Tag Archives: brunch

Brunch at Neighbourhood in Manchester

Weekends are made for brunching. After a busy week of work, one of my favourite things is to go out for brunch with my boys, or meet some friends for a catch up over a plate of good eggs, endless coffee and maybe a breakfast cocktail or two. I was invited to a blogger brunch by Neighbourhood in Manchester, to try out their new brunch menu and sample a couple of breakfast mimosas. 

Arriving early on a rainy Saturday morning, my fragrant friend Liz and I were ushered to a table near the bar. Neighbourhood was busy and buzzing, during the week I suspect it’s busy with ladies who lunch, business lunches and people going for after work drinks. It’s known for being a celebrity hang out and whilst we were there I did spy a couple of familiar faces from the TV. 

We ordered drinks, tea and coffee and a couple of breakfast drinkies (rude not to) on offer were Bellinis and mimosas. We were there for a bloggers breakfast where some of the key dishes from the brunch menu were being showcased. 

Neighbourhood

The first brunch item we tried were the buttermilk pancakes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was so glossy Mary Berry would have wept with joy. The stack of four buttermilk pancakes were smothered in the sauce and came with a small (too small?)  dollop of whipped cream, the pancakes were sweet and good and I know my son would have gobbled them all up and then wanted to lick the plate clean afterwards.

Between pancakes and brunch we were brought a Breakfast Sandwich to sample which consisted of a toasted muffin, sausage, bacon and fried egg. The chef kindly made a vegetarian version for me which contained a nice crispy fried egg, spinach and mushrooms, although I can’t eat mushrooms so I had to take those out and give them to Liz. We both particularly enjoyed our crispy eggs and my spinach was well cooked and seasoned and was not watery.

Neighbourhood

We ordered our brunch proper, Liz plumped for the Full English which came with bacon, scrambled egg, black pudding, sausages, tomato, baked beans and toast. One of the failings of the brunch menu for me is the lack of vegetarian options, thankfully the kitchen were happy to specially make me my own veggie brunch which consisted of two buttermilk pancakes, scrambled egg, tomato, baked beans, spinach and mushrooms.

Neighbourhood

There were some very lovely elements to my breakfast. The scrambled egg was among the best I’ve had, I loved the sauteed spinach which was perfectly seasoned. I found the pancakes an unusual addition, but actually they worked well but could have perhaps done with a dab of salty butter on them. The beans were beans but served in a pot to appease the “don’t let my baked beans touch any of my food” crowd. I was slightly less keen on the tomato, which although it was perfectly cooked, had a garlicky aftertaste which seemed to throw off the balance of flavours on my plate a little.

I had to give my mushrooms to Liz because they make me poorly, she was not unhappy with this. There was a really interesting mix of mushrooms on offer, they’d been well cooked and seasoned and smelt so good. Shame I couldn’t eat more than a tiny nibble.

Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood is a bustling busy place, and the staff were just the right amount of friendly, chatty and helpful. I think the new Neighbourhood brunch menu is solidly interesting, with some crowd pleasers on there. I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a vegetarian option listed on their menu, I know you can always ask for them to make something for you, but if it’s not on the menu then as a vegetarian I’d probably be put off by that. It’s such a shame, especially as the veggie brunch I had I would happily order again.

Neighbourhood is located on The Avenue North, Spinningfields, Manchester. Their brunch menu is available on weekends 10am to 2pm. Visit their website for more information or to view their menu.

We were invited guests of the restaurant and were not asked to pay for our food or drink. Nevertheless, all images and opinions are my own.

Breakfast with Nestlé Cereals

Breakfast, especially at the weekends is a pretty big deal in our house. I like the boys to go out and face the day with something in their bellies and I like the simple act of sitting down as a family and starting the day together. Admittedly this doesn’t happen that often during the week, the boys tend to shove a bowl of cereals down themselves before dashing out of the house, leaving me to stack the dishwasher with their dirty pots. Weekends are a very different thing indeed, with pots of coffee, nice juice and something a bit special.

Monday to Friday the boys tend to eat Cheerios, I like Cheerios because I think they provide a pretty balanced breakfast, with some complex carbohydrates and added vitamins, it’s a good start to the day. At weekends we like to mix things up and try new things. We were sent a selection on Nestlé Cereals to try, so we planned a buffet breakfast of cereals. Which one would we like best?

