Liverpool: A Foodie Revolution?

There are a few reasons why Liverpool has been rated as one of the best places for graduates to move to post-university…

Photo By Ki Price

The night life is regarded as one of the liveliest scenes in the country, drinks can be very cheap and, most importantly, the average price of monthly rent is amongst the most affordable in the country. What you might not hear about is the stellar array of restaurants that open on a near monthly basis in the city. I’ve spent my fair share of time up North, but will admit to never having visited Liverpool before, all I’d heard was the stereotypes and not many of them were positive. So, when I heard the news that, thanks to it’s legendarily affordable rent, Liverpool had a burgeoning foodie scene that would make boroughs of London envious, I thought I’d take the train up to the Mersey to see what all the fuss was about.

My first experience of how cheap Liverpool could be came when I booked my Airbnb – I had to double check that I’d booked 3 nights rather than just the one – and then realised that my budget for eating out had just grown significantly. I had a few days to fill and a voracious appetite, still I left not eating at all the places that I’d wanted to visit – but there’ll always be next time!



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First launched in 2014 by former barrister Nisha Katona, Mowgli found its feet on the hugely popular Bold Street, quickly becoming a firm favourite amongst local diners, and it’s not hard to see why. Indian street food is the order of the day here and it comes in a dazzling array of shapes and sizes. Yogurt chat bombs, cute rice puffs packed with creamy yogurt and with a kick of chilli and pomegranate are quickly consumed, before I move onto a lunch tiffin menu for one, a filling but thoroughly delectable treat that leaves me more than satisfied. I’m unsurprised when the hip waiter informs me that locations have also opened in Manchester, Cardiff and Oxford, to name but a few.



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For dinner, I find myself wandering down an oddly industrial back alley off Hardman Street to discover one of the trendiest eateries I’ve seen in a while. An open kitchen, now becoming more of a cliche than an innovation, is home to a handful of chefs diligently plating up and the menu features such delights as their ‘popcorn mussels” (delectable crisp bites with an acidic mayo). Other than these curios, however, the rest of the menu leaves a lot to the imagination, so I’m constantly surprised as ‘Fennel, pea & mint’ is a riotous plate of joy and ‘Confit duck leg & yellow beans’ turns out to be massively more than the sum of its parts.



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My last dinner is also one to write home about and should be noted as the first (and probably only) time that a cauliflower has mad me laugh out loud. When Maray first opened it was derided as being a bit too ‘cool for school’. Scousers took offence to what they saw as over-priced falafels and cocktails, since then though, the restaurant has built itself a reputation for serving interesting food that puts fresh ingredients front and centre of every bite. More power to them, I say, as the aforementioned ‘Disco Cauli’ rocks my world harder than any vegetable has a right to and I’m left floored by the falafels that received such a drubbing when it first opened.

Believe the hype. Liverpool has become a landmark foodie destination that deserves a visit from any respectable grub-lover.

Planning a French Escape

I’m shaking off the food blues with a road trip to France!

Not too long ago, I wrote about how easy it is to get bored with the food you’re eating and how I needed to travel more, in order to broaden my foodie boundaries.

Luckily for me, I had some time booked off work coming up and the perfect destination to travel to.

Many people consider France to be the birthplace of fine dining. It’s certainly true to say that many of the classic restaurant dishes on Modern British menus have their roots in the rich heritage of cooking that this country has become famous for, but I tend to avoid putting French food on such a high pedestal for the sole reason that it’s proven to be influential. Although I’m aware of the impact that legendary chefs such as Jacques Torres and Hubert Keller have had on the way that we eat today, I still struggle to see the soul in some of these ‘French classics‘ especially when they’re served on HUGE white plates in a humourless, modern fashion.

Yes – I understand to work and live in the food industry and not like French food is a bit wonky, but does it help my case if I admit that I’m aware of my condition? That is, after all, pretty much the entire reason why I’m going for a week to stay in a villa in France – I’m going to banish my prejudices of French food.

