Thursday, 23 October 2014

Review, Byron, Leicester

Leicester's dining scene seems to be on an upward trajectory of late. We have some really cool places now especially with The Smokehouse (yeah I know.. I'm biased) and now Byron both bringing something on trend and exciting to the city.  It says something too that Byron skipped Nottingham and Birmingham to open their first Midlands site in little old Leicester. Well - maybe the rents cheap or they know something we don't - either way, I'm very pleased about it!


Probably one of the last local bloggers to make it in, I'd heard so much about this place that by the time I got round to visiting with my lovely Vicky in tow, I was wondering if my expectations were a little too high. Turns out not. Great open, airy space, fantastic staff and a simple concept done really well. Good for you Byron!

We went straight in for some nachos and guacamole and then on to courgette fries (with blue cheese dip), the Smoky, the Byron and onion rings. Phew.. oh .. and then topped it off with a brownie - but to share so that's not too greedy is it? 


The menu is brief and to the point. Burgers with a couple of salads and one or two starter items - mainly nachos and a choice of dips. We had the nachos and guacamole. The guacamole was awesome - chunky with hits of red chilli. We gobbled it up pretty sharpish.

The drinks menu features a nice range of canned craft beers including their own Byron pale ale - now we're fans of craft beer in Leicester with a great selection at Obar (again.. I may be biased) and although you're starting to see it everywhere, I opted for a Camden Hells - such a nice beer.


The burgers were cooked medium - and we were told this by the waitress. If you do want yours cooked more they will, but the quality of the beef shone through and the pink juicy meat was perfect for me. My burger (the Byron) was pure classic - dry cure bacon, mature cheddar, salad and 'byron sauce'.  The Smoky was really interesting with smoked cheddar, streaky bacon and crispy fried onions plus a smoky spicy BBQ sauce. Really good and definitely one I'd order on future visits.



Rather than going for the conventional 'chip' (of which there are a couple of options) we went for the courgette fries. The side portions are large and easily enough to share between two. Be warned! The courgette fries were really nice - cripsy but still soft inside. The blue cheese dip (again, there is a choice) was really good too although personally, I make mine with a bigger blue cheese hit and I think this could take it. The onion rings were huge! Well seasoned and delish altho maybe a tiny bit greasy.


The choc brownie almost tipped me over the edge with its gooey warmth and silky smooth vanilla icecream. Probably a bit too rich after the burgers, fries and onion rings, all that was left to do was go home and lie down. But sod it - you only live once!


Overall, I was well impressed with Byron. Its a great addition to Leicester and as well as excellent staff (shout outs to manager Vicky and waitress Ruby), they stick to what they know and do it well! If you've not been yet -  you need to!  My top tip - ask for a booth - they seat up to four and are perfect for privacy (or a date) and the view of the open kitchen will just enhance your appetite! 

*I was invited to review Byron and we did not pay for our meal. The total cost would have been £46.90. As always, my opinions are my own*

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Delice Deli & Cafe, Loughborough

I have no idea why I've not blogged about Delice Deli in Loughborough before now. Its a firm favourite of mine and I'm a frequent visitor. Well time to put the world to rights - here we go! 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Pumpkin & Chicken in Oyster Sauce with Chilli & Basil

Its almost Halloween and this year is going to be scarier than most as we're off to stay at St Briavels castle with some friends. I suggest you google it in order to feel my pain - it's reportedly the most haunted castle in the UK. EEEEK.. so, for now, lets stay off ghostly talk and focus on something still seasonal but much nicer - pumpkin! 


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Addicted to cookbooks

My name is Alex and I am addicted to cookbook. 

But lets justify this for a second (as any addict will) - they provide insight, inspiration and oggle factor in equal measures. As an avid home cook and blogger its also clearly my job to have as many cookbooks and magazines as possible... right?  Anyway, here is a little round up on my books - what I love and what I do.. 

Labels 

I actually stole this idea off my good friend Hannah - her house is one of my favourites for cookbook perving. She takes things a little further than me by colour coding for ingredients but I'm happy just to tab anything I've cooked. I also add a score out of 10 and any notes about improvements/ changes... When you head back to that book at a later date, its super helpful! 


Recipe collecting

The best recipe books are the ones you make yourself - I have a recipe journal and a scrapbook and both have been with me for most of my adult life. The scrapbook I started when I was back at uni and it's been with me ever since. There are so many things stuck in there - from supermarket recipe cards to things cut out of magazines. The pages are all full now but I still use it as a valuable resource.

Display 

I always have a cookbook on the book stand on my counter-top. I like to change it around to keep myself inspired and often put something up before I'm going to cook it. Geek alert. At the moment I've got my brand spanking new copy of Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales - Glynn Purnell's rather fabulous book.  If you don't have a copy I really recommend it, there are a whole variety of recipes and his stories elevate this from the usual chef cookbook into something totally magical! 


I'm pretty lucky that I have space for book shelves in my kitchen but they just aren't enough and my books have now spilled down onto the counters. In fact, there are around 2 years worth of Good Food and Olive magazines plus even more books shoved in the sideboard in the lounge!



So... out of all those books - which are my favourites? It changes all the time but at the moment, these 4 have to be ranked at the top! 
  • Prashad Cookbook: Indian Vegetarian Cooking - as you know, I love a good curry and this book is excellent, every dish I've made from it has been a winner (and you'd never miss the meat!).
  • Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales I've already mentioned this above. Go and buy a copy! 
  • The Kitchen Diaries II - a true classic from Nigel Slater. Like Glynn Purnell's book, this one works on two levels - great recipes but also a brilliant read in its own right! 
  • Two Greedy Italians - I will never grow tired of this book. I absolutely love Italian food and this book has some crackers in it!  

What are your favourite cookbooks? I've had some great suggestions on twitter and facebook for new ones so come on guys - feed my addiction! 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Japanese Teppanyaki Dining Experience

Whilst we were away on holiday we went to a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. It was actually one of the a la carte options at the hotel and I know what you're thinking - Japanese in Mexico??? Exactly what went through my mind too but actually, we were able to squeeze onto the show table and it was brilliant!

I'm not writing this post as a review because I'm not sure any of my readers are going to jump online and book a flight to Mexico specifically to eat at The Mikado (incase you want to know - its at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba - a fantastic 5* hotel on the Riviera Maya) - BUT what I am saying is 'if you get chance, definitely give this type of dining experience a go' - its great fun!

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