Prosecco and Pizza at Artisan, Spinningfields

What do you need to cheer yourself up on a sunny Saturday night in Manchester?  A glass (a bottle) of bubbly, a g i g a n t i c carbonara pizza, a crazy gal pal and Liam Gallagher playing overhead.  You do realise I am talking about a night out at Artisan, right?

If you are not familiar with Artisan, then don’t worry, I had no idea it even existed until I walked straight into the bloody door!  The restaurant itself is situated in Spinningfields, Manchester, tucked away behind The Alchemist (its sister venue), The Oast House, and next door to Neighbourhood.  I could have caused some serious damage there with a pun, but we will quit while we are ahead, shall we?

From the outside looking in, Artisan is simply like your standard Spinningfields bar.  Spirits as far as the eye can see, punters dolled up to the nine’s, wine glasses being swirled in the dark wood room.  Don’t forget to stick ya nose in it!  You know the works.  However, heave yourself and your heels up the monochrome steps and my, oh my, you are in décor heaven.

As I said, monochrome is the name of the game, with hosts looking suave in black suits and heels, servers in black and white (or an own-style variation), the walls covered in black and white art, the menus were white and black.  Yadah, yadah the monochrome vibe looks slick and sophisticated and really makes you feel comfortable.  I liked it, can you tell?

I’d describe it simply as a real-life version of The Tardis.  The restaurant is in a separate building to the downstairs bar (connected by a windowed walkway) and there were so many tables you could spread everybody you have around for Christmas over a few of the booths.  Annoying, mildly-misogynistic uncle and bratty cousin included (obviously not at the one I am sitting at).

The servers were insanely efficient and beyond bloody friendly.  I and my friend Alex chatted to our waitress while she kindly poured our prosecco (I am used to drinking mine from a mug at pre-drinks, so this was an above-the-clouds bonus) and waited for me to decide on the pizza situation.

Asking me to choose a pizza topping is like asking me to stop buying trainers.

As you can see, I caved and went for the carbonara pizza, while Alex went for half a chicken and chips, did somebody say it was better than Nandos?  Did they? Huh, weird.

The carbonara pizza was absolutely delicious – both taste wise and in appearance. Topped with tagliatelle, bacon, layers of cheese, white sauce and topped with a gooey-louey fried egg, the pizza was seriously to die for.  With carbonara being my favourite play-it-safe dish, it is fair to say I have tried a few carbonara pizzas (Madrid is the place to find the dishes of your dreams) and this one seriously pipped them all to the post.  Hands down one of my favourite pizza dishes ever and this handcrafted one is seriously gonna be hard to beat!


If I was ever to be invited back into this wonderful establishment I would

  • Drink enough Prosecco to have the confidence to go into the photo booth (there was a long line of beautiful ladies, okay?
  • Have a taster of those super salads – the lady on the next table had both my eyes and waistline crying.
  • Dive head-first into a cocktail… or twenty-five.  Who knows?


FOOD · Manchester

Just one Solita, give it to me

Roll up, roll up – get your puns out and your buns out, get that water running from your mouth and dig into a meal that will leave you lusting for an age, at Northern Quarter’s own, high-profile burger palace, Solita Bar and Grill.

If you like the idea of a pulled pork sundae, fancy a taste of authentic fairground fried onions and think that Coney Island mustard mayo-drenched burgers could be your thing then seriously, look no further than this established heart-attack hotel.

The perfect date night location, pit-stop for a quick sup or a dive-in for a spontaneous grub night with your nearest and dearest, Solita has people in mind and caters for the masses.  On quiet nights, you will be able to find yourself nestled on high stools upstairs in an intimate restaurant setting.  On evenings where it seems the whole of Manchester has dressed themselves up to the nine’s and swooped to Solita however, the mammoth downstairs seating area opens, meaning there is always somewhere to sit and tuck into Charcoal Grilled Seafood Skewers or a Hallou Me? Burger.

The menu itself is ridiculously vast.  There’s US Grain-Fed Flat Iron Steak from The Inka Grill, the likes of Sea Bass Fillets and Salmon, four innovative 10 inch hot dogs to choose from, an extensive list of beef, buttermilk fried chicken or fish burgers to boot and enough listed sides (such as Charcoal grilled corn on the cob and Smoked brisket chilli) to have you coming back to Solita forever.  You will never have to eat anywhere else ever again, just work your way through this stunning menu.

