24 July 2015

Cabana Cocktail Night

A place that comes with high recommendation from me, Cabana may be off the radar for a lot of you. There are a limited number of stores in London, with the Leeds restaurant being the first out of the capital. The inclusion of Cabana as a shopping centre food option might have you walking past it, but take it from me - this is one not to be missed.

What better way to entice you in to try than their new cocktail menu? 19 new recipes will be in the pages of their menu, alongside Brasilian deliciousness like my absolute favourite - and thing I have honestly had multiple dreams about - the Feijoada Fries. A Brasilian hotpot on top of sweet potato fries. Oh my gosh, already planning my next trip.

Bar snacks on side - the only place where I like guacamole - let's begin our run down of their new cocktail menu. And, with a little help from your Leeds local, highlight the couple that you definitely need to try for yourself.

Ipanema Iced Tea -
Essentially, a classic for a bigger group. The serving looked amazing, and it was a delicious cocktail, sweet, refreshing and an easy pick - but best served three people plus, or with a lot of gossip to get through.

Spicy Malagueta Caipirinha -
The cocktail that incorporates their USP (and delicious), malagueta sauce. Initially I was a little apprehensive as to how this would work, but it really did. It's a seriously sweet serving but was one of my favourites. There's a subtle after taste of the spicy flavour, but nothing that will be compared to the malagueta chicken!

Passion fruit Batida and Mango Batida -
For me the creamier options on the menu... I won't try again, but my boyfriend happened to love them. Essentially an alcoholic milkshake, really rich but with a refreshing fruity underlying flavour. For me the mango just tasted too artificial, the creamy options were never going to be my favourites though.

Blueberry & Acai Caipirinha -
The definitive highlight from the menu. A delicious flavour, packed full with ice - and topped with a blueberry - to amplify the refreshing fruit combination. A touch of sweetness, as with any classic caipirinha, but not reaching sour or rich status. You need to try this as priority.

Frozen Strawberry Caipirinha -
Beware of brain freeze, this one is pretty easy to slurp through as there's no heavy alcohol flavour or super sweet finish to get in the way of the mix. Likewise, there's no flavour explosion here - a good option for first timers into frozen cocktails, or a classic option.

For me, the new flavour combinations (to me) won over. Blueberry with acai and the unique malagueta caipirinha.
I'll no doubt be back to Cabana for the fries soon enough, this time, with a cocktail to cleanse through the meal.

A photo posted by Phoebe (@phibster_) on

14 July 2015

Nourish - Healthy Fast Food

It's no secret that Leeds loves its meat joints, BBQ restaurants are having a significant moment right now. And whilst I'll be the first to recommend Red's True Barbecue, it's always refreshing to have a new menu venture, especially when it comes to breakfast and lunch options in the city centre.

I was invited down to a tasting event to introduce us to the healthy fast food now on offer. Honestly, I was a bit of a sceptic, knowing that quinoa is also in its element right now. I've previously had average experiences with the health food of the moment, but I may have just been converted, get the band wagon ready!

So, how good can healthy fast food be? Taster pots laid out in front of us, we ran through the menu highlights - which will be hard to name since there is so much choice.

We were taken through each of our taster pots by owner, creator and the passion behind Nourish, David Stache. There's another Nourish store in Sheffield, David's home, and when quizzed on 'why Leeds?' it was purely for the second home its served him with. No savvy business choice, no competitive motive. Gap in the market, yes, as my office will attest to, but Nourish's presence on Leeds' food scene seems more for personal soft spot than trying to compete with the trends.

The menu of the evening (clockwise from top left)

Thai Chicken Curry with Rice, a favourite of mine anywhere, but the brown rice complimented the sauce really well, as well as the crunch fresh sugar snap peas which were the perfect complement.

Chicken Quinoa Satay Pot, a gluten free take on a popular dish. Really creamy and not the strong nutty taste I'm used to. Personally, think this was a quinoa too far and it would have worked better with something not as grainy.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken on Tri-Colour Quinoa, one of my favourites of the evening. So flavoursome and on a bed of quinoa which works brilliantly with the tender chicken.

The Superfood Salad, three types of quinoa involved, plus a host of colourful extras. Really refreshing and really delicious. Definitely something I want to return to try in full, to see how filling superfood can be. Reasons you know it's even super-er? They massage the kale to get all the flavour in.

Green Tea Poached Salmon, what I assumed would be a really interesting pairing, but the green tea flavour is so mild, you just get a subtle taste of it. 

Paninis and bland jacket potatoes be gone! The healthy options have arrived and with a whole lot more flavour. 
A photo posted by Phoebe (@phibster_) on

9 July 2015

Ice Bar Leeds

Ready to step into Leeds' very own Narnia? Come with me...
Heatwave or no heatwave, the temperature is about to drop to -5°C as you step into an ice box of human proportion. The ice bar has arrived in Leeds, hosted by Bierkeller, you'll find it in the Shooters bar - fairly unassuming from the exterior, but step with me inside and you'll be in a whole other world.

So, there you are. You're in your walk in freezer, complete with ice age details, life size polar bear sculptures and a cosy ice sofa to rest your feet. Coors Light have partnered with Bierkeller, so you can expect bar full of the light beer of course, but wine, select spirits and the shot best served ice cold, J├Ągermeister are all available once inside.

I wasn't sure what to expect in all honesty, it's fairly small, so you're guided in with a group for a 30 minute session. At least you'll be able to stand the cold! I attended in the midst of a heatwave of course, so I may have been appropriately clothed, but my sandal-clad feet meant I walked out with numb toes, something to keep in mind.

You'll be enveloped in a thermal poncho, so you know your upper half will be cosy, even if you do get the eskimo look about you.

Aside from the drinking element and trying to keep your toes functioning, you can also get involved with some ice bar curling. Line a winning curl up with the bullseye and a free shot of J├Ąger is yours - I didn't have the technique for that, even with my much loved concentration face.

With the 30 minute slot up, the freezer door is opened and out you go.
You can book online, for a very reasonable £5 for a 30 minute slot, with one drink included in the price. It's there until the end of September and well worth the experience while it's around.
I loved the experience and think they've nailed it with the groups in slots. A great way to fulfil an experience without being left wondering what to do in a massive cool box.
All in all, it's pretty cool.

A photo posted by Phoebe (@phibster_) on