Thursday, 26 February 2015

Eating Out: Miller and Carter, Newcastle

The good people at Miller and Carter kindly invited us along to their newly opened Newcastle branch to check out their menu. We were unable to make it to the opening night so we were very excited to see this drop into our inbox.

 photo IMG_0754_zps5u361rpe.jpg

Miller and Carter which are known for their steaks offer premium-grade British beef which has been carefully reared on sustainable farms. They claim that all their beef can be traced back to the field where it came from which is pretty impressive, if only I had the guts to ask which field my dinner came from! That being said Miller and Carter don't just offer steaks and have a vast menu that includes a carefully curated selection of starters, burgers, fish, chicken and vegetarian options. Steaks can be upgraded which various options that include lobster mac and cheese and lobster tails. They also offer their version of a 'surf and turf' which in this situation doesn't apply to the dish itself but it is actually an add on of lobster thermidor and king prawns so that anyone is able to turn their choice of steak into a surf and turf if they desired.

Claire and I decided to share a couple of starters and decided on the pork belly and the black pearl scallops. No complaints here and both dishes were incredibly well presented and as equally delicious.

 photo IMG_0755_zpsgrvexggk.jpg
Pork Belly
 photo IMG_0756_zpsjtl542hf.jpg
Black Pearl Scallops
For our steaks we both chose a a T-bone steak which was a cut we had never had before. The menu promised this to be one of the more flavourful steaks due the meat being cooked on the bone. Claire chose to have hers with chumichurri while I opted for the classic bearnaise sauce. All steaks come served with parsley butter, seasoned fries, a slice of their classic onion loaf, a balsamic glazed tomato and a choice of one of their iceberg wedges.

 photo IMG_0758_zpskmmbdhab.jpg

The onion loaf was great. I can only describe as a slice of onion bhaji without the spices? I hadn't had anything like it before. I think if you visit Miller and Carter and you don't get a steak to order it as a side to have a taste, you won't regret it!

We couldn't just have our steaks the way they came and upgraded our steaks.  I chose a lobster tail and Claire went for the surf and turf. Both were great. The lobster tail wasn't huge but I wasn't expecting it to be for the price and it was a lovely accompaniment to my meal.

 photo IMG_0759_zps7rxctgnb.jpg
"Surf and Turf"
 photo IMG_0757_zpshxi2h7nh.jpg
Lobster Tail
The meal was absolutely brilliant and I would definitely go again. I have and will continue to recommend Miller and Carter friends and family. It was actually only last week where I overheard a colleague trying to decide where to go in town for steak to which I demanded she went to Miller and Carter and I am pleased to say she did go and throughly enjoyed her meal.

So, what do you think?! I'm dying to go again.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Eating out: Browns, Newcastle.

Claire and I were kindly invited to sample some of the food on offer at Browns Newcastle. Both of us hadn't been before so we jumped at the chance to take a look.

 photo ac9d1629-45c3-4509-ade0-f0e5073864c6_zps6epoxc15.jpg

Arriving at the restaurant it was clear that Browns is very popular and there were lots of different groups of people there - Ladies nights out, couples and families. The menu offers a great choice of dishes including set menus for large parties, a lunch time fixed price menu, breakfast and sunday options.

We started our meal off with a glass of fizz and decided on our starters. Claire and I usually get a couple we both want to try and share them so this time we went for the boxed baked camembert and for the pate.
 photo IMG_0735_zpsj6ehka76.jpg

We both found the sourdough soldiers which accompanied the camembert to be a little dry but the addition of the gooey cheese made it seem not so much of a big deal and it certainly didn't spoil our enjoyment. The pate was a small but satisfying portion and which didn't overwhelm you before your meal. The pate itself was very rich and packed a punch. Brilliant!
 photo IMG_0740_zpsz73xlzia.jpg

 photo IMG_0742_zps0zrx5zh2.jpg

In true Trebles and a Mixer style Claire decided to go for the wild boar and chorizo burger for her main and I chose the fillet of beef which came with a truffled mash (it looks like this has now been taken off the menu and has been replaced with a their version of fillet steak and chips which sounds delightful). The fillet itself was very tender, as expected, and cooked to perfection, the words melt in the mouth spring to mind. I would order their fillet steak again for sure. The fillet was one of the more pricier options that Browns offer but it didn't disappoint and I would be prepared to shell out the extra pounds to order this.  Claire's wild boar and chorizo burger was stacked high with manchego cheese, onion rings and pico de gallo salsa served with the obligatory fries and coleslaw. I had a big bit of it myself and the burger was flavourful and was not as spicy as I would have expected from the description. We also ordered a side cabbage and bacon that also looks like it has been taken off the menu which is a shame because it was absolutely wonderful.