The choice of Cigarette Sounds on a fine Tuesday evening (yeah, we got the high chairs in the window, we don’t want to boast or anything…) came firstly in the form of Solita Nachos (£5.50) and Cheeseburger spring rolls (£6.75).  Demolished so quickly we couldn’t even get photographic evidence, both starters were made to the utmost standard.  Both ridiculously tasty with intense flavours coursing through, we couldn’t recommend either of these two appetisers more.  The Solita Nachos are corn tortilla chips sprinkled with a helping of cheese with dollops of guac, salsa and sour cream, served with hotter-than-hell jalapeños while the cheeseburger spring rolls… Well, you can probably guess what those might be.  Both of these were washed down by two (!!) gigantic Aperol Spritz by myself (it was a Tuesday, alright?) and a couple of 4.2% ‘Solitabrau’ house pilsner for my boyfriend.

Playing it safe with the main courses, burgers were chosen.  The menu lists twenty staples however, all beef burgers can be doubled-up (£2.90), swapped for buttermilk fried chicken (£2.50) or a chicken burger can be added (£4.90) making your delectable Solita main course one for the history books, and probably the most food you have consumed in an age.

One-half of the table was decorated with an oven bottom roll, stuffed with thick, succulent black pudding and pastrami – topped with lashings of Coney Island mustard mayo and melted cheese.  Better known as the Manc-Hattan (£11.50), this ludicrously delicious treat was definitely right up our street.  The other, the KFB (£11.90), seen a classic burger bun being chock-filled with melted Monterey Jack cheese, smoky BBQ sauce and ‘Kentucky Fried Bacon.  This was then altered (nothing is ever easy where I am concerned) to substitute the beef patty for buttermilk fried chicken, rising the grand total to £14.40.  In the words of Babybird, “because you’re gorgeous/I’d do anything for you”.

As if we had not ordered enough food already, we went for the mammoth 3 X bacon-rapped onion rings (£3.90) and a bowl of the house coleslaw (£1.50).  The onion rings were ridiculously dense, leaving us to take them home for a late-night snack, and the coleslaw itself was a standard creamy slaw, nothing too fussy yet nothing to write home about either.  Next time the Mac N Cheese (£3.00) and Salt Baked New Potatoes (£2.90) is definitely on the cards to enter our stomachs.

Brilliant food with a fantastic atmosphere, there really is nowhere in Manchester serving up killer burgers like Solita. Other than the remaining Solita sites, of course. Every bite transports you to heaven and you know that the hype is real.  Now  I have a raging ambition to work my way through the cocktail list and munch on some chicken wings!

Ella Scott

FOOD · Manchester

Veggie Indian goodness with Bundobust

Can you believe the last time I posted about food; glorious restaurant food was in April? That means a lengthy four months ago was the last time I documented what edible things I was putting in my mouth.  It seems I have had some time off extenuating my waistline… E Scott, who have you become?

Today I am chaat-ing (get it, get it) all things vegetarian with Bundobust.  If you know it then you LOVE it, if you don’t love it then you don’t know it well enough. The restaurant – which has made lists such as the ‘Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants’, ‘Best Casual Indian Restaurants in the UK’ and the ’20 burgers you need to eat before you die’ – literally sits in a basement on Piccadilly around the corner from the infamous Northern Quarter.  If you haven’t waltzed down the basement steps and plonked yourselves at one of the long tables then what have you been doing, Manchester? Continue reading “Veggie Indian goodness with Bundobust”

FOOD · Manchester

Fancy a Brooklyn Brewery Beer?



If somebody says to you “give up your night to drink free Brooklyn Brewery beer” you might be a bit sceptical.  You’ve had the standard Brooklyn lagar in a can or a glass bottle, and the dark larger may not have tantalised your taste buds.

I am exactly the same.

If that is the case for you too, then do not wipe Brooklyn Brewery off of your taste pallet just yet.  Whether it is for: sitting down with your mates for a beverage or ten, having that ‘one last drink’ as you throw yourself face-first into a ham and pineapple pizza (pineapple DOES go on pizza for the record) at an after party or just need that something to help you unwind after a stressful day of doing nothing – Brooklyn Brewery has the answers.

At the end of April 2017, employees of Yard & Coop were luckily invited to an intimate tasting session with Brooklyn Brewery representative, Chris Moore.  At the meeting Moore delved into the rich history of Brooklyn Brewery, explaining that the company’s founder had escaped death several times in various countries before the venture was even a thought and that when the New York Mafia come knocking you seriously have to show them who is the boss.

Alongside swerving through the archaic foundations of Brooklyn, Moore had brought us a selection of the brewery’s finest delights to sample.

