Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Drink: Fentiman's Rose Spritz

Fentiman's Rose Lemonade is one of my favourite soft drinks; I always want it if I see it. It's such a delightfully grown up drink, a little sweet but with a hint of rose. The rose oil comes from Bulgarian roses and makes for a pretty beverage.

Somehow I've never considered trying it as a mixer in a cocktail. Luckily, Fentiman's have done the hard work for me. They got in touch to let me know about their new Rose Spritz serve. Officially for Valentine's Day, I know I'll be sipping this all through the spring and summer.

Simply pour 125ml of Fentiman's Rose Lemonade into a large chilled glass (I popped mine in the freezer first) with 125ml of prosecco. Make sure you've got plenty of ice in there to keep your drink cool and refreshing.

I garnished with the recommended blueberries and rosemary but imagine how splendid it would be with strawberries or raspberries in the summer too! If you can get hold of rose petals for a garnish, it would look so pretty.

The joy of this drink is that it can be adapted so easily too. For those who don't drink, the lemonade is lovely on its own, with plenty of ice and the same garnish, but you could lengthen it with soda too. I'm also pondering how this would be with an additional splash of gin...?

I'm feeling really happy to have rediscovered Fentiman's Rose Lemonade as a mixer for alcohol and look forward to drinking the Rose Spritz throughout the spring and summer months.

Photos by Helen

The liquid ingredients and the glass were complimentary. 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Drink: Tom's Kitchen Cocktail Masterclass

Style: Cocktail masterclass    Price: ££ (£35 per person) Location: Mailbox

How exciting to be invited to a cocktail masterclass in which I'd be making classic cocktails! In the year it's been open, I haven't managed to visit Tom's Kitchen until this event. I'd been a little put off by the prices of the food but I had admired the cocktail list, full of spirit-led classics.

I was delighted to be invited along to try one of their masterclasses, held in one of the private dining rooms just off the restaurant.

Noel, our host for the evening, talked us through each cocktail and we went up in pairs to try making them ourselves.

The Pom Pom

Containing a shot of lemon vodka, a shot of kumquat liqueur and pomegranate, this refreshing and fruity drink is shaken with ice, then strained into a martini glass. The sharpness of the liqueur and the vodka were a lovely contrast with the sweet juice.


I love a Poinsettia. It's a champagne-based cocktail, with cranberry and Grand Marnier, an orange brandy liqueur. The liqueur and the juice were poured into the glass, then carefully topped with champagne. The clever layering effect comes from pouring the champagne down a bar spoon.

Gin Martini

A classic cocktail masterclass with one of the most classic cocktails! It's a simple, refreshing, classy drink. Naturally, if you don't like gin, it's not going to be for you.

A gin martini is a double measure of gin, with white vermouth (I tend to add bitters too). Stirred over plenty of ice and strained into a chilled glass. We made a twist of lemon, by twirling it round a straw.

While we were there, Noel showed us one his own favourites: a kind of spicy martini.

 It was a really fun evening. It's £35pp, there's no minimum amount of people, and you can request the type of cocktails you'd like to make.

If you're not into masterclasses but you are into cocktails, I'd still advise popping by Tom's Kitchen for a drink or two. The bartenders know what they're talking about and make some splendid cocktails.

Tom's Kitchen

The masterclass experience was complimentary

Photos by Helen

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Food: Tamatanga

Style: Restaurant   Location: Birmingham city centre, near Mailbox   Price: £ (Lunchtime deal £8.50)

The venue

Tamatanga opened a couple of months ago, in between the Mailbox and Grand Central, a road I often walk along. I noticed the lovely green frontage straight away and set about looking into which restaurant was opening there.

It's an Indian restaurant, selling curries, biryani, thalis and so on, but a chain in the manner of Las Iguanas, Turtle Bay etc. It's cheerful, friendly, non-intimidating and you'll see something you recognise on the menu. The bright colours, graffiti-type wall paintings and trendy lights give you the impression that this is Indian street food and there is an element of that, alongside curry bowls and other items you'd expect to see at an Indian restaurant. 

On this occasion, I just had a water to drink, but there's some fun sounding fruity cocktails that I'll try another time. 

The food

I wasn't intending to have poppadoms and chutney (£2.95) but when the waitress suggested it, I said yes immediately. A generous bowl of melt-in-the-mouth poppadom shards appeared alongside mango chutney, an onion relish and a cooling mint dip with an interesting texture.

Tamatanga have an excellent Daytime Deal , which is £8.95 for a soft drink and a curry bowl, biriyani bowl, salad bowl or wrap. There's the option to pay extra for alcoholic drinks, seafood or one of the clay oven dishes, but I kept it simple on this occasion.

I chose a bottle of sparkling water alongside the chicken biriyani, (£10.75 without the deal) which turned up with a massive bowl of raita and a little bit of salad- I could have done with less of the former and more of the latter. A biriyani is an aromatic baked rice dish. Mine contained chicken (thigh I think, which is much tastier than breast) and was pleasant with a slightly tingly after-taste. I enjoyed mixing the raita in to mix up the texture. It didn't blow me away but it was filling, pleasant and a bargain.

I was with my friend James, who picked a lamb wrap (£10.45 without the deal), thinking he was picking something light! As you can see, it was pretty densely packed with lightly spiced lamb mince. He enjoyed it, it was tasty but it was super filling. Served with fries, this is a hearty plate of food.

Overall I enjoyed my lunch at Tamatanga. It didn't knock my socks off but I liked the friendliness of the staff, the bargain price and the poppadoms were excellent. There's plenty of choice on the menu, so I'll look forward to heading back and trying some small plates and something from the clay oven menu.

Tamatanga -Navigation Street

Food was paid for by myself and my friend and they did not know I would be reviewing.

Photos my me on my phone.