Tis the season for honouring tradition and all that jazz so here I am, coming in hot with a round up of my 2019 ‘best bites’. Looking back, it seemed 2017 was all about burgers, afternoon tea and an angry letter about misogynistic beer; 2018 was mostly a celebration of small plates, pancakes and crackin’ roast dinners.
So, without further do, here are the highlights of what the past twelve months brought to the table…
Garlic Doughballs at Elephant Bank, Neston
Before you say anything, let me first reassure you that things will get a whole load more sophisticated than carbs and cheese, I promise. Scrolling back through my Instagram to see what I was chowing down on at the beginning of the year though; I couldn’t not mention this gooey pile of hot garlic dough balls glued together with enough melted mozzarella to choke you to death. They come served with a little bowl of soft garlic butter for dunking which, whether you like it or not, is a very effective smooch deterrent.
Read more about Elephant Bank
Duck Massaman Curry at Ivy Asia, Manchester
Turning the fancy pants dial up a notch, February brought a fabulous three-course dinner at The Ivy Asia restaurant in central Spinningfields. Most memorable had to be the Duck Massaman with its rich, fragrant sauce bejewelled with crunchy cashew nuts and served with sticky white rice.
Read more about The Ivy Asia
Chorizo Scrambled Eggs at The Brunch Club, Liverpool
I bloody love a good brunch date but I’m so bored of the usual suspects – smashed avo on toast (yawn), Eggs Benedict (yawn) or a granola bowl (yawn). The Brunch Club do things a little different and the sourdough drizzled with sweet onion jam and topped with chorizo eggs and goats cheese is a fine example of how.
Read more about The Brunch Club
Nalli Nihari Biriyani at Dishoom, Manchester
I had been dying to eat at Dishoom for months and months so when the brand-new Manchester restaurant opened at the beginning of the year, I was Chuffed with a capital C. Every morsel we ate there was spectacular but the ‘Chef’s Manchester Special’ is truly extraordinary. Tender lamb shank surrounded by a muddle of fragrant rice and caramelised onion, all nestled under a flaky pastry blanket and served with a rich nihari gravy. A-mazing. Definitely one for sharing.
Read more about Dishoom
Buri Bop Korean Hot Plate at Grand Pacific, Manchester
It’s not to everybody’s taste but I’m amongst those who are always up for a bit of interactive dining. I guess that must be why the Buri Bop at Grand Pacific has made the cut. The sizzling hot plate (which can reach up to 150 degrees!) comes to the table with a raw hen’s egg, a mound of ‘Forbidden Rice’ and a golbi sauce which you pour over before smashing everything together to create your own DIY fried rice. You then pick your protein (we went for salmon) to enjoy alongside your masterpiece.
Read more about Grand Pacific
Peking Duck Donuts at Aether (Yu Donut), Liverpool
I tend to be attracted to the weird & wonderful – it’s like a magnetic force that steers me away from the mundane. So, when I caught wind of the savoury Chinese donuts being served up at Aether bar in collaboration with street food vendor, Yu Donut, my head was turned Exorcist style. I love a good jam donut or a Krispy Kreme as much as the next gannet but no donut will ever have anything on the one I had stuffed with sticky Peking duck and crunchy Asian slaw here. The game has been changed.
Read more about Aether and Yu Donut
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Starting my birthday weekend off with a 💥BANG💥 by finally booking a table @wreckfish_bistro 🥦 deeeeeelish fish dish in the form of roast cod, rosemary mash, creamed leaked & tenderstem brocc 🐟 Semifreddo with a huge ol’ hunk o’ honeycomb 🐝 and mandatory birthday bubbles of course 🥂 – 📍 Slater Street, Liverpool – #food #blog #blogger #foodie #igfood #foodporn #review #foodstagram #goodeats #foodblogger #instayum #foodography #eatstagram #foodies #foodgasm #foodpic #foodbloggersofinstagram #liverpool #cod #roastcod #wreckfish #wreckfishbistro #finedining #semifreddo #honeycomb #champagne #birthday #fish #plate #presentation
Roast Cod at Wreckfish Bistro, Liverpool
I chose Wreckfish as the spot for birthday dinner with my best mate and it was a sterling choice. The menu evolves regularly but back in summer, I thoroughly enjoyed a flaky roast cod fillet with tasty rosemary mash, rich creamed leeks and fresh, al dente tenderstem broccoli. It certainly set the bar high for future trips there. No pressure, guys, no pressure.