Now, imagine: a variety of bar tenders, the front of house staff and managers on their day off, swarming around a table filled with sweet treats and alcoholic elixir’s we have never tasted before.  Win, win – a recipe made in heaven.  Alcoholic beverages are one of our main passions in life.  We are not working in a Northern Quarter bar and eatery for any old reason, you know.  We like to drink.

One of the first beers Moore pulled from his box of tricks is well-known and celebrated Brooklyn Lager’.  With a surprisingly fresh bitterness hugged by a floral and dry taste, the Lager is the Brooklyn Brewery signature.  You can find it throughout bars across the country and, if you do not spot anything you know on a menu – sure enough hiding in there somewhere will always be Brooklyn Lager.  A safe bet for a craft beer.

The Brooklyn Lager won’t appeal to everybody, however.  With its distinct taste and dark colour, it carries the same motto as Marmite – you are either going to love it like the feeling of having a full fridge at Christmas or hate it like your housemate using up your milk.  So if that is the case, then Brooklyn is not for you, right?

WRONG.  Oh, so wrong.

 Moore pulled a variety of bottled beers and cans out of his bag including:

  • Brooklyn Scorcher IPA
  • Brooklyn Brown Ale (my favourite of all the beverages)
  • Brooklyn American Ale
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
  • Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

If you are an avid New World Trading Co. fan (IE. The Botanist, The Oast House, MCR Smugglers Cove, LIV) then you would have seen the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale stacked high on its ventures shelves.  The only Brooklyn Brewery offerings that was brought to the event in a can, the pale ale packed a serious punch – it is unbelievably juicy, thirst-quenching and ripe, but it is not for the faint hearted!

An all-rounder which would be perfect for those after-the-night-out drinks (as I previously mentioned) is the Brooklyn American Ale.  Unlike most heavy ales which you have to nurse your body to be in the mood for, this 4.5% ale is completely different.  Light-tasting, gentle and easy-going with crisp tones: the Brooklyn American Ale is perfectly paired with any food flavour, and makes drinking to drink fun.  You do not have to get drunk to have fun drinking (I definitely need to remember this mantra…)


The main attraction, for me however, came surprisingly in the form of the Brooklyn Brown Ale.  Now, I am a Geordie girl.  And other than that MTV show what are Geordies famous for?  Newcastle Brown Ale.  What does not taste nice?  Newcastle Brown Ale.  What has changed my complete perspective on brown ale (maybe) forever?  Brooklyn Brown Ale.

Nicknamed ‘the roasty’, this Brooklyn offering incorporates its British heritage with an American twist.  Brown ale that boasts six malts caressing layers of sweet toasted caramel, bitter cocoa and strong coffee – all blended together to create this rich and enticing beer.  The sheer volume of substance in the ale warms the pit of your stomach, changing your idea that Brown Ale is not just something you have to snidely avoid, even if it is on offer in a night club’s fridge.  42nd Street in Manchester, I’m looking at you.

Riveting, inviting and seriously tasty: if I can urge you to do anything this month, it is try to nab yourself a taste of Brooklyn.  Do not play it safe – go big.  If the American Ale sounds your thing then take the plunge or if you want something a little bit different to nag your mates about buying, go for the East India Pale Ale.

Whatever your tipple, make it Brooklyn Brewery.

Ella Scott


A dairy-free Nutella: Sweet Freedom Choc Pot

Being dairy-free for me is bloody difficult.  Not only do I constantly crave chocolate, want Nutella on toast at all times of the day and feel the need to have the Not Chicken Nuggets from work (Yard & Coop, NQ) in and around my mouth more than would be deemed acceptable – quitting dairy is (and will probably always be) an uphill struggle.  However, to make the ban a little bit more tantalisingly sweeter I have discovered the moreish Sweet Freedom Choc Pot.

I’ve self-enrolled myself in the Sweet Freedom family for a couple months now.  See my raving post on the Choc Shot here. And obviously, I have been buzzing about the idea of a dairy-free Nutella-alternative since the brand announced earlier this year that it would be hitting ASDA shelves.  Upsettingly however, my local ASDA have JUST got the choc pot in stock extremely recently!

That’s going straight in my bahsket.

The details:

Sweet Freedom prides themselves on the ethic of ‘I do not’ and ‘no way’.  This means all of their products (including the Choc Pot) contain and are free from:

  • Chemical processing
  • Palm Oil
  • Dairy, gluten, nuts and GMOs
  • Preservatives

Their products are made naturally in the UK, and are suitable for the veggies and vegans striving among us.  Basically – its super good stuff and ANYTHING is better than a product promoting the dairy industry.