We tried the following Nestlé Cereals:

  • Nestlé Cheerios
  • Nestlé Shreddies
  • Nestlé Cookie Crisp
  • Nestlé Shredded Wheat
  • Nestlé Curiously Cinnamon

Nestlé Cereals

We began our Nestlé Cereal Challenge by each selecting a cereal and pouring a small bowl (we had five different cereals to sample, we didn’t want to overdo things). The small boy thought he’d like the Nestlé Cookie Crisp the best (with it being wholegrain cereal disguised as little chocolate chip cookies), but ended up choosing the Nestlé Shreddies. I really liked the Curiously Cinnamon, but ultimately plumped for the Shreddies as my most favourite, whilst hubs enjoyed the simplicity of the Shredded Wheat but fell for the charms of the Curiously Cinnamon.

The Curiously Cinnamon is a bit different and a really great cereal if you like cinnamon, which can be a bit of a love/hate flavour. I tend to eat my cereals as a late night snack so these really hit the spot when you need something a tiny bit sweet but filling.

Nestlé Cereals contain essential whole grains and are fortified with vitamins and minerals designed to help get your day off to a good and nutritious start.

It was a really lovely way to start the day, and helped turn breakfast into a fun little challenge. It’s a good way to try new things and find new favourites. I know we’ll be adding the Curiously Cinnamon to our shopping list and I’ve rediscovered my love of Shreddies, so they are well and truly back on the menu. Thank you Nestlé for spurring us on to try new things. I think a buffet breakfast challenge will be on the cards again one weekend soon!

Note: We were sent a selection of Nestlé Cereals free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Breakfast with Mummy at The Hard Rock Cafe

On Mother’s Day it is the law that no mother anywhere should have to cook her own breakfast. Breakfast in bed, or at the very least a morning cuppa is essential, but being taken out for breakfast is a really lovely treat. This year the boys and I went to “Breakfast with Mummy” at The Hard Rock Cafe, in The Printworks, Manchester, which was a fine way to kick off our Mothering Sunday celebrations.

We arrived at 9am with empty bellies and a thirst for coffee. We were quickly sat at our table, each Mum receiving a goodie bag comprising some Hard Rock goodies and some pampering treats from Clarins. The tables each had a lovely flower arrangement on which you could buy for a £5 charity donation.

The small boy had never been to The Hard Rock Cafe before and he was fascinated with all the musical instruments on the walls, he didn’t understand that they were once played by famous people, but that didn’t matter to him.

Once we were settled, coffee and juice was brought round by the lovely waiting staff and we were invited to go and be served our buffet breakfast. Being veggie I went for grilled tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns and scrambled egg, while the boys added sausage and bacon to their plates. Hubs had extra mushrooms too, a rare treat as I’m allergic to them. There was toast, cereal and fruit available too, so no one left with an empty belly.

Hard Rock Cafe

The staff at The Hard Rock Cafe were incredibly lovely and friendly, re-filling our coffee mugs and making sure we were happy, nothing was too much trouble. We were first in line for the face painter who was fantastic, the small boy got a spider on his face which was the nicest looking spider I’ve seen, he was really proud of it and kept looking in the mirror.

There was also a balloon modeller who worked the room, making everyone a special balloon to take home, I got a lovely flower balloon to wear on my wrist and the small boy got a zebra. One lovely touch was there was a photographer who took informal family portrait of each family as a little keepsake for everyone, which I thought was an especially lovely thing to do.

Attending one of the “Breakfast with…” events at The Hard Rock Cafe in The Printworks is a lovely way to start the day, especially a celebratory day. I think next time I’d plan it better and go off and do something afterwards, like visit the cinema, go shopping or visit a museum.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I did leave The Hard Rock Cafe feeling pampered and spoilt, which is as it should be on Mother’s Day.

The Hard Rock Cafe run regular “Breakfast with…” events, the next one being “Breakfast with Bunny” on 4th and 5th April. Tickets are £9.50 per adult and £7.50 for children. More information can be found on their website.

Note: We were invited guests of The Hard Rock Cafe and were not asked to pay for our breakfast. All images and opinions are our own.

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

The most famous foodstuff in Scotland is haggis, (followed by much more appealing sounding things like shortbread and whiskey). It’s traditional to serve haggis with neeps and tatties, but I create a recipe using haggis, but to try and make it a bit more appealing, a little bit sexy even. That’s a tough gig. Even tougher given that I’m vegetarian and I’ve never tried haggis.