Check out my thoughts on Wreckfish’s sibling venue, Burnt Truffle
Homemade Gnocchi with Salmon at Marvie Hotel, Split
My other half and I booked a last minute flight outta here and chose Split, Croatia as our destination, where we stayed in the fabulous Marvie Hotel. We ate and drank like royalty while we were on the Dalmatian Islands but bizarrely enough, my most memorable dish was the incredible gnocchi we had at the hotel restaurant. Delicious homemade dumplings in a rich and silky cheese and pesto sauce, tossed together with huge flakes of fresh salmon from the Croatian coast. Take me back already!
Find out where else I enjoyed eating in Split
The ‘Halloumi’ Burger at Honest Burgers, Liverpool
2019 was the year I discovered Honest Burgers and for that, I am forever grateful. I’ve been back to the Liverpool and Manchester restaurants multiple times in the past few months (just last weekend actually to sample the Christmas burger) but it’s the ‘Halloumi’ special that sticks in mind. I had the plant-based patty, which came with grilled halloumi, harissa mayo and HB’s dreamy rosemary chips. No trip here is complete without a portion of the BEST onion rings in town either.
Read more about Honest Burgers
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Last night we went to @foxandhoundsbarnston (for the second time already this month) to celebrate the anniversary of my two favourite humans ❤️ and I tucked into this molten rosemary Camembert with warm Parmesan twists and plum chutney while the rain was battering down outside and well, it’s safe to say I’ve definitely had worse Tuesdays 😌 – 📍 Barnston, Wirral – #food #blog #blogger #foodie #igfood #foodporn #review #foodstagram #goodeats #foodblogger #instayum #foodography #eatstagram #foodies #foodgasm #foodpic #foodbloggersofinstagram #cheese #wirral #barnston #wirralpics #visitwirral #wirralfood #camembert #bakedcamembert #chutney #onmyplate #cheeseporn
Baked Camembert at The Fox & Hounds, Barnston
If my 2019 was a food, it would be the baked camembert at The Fox & Hounds restaurant on the Wirral. It’s not that I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many of these I have eaten this year, I’ve just lost count. I discovered it much earlier than October, truth be told (said like Nessa from Gavin & Stacey) but I just had to slot this heavenly combo of molten cheese, parmesan twists and plum chutney in somewhere.
Deep Fried Mars Bar at Six By Nico, Liverpool
It’s been an epic year for Liverpool on the new bars and restaurants front and the most exciting for me has to be the introduction of Six By Nico. A fine dining concept which offers six-course taster menus which change on a six-weekly basis, inspired by stories, memories or themes. I went during ‘The Chippie’ menu – a contemporary adaptation of the quintessential British chip shop – and am still not quite over the ‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’ dessert course.
Read my Six By Nico review for a full, graphic description of this beauty
Pumpkin Tortellini at The Lowry Hotel River Restaurant, Manchester
I ate this dish less than a week ago and I think I must have already told at least 500 people about it. I might as well have signed all my Christmas cards off with a recommendation for the bowl of beautiful pasta parcels generously filled with pumpkin and pine nuts, surrounded by a moat of pumpkin and sage cream, and topped with crispy hunks of kale. The perfect winter warmer.
Read more about The River Restaurant
A few other honorable mentions…
- Parmesan gnocchi with onion and marmite at Salthouse Bacaro, Liverpool
- Fillet steak medallions with peppercorn sauce at Gino’s, Liverpool
- Olive oil potato bread with charcoal salt at Pilgrim, Liverpool