 photo IMG_0746_zpsoggjyafa.jpg

 photo IMG_0743_zpsur8jrghr.jpg

 photo IMG_0748_zpsy03gc3ej.jpg

For dessert we went for the Browns Eton Mess and Salted Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake.  It appears that Brown's must offer a seasonal Eton Mess as the version on the menu at the moment is a different version to what we ate.  At the moment they're offering a cherry, almond, lemon curd and dark chocolate version that sounds delicious.

 photo IMG_0749_zps7di0ptqf.jpg

 photo IMG_0750_zpspwwe8yka.jpg

All in all, we would definitely go back and try lunch time menu. I think Browns would be perfect for one of those 'meet the parents' type of situation. There's something for everyone on the menu!

Have you been to Browns before? What do you think?


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

REVIEW: Burger Stop, Newcastle Quayside.

Some friends and I recently visited Burger Stop on the quayside. I had heard mixed reviews and was a little apprehensive at first but I decided to try out the place for myself. Looking back I remember there was a lot of build up to this new burger place opening. I remember being really excited for it to open but because it seemed to take ages to open I forgot all about it once their doors had opened! My friends had been before and really enjoyed it. One of them even went on to say that it was the best burger they had ever had.

 photo 0ae88d38-5d76-457b-82ce-eb30a462d981_zps84af1c12.jpg

The first thing that stood out to me when we walked in was the decor. I thought it was great. Really clean, cool and simple. Nothing can be branded as trying to hard in here and everything seems really effortlessly cool. The menu is simple and offers some great choices of burger. The chicken burger really stood out to me but I decided on 'The Big Cheese' in the end. I wanted to see how their cheeseburgers compared to the Fat Hippo.

We all got a burger each and orders two fries, slaw and brioche-crumbed chicken wings to share. The chicken wings were absolutely amazing. Thick, crunchy and juicy in the middle. They were truly the best thing off the menu by far. I would return purely to eat those wings again. 

 photo f144bb6b-c755-4247-bc4e-1391fdcda969_zps485832eb.jpg

The burgers were good. Personally I thought the patty was too thick but this is my personal taste. My friends like a thick patty and thought they were great! I usually like to see a thinner patty yet still pink in the middle. The meat itself was great. Lovely flavour - I can't fault that at all. One thing we all didn't seem to like was the sheer amount of oil which had soaked the bottom of the bun but this could easily be rectified if the chef drained some of the oil onto some kitchen paper before serving. It would make the world of difference. 

 photo 0655c778-799c-423e-8f66-3e33db3badea_zpsceeabc8b.jpg

As you can see the burgers don't come on a plate and they're served wrapped in paper. In hindsight could this have been why the bottom was soggy? Hmm... I would've preferred our burgers/sides to come on a small side plates/bowls. I know they have them because the chicken wings came on one! Perhaps I will ask for one when I visit again. I'm also slightly worried about the waste of using paper wrapping and pots all the time. I'm hoping that the papers and paper pots will be recycled but I can't see any mention of this on their site.

Would I go again? Yes, I want to try the chicken burger after having those gorgeous wings.

Comment below if you've been before. I'm interested in hearing peoples thoughts. 

Bryden x

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sloppy Joes Deli - Grainger Market, Newcastle.

Claire and I went along to the grand opening of Sloppy Joe's Deli in the Grainger Market recently to have a little look about and see what culinary delights they had to offer. Sloppy's offer a great selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks. Claire was particularly excited to see a packet of cheeseburger crisps and was literally lost for words when she saw them.

 photo e5a4a43b-7708-4497-b853-fa2cc2fd72a2_zps26618e28.jpg

 photo cac687c4-2e25-471f-8ea7-fff72a78567f_zpse5be8426.jpg

 photo 473af93d-5138-43b8-b309-42ef003edaf4_zps408a0fb4.jpg

 photo 22404373-a442-4352-9b2b-e5deda2d3f21_zps80ae02fb.jpg
Garlic and Breaded Chicken
The owner John explained to us that he was keen for the Grainger Market to be a stop for great food, where someone would drop in for lunch and would be a destination for fantastic quality food. He explained he has plans to convert another unit near Sloppy's into another eatery which would bring the ever popular street food feel to the strip.

 photo 50c5b59b-f473-4673-80d2-d2c5421349b5_zpscaa3ce5c.jpg
Smokey Joe Panini
 photo 11bcd88f-3dbd-44a2-bd58-1c537a63ad09_zps4c4e0d35.jpg

We sampled a few of the fillings that Sloppy's had to offer and each one of them were great. My personal favourite was the Smokey Joe panini. Claire particularly enjoyed the garlic chicken. The bread was great as well and is supplied by the wonderful French Oven (owned by his daughter!). Sloppy's have a few offers on at the moment so if you're in the area head over and pick up leaflet to take advantage of these. You won't be disappointed.

