles on the glass doors at the entrance. A beautiful brass pineapple split into 2, one half for each door – the pineapple being the logo of Grand Pacific. The hostesses were very cheery on arrival, they politely took our coats and asked us whether we wanted drinks at the (busy) bar, or if we wanted to be taken straight to our table. Bellies rumbling, we chose the latter option.

 

 

Interiors start to step up the minute you hit the stairs, as I looked up towards the sweeping staircase and it was a real masterpiece. A truly majestic entrance for what we discovered, is a truly majestic place.

As we got to the top of the stairs, the house beats were pumping, not too loud so we couldn’t hear ourselves, but loud enough to let us know Grand Pacific is here and it is here to stay. This place is serious interior design porn and for design junkies like Mo and I, we literally couldn’t get enough of how spectacular this place looked by night. The gorgeous lights, the beautiful bar area, the old fireplace thankfully still intact, my eyes darted across the space simply trying to take everything in.

 

 

The hostess took us to our table, which (to our surprise) was the best table in the house, with views of the entire restaurant and bar, raised slightly higher than the rest of the restaurant seating and with views of King Street just through the window. It is the far corner table, by huge windows, crowned with a beautiful, crystal chandelier. We couldn’t believe our luck. Other bloggers were due to join me but ended up sitting elsewhere so we had eventually had the table to ourselves. Happy hubby!

 

 

It’s funny because as we sat there soaking it all in, a feeling of deja vu started to creep up on us… we realised the last time we had visited Room was seven years ago where I had met up with some of my old school friends to introduce them to the man that I had just got engaged to. It was so bizarre to be in the same place and near enough the same month at such a different point in our life and to then revisit many moons later. Very surreal and really put into perspective how much had changed not just at this venue, but in our lives too.

Ok moment over back to the night…

The table was dressed impeccably. The glassware and cutlery glinting away like jewels under the subtle lighting. As a typography lover, the lettered embroidery on the napkins was driving me nuts – I loved it! I know, that’s a really weird thing to point out, but if you too had a love for lettering you would totally understand where I’m coming from!!

Seated and comfortable, the staff came to collect our drinks and then food orders. We literally didn’t know where to begin. Our waiter for the night was Marcus, who knew this menu inside out. He was able to advise on dishes, portion sizes and recommended his own particular favourites. And the best bit, he spoke about the menu with such passion, it was literally a breath of fresh air. He was also very patient with me constantly asking him questions and struggling to make a decision.

 

The Food

Grand Pacific is designed to evoke old school sophistication, with a menu inspired by the tropical lands of the old empire. To that end and to our luck, there was plenty of fish on the menu, which was perfect as the meat is not halal.

For starters, we had the tuna and salmon lomi and chirashi sushi bowl. The sushi was a large portion and could quite easily have been a main, but both dishes were incredible and the fish tasted so fresh, I felt they could quite literally have been caught that morning. The fish from my chirashi bowl was amongst some of the best sashimi I’ve tried, the fish had no smell and pretty much melted on my tongue – it was exactly what I had been craving.  Pickled mackerel, avocado slices, sushi rice… it was an artistic creation for the eyes and the taste buds.

 

 

For mains, Mo ordered the tempura Szechuan sea bass with crispy noodles, pineapple and cucumber and I had the tea smoked salmon with cucumber salad.

Again, absolutely impeccable both in taste and presentation. The Szechuan sea bass was the overriding winner though. Two large fillets of fluffy white fish, lightly battered in a chili tempura batter and served with a bed of crispy noodles drizzled in the most beautiful sauce. Although my salmon had been smoked, it was delicately infused with additional flavour, a more conservative portion in comparison to the gargantuan sea bass, but no less satisfying.

Mo says that there is always a separate belly for dessert and tonight was no exception. I ordered the creme brûlée with jasmine tea bread and rose petal jelly, Mo had the chocolate fondant with ice cream and honeycomb. The fondant was delicate and soft and the molten lava chocolate inside erupted beautifully as soon as Mo put his spoon through. Even as a non-chocolate lover, I can attest to the fact that it was DELICIOUS. The salted caramel sauce, honeycomb and peanuts were a nice textural touch and of course cleverly complimented the rest of it.

 

 

Overall, our experience of Grand Pacific was excellent. The location, the interiors, the staff and most importantly the nosh, are all nothing short of superb.

Prices are on the higher side and although they are justified given the quality of what you getting and the ambiance of this sensational building and space, this may be one you want to reserve for special occasions.

We almost certainly will be back.

 

 

*** Thank you to Grand Pacific for inviting us to the launch of their restaurant. As always my opinions are not influenced and Mo and I look forward to visiting again some time in the near future ***

 

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