The tales of a half-Spanish, Southern guy with Yorkshire roots living in Bolton and looking for some half-decent grub

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Hop & Cleaver, Newcastle upon Tyne

I love Newcastle.  Fantastic city.

As luck would have it I get to travel up to Geordie-land for work and when I do, my colleague Glenn acts as my own personal tour guide.

On a recent visit we needed a place for dinner and Glenn guided me to Hop & Cleaver; an American smokery which is found right next to the Tyne Bridge.

The restaurant has been fantastically designed.  Stripped back to its bare walls with rustic features everywhere - my kind of venue.

We were recommended the Reece's milkshake and it didn't take much convincing for both of us to order it.

However, we were in for a bit of a shock!

Reece's Hardshake
Vanilla Bourbon, Kahlúa, Lillet Blanc, Butterscotch sauce, Vanilla gomme, 2 Reece's cups, 3 scoops of ice cream, milk.

Well... as you can see the milkshake turned out to be alcoholic.  Seems it pays to read the menu when ordering something... oops!!

Still, it was bloody stupendous!

Charred Glazed Pork Ribs
Extra meaty thick cut ribs, smoked for 4 hours on fruit wood chargrilled with sticky Bourboun BBQ sauce.

My choice was easy as I can never resist smoked ribs.  Juicy, succulent and supreme!

The mash and sweet potato fries were a perfect accompaniment.

12 Hour Pulled Pork
Slow smoked pulled pork finished in our homemade BBQ catsup with slaw and salad.  Served with fries and pit smoked beans.

Glenn stumbled upon a real winner with the pulled pork - he left grinning from ear to ear!

The next time you head to Geordie-land, make sure that Hop & Cleaver is on the menu!

Sunday 6 September 2015

SoLita, Prestwich

SoLita is one of the best places to get a bite to eat when in Manchester as I pointed out in my "Birthday Blog" last year.  If I lived in the city I would no doubt eat in their Northern Quarter restaurant at least once a week. 

However, I live in Bolton and given the severe lack of trains running between my village and the city this summer, I don't get into Manchester as much as I would like.

Luckily for me, SoLita have just opened up in Prestwich which is much easier to get to and will no doubt mean more trips to their fine establishment.

This week my friend Jono and I had the pleasure to visit the new location - it lived up to the hype and then some.

Once In A Lifetime:
2 x 6 ounce minced steak patties, pulled pork, crispy bacon, shoestring onions, buttermilk chicken strips, Monterey Jack cheese, house BBQ sauce and sweet potato fries.

I ordered this and have been looking forward to trying it for a year. It was unbelievably good, especially the buttermilk chicken. It's the biggest burger I've ever seen jammed packed with ingredients!

Nom nom nom!

The Big Manc:
2 x 6 ounce minced chuck steak patties, trifecta brioche, iceberg, home pickles, Monterey Jack cheese and Big Manc sauce.

Jono went for SoLita's famous Big Manc and said it was utterly incredible.  This burger is firmly in my sights when I next visit!

Chow Chow Slaw:
Creamy and sweet.  Lovely.

Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings:
Yes, you read that right.  3 bloody brilliant rings of onion wrapped in glorious bacon. 

Kill me now, I've found heaven. 

I was hugely impressed with the new SoLita in Prestwich.  Not only was the food outstanding but the way they have done up the place is spot on. For me, a lot more convenient in terms of location and a lot bigger than the central Manchester restaurant.

Here's hoping their next move is into Bolton...

Solita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday 23 August 2015

Handmade Burger Co, Leeds

I was over in Leeds when I stumbled across a restaurant chain I hadn't heard of before.

A little digging online and I soon found out that the Handmade Burger Company had opened up a Manchester chain on Deansgate so I thought it worth a visit to the established Leeds restaurant to see if it was a new star or a wet lettuce.

The restaurant is very modern and inviting from the outside and there was no queue either.  Seeing as my friend and I were in a rush this encouraged us to eat here and we were swiftly shown to our table.

Based on the style of the chain, you would be forgiven for thinking that there is a link between Handmade Burger Co and Nando's.  
The entire set up is similar and you order in the same manner too.

My friend ordered the Mexican beefburger with salsa, crushed avocado, tortilla chips, jalapenos, chipotle sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion.  It had a nice spice to it and was served with a fresh lime on top.

I went for a Speciality Cheese burger with my favourite goats' cheese flavour and a red onion chutney on the top. 

It was a little too 'bready' for my taste and the huge lettuce leaf wasn't really necessary.  But despite this, the burger was juicy and the cheese was adequately strong.
The chips were probably the best things we ate.  This is one of the only chain restaurants I have been to that serves chip shop style chips - they were marvelous.

Handmade Burger Co. was actually alright and beat my expectations.  
In Manchester it is probably competing more with Nando's and Wagamama rather than places like Solita.

Not bad for a quick burger bite when in the city but I can't imagine hearing anyone saying "let's have a cheeky Handmade" anytime soon...

Click to add a blog post for Handmade Burger Company on Zomato

Thursday 13 August 2015

Great Chefs, Great Causes at Ibérica, Manchester

I had the pleasure to be invited along to the 'World's Best Chefs' press launch at Ibérica a couple of weeks ago.

