The Principal Manchester Hotel Review

The Principal Manchester Hotel Review: February 2018

A landmark location within Manchester city centre, The Principal Hotel presents Victorian decadence and grandeur.  This terracotta grade II listed building shapes Manchester’s skyline with its unmissable iconic clock tower.

First opened in 1890, as The Refuge Assurance Company Headquarters, the Principal Hotel has a rich historic past.  The extravagant entrance with high steel gates, trio lit lighting, topiary planters, gold engraved Principal signage and flags flying proudly, prepares guests to step into a breathtakingly opulent lobby.

The stunning sculptured horse stands proud in reception and provides a talking point for sure.  The breathtakingly beautiful sky dome dominates divinely with style and grace.

Sympathetic, yet extensive renovations reflect and retain the original features and historical charm by combining contemporary and traditional to create an eclectic, quirky and unique space for guests to embrace and enjoy.

Quirky additions are not just lost spaces but are useful, such as relaxed seating area’s to perhaps read a book, people watch or catch up online with their free, superfast Wi-Fi.  The royal mail box is not just there to look pretty, but saves you heading out to post your mail on those days you simply want to stay and play in the hotel without going out in the city hustle and bustle.  The glass cabinet is a shop where for a reasonable price you can stock up on essentials and treats for your Tuck box – yes you heard right, Tuck Box, but more about that later.

Warmly welcomed we headed on up to room 326 our home away from home.  Again, the room was synonymous with the communal hotel areas with “useful” and “stylish” being the theme.  Kitted out in tan leathers, wood details, Manchester city prints, steel light features, mixed with simple linens along with a flat screen television on an extendable bracket for optimum viewing and a bedside area that had a handy plug socket to charge all those much-needed tech gadgets.

Simply stylised decor, along with quality furnishings such as a traditional solid wood wardrobe and the tan seating chair all complimented each other well.  A well-appointed tea tray is provided, with cool branded Principal mugs and a tasty tuck box, that includes an assortment of snacks, which guests are free to Tuck into free of charge!  Fancy a refill, well remember the lobby store, just head down and fill up your stock, with prices from as little as 30p per item which for a hotel of this standard is incredible value.

The bathroom is well presented in clean tiling with a shower over bath feature, a heated towel rail, the mirror cleverly pulls out to enable an easy beautify process and the excellent Elemis toiletries are much welcomed.

Dinner can be had in Refuge by Volta, a restaurant located on the lower level of the hotel, which also features a gorgeous garden for pre/post dinner drinks and a sociable area to enjoy some tasteful DJ beats.   “Come as you are” is the Refuge Mantra, so dress down or glam up, you decide.

Beautiful brilliance awaits you with open bulb lighting, high ceilings, cosy upholstered booths, industrial exposed features, tastefully tiled backdrop wall with signage reading ‘The glamour of Manchester’ which strikes the perfect balance and brings together Manchester industrial past with Manchester’s glamorous present.

DJs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford, owners of Volta have took residence, I knew that there would definitely be style, but on first glance of the menu, I was perhaps guilty for thinking that there may be a lacking in substance, when it came to the food offerings, but my thoughts were unfounded and I was in for an evening of mouth-watering foodie delights which have been inspired by their global travels.

Sensational small plates including the Cheese Board with British cheeses with a selection of biscuits and chutney, olives, Heritage tomato and red onion salad, Daal Makhani, Chargrilled cauliflower, caraway and pomegranate, the brilliant Beetroot pakora with tamarind ketchup, Kale with Parmesan and Fries, made the most perfect little palate pleasers.

Things got even sweeter with the non-alcoholic ‘brambly’ apple and Designated mule mocktails.  Along with a sheer dipping delight dessert, an old-fashioned chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and sweets – a fun experience and nice to share between two.

Our lovely server, even let us take some of the Glamour home, as she presented us with a lovely card with a very touching personal message inside regarding something, that I mentioned about the beetroot pakoras, which shows engagement and a genuine interest to connect with the customer and provide a personalised service.

Bedtime was bliss, a relaxing sleep was had, waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.  A call down to reception the previous night arranged breakfast in bed.  Providing an ideal opportunity to see room service standards and an excuse to enjoy a lazy leisurely breakfast in the privacy of our beautiful room.

Both the hot English and Vegetarian breakfast along with toast, tea and orange juice tasted yummy.  Continental was a delight and the muffin was lush –we should have ordered two!

Want glitz and glamour without a pretentious attitude? ‘Come as you are’ and the Principal team will host you with some Manchester charm and style.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

https://www.phcompany.com/principal/manchester-hotel/

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Shoryu Ramen Piccadilly Gardens Manchester Review

Shoryu Ramen Piccadilly Gardens Manchester Review: January 2018

Shoryu Ramen founded in 2012, from the team behind the Japan Centre brand, offers authentic Japanese ramen and excitingly has opened their first branch outside of London right in the heart of Piccadilly gardens Manchester.  Impressively the brand has been recommended in the 2014 – 2017 Michelin guides.