Credit: @forever39

Now, I’m well aware that France is a rather large place (in fact it’s nearly three-times larger than the UK), so the food that I’ll be eating will be indicative of the local cuisine, rather than the whole country. Still, I’m hoping that if I go with an open mind (and wallet) I’ll be able to return enlightened and free of all anti-Franc snobbishness.

I’ve always been a bit shit at going on holidays. I’m impatient, so I don’t like sunbathing. I like looking at old buildings, but I’ve got no real passion for architecture. For me, it’s all about the atmosphere and the company. I’ll be going with a group of friends who are always good value and I’m hoping that we’ve chosen the villa wisely – only time will tell.

As the resident foodie in the group, I’ve been tasked with finding the restaurants that we’re going to be eating at. Luckily for us, price isn’t an option, which is a good thing because I want nothing short of the best. Here are the places that I’m most excited about visiting:

La Bouillabaisse , Saint Tropez

Credit: @forever39

Hotel Restaurant Les Pins, Haguenau

Credit: @hotelrestaurantlespins

Bistro Du’O, Vaison La Romaine

Credit: @celia_mtl

La Verdoyante, Gassin

Credit: @milanasm

Le Petit Nice, Marseille

Credit: @pac_sam

Lip-Smackingly Ethical Restaurants

Say what you like about the food industry, but it knows how to latch onto a trend.

I remember a time when doing your recycling wasn’t the norm and grown men reluctantly sighed before sorting their glass from their tins. It’s taken a couple of decades but finally (in the UK at least) more folks are embracing sustainable lifestyles and, never one to miss an opportunity, the restaurant industry is learning to capitalise on this. Technology has taken several leaps forward in since those early days, which has allowed us to match smarter technological solutions to our growing needs, and now we’re seeing these effects in the commercial food market, which I’m happy to share here!

Whilst there are certainly thousands of restaurants throughout the UK which don’t apply stringent measures to how they source their food, top-tier eateries (and even large chain groups) are now starting to change their ways and embrace sustainable practices in order to attract a more environmentally conscious clientele.

These restaurants are just a handful of the UK’s top sustainable eats, try them out and see for yourself how good eating ethically can taste:



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The founders of Soho’s CLAW made a pledge to promote their favourite British ingredient, Crab, when they discovered that around 80% of our hauls are exported each year to the rest of Europe and Asia. CLAW’s owners deal directly with the fishermen themselves, ensuring that they receive the freshest produce every day from Salcombe, Hampshire and Colchester. Their Carnaby restaurant serves up a variety of clever twists on quick bites and fresh fish.

Feng Sushi


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High-quality, carefully sourced ingredients are at the heart of the three excellent sushi restaurants under the Feng Sushi banner. Winner of The Sustainable City Award in 2012, although they have recently downsized from 8 to 3 locations in London, Feng Sushi is still considered one of the best Japanese delivery services in the capital, offering a range of excellent sushi as well as classic dishes such as Katsy Curry and Soups.



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Crisp white linen and a classy vibe make this converted pub a real treat for foodies and their commitment to ethically sourcing their ingredients from British farms makes this a restaurant not to  miss. The East Dulwich neighbourhood has always been a trendy one, even for London, but this one has cornered the market in providing quality British food in both their relaxed restaurant as well as their adjacent farm shop.

The Captain’s Galley


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This relatively unknown Scottish restaurant made headlines back in 2015 when it was crowned the UK’s most sustainable restaurant. Run by husband and wife, Mary and Jim Cowie, you’ll find typically hearty Scottish fare here which makes the most of its coastal location. The Captain’s Galley is regularly booked out each night it’s open as it’s built up a solid reputation for carefully preparing excellent seafood which has travelled just a few miles at most to reach the diner’s plate.



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Sustainability is at the heart of every process at ODE which has grown from a family micro business into one of the highest rated restaurants in the UK. The core values of this team are sourcing, environment and community. They’re consistently focused on improving engagement with their local community and ensuring that the food they serve is not only healthy and delicious, but also ethically sourced. ODE only buys ingredients from farmer that are committed to high environmental stewardship and rotate their menus to reflect seasonal changes.