Bryden x

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Great Geordie Burger Quest Part 2: Fat Hippo Underground.

 photo 044BAF77-A3B6-4E33-A838-E5712A0711FA_zpsuz79i6gg.jpg

Since my first Geordie Burger Quest, I’ve visited quite a few burger toting establishments and I’m now running up a backlog of burger related blog posts. My next visit was a highly anticipated one; The Fat Hippo Underground was probably one of the most recommended to me, via Twitter. Was I in for a treat or a complete anti-climax?

I’d heard the Fat Hippo’s latest venture, a city centre restaurant, tends to get extremely busy, so I booked a table for a Tuesday evening. The restaurant itself is situated next to The Theatre Royal and is entered by stairs taking you into the subterranean burger restaurant.

To be honest, FHU annoyed me before I even got the chance to eat anything. I’d booked a table, four days previous. Despite this, I was told abruptly by our server, as soon as we were seated, that we could only have the table for an hour. Now, if we’d walked in off the street, that would be fair enough, but I’d booked in advance and wasn’t told any of this at the time of booking.

Despite having a time limit for our meal, we choose some starters to begin. I opted for the deep fried pickles, which were encased in a crispy batter and came with a garlic mayo. They were nice. ‘Nice’ is such a crap description, but that’s how they were. They didn’t blow me away, but then I’ve had Meat Liquor’s version and there’s no competition really. The pickles were also really greasy and due to our server not supplying us with any cutlery or napkins, I ended up wiping my hands on my jeans. Lush.

 photo 69F962A3-CC65-48AE-AE8B-FB26CD490EAC_zpszoiskb9v.jpg

I’d tried to extract some information from our server about the burgers whilst ordering, but any questions were answered with singular words and a ‘can’t be arsed’ gaze. It didn’t seem that I was going to get any help with ordering, so I figured that the ‘Fat Hippo Burger’ would be a good choice. The burger features a double 4oz patty topped with smoky bacon, chorizo, cheese, onion rings and ‘Fat Hippo sauce’.

Our burgers arrived quickly and were piled high onto serving trays, accompanied by hand cut chips, lettuce, tomato and pickles. I’d also added some ‘Problem Child’ hot sauce to my order, to spice things up. So the big question is- Did the Fat Hippo Underground live up for my high expectations? Sadly, in a word- no.

 photo 8BA75041-C0E9-4666-A0CE-3B159B605D84_zpshffj8c9g.jpg

The burger looked impressive, towering on the tray, stacked high with toppings. The chorizo was tasty, however the cheese was a tad on the rubbery side and the bacon was too fatty. I had to remove the onion rings from the burger, they were far too greasy and I couldn’t fit the burger into my mouth with them in (I’ve got a big mouth, but it’s not that big). The combination of the burger and the grease from the toppings was too much for the bun (which was a decent effort, but too soft) and I ended up with most of the contents slopping back onto the tray.

The burger patty itself was a pretty decent bit of beef, which was nicely seasoned. Though despite being asked my cooking preference, my burger wasn’t served pink, not even close. This was probably down to the fact it would be pretty difficult to cook a burger that thin, medium. One single, thicker burger, instead of two might have been a better option. Overall the burger had a lot going on, maybe too much for me to handle, but elements of it were really tasty.

The burger was accompanied by hand cut chips, which I left pretty much untouched, I ate two of them. They were horrible, big chunks of watery, tasteless potato. They were too chunky; there was no crisp to the outside and no fluffiness on the inside. They were just really, really poor. I probably should have mentioned my disappointment to the servers, who did four half arsed check backs during our main course, but by that point I think I’d just given up.

Fat Hippo Underground has all of the elements, to become my favourite burger joint, but it just didn’t happen. Having said that, I would visit again,for some reason I feel like they deserve a second shot. I’ll also be paying the Jesmond branch a visit on my Geordie Burger Quest, to see if the original is better. Unfortunately Fat Hippo Underground wasn’t what I’d hoped for, so I’m going to give them a 6.5/10 and cross my fingers for better things next time round.


I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts...

 photo F92BDB1B-945B-4DB0-BEC6-07ADFE09AE67_zps2o91ufth.jpg

..Or a lovely bunch of coconut products. It’s that time of year again- summertime! Where long, hot days are filled with beach trips and basking in the sunshine. Oh, wait. I live in the North of England, that’s not what happens at all. But at least I can recreate the feeling of being on a tropical island, by smelling like one, even if it’s more likely to rain all summer long. Coconut is one of my all-time favourite scents and as soon as there is the tiniest glimmer of sunshine, I start to douse myself in the stuff.