The Ingredients:

Listed on the 250g pot, the ingredients are as follows:

  • Apple extract
  • Grape and carob extract
  • Water
  • Cocoa
  • Natural Flavouring
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Sunflower lecithin

Shall we compare this to the list of ingredients on a Nutella pot?

  • Sugar
  • Palm Oil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Fat-reduced cocoa
  • Skimmed milk powder
  • Whey powder (milk)
  • Emulsifier: Lecithin and Vanillin

If you’re not sold already just on the ingredients list alone then let’s dissect the Nutritional information.  Each element listed is per 100g of substance.

Choc Pot:

Energy kJ: 1143
Energy kcal: 272
Fat: 8g
Fat of which Saturates: 3g
Carbohydrates: 43g
Carbohydrates of which Sugars: 38g
Fibre: 7g
Protein: 3g
Salt: 0g


Energy kJ: 2278
Energy kcal: 546
Fat: 31.6g
Fat of which Saturates: 11g
Carbohydrates: 57.6
Carbohydrates of which Sugars: 56.8
Fibre: N/A
Protein: 6g
Salt: 0.114g

Now I’m not being funny – but it doesn’t take a mathematician to put two and seven together to produce the outcome that the Choc Pot is WAY better for you than Nutella.  Obviously, both are a calorific treat but come on, if I can have chocolate spread on a crumpet for breakfast and not feel as guilty as I usually would, which one am I going to select in the supermarket?

Taste test:

For some (me 80% of the time) it’s more about the taste than anything.  Obviously, the sugary, heavenly smooth and sickly substance of Nutella is a dream.  It’s so bloody good and in reality, I am always going to be in love with that little jar of heaven.  But deep down I know the Choc Pot is the all-around winner.

While Nutella you can gulp down serving after serving, the rich combination of ingredients and smooth dark chocolate cocoa component seriously only allows you to have a teaspoon full of Choc Pot.  You don’t want any more than that.  It might not be as sickly as Nutella, but it is as satisfying.  It’s like Cadburys VS Lindt.  Both are heavenly, but one is a lot easier to swallow a bar whole than the other.

I absolutely love it.  It’s seriously changed the way I see toast in the morning (dat look of love doe) and I genuinely feel SO much better about indulging in a spoon for a little taste of something sweet.  Does it make me sad that I am enthusing about chocolate spread?  Pitting the both against each other?  Maybe but maybe not.  Seriously though, try it for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!

Get ya mitts on the Sweet Freedom Choc Pot chocolate spread now, available in selected ASDA and Boots stores.

E x


FOOD · Manchester

The Oast House, Spinningfields, Manchester

Okay so imagine the city of Manchester.  Got it?  Picture it?  Okay, now imagine the city of Manchester with the sun.  Seriously, miracles do happen: sometimes it is actually sunny in Manchester.  Honestly, it doesn’t rain all of the time!  So anyways: it’s sunny; you have the day off work; you’re hungry and your taste buds are craving a bevy… Where can you possibly go?  Why The Oast House of course!

Sandwiched in a sun-trap, around the corner from The Alchemist, Spinningfields, Australasia and running parallel to Spanish tapas giant, Iberica, is The Oast House.  A vintage building which was once used to roast hops in the 16 centaury turned BBQ and outdoor drinking heaven, The Oast House is owned by The New World Trading Co., better known as the people who brought you The Botanist.  Who knew drinking from watering cans could be so cool?

Side note: if you can go to any Botanist, go to the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne rooftop restaurant/bar above Jamie’s Italian, that setting is B-E-A-uuuuutiful.  Hands down my favourite venue in Geordie Land.

Open from 12 pm until 12 am on weekdays, and up until 2 am on the weekends, there’s always time to guzzle prosecco and stick a pie in your gob at The Oast House.  However, if the sun is shining get down early, even though there is an abundance of benches, cushions and even steps to perch yourself on outside, they fill up even quicker than you can shout “Get me a G&T!”

I introduced The Oast House to my two friends from Liverpool who were in Manchester for the weekend.  We dived straight on the idea of food.  As soon as someone says “let’s get food!” is it ever possible to say no?  I and Paddy went for the famous hanging kebabs, while Caitlin kept it extremely British and went for a good ol’ Steak and stout pie.


The three-piece Lamb kofta kebab, coming in at £12.50, was served with a pot of slightly-spicy peri-peri sauce (which was dribbled on by the waitress) as well as a gigantic basket of ‘properly’ seasoned chips.