Notable mention: Wahaca

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Although chain restaurants are often given short shrift for their authenticity, Mexican goliath Wahaca, set up by Masterchef 2005 Winner Thomasina Miers, has been applauded for sustainably sourcing the ingredients for their 25 locations. Much of their food is sourced from UK farms whilst they’re menu remains staunchly Mexican in flavour.

Street Food Eating in Manchester

Manchester: ‘Madchester’, ‘Granadaland’, ‘Gunchester’.

Credit: Paul Grogan Photography

So many nicknames that are so rarely used by anyone anymore.

Each one of them is attributed to a specific time or period in the city’s history. It was Granadaland when the Granada Studios were the city’s biggest claim to fame during the fifties, the media named it Gunchester during a spree of violence during the 1990s and it was Madchester when the Happy Mondays, amongst others, were riding a hallucinogenic high during the late 80s. These landmark moments (as well as two iconic, competing football teams) have coloured the city with a vibrant cultural history which has sustained it’s tourism trade for the last 40 years.

It’s this cultural significance that has made it a magnet for big brands (including the one I work for) who see the huge retail boroughs as a golden opportunity for creating awareness and generating income. ‘Going out’ as a culture, is a well-refined art up North and each major city (including Newcastle and Liverpool) has it’s own take on this past time. The importance that the citizens of these cities put on eating and drinking out make places like Manchester a perfect place to open a restaurant.

Whilst a number of high-profile chefs have opened fine dining restaurants in the city, hoping in vain to attain the city’s first Michelin star in 40 years, there’s still enough retail space in the city centre to accommodate for all kinds of establishments. With the foodie revolution well in swing this has lead to the rise of a new kind of restaurant: not quite fast food, not quite restaurant.

The street food eatery is an ideal business for first time owners who wouldn’t feel confident running a full-size restaurant or kitchen. The fare served these places are simple to cook and quick to eat, encouraging a high turn over of checks and reducing pressure on chefs.

Although most street food places mostly serve interesting takes on World foods such as Indian or American-styles, there’s still room for innovations in the game. Manchester’s regular food markets are often the best places to try out these new tastes, although some of them might not always be worth the price tag.

Like many other modern ‘innovations’, such as self cleaning ovens, there might be a few misses that don’t quite warrant their existence (I’m looking at you Mac Daddies – mac’n’cheese really isn’t that great), but there’s always something mind-blowingly awesome that will stay with you for a long time to come (Dim Sum Su – I owe you a lot).

Not that I’ve effectively beaten round several bushes, I’m going to rundown my top five street food places that you need to check out should you find yourself in Manchester. This list is of establishments only, so no street food vendors I’m afraid (sorry Su!):

Changos Burrito Bar

Credit: @dineuk

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

Credit: @eatingmanchester


Credit: @emilyisabaker

Viet Shack

Credit: @samsays_uk


Credit: @jadehadden

New Year Food Goals: 2018

If you’ve not clocked it yet, 2018 is here – time to make some goals!

Credit: Anna Morais

For some people eating is simply a necessity, it can even be a chore for others.

I don’t fall into either of those categories.

I’m passionate about the food I eat: where it comes from, what it looks like – everything. So it makes sense that someone like me will be pretty regimented when it comes to making a list of goals for the New Year.

Now I know – making lists, especially concerning something so subjective and personal as ‘goals’, is such a typical girl-blogger thing to do. I can almost hear your eyeballs rolling in to the back of their head. Well before you lose your sight altogether, just wait a minute and hear me out.

This post is not just an excuse for me to nostalgically reflect on how amazing my 2017 was. It’s certainly not an excuse for me to obsess over how much weight I need to lose and I will personally promise you right now that there will be no desperate wishes for my life as a singleton to end – this is a food blog first and foremost, no drama, no bragging: I promise.

