Last week I went on my final Christmas shopping trip to the actual shops. It’s an annual thing for my mum and I to go to the Intu Trafford Centre together to go and see all the lights and festive windows and decorations.
We often eat out at Wagamama and I’ve written about before so was delighted when they asked me to come along and try their new delicious dishes, some amazing sounding steam bun based side dishes.
Steamed Buns at Wagamama
They are called ‘Hirata Buns’ which are a popular Asian street food. Wagamama has seen an increase in demand for the steamed bun side and so to change things up a bit there are now four different steamed buns to try. The two that we picked were mixed mushroom and aubergine as well as tori kara age and fresh tomato. The first were described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.
They were nice and I would have them again but by far my favourite were the other ones. Those we described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with tori kara age and fresh tomato. Served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.
I love the freshness of the tomato with the tori kara age, it seemed to go well together. The sweetness of the steamed buns was also a perfect combination. I would warn you though that they are filling so if I had them again I’d combine it with a different side for variety. Although thankfully on this occasion the boys weren’t with us or I’d would of probably not got a look in. I think they would love the steamed bun range!
No trip to Wagamama for me would be complete without a classic Yaki Udon. It is my absolute favourite item on the Wagamama menu. So tasty and filling and alway freshly prepared.
Alongside the food I usually choose a fresh juice. This trip I asked the waiter for his recommendation and he suggested a positive juice. Which was pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. He was right it was delicious!
As always we came away feeling satisfied and knowing we’d eaten great food freshly prepared to order. If you’re looking for somewhere to share a family meal over the festive season then I’d suggest you find a Wagamama. I can’t imagine it will be long before we go back again. We really enjoyed the steamed buns and some lovely fresh food.
Thanks to Wagamama for inviting us to try the new ranges.
We were delighted last weekend to be invited to try out some of the new menu items at Wagamama in the Trafford Centre. Wagamama at the Intu Trafford Centre is the largest Wagamama site in the company and even has a mezzanine floor. This particular branch opened back in October 2015.
We decided that after a busy day helping at the school summer fair we’d all built up a healthy appetite for some yummy tea.
My 4-year-old is a Wagamama pro, given the choice when we eat out he would hands down chose Wagamama every time. He’s been eating out at Wagamama since he was very young. We love it because it’s so family friendly. The staff are always very accommodating of children and the children’s menu at Wagamama gets my stamp of approval as lovely, tasty healthy foods for children. He loves that he gets his own special children’s chopsticks and he certainly know how to use them.
We were sent the invitation to try the new menu items which included Duck Donburi, Steak Bulgogi, Tamari Chicken, two new juices and a new side of shredded duck wraps.
Hubby is a real foodie and so he didn’t need asking twice to get stuck in. If you haven’t been to Wagamama before they will always tell you that no matter what you order, the food will be brought out as its ready, this keeps it hot and fresh. Wagamama at the Intu Trafford Centre has a wonderfully long open kitchen that really shows off the chefs skills.
The smell wafting across the restaurant definitely sets the scene of the food to come. Being a large restaurant it was quick and easy to get seated. Each time I’ve been I’ve been seated straight away, as every parent knows hungry children don’t like waiting! So settled in our booth we quickly set about choosing the food.
The boy loves having his own children’s menu to choose from and Flixster just enjoyed the crayons and paper!
We quickly decided to try the Duck Donburi , shredded duck wraps and repair juice from the new menu. The boys chose mini chicken ramen as its his favourite and for Flixster we chose mini chicken cha han as I figured he’d like it. The food came out as it was ready smelling delicious and looking amazing. The children’s meals were still very hot (as you’d expect) so they spent quite a while tucking into the steamed chicken gyoza and shredded duck wraps I should have ordered more!
Hubby and I barely got any! What we did taste though was lovely. We often order the steamed chicken gyoza in Wagamama and it was lovely as always. The shredded duck wrap is new on the menu, the boy lovely it but wasn’t sure about the sauce at first, I think he was expect ketchup so the fruitiness really surprised him. He did ask for more though so it was a hit!
It was hubby who ordered the duck donburi it came in a bowl with the fried egg on top. You are supposed to break the yolk of the egg then fold in kimchee and stir up the rice with the donburi duck for the full experience.I tried some and it was delicious. I just couldn’t stray away from my absolute favourite thing on the menu (I’m pretty sure it’s a favourite with lots of people) number 42 the yaki udon!
Once everybody dishes had arrived and the sides had been hoovered up we set about eating our own as well as sharing round. I love the children’s chopsticks in Wagamama, so easy even my 2 year old can use them!
All the food was as always delicious! We loved the new Repair juice with Apple, Kale and Pear. Even the boys tried to share it with us. I was hesitant as I knew it had kale in it but all I could taste was the Apple and Pear, a really lovely drink.
Luckily the children’s menu has milk on it which Flixster loves so he was easy to distract with that!
We were so full after the yummy food we couldn’t fit in a dessert which was a shame as they all sounded so nice on the menu. The boys even had to have half of their meals in a takeaway box to eat later in the day. I love that Wagamama offer to pack it up so readily and always have the best boxes and containers on hand to safely keep the food from getting everywhere.