I opted for the hanging( Chicken kebab (£11.50).  Served as a hanging skewer, the kebab was stuffed with succulent, melt-in-the-mouth chicken, chargrilled baby Portobello mushrooms, red peppers and onions.  While the kofta kebab had peri-peri sauce, mine (like the other hanging kebabs) was served with a sweet chilli and ginger sauce.  This tasted exquisite over my chips.  Chips and buttery sauce, the picture of health evidently.  Miss Universe 2017 coming at cha’.

Steering clear of following the crowd, I was sceptical about Caitlin ordering the pie.  A good pie is bloody hard to find, even Pieminister can miss the mark sometimes!  However, apparently, the Steak and stout pie was as good as it gets.  Priced the same as the chicken kebab, the meat pie was an edible sized portion, served with mushy peas, proper pub gravy and a choice of chips or mash.

The Oast House food was simply stunning.  Each of our dishes was demolished in an instant, however, flavours were savoured and positive comments were passed around the table.  We left The Oast House full, but not overly stuffed – which is always a good sign.

Service was impeccable, with bar staff offering drink recommendations when I was being one of those customers, and floor staff were chirpy, thankful and happy to help.  They were definitely feeling the sun rays and managing to effortlessly weave their way through the ever-growing crowd, so serious hats off to them!

A definite thumbs up from me Oast House and The New World Trading Co.  You’ve got yourself three new regulars… All we need now is that Spanish sun all year round!  Next up to try is the Manchester version of The Botanist, has it got anything on the Newcastle branch?

E x

FOOD · Manchester

Livin’ in a Vegan paradise: V-Rev, NQ, Manchester

So, my new year’s resolution of sticking to vegetarianism/transitioning to veganism might have become a little bit misty (bacon, it’s ALL your fault!) but there’s a one-stop-restaurant proven* to: boost your confidence of being able to eat super tasty and tantalising vegan food while still feeling you’re not missing out on meat at all.  Hi V-Rev, just take ALL of my money, please.

Situated on 20-26 Edge Street, in Manchester’s thriving Northern Quarter, V-Rev sits with its colourfully quirky interior and seriously good food menu.  Boasting the ideology of serving good grub made of “all plants, no pain”, V-Rev – formerly V Revolution – is serving food from Tuesday to Sunday, every week, from 11am to 11pm.  There’s always time for a slice of vegan heaven.

The food menu itself is extremely diverse hosting items such as: ‘Macaroni & Michele’s High School Reunion’ (Beefy patty; mac n cheez; chipotle cola bbq sauce and pickles) £8.25; Lobsta Salad (Lobsta in herb mayo; baecon; ice gem lettuce and tomato) £7.25 and Vietnamese Fries (Fries; Sriracha Mayo; Hoisin Sauce; Crushed Peanut and Coriander) £3.25.

Following on from food, if you’re fancying an evening bevy or a boozy lunch then V-Rev is the answer.  Offering a host of: IPA’s such as Mad Hatter RedXRum £4.50; Cocktails like Srira-Cha Cha Slide (What a name!!) ; £6.00 and enough red, white and rose wine to shake a stick at, there seriously is something for everybody to wrap their lips around.

If you’re not into having a drink however, their soft drink range is also extremely extensive.  Me and my boyfriend, Matty, both played it safe and opted for Fevertree Ginger Beer however, we’ve pinky promised we’ll have a swig of the Strawberry Creamsicle Milkshake £4.25, next time NEXT TIME.

Our service was efficient and friendly and within no time we were sipping and supping.  My main event consisted of: the Hell-vis Presley (Beefy patty; cheez; baecon; peanut butter; banana; pickles and baeconnaise) £8.25 with a side of hands-down-the-best-ever Mac & cheez (Rice macaroni with cheez sauce) £2.95.  B-E-AUUUUUTIFUL food, I couldn’t even fault the taste if I tried.

Matty went for the classically named Barbecute Without the ‘E’ £8.95 (Beef patty; cheez; pulled porq; chipotle cola bbq sauce; coleslaw and onion rings) and mouth-watering Chilli Bowl  (Smoky chipotle; beefy mince and three bean chilli) £2.25.

While my burger tasted brilliant and was smothered in thick peanut butter, the presentation in the ‘Almost Famous’ plastic basket really devalued the food for myself.  Sauce from my burger leaked through the holes where the paper wasn’t placed properly, as well as my mustard making a HUGE mess on the table.  I just don’t believe that the plastic dish fitted in with V-Rev’s cool, slick and sophisticated vibe.  Is it just me?

Apart from the above however, the food, service, deco and overall feel of V-Rev itself was brilliant.  A restaurant definitely worth the hype and 100% worth scoping out for your fix of vegan R&R, V-Rev is a brilliant edition to any Manchester foodies artillery.