Head chef Kanji Furukawa along with owner Tak Tokumine were both natives of Hakata district in Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu Japan.  Their hometown Hakata tonkotsu ramen recipe is now a firm fixture on the menu at Shoryu Ramen hence the term “It’s in our bones”.

Décor was delightful with subdue lantern lighting setting the scene, along with a mix of seating for groups, couples or intimate seating for one.  The place offers a relaxed atmosphere, with an open kitchen and also a warm welcome with the bang of a drum.  You will know exactly what I mean when you visit!

The brand welcomed us warmly with open arms and lovely Lisa seated us and guided us through the menu with her extensive knowledge.  Feeling the festive pinch, we opted for healthy offerings including the gorgeous grilled halloumi Shoryu buns which are handmade daily with all-natural ingredients, sticky tofu and vegetable tempura.

Real ramen which is authentic is exactly what the Shoryu Ramen brand is all about.  The delightful Duncan advised that the flour used to make the noodles is imported directly from Japan! Also, you can choose whether you would like your noodles, very hard, hard, medium or soft.

The wonderful white natural is a vegetarian miso base ramen made with their unique tonyu soy milk with a konbu & shiitake broth, kikurage mushrooms, atsuage fried tofu, bamboo shoots, spring onion and nori seaweed.  The mouth-watering white Miso based Wafu goosnargh Chicken ramen with mushrooms, spring onion, nori seaweed and ginger was also a hit.  All washed down with the most exquisite Jasmine flowering lily tea.

 Delicious desserts included the marvellous Matcha chocolate ice cream sundae with sakura cookie.  Also, the lovely light Sakura and Azuki Chiffon cake was sheer bliss.  Both ideal to pair with the lush Virgin Yuzu Mojito mixed up with mint, fresh strawberries, homemade yuzu syrup and apple juice over crushed ice.

Shoryu means ‘to bring good fortune’ eat your way to prosperity and a healthier you for 2018.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

https://www.shoryuramen.com/stores/76-manchester

The Botanist Manchester Deansgate Review

The Botanist Manchester Deansgate Review: January 2018

No need to be a scientist to study the beauty of plants, head on down to the beautiful Botanist Deansgate, and get back to nature, for an exciting horticultural adventure in a secret garden paradise.

Décor is relaxed, natural with a cool, calming mix of cream, light green and pastel colours, stripped woods, quirky bare bulb lighting, charming cabinets full of curios, plants and posters of plant life.  A true home away from home feel about the place.

The theming continues throughout the dining experience, but is classy, subtle and useful.  Cutlery, salt & pepper pots, napkins and menus are presented in this wonderful wooden garden basket.  The fabulous floral plates also add to the charming quirkiness.

The sensational starters included the gorgeous green olives marinated in extra virgin olive oil, homemade houmous board with crudites and fougasse bread, all presented in this stunning garden trowel on a wood base.  The sensational sesame coated falafel served with the most amazingly lip-smacking delicious sweet chilli slaw and harissa mayo.

Comfort food included the vegetable Malaysain curry with rice which was yummy.  Also, the most delightful wooden planter box arrived with the Fish and chips main, with the mushy peas served in a miniature plant pot and the tartare sauce served in a mini watering can.

     I like a good pudding, so there was no need for seed planting, as I was raring and ready to order the sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice cream and the s’mores warm chocolate brownie, peanut butter, chocolate ganache toasted dessert topped with roasted marshmallows and vanilla ice cream – both sensational!

The botanical inspired mocktails including the Berry Good Times, Raspberry, Grape & Elderflower Cooler and the homemade lemonade were all lovely and had that forest feel about them.

I must say thank you to Hannah our server who looked after us throughout along with the rest of the Botanist team.

Thank you for reading 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

http://thebotanist.uk.com/locations/deansgate-manchester

Veganuary 2018 Vegan Variety with Violife

Veganuary 2018 Vegan Variety with Violife: January 2018

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.  With more vegan product choices than ever before, a growing awareness and concern for Animal welfare, eating with a conscious is easy, enjoyable and exciting, as vegan foods need not be dull and lacklustre.

Violife based in Thessalonica in Greece have brought gorgeousness to Vegan plates with their range of cheese products minus the cheese that are free from lactose, gluten, nuts, soy, preservatives, cholesterol and GMO.  Get cheesy Violife style with their extensive range of all Vegan products including the fab Blu, Mediterranean style block, and after dinner cranberry ideal for a creative Vegan cheeseboard.  Also, the creamy spread, original and mozzarella grated, prosociano wedge, mozzarella & cheddar and a range of their fab sandwich slices which come in original, smoked, mature and of course mouth-watering mozzarella.

No need to order a takeaway when you can vamp up your Vegan stack burger with some of Violife’s original, smoked, mature or mozzarella slices or pimp up your pizza with some of their yummy original and mozzarella grated “cheese”.

Make a romantic Italian two course dinner using the Violife Mozzarella for a heritage tomato starter and lashings of “cheese” from the prosociano wedge to sprinkle over a tomato and basil penne pasta main.