I tried to think of it like black pudding, being a Lancashire lass this plonked me firmly in my comfort zone, it’s sort of like black pudding, in that’s it’s made from fairly unappealing bits of animal in a sausage shape, though haggis holds together less well than black pudding.

I decided to try and turn it into a brunch or lunch meal, served with homemade potato cakes and a poached egg it’s a fairly well balanced, interesting meal that’ll satisfy anyone with a hearty appetite. I’ve made my own potato cakes as they’re much nicer than shop bought, but if you want to buy them I recommend you get them from a good bakery.

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

Ingredients:
One haggis
One egg per person
Chives
Oil for frying

For potato cakes (makes 6 large cakes) –
2 mugs of mashed potato
Half a mug of plain flour
Salt & pepper
Chives
Oil for frying

Method:

Start by putting your cold (leftover) mashed potato in a bowl with the plain flour, season and snip in some chives. Mix thoroughly by hand and shape into 6 equal sized cakes. Fry them off gently until they’re golden brown on both sides. Set aside until you’re ready to serve. They can be kept warm in a low oven for a little while.

Take your haggis (unsteamed) and cut into 1.5cm thick slices. Fry gently in oil until brown and crispy on both sides, make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Set aside and keep warm with the potato cakes.

Poach an egg per person.

To plate up, stack your haggis on top of your potato cake and place your poached egg on top. I snipped chives all over mine because I like chives, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.

Recipe: Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack

It’s really simple, it took me hardly any time at all and it was quite delicious. The boys once again returned clean plates to the kitchen. Winner winner haggis dinner?

A Bewitching Breakfast at The Alchemist

On Friday I had a quick pint with some friends, which turned into about 80 double bourbons and ended in the wearing of comedy stick on moustaches. It’s fair to say that when I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning I wasn’t full of the joys of spring.

There was nothing else for it, the only cure was hair of the dog and as many poached eggs as I could feasibly manage. So I arranged to go for brunch with the usually gorgeous and effervescent Liz from Things To Do in Manchester, sadly due to the 80 bourbons the night before, she was slightly less effervescent than usual.

Together we stumbled into The Alchemist in Spinningfields like something from the zombie version of Sex and the City (I’m Miranda, natch). We met a couple of friends there and settled down to peruse the menu. The waitress immediately sensed damsels in distress and furnished us with large, icy glasses of tap water, she kept them coming too as we were knocking them back quicker than the bourbons which had got us into that state in the first place.

Liz went for the steak and hash browns which was served with two pretty special looking fried eggs on top. Me being veggie went for their only veggie option the Eggs Florentine (though I am told you can ask them to rustle up a veggie version of the other breakfast items). Our chums ordered the American (waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs and maple syrup) and Eggs Royale.

To drink I opted for a brunch cocktail, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a delightful and deceptively boozy tipple made from marmalade, gin, cointreau and lemon juice. Liz, wearing her best sensible face went for the Passionfruit and pineapple smoothie.

My cocktail was a breakfast delight, full on boozy, but tasting like it should be thick cut and spread on toast. The smoothie we both agreed was the most perfect hangover cure ever concocted. I’m not generally keen on smoothies but this hit the spot so perfectly I had to order my own.

Our lovely brunchables arrived. Liz’s massive slab of perfectly cooked steak drew much oohing and aahing from around the table. Served with little hash browns and a couple of fried eggs it did look amazing. It obviously has magical healing powers too as she looked almost human by the time she’d cleared her plate.

As for my Eggs Florentine, it’s no secret I’d happily marry anyone who gave me a perfectly cooked poached egg and I was given two, do I hear wedding bells? Presented on a hot slate, were two perfectly runny poached eggs nestled atop some wilted spinach on a toasted English muffin, all smothered with buttery hollandaise. It was exactly what I needed and could happily have eaten it all again the second I’d finished.

Breakfast at The Alchemist

I liked the laid back brunch vibe at The Alchemist, there was a real mix of people, the staff were busy and attentive and the food was as good a breakfast as I’m ever likely to have. In fact the hollandaise was the best I’ve ever had, pretty darn perfect. It’s probably fair to say that brunch at the Alchemist worked it’s magic on our hangovers.

You can find The Alchemist at 3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3HF Tel: 0161 817 2950

Disclaimer: We dined as guests of The Alchemist and were not asked to pay for any of our food or drink. It was all yummy though.