So, here we go – my FIVE FOODIE GOALS FOR 2018:

Prepare and cook a Beef Wellington

Credit: @elliotjamessmith

The Beef Wellington is one of my all-time favourite British meals, but it’s one of those things that I’ve always been told is so much better if you make it yourself. Now, I don’t spend much time at home, so much so that I probably cook for myself 5 times a month – tops. So, you might be able to guess that my cooking skills are somewhat lacking now…so the prospect of preparing a Beef Wellington from scratch is more than a little intimidating. Fingers crossed Jamie and YouTube will see me through it!

Host regular dinner parties

You didn’t think I was planning on eating the whole Wellington myself did you? I’m hoping to spend more time at home this year and that means I’ll be able to invite people round more often. I’m always mercilessly ripped into for never hosting parties, so I’m going to chance that this year and try to do dinner at mine at least once a month. It might take me a while to build up to the Beef Wellington, but I can always fall back on a few classics from my student days if needs be. Spag bol’ anyone?

Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant

Credit: @countingmichelinstars

My first (and only) trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant was a life-changing experience. It opened my eyes to how a simple meal could be transformed into something other worldly and led me to starting my career in the industry. To my great shame, that was years ago and I’ve not been back to a Michelin recognised establishment yet. I’ll still be zipping all around the UK this year, so I’m hoping to get a last minute reservation at a first-class restaurant at some point – I just hope my bank account will be ready for it…

Hit up a Summer-time Food Festival

Credit: @singerfood

Food festivals are all the rage now for families, young people and old folks alike. Last year I was lucky enough to get invited to a couple of Festivals, unfortunately I was working at the time, so I spent most of my time schmoozing instead of stuffing my face. This year I’m going to get a group of girls together, find a perfect sunny weekend and hit up one of the big ones. Although there are some great events being planned every year, the one I’ve got my eye on is the Great Indian Food Feast in London – watch this space!

Become a BBQ Queen

I’ve got a fantastic back garden which is slowly but surely starting to resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the centre piece of all this chaos is a rater forlorn red-brick barbecue which my Father built for me nearly a decade ago. I’d like to say that I made great use of it when I first moved in, but the truth is that I’ve not even used it once. In truth, fire does scare me just a little bit, so the notion of digging out the barbecue and then filling it with coals just doesn’t appeal to me. Still – I’m going to fight my fear and do what I can do become a true BBQ Queen come the end of this Summer.

I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated if I manage to cross any of these off my list!

Why I Love Food and Why I Need to Travel

Work doesn’t often take me out of the country, which is a shame.

Credit: Pixabay

For the last few weeks, I’ve been scouting out locations all over the UK and tasting some laaavely food in the proces

However, as much as I’ve been tucking into a huge range of food, from all sorts of different establishments and from all corners of the globe, I don’t feel like I’ve eaten anything that’s really worth writing home about – let alone writing on this blog about.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of perspective, or a case of over-exposure to restaurants (if that’s even possible), but I feel like I’ve been wading through a rather dull swamp of eateries and restaurants in the last few months. Now I don’t like to toot my horn too much, but I’ve eaten my fair share of foods from around the world. My love of food was the main reason for me taking a year out to travel, after graduating from university, spending every night cooking or going out to eat, I’d become a hopeless eating addict. Although my skills had increased year-on-year whilst I was at university, I craved that buzz that you get from eating a new, exciting food for the first time.

It’s that leap-of-faith moment, where you see something looking so alien on your plate and you decide that there’s nothing to do but go for it.

Credit: Pixabay

The best example I can give of this is the first time that I ate Pad Thai.

Like many kids fresh out of college in the 00s, I went on a travelling gap year to Thailand and like many more kids heading out by themselves for the first time, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I knew that I was landing in Bangkok and that I had 12 weeks to make it back in one piece to the airport. Other than that, I was woefully unprepared. I had no idea where I was going to stay, who I was going to meet or how I was going to get places. A more pressing issue that presented itself to upon my exit from the Arrivals lounge was my all consuming hunger.