In a rush, why not just add a few slices to a lovely butternut squash, avocado and green leave salad, use the Violife cream “cheese” with pomegranates as an accompaniment to vegan kebab pittas or if you have more time to spare use the cream “cheese” to make cheesy chocolate berry fruit delicious dessert wraps

 

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

https://violifefoods.com/

Veganuary 2018 with GOSH Free From – Get Your Vegan Goodness

Veganuary 2018 with GOSH Free From – Get Your Vegan Goodness: January 2018

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.  With more vegan product choices than ever before, a growing awareness and concern for Animal welfare, eating with a conscious is easy, enjoyable and exciting, as vegan foods need not be dull and lacklustre.

Gosh Free From are all about goodness, impressively, their products are naturally free from the UK’s 14 top listed allergens; cereals containing gluten, eggs, milk, soya, nuts, peanuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, lupin, sulphur dioxide, crustaceans, fish & molluscs.  Their range includes the scrummy Sweetcorn & Quinoa Bites, Chickpea, Courgette & Moroccan spiced bakes, Beetroot, Kale & Quinoa burgers, Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean burgers, Mixed seed, quinoa, carrot & coriander bakes, Butternut Tomato and Basil sausages and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Sausages.

Beetroot, Kale & Quinoa burger, topped with homemade hummus, seeds and goji berry served with a green side salad topped with roasted butternut squash, avocado and black olives makes for a perfectly scrummy Vegan mezze.

Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean burger, with layered slices of beefy tomato, gem lettuce, avocado and Vegan cheese all squashed into a lovely roll makes a super sensational stacker burger – Vegan style.

Sweetcorn & Quinoa Bites served up on a sweet sesame noodles is a taste of Thai and makes a lovely light lunch or dinner.

Beautiful Butternut Tomato and Basil sausages and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Sausages make kebabs of loveliness, alongside a cheesy Vegan pomegranate dip, side salad and pittas there is no need to pick up a takeaway, stay in and save some money too!

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

http://goshfreefrom.co.uk/

Veganuary 2018 with BFree Foods – Takeaway Vegan Style

Veganuary 2018 with BFree Foods – Takeaway Vegan Style: January 2018

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.  With more vegan product choices than ever before, a growing awareness and concern for Animal welfare, eating with a conscious is easy, enjoyable and exciting, as vegan foods need not be dull and lacklustre.

The brilliant BFree foods brand have produced products, that are allergen free, meaning that there is no gluten, dairy, wheat, nuts, egg or soy and they are suitable for vegans.  Low in fat and high in fibre means that they are nutritionally sound – amazing! Why not bring on the bread with their yummy mini pitta pockets, pizza bases, sliced bread and their chia seed wraps.

BBfree_edited

The perfect pitta pockets alongside some Vegan kebabs and a pomegranate cheese dip made a lovely lunch treat.  The Chia seed wraps made a lush dessert.  Splash a generous dollop of vegan chocolate spread on the wrap and pack with your fav fruit such as raspberries and blueberries roll and there you go – yummy!

Fancy an Italian?  Well look no further create your own slice of Pizza perfection with these ready-made bases.  Make a night of it, invite around the peeps and impress them with your prefect pizza making skills.

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

https://uk.bfreefoods.com/

Veganuary 2018 with Clearspring

Veganuary 2018 with Clearspring: January 2018

Veganism is a hot trend for 2018 and increasingly becoming a lifestyle choice for many.  So much so that the official “Veganuary” charity has been set up to inspire people to try vegan not just in January, but throughout the rest of the year too.  With more vegan product choices than ever before, a growing awareness and concern for Animal welfare, eating with a conscious is easy, enjoyable and exciting, as vegan foods need not be dull and lacklustre.

Clearspring have impressively achieved 18 food awards since 2010.  An ethical brand that supports sustainable organic farming which benefits local communities.  Pack out your cupboard with their range of Vegan Organic goodies including; rice cakes, crackers, rye crispbread, snack packs, brown rice flour, brown rice pasta, Pasta sauces, beans, protein powders, apple cider vinegar and omega oil.

Clearspring’s Organic protein powders, apple cider vinegar and Omeg-s-day flax oil blend are all good to mix up in your smoothie and give your morning a much-needed boost.

Vamp up your lunch time hummus with the Clearspring super snacks, the organic roasted seeds and soya with goji berry made an ideal hummus topper and gave the dish super extra yumminess.

Fancy beans on toast, but want to ditch the bread, well opt for a light lunch with these beany rice cake snacks. A super way to have your beans on toast fix minus the bread.

Clearspring 2 course_editedTwo course Vegan dinner, but short on time?  Well show of this sweet starter; Vegan mozzarella, heritage tomato salad with lashings of the organic Clearspring sweet white Miso.  Clearspring’s Organic brown rice pasta and their organic Basilico Italian sauce with shavings of Vegan “Parmesan” makes for a Mouth-watering main.

Thank you for reading and Happy Veganuary 2018 😊

Melanie xx

Contact:

https://www.clearspring.co.uk/