I start in the shower, by using Original Source Coconut Shower Gel. I’m a big fan of Original Source products as they’re really cheap, but smell so good. My tropical shower theme is continued with the Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner by Organix; I love the smell of these products, but are sadly a bit too heavy for everyday use on my hair. I use the serum from the same collection, before blow drying my hair, but again I have to use it really sparingly.

I love the pistachio Dry Skin Fix body butter by Nip+Fab and the coconut one is just as good at moisturising, but sadly doesn’t have a very strong scent. I usually mix in some Coconut Beautifying Oil from The Body Shop, to boost the scent. This stuff smells amazing and has so many uses- I use it on my body, as a facial oil at night and even to calm my frizzy hair on humid days. It gives your skin a lovely glow, which would look great on tanned skin (sadly I have the complexion of Caspar the friendly ghost).

To finish off my coconut bonanza, I spritz myself with a few sprays of The Body Shop’s Coconut EDT, which has a very similar smell to Harajuku Lover’s G perfume (but is cheaper and easier to find) and is a perfect summery scent.

Do you guys have any coconut product recommendations for a nutter (get it??) like me?


Saturday, 3 May 2014

The Great Geordie Burger Quest Part 1: The Garden Kitchen.

If you've ever read any of our food posts, you'll know that us Trebles & a Mixer girls love a good burger; which lead to me to wondering- "What's the best burger in Newcastle?". I had this thought while having some lunch at The Garden Kitchen in Eldon Gardens, having scanned the menu, there was only one obvious option for me- the cheeseburger.

Whilst chomping away on The Garden Kitchen's offering, I devised a scoring system, to aid me in my quest. Firstly, and most importantly, the burger itself needs to be assessed. The quality of the meat, flavour and seasoning are all to be considered. How the burger is cooked is another important factor, I prefer my burgers to be served pink; so to me, if a choice is offered, I feel its a sign of a good burger.

 photo 21EBF5FE-D61E-49CB-82B0-8DE087FFA165_zps84yx0f2i.jpg

The Garden Kitchen's cheese burger comes with an 8oz beef patty, I wasn't asked how I would like it cooked, but I overheard another customer being told the burgers were served medium, so it would be "pink inside, but not bloody". However, when mine arrived, it was definitely cooked through, fortunately it was still pretty juicy. The meat itself was of a decent quality, but could have done with slightly more seasoning. Luckily, the chuck steak used in the burger had a decent flavour to it.

The next aspect to consider is- the bun. For me, there's not two words I love more in the world than 'brioche bun'. Personally, there's little else I really want a burger to be served in. The Garden Kitchen's burger was served in one of my beloved brioche buns. Sadly, it was a little dry, but otherwise was a lovely sweet tasting brioche topped with sesame seeds.

 photo 6CBC1393-2318-4C49-8023-DA91BDDD80DB_zpsu770ky9w.jpg

I find that the accompaniments to a burger can either make or break it, you can have the best quality beef burger in the world, but if it's smothered in a substandard cheese, the whole thing can be ruined. The Garden Kitchen's patty came with melted cheddar, a slice of beef tomato and crisp romaine lettuce. On the side was a small pot of pickles, which was a nice touch in contrast to the usual two tiny slivers of gherkin which you see in so many other places. For an extra 95p I added a pot of 'dirty sauce' to my meal, which was a tangy, spicy mayo and helped give the burger the extra flavour and seasoning it needed.

 photo 0183189D-0A96-4687-A482-5C40A3AFBE31_zpscztekyey.jpg

This particular burger came with fries on the side, which curiously came in a paper bag, which I didn't really understand and reminded me of how the fries in my local chicken shop are served. After dumping my fries out onto my plate, I was slightly disappointed to see the bog standard, skinny, McDonald's style fries that so many other places serve. They were hot, crispy and salty though and with the help of the 'dirty sauce', I munched my way through them.

Overall, as burgers go, the first burger in my quest was a pretty good offering, with only a few areas letting it down. The Garden Kitchen charge £9.95 for their cheese burger, which I think is an alright price for what you get. The place itself, despite being in the centre of a shopping mall is quite quiet and relaxing, and I found the staff were attentive and helpful.

I'm going to give The Garden Kitchen burger a 6.5 out of 10, getting my top Geordie burger mission off to a pretty good start. Any suggestions of places to try in Newcastle or the North East are gladly welcomed. I have a few restaurants on my list already, but I am always looking for more to try, no matter how big or small.

So- What's the best burger in Newcastle? I'm pretty sure I'm going to have fun trying to find out.

I am obviously not a food critic. I'm just your average Geordie lass, who loves burgers. The burger I ate at The Garden Kitchen was bought with my own hard earned pennies and all opinions are my own. Cheers.