Up until the 6th of September, Ibérica will be collaborating with 14 of the world's best Spanish, Portuguese and Latin-American chefs to serve their signature dishes with the profits of each dish going to the chefs' chosen charities.

The food was excellent and the company was fantastic too.

We also had the opportunity to try Ibérica's Summer Tasting Menu.

Salmorejo with green apple, basil granita and sun blushed tomato
Having just returned from Córdoba, where I fell in love with Salmorejo, I was so happy to see it on the menu.

Two texture tomato salad with orange zest and vanilla oil

Fresh mackerel with orange and saffron escabeche

Fresh hake with hollandaise sauce and lettuce water

Grilled Iberico pork 'pluma' in moruno marinade and aubergine

"Tocinillo de cielo"
Egg yolk custard flan with cinnamon and lemon zest milk foam and salted caramel ice cream

Chocolate mousse with herbs cress and red fruit salad, yoghurt, vanilla oil and cider gel

It was an absolutely fantastic evening meeting some lovely people (including Food Geek & Been There Eaten That) and tasting some truly exceptional food.

If you fancy some tapas, make sure you don't miss the chance to try some of the best dishes in the world.

Our first blog about Ibérica can be found here.

Click to add a blog post for Ibérica on Zomato

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Prize Draw - Win an IngenuiTEA Teapot from Adagio Teas

I am a huge fan of gadgets.

If I see something cool on TV then more often than not I will end up buying it to satisfy the gadget craving.  That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago. 

Hannah and I were catching up on 'The Walking Dead' one evening (how brilliant and stressful is that show?!) when I noticed one of the characters serving tea from the most awesome teapot I have ever seen.

A little research told us that it was an IngenuiTEA made by Adagio Teas and after watching a few YouTube videos, I knew I had to have one!   

I ordered one along with some Sangria Tea and set about testing the teapot out.

First of all, it is the ultimate gadget and serving tea from the bottom is a geeky thrill that satisfies the most gadgety of cravings. The Sangria Tea is delicious too and there is nothing more relaxing than unwinding after work with a fruity cup of hot heaven.

I tweeted Adagio Teas to tell them how cool I think their teapot is and the lovely people there agreed that I could run a give away so that one of my lucky readers can get their hands on a brand new IngenuiTea of their own!

How to enter the give away:
  • Follow @grimupnorthfood on Twitter.
  • Send a tweet about the competition.
  • Use the Rafflecopter widget below and complete ALL the instructions (This will be checked before the winner is announced).
  • Come back and send a tweet once a day - the more days you tweet, the more chance you have of winning.
  • The winner will be picked at random by the widget.
  • The give away runs until 12:00am on the 16th August 2015.
  • Please check the Terms and Conditions within the Rafflecopter widget.

Sunday 2 August 2015

The Dining Room, Abersoch

Sometimes the best places to eat are the restaurants which you stumble upon by chance.  This was the case when we ended up at The Dining Room in Abersoch.  

Deciding where to go for dinner can be a tricky decision for us, especially when we are on holiday and don't know the local eateries. We struck gold this time when Hannah found an advert for The Dining Room in a local brochure.

The restaurant is discreetly tucked away a short walk up from Abersoch harbour and you would be forgiven if you walked right past it.  Situated in a quaint little row of shops - it looks more like a small tea room than a place to go for dinner.

The tea room theme continues inside with a homely and welcoming vibe with just enough room for a dozen customers without feeling too cramped.

We shared warm bread with oil and balsamic vinegar - a classic pre-starter to dinner which seems to have gone missing from a lot of places we have eaten at this year.

Smoked salmon Sc'egg with hollandaise and asparagus
This is the best starter I have had all year and it is worth visiting The Dining Room just to try this dish.  The Sc'egg, served in a different style each month, is the restaurant's signature dish and was so bloody fantastic it deserves 3 pictures!

Asparagus, cured ham and egg
Hannah went for a similar dish which was equally as satisfying. The delicate egg was covered in a hollandaise sauce and underneath was the perfect combination of salty ham wrapped around crunchy, super fresh asparagus. 

Ribeye of Welsh beef with smashed black pepper and brandy sauce, balsamic onions and herb butter
I am a real carnivore and this was a dish designed for someone just like me.  A perfectly cooked slab of the finest Welsh beef that came with a wonderfully rich sauce and seasonal vegetables which we both shared.

Just look at it and marvel.  

Sea trout with grilled red onion and garlic, rosemary and anchovy mayonnaise
When by the sea Hannah prefers to stick to seafood.  Her sea trout was exceptional and ridiculously fresh, the mayonnaise gave it a gentle but lovely kick. 

We were far too full to attempt a pudding after our outrageously good meal which Hannah was most upset about. However, we got our sweet fix from the little bag of sweets they gave us with the bill.  

I love the little touches in this place and made me leave with a smile.

If you find yourself over in this beautiful part of the country, don't hesitate to visit The Dining Room.  It was easily one of the best meals I have had in a long while and the service was impeccable. Five stars!