Friday, 24 February 2017

Pizza making at Bardolino

Bardolino is another Marco Pierre White brand; a casual pizza and bellini restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Cube, next to the canal. I've enjoyed pizza and brunch there before but this time I was there for something different: a pizza making masterclass. This was to celebrate National Pizza Day and the best pizza from the events would be on their menu for the day.

It was also a great opportunity for us to check out the beautiful fresh ingredients used to top the pizzas.

Our dough was already prepared; we just needed to press it out into something approaching pizza shape. This was harder than anticipated- others did much better than I.

Dough patted out, it was time to spread tomato sauce in a circular motion. You could see that this wasn't any bog standard tomato puree- it was full of herbs and real tomato.

The table was piled up with gorgeous fresh ingredients: cured meats, fresh tomato and herbs, mushrooms and chilli.

I picked some beautiful ham, cherry tomatoes, chilli and fresh spinach, plus plenty of cheese, pepper and olive oil.

When my pizza was cooked, I added more baby spinach leaves and a drizzle of balsamic. Voila, my ideal pizza. This is exactly the sort of pizza I would order. It was such fun putting it together.

So, I picked the combination of toppings, but the quality of the ingredients and the pizza base made it. I've had pizza before at Bardolino and was impressed with the quality then- I'm looking forward to heading back.

Head along to try Bardolino's new menu and a lovely view of the canal. You can now also partake in bottomless brunch at the weekend, which seems like a great way to spend a couple of hours.

I have my fingers crossed that they will roll the pizza workshops out to the public too.


Photos by Helen

Food and drink were complimentary. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

New York Day Seven

I was hungover when I woke up on Tuesday morning in New York after a night of tequila shots at Hill and Dale. Happily, Egg Shop exists.

Egg Shop is in Little Italy; another super-instagrammable brunch spot that does what it says on the tin. I really love eggs so naturally had to check this place out.

I liked the white, brightness of the place. It was busy, of course, but we were able to sit at the bar. I ordered an iced tea: my ultimate hangover cure. I like how the iced teas I had in New York tasted like tea.

Edd chose 'The Beast' ($14). A pulled pork and fried egg sandwich with pickled onion and chipotle ketchup, this was a tasty and hearty dish.

We shared a couple of hash browns ($4) because the internet had told me to. These were not like any hash browns I'd had before- they were huge, golden, salty mounds of joy.

I found it difficult to choose as everything sounded so delicious. I chose the Scrambler bowl ($12) which is scrambled egg, lots of cheese, confit tomato, mushrooms and spring onion. This was a cheesy bowl of deliciousness, lightened by the spring onion. I could have done with more tomato.

Brunch done, it was time for a trip to the Tenement Museum. An original Lower East Side tenement building on Orchard Street has been decorated as it would have been when it housed immigrants in the early part of the last century. A combination of tour guide, photos, real artefacts and voice recordings give you a real sense of what it would have been like for people living in this building. I've done similar tours in Birmingham and it was fascinating to see the similarities and differences in the way the working classes have been squashed together in different cities around the world.

Dinner was at Cafe Katja, a warm, dark Austrian restaurant on Orchard Street. Again, I took the internet's advice and had a pretzel with different butters to start. It was soft but chewy, salty and the butters were delicious.

Edd chose wiener schnitzel as a main, served with potato salad. It was comforting as schnitzel always is.

I thought I was being sensible by ordering a chicken schnitzel salad but it was actually giant.

Kale and fried chicken and all the cheese, so much cheese. It was comforting and delicious but I absolutely could not finish it. This would be a marvellous sharer.

Somehow we ended up sharing a pudding though. What was I thinking? I just remember being so full but I also remember this poached pear and elderflower yogurt being very tasty.

Cafe Katja was good, fun comfort food. I feel like I spend the whole time in New York just completely full and I'm not sure I really appreciated some of it. Cafe Katja was one of those nights- I'd love to transfer it to Birmingham, on a cold December night.

A fulfilling day!

Egg Shop
The Tenement Museum
Cafe Katja

Photos by Helen and Edd.

Everything paid for ourselves.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Sabai Sabai Harborne

Sabai Sabai is a Thai restaurant with sites in Harborne, Moseley and Stratford-Upon-Avon. I visited the Harborne branch recently to try the winter specials with matched wine.

The Harborne restaurant is in a lovely spot at the top of the High St, with large windows and purple decoration. The bar has a large selection of wine and cocktails too. There are some classic cocktails, but I'd recommend trying the Thai-themed offerings, with ingredients such as basil, lychee and mango.

After a couple of cocktails, I joined a group of bloggers, press and those involved in the business at a long table in the window. We were trying the winter specials with a matched wine to go with each.

First- scallops in a white wine and lemongrass sauce (from £8.95) The scallops were well cooked and the sauce was delicate.

Jumbo prawns (from £8.95) were chargrilled and served in Choo Chee sauce, which is a gorgeous creamy, spicy red sauce.

Next up, Thai Spare Ribs (£7.95) and chicken wings. The rib was sticky and sweet and the wing had a great chilli heat though I wished the skin had been crispier.

Monkfish in panang sauce with red pepper (£16.95) was a favourite around the table. Beautifully cooked, meaty fish was served with rice and another lovely red curry sauce.

Lamb chops (£15.95) in a garlic and pepper sauce was served with fresh peppercorn. I've never seen this before and it was really interesting. I just had a couple of bites and it added a real intensity. The chop was a little too pink for me but I like a well done lamb chop.

Finally, rib eye steak (£16.95) sliced and served in a Massaman sauce. I loved the sauce and the steak was well cooked but it's not something I'd order.

For dessert, we were treated to deliciously moist coconut pancakes; one of my favourites. It came with ice cream but as the pudding was served on a slate, a lot of it dripped off. I'm not a plate fascist but ice cream on a slate does seem silly. This did not take away from the delight of the pancake.

Our meal was paired with many delicious and unusual wines. I would recommend heading to Wine Press Girl for better descriptions, but I particularly enjoyed the Riesling

Sabai Sabai 

Photos by Helen.

Food and drink were complimentary for review purposes.