There was no time to think, there was no time to look at my smart phone (which had died on the flight over anyway). All I could do was surrender myself to the mercies of Bangkok. Before I knew it, I was sat in front of a steaming place of noodles, with strange smells entering my nose and the gabbling of Thai in my ears. The only thing I could do was eat and it was one of the best decisions of my lives.

Credit: Pixabay

That first mouthful was a true watershed moment for me. Turning me from the picky, nervous eater I had been before, into the voraciously adventurous eater that I am today. Of course, it’s much easier to take culinary risks when you’re younger. That’s why this task gets more tricky when you’ve got a few more years under your belt.

In order to continue growing and enjoying food, I’m going to have to expand my horizons even more, if that means literally flying into the sunset, then that’s what’s going to happen.

American Breakfasts in the Heart of Bowland

I’ll take any excuse for a weekend away.

Whether it’s a housewarming, christening, wedding, funeral, concert, garden show – literally, any excuse to go on a road trip.

My latest excursion had me flying my weekend warrior flag high, as I missioned a gruelling five hour on a Friday Night, straight from the office in London up to Bowland Fell, a static caravan site and holiday/retirement park for over 50s. My absolute favourite Uncle and Aunt had both just packed their jobs in down South and had decided to retire to one of many residential park homes in Yorkshire. Although they’d stressed time and time again that they weren’t staying in a caravan, I was still expecting to be bunking on a spongy sofa that vaguely smelt of damp – it turns out I was a little far from the mark…

Credit: Bowland Fell

I could tell my Aunt Rose was proud of her new home and she was even happier to see how surprised I was by the condition of her new home. Although it was only a 2-bedroom bungalow, the state of the finish was a far cry from your traditional caravan. Glittering white walls were accompanied with some classy decor which I could tell were a particular boon for Aunt Rose, who was keen to pick out each piece, with a little side-note as to how much money she had saved. I was sure to make all the right sounds and gestures, which were mostly genuine.

What both of them were most excited to tell me about was a new restaurant that they had found in the local town of Clitheroe.

They’d always struck me as traditionalists when it came to food, their dinners mostly consisting of the classic formula of ‘Meat and Two Veg’, so I was surprised to hear them so enthused about a new ‘style’ of eating. They were so excited that they’d booked us a table for Brunch the next day at Hoof and Rooster, an ‘American inspired Smokehouse and Bar’…in Clitheroe.

For context – here’s a map of Clitheroe and it’s surrounding area:

Now – I’m always one for experimentation, but I feel like there’s something inherently wrong, taking locally sourced meat from the area and turning it into gourmet American food, a trend that was on trend well over 5 years ago now.

Let me try and explain myself here:

There are certain foods which are just a little too difficult to stomach when they’re out of context.

Credit: Pixabay

Gourmet Burgers, for example, sit comfortably on most modern high streets; but transplant them into an utterly English rural town, like Clitheroe and something doesn’t quite feel right.

It’s a little like Disney Land Paris. Despite it’s distance from the city there’s something innately un-American about that particular resort – you just know that what you’re getting is a cheap imitation, rather than the real thing. You know in that Mickey Mouse suit, there’s no friendly, vaguely brainwashed, failed actor; you’re more likely to find an overweight French fellow, who’s desperately looking forward to his next fag break.

Now, the question of authenticity is a dubious one when you’re dealing with the physical manifestation of a global brand like Disney, but when it comes to authentically replicating specific types of food it’s a little easier, especially when you’ve eaten as much food as I have. Often a chef can try as hard as they can for authenticity and end up shooting himself in the foot. Despite my reservations, I found myself enjoying the American-flecked breakfast that I had at this recently opened establishment and I could see why my Uncle and Aunt liked it.

Credit: The Hoof & Rooster

The decor inside the The Hoof & Rooster (Neon lights, bare bulbs in wire cages, taxonomy and industrial props) might well feel a little rote to experienced diners from the city, but these little touches made the restaurant stand a mile out in Clitheroe, a place that has clung to it’s traditional values for some time. Going there made Aunty Rose feel ‘young and hip’ and that’s something that I would never dream of taking away from a woman in her mid-50s.

