Gin Afternoon Tea at Marco Pierre White

Last week I was invited to sample the new ‘Gin & Tea’ afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill at the top of the iconic ‘The Cube’ in Birmingham. I’ve visited the restaurant before (the chocolate mousse is amazing), and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge gin enthusiast, I was intruiged to see how it had been infused into the individual elements of the food.

One of the best features of the restaurant are the fabulous 360-degree views of the city from the 25th floor, so I was delighted when we were shown to a table with crisp, white linen and a window seat. We were the first to arrive for the start of service, and so it was a particularly quiet and relaxed atmosphere.

We were offered a Pink Gin cocktail (we both chose lemonade instead of tonic) made with Beefeater gin. The unexpected surprise was how much I actually enjoyed this – the gin wasn’t too strong and I liked the large glasses. Who knows? Perhaps I might now be a gin person?

Beefeater Pink Gin and Lemonade

The Afternoon Tea was elegantly presented. The sandwiches – Prawns with Marie Rose Sauce and Cucumber, Coronation Chicken, Egg and Mayo and Ham and Tomato – were fresh and nicely balanced (although are standard flavour combinations for an afternoon tea). The Orange and Juniper scones were lovely and generously sized, being larger than most of my afternoon tea experiences, and I loved the fact that they were still warm and slightly crumbly, even after the time we had taken to eat our way through the sandwiches. From the menu I expected a Gin Jam but was given a pot of strawberry jam instead.

The desserts were a selection of gin infused treats – a Gin, Chocolate and Cranberry Ganache, Gin and Lime Cupcake, Pink Gin and Raspbery Cheesecake, and a Lemon and Gin Drizzle Cake.

Chocolate lovers will particularly enjoy the Ganache (my companion and I were immediately impressed with this after our first bite), both cakes were soft and quite sweet with a tarte and citrusy undertone and the cheesecake was a satisfying finale to the whole experience. However, while all of the desserts were lovely, gin enthusiasts may feel that the overall gin flavour could be more prominent within each element – this was a little too subtle in some areas and perhaps overwhelmed by the other ingredients.

Want to try the Gin and Tea experience at Marco Pierre White? It is available from Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm for just £24.95 per person. Check out their website here to book.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary Gin & Tea afternoon tea, but was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

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Venom at the Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza, Birmingham

I’ve heard quite a few positive things about the new Odeon Luxe Cinemas that have been opening all around the country, so it was a nice surprise when I was invited to watch the new Venom film on the premiere day at the Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza with Westside BID. I was away from home last week, so The Bloke was more than happy to take my place instead. Here’s what he thought: 

We’ve visited the Odeon at Birmingham Broadway Plaza on numerous occasions and had rather mixed experiences depending on the film, screen and showing times. I was interested to see how the new ‘Luxe’ refurbishments would make a difference to the quality of the cinema experience.  Continue reading

I’ve Been Shortlisted!

It’s the start of a new day, new week and new month and the weather is glorious. As always, I know it is going to be busy over the next few weeks, but there’s something about the beginning of a month that feels incredibly motivating, even if I’m still tired from the day before…

I had some amazing news on Friday. Last month I discovered that I had been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Birmingham Awards, with the shortlist of finalists to be announced at the end of September. I honestly didn’t expect anything would come of it – those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love my adopted city (having lived here for 17 years now) and write about what I experience in and around Birmingham within many of my posts, but as I don’t have a specific niche dedicated to it like many of those who have been shortlisted in previous years I didn’t think I would make it past the first round. I nervously kept checking the website on the announcement day, my heart beating out of my chest when I saw the link appear… Continue reading

SERVE Birmingham: An Alternative Experience in the City

Ever played ping pong while drinking a pint?

Well, now you can! 

SERVE opened its doors in August in the underground space at 55a Temple Row, converting it into a ping pong bar and restaurant for a unique experience (the first of it’s kind outside of London), and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch night. 

The concept of SERVE is to offer a hip, nightclub culture with an entertaining activity and is one of the latest alternative venues to arrive in Birmingham. It’s a rather fun idea – certainly not something I had heard of before – and I was keen to find out more about it. Continue reading

Lunch at the Rose Villa Tavern

The Rose Villa Tavern, takes from their Instagram page

I received a text on Sunday morning:

Fancy going to the Rose Villa Tavern for lunch today?

I love waking up to texts like that.

Located on Warstone Lane in the Jewellery Quarter, the pub is part of the popular Bitters and Twisted venues and is a refurbished Grade II listed building with ornate stained glass windows, an old fashioned casual vibe, function room and a beer garden. In contrast, it serves a contemporary American style menu, a wide selection of beers and ales and fabulous cocktails. I’ve been to the Rose Villa Tavern on several occasions in the late afternoon and evening when it was quite busy, so I was interested to see whether it was any different during a weekend lunchtime. Continue reading

Rosies: The Super-Club Preview Event in Birmingham

Rosies – a brand new super club – opens its doors this weekend on Broad Street, Birmingham and I was invited along to the preview night. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go, so I sent a couple of more-than-willing participants to learn about what to expect from this exciting new venue in the city!

 

This is the VIP launch weekend and as we walked up the red carpet leading toward the door, we were greeted with the offer of a mystery cocktail or a glass of champagne. The staff were all very friendly and hospitable, particularly the bar staff who were incredibly down-to-earth and accommodating, even offering to make tailored cocktails based on our preferred tastes. Continue reading

Lunch at Bodega, Birmingham

It’s been quite a while since I visited Bodega, but I am always hearing positive things about the restaurant, so a friend and I decided to visit for lunch last week.

Situated on Bennets Hill in Birmingham, Bodega is a contemporary cantina specialising in authentic, fresh and homemade South American food. As a member of the Bitters ‘n’ Twisted family of bars, they also offer a wide range of fabulous cocktails, so we felt that it was only right that we should try some of them!

I like the atmosphere in the restaurant – bright, simple and colourful with friendly staff and South American music in the background, with a wide and varied menu that caters for all dietary requirements.

My friend and I decided to share a small plate of nachos to start, with all the typical vegetarian toppings – salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole etc. We have chosen this many times in our previous experiences at numerous restaurants and pubs, and when it arrived we were grateful that we only ordered the small portion as it was more than enough for two! Every component was delicious and we commented that it was the nicest plate of nachos we’d ever had. Continue reading

NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading

An Urban Decay Makeover in Selfridges, Birmingham

Urban Decay

Last week I received an email, inviting me to a bespoke Urban Decay makeover at their Selfridges store in Birmingham.

Urban Decay: beautiful products, cruelty free and the primary contributors to my ever-growing make-up collection.

Awesome.

I was advised to attend without any make-up on at all (eek!), so I made sure that I had thoroughly exfoliated and moisturised before my appointment, arriving with my red and windswept face on display in all of its blotchy glory. I was greeted by the manager, Ranjeeta, who then introduced me to my stunningly-gorgeous-with-flawless-skin make-up artist, Sana. Continue reading

Getting Glam for Christmas: Rush Hair Salon

imageParty season is just beginning, and I began mine by attending the launch of the new Rush Salon in Birmingham.

It was my first visit to the salon, but with a deep blue frontage and shiny black floor, it immediately stood out amidst the stores on Martineau Place. I was the first to arrive, so was given a tour by the store manager, Liam, of the beautiful interior, along with the tranquil and beautiful treatment area at the back. There were numerous stations set up ready to cater for individual styles and hair types, along with some lovely snacks and glasses of prosecco. The salon was clean and elegant, the staff were extremely welcoming and friendly and I could immediately feel that it had a great atmosphere as soon as I walked in. Continue reading