So this weekend saw myself & my OH heading up north to Manchester. I had to go for a work thing on Saturday morning, so we jumped on a train Friday morning to make the most of it. We’ve been to Manchester before, so we couldn’t resist staying at Malmaison again. (I booked early & got a deal!) I love the Malmaison chain. They’re so luxurious! Once we’d checked in, we headed out for a bit of lunch – straight to the Northern Quarter. If we lived in Manchester, this is where we’d live. It’s quirky, full of indie shops & cafes. Just my style. My OH is legendary for finding great, funky cafes so we went straight to Oklahoma’s. It didn’t disappoint. Not only do they sell great food & chai here, they also sell great gifts and cards.
I had a chai (obviously!) with a goats cheese sandwich. Both lush. It’s the kind of place you could sit in for ages & no one would bother you.
After lunch, we went for a wander. We popped into a few independent book shops & record stores. Before long, our tummies were crying out for something to eat & our feet were wanting to be rested. There were a few options to go to but we decided on trying somewhere new. So we went to the Nexus Art Cafe. We weren’t disappointed! It’s got a real shabby chic feel to it, & again felt like a fab place to curl up with a good book. I’ve been a real healthy eating kick recently so when I saw the huge slices of brownie, I knew I’d earned it. It was delicious & rich. I couldn’t finish it. My OH went for an almond slice & massive hot chocolate. We were happy travellers!
Friday night saw us eating at the vegetarian restaurant Bistro 1847. (See my separate review here). The biggest problem came with breakfast the next morning. We didn’t want to eat at the hotel, as they cost £13 each! But not many places were open early & my course started at 9.30am! Starbucks got our business. I’m not against Starbucks – it’s where my love of chai started; but their coffee isn’t the best & the chai can be different at every store. However, I’ve never had breakfast there before so we gave it a try. I had the porridge with a fruit compote & it was pretty good. I wouldn’t make a beeline for it again, but if there was no other option I woulnd’t mind it.
After my course, we had time for lunch before our train in the afternoon. Again, my OH came up tops with this little find: Cornerhouse. It had such a great vibe & the service and food were outstanding. The food I would usually go for weren’t on the menu, which is good as it meant I had to try something new. I went for the selection of dips, with crusty bread & shared the sweet potato wedges. Wow! If you’re ever in Manchester, visit this place. It is awesome! You could spend the whole day here.
All in all it was very lovely trip, with great food, wine & company! While we didn’t shop or sight-see much, we did plenty of walking. Enough to burn off all the wine that we consumed…and there was plenty of that! x
One of my favourite restaurants nearby is The Mole at Toot Baldon. It has a lovely feel about it & there’s always great service. So when some friends came to stay I knew it would be a great opportunity to take them somewhere lovely for dinner.
To an extent we weren’t disappointed. We had a lovely table & a great waitress. The menu was great to a point. Everyone was happy with what they ordered – duck, calamari & the fishcake for starters; haddock & steak for the main. The puddings were also well received – the only complaint with the banoffee was that the portion was too big! Woe is us!
The only person who had an issue was me. The veggie starter was a little odd. Beetroot, goats cheese & onion rings. I ordered it as I was intrigued but the textures & flavours didn’t quite work for me. The only veggie main was linguine with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes & parmesan cream. I asked if it could be made without the parmesan as parmesan cheese isn’t vegetarian & was delighted that it could be. However, the last time I was there I had a similar pasta & mushroom dish. In this one there was way too much cream and not enough cherry tomatoes. It won’t stop me going back there because I have had some excellent meals there in the past and I really like the feel of the place. However, I won’t be going back until there is something a bit more appetising than pasta & mushrooms, which I can make at home.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will have seen the very basic meal I had at The Swan. So in a bid to reaffirm my faith in restaurants I treated myself to a Wagamama takeaway.
I was in Oxford for a meeting so as I left I ordered & paid for my food on my iPhone app. I had to wait for a minute or two and was offered some of their delicious green tea. It was packed really well & was just the right temperature when I arrived home. It was delicious! I always have the yasai katsu curry. I love that the veggie food here is delicious. The veg is always cooked well & the service is always excellent. I will definitely be going back.
Not only that but everything that the takeaway came in is recyclable. You get everything that you would in the restaurant – chopsticks etc and it can all just go in the recycling bin when your meal is over! Love that there’s no washing up!
Not many people are aware that some wines are not vegetarian. As a wine lover this can pose a bit of a problem. I’ve yet to come across a restaurant that shows whether the wine is veggie or not & not all supermarkets stock veggie wine. But I was very impressed at my local Waitrose when I went in to buy some rose & the first bottle I picked up (that was in my price range!) was veggie friendly. Well done Waitrose – another reason for me to shop with you & none of the other ‘big 4’!
My faith in local veggie grub was also reaffirmed when I visited two local independent establishments. I had lunch at Throwing Buns where they do the best cheese & pickle sandwiches ever! Not kidding – they are really lovely & some places manage to ruin it! Complete with a side salad and crisps & naturally a cup of spiced Drink Me Chai, although they now stock the complete range.
My day was then completed by another amazing veggie burger at Atomic Burger. I went for the veggie Johnny Cash this time (so I could get the sticker!) & it was lush. The hot sauce is proper hot & reminds me that I could never do the Godzilla challenge! But once again service was outstanding despite two large parties & a restaurant full of hungry people!
Well done Abingdon & Oxford for feeding this fussy veggie! Keep up the good work x