Especially one who’s just moved into a caravan – sorry – ‘residential static home’.

Three Not-So-Square Meals in Cardiff

The absolute best thing about my job is that I get to travel (and eat) all over the UK.

The brand I work for sent me out to Cardiff to check up on a few potential locations for new restaurants, which was the perfect opportunity for me to book a hotel room and get three utterly filthy meals out – all on the company’s money of course…I ain’t no sucker.

Cardiff’s one of those towns that I’ve visited many times but have never quite got to grips with. Whether that’s because of the confusing* nature of the streets (*they’re really not confusing at all), or because I’ve always left the place in a half-drunk post-hen do stupor will forever be a mystery to me. Regardless, I was more than keen to head back once more to Wales’ capital, especially after I heard from a pal that there were a whole raft of new, hip places to eat there.

So without further ado – here are the 3 Not-So-Square Meals that fuelled my very productive day of company funded research:

Breakfast @ Anna Loka

Credit: @lunnonjhl

When I roll out of bed there are only two things on my mind: Food and Coffee. I found both of those things in abundance at Anna Loka, probably one of the most typically hipster places in Wales, if not the world. Roll up, roll up! We got your rough-hewn tables, we got your battered-to-shit uncomfortable chairs, we’ve even got an open plan kitchen with white-tiles and tattooed chefs. And top of the bill – what you’ve all been waiting to see for the thousandth time…EXPOSED RED BRICK WORK!

Decor snobbery aside the *cough* vegan *cough* menu is drop dead gorgeous. I eat Banana & Blueberry Pancakes – I then forget myself and order a Scrambled Tofu Bap which is silly-tasty. As I leave I promise to myself not to take the piss out of vegans for at least a month (the can’t even eat bacon!…damnit).

Lunch @ Katiwok

Credit: Wriggle

I had to go just a little bit out of my way to find KatiWok, a cornershop shack serving possibly the best kati rolls I’ve ever tasted. I’m sorry – what’s that? You don’t know what a kati roll is? Oh, I’m sorry. I am so sorry. Kati rolls are basically are as fashionable as burritos were last year, about as cool as gourmet burgers were 5 years ago and 10-times tastier than both combined. I understand that’s not a very helpful answer…

The team at KatiWok have been serving up quality pan-asian food (kati rolls, noodles and the like) for the last 3 years. They offer fresh, fun twists on great Asian classics and have easily made my Top Eats list of the year. Their katis (a gorgeous kebab wrapped in doughy, stretchy paratha bread) are the reason to go there, but I was also surprised and elated by their spicy masala fries and excellent ‘bhajees’ (why isn’t there a standardised spelling for these things?!).

Dinner @ The Clink Restaurant

Credit: @Kelsey Reanne Lewis

The Clink’s premise is akin to a shitty new, BBC soap-drama that only your Dad watches because ‘that guy from Spooks is in it’: a group of convicted prisoners in a Welsh prison are given a chance of redemption by cooking in a restaurant. “Yes Dad, it sounds…cool – yes, I’ll make sure to watch it on iPlayer so we can talk about it next time.”

Fortunately for humanity, this concept has not been green-lit through The Writer’s Room – it’s the basis of a whole charitable organisation that runs four restaurants across the UK. All the chefs are serving time and are also working towards their NVQs in Food Preparation, Food Service and Customer Service. I order a pigeon salad with lardon salad, quails egg and black pudding – they’re classic ingredients, well pre-prepared and cooked. The main is a roast supreme of hake with potato rosti and pickled griolles – this surprises me. It looks like a £30 dish, tastes amazing and costs half the price.

Although I’m tempted by the Trio of cherry, I can literally feel my waistline expanding by the second – so I demurely decline and donate a fiver to The Clink – a truly tasty, worthwhile cause.