Many thanks to Wagamama for inviting us to try the new menu items. We love how family friendly it is and how the food is consistently yummy, delicious and fresh! We’ll be back soon I’m sure, especially considering the boy keeps asking to return!
When hubby and I first started dating around 11 years ago, our first date was spent in the Printworks Manchester, back then if I remember correctly the Printworks to me seemed to be full of bars and clubs, with a couple of restaurants thrown in as well as the Odeon cinema. I wouldn’t have thought of it then as a family destination. Todays trip has changed my perspective. Having spent most of our day there today has defiantly changed my mind and I’m grateful we got the chance to go and have a family day together.
Family Time at the Printworks
We started the morning with a trip to the Odeon cinema to watch the new Angry Birds Movie which was just released the day before we visited. It was Flixsters first time at the cinema so it was exciting for him to be having a ‘first’ too. Although he had been before when he as only a few weeks old, he was fast asleep in a sling on my chest so that doesn’t count! This time he had his very own seat and his very own childrens snack box. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a film based on an app but the film was pretty funny in parts, even for adults!
I really like going to the cinema on a weekend morning as it’s usually full of other children so you know you that even if your little one talks it won’t be disturbing other peoples film experiences which is great as most people there will be understanding and have children themselves. The boy has been going to the cinema on weekends with one of us since he was about two and a half so he’s very used to sitting and enjoying a film, he takes after his dad who’s film mad!
The family snack deal went down very well with everyone and at £9.99 for two childrens packs (with popcorn, snack and drink), a medium popcorn and two adult drinks I thought that was pretty good considering what you would expect to pay normally for each individual item.
Towards the end of the film I did take Flixster out for a little walk and then we watched the very end of the film from the exit corridor so that he wouldn’t be disturbing people, but it was only the last few minutes of a 90 minute film for someone who’s just turned two I don’t think thats bad. For the rest of the film he mostly sat watching and enjoying the big screen, it went far better than I had expected!
After the film i could tell he was tired as it was hitting nap time so we popped him into the buggy and off he went to sleep as we had a little walk before lunch.
Lunch at Frankie and Bennys
Lunch was booked for Frankie and Benny’s which in the Printworks is almost opposite the cinema entrance. All the restaurants in the printworks look nice but I picked Frankie and Bennys as its somewhere I’ve not been for about 10 years. When I was dating hubby we went a few times but it never seemed to change much so I guess it sort of fell out of our radar. The boys had never been to Frankie and Bennys either so it was a nice treat for them.
We were seated in a booth which was great for the children as hubby and I could block the exits and easily stop them from running around, sometimes when you sit at a table I seem to spend the entire meal repeating the words “please sit down”. The staff were very accommodating with the buggy too which was lovely of them, so we were able to have Flixster asleep next to us at the table whilst we had some food. He did wake later on in the meal and helped finish the chips and the dessert.
The boy was super chuffed at his childrens menu, he loves being able to make his own choice of food and I love that he can feel grown up by reading and making his choices.
Our waiter who if I remember correctly was called Janis was great with the boy, he really made him feel welcome which is lovely when you have children, you feel more relaxed about the meal and get to enjoy the family time together.
As we were there at lunch time we choose our food from the lunchtime menu, I went for the fish with salad as I’m following a health eating plan at the moment and hubby went for burger. The boy also went for the build your own burger choice and decided to have it with cheese , bacon, ketchup and some fries and beans as side orders. We also ordered a starter of dough balls to share.
I’m glad we did share them as there were lots to go round. Sometimes with dough balls at other restaurants you’d don’t get very many but I think the portion at Frankie and Bennys was just right.
My food was lovely and the salad was nice and fresh which to me is always a good sign, hubby said his burger was yummy and the boys plate was gobbled up pretty quickly and finished off by Flixster when he awoke from his nap! thankfully the soft drinks were unlimited refill which I prefer as you don’t have to worry about the cost or how thirsty you get, you know what you’re paying up front and theres no hidden extras when you get the bill!
The childrens’ meals came with a choice of drinks and as milk was on the menu thats what the boys ordered, milk lovers the both of them as they don’t like fizzy drinks.
I skipped dessert but there seemed only one obvious choice for the boys to share and my boy had already spotted it on the menu! It was the Ice Cream Candy Shop, you do pay a little extra for it as its not part of the kids included desserts but having seen the enjoyment my two had with it, I’d would treat them to it again next time. It does say great to share and I would say it was two much for just one of them so I’m glad they did share it between them. It came in a little wooden crate with a bowl of ice cream and various sweets to sprinkle on as well as a little jug of chocolate sauce. Upon seeing it for the first time the boy exclaimed “This is the best day ever!” which made me laugh quite a lot!
It even came with a little paper bag to take any remaining sweets home which was a nice touch!
Hubby choose the waffle and ice cream on recommendation from our waiter, he was not disappointed, I could smell how nice it was from across the table and sadly he had already tucked in before I got a photo!
By the end of the meal we were all perfectly satisfied and came out having had a lovely family day together, the trip has proven to me that the Printworks is much more a family destination now, and I look forward to more days out there together in the future to try out some of the other restaurants although the boy is already requesting to go back to Frankie and Bennys!
Thanks from us to the Printworks for inviting us to come and enjoy some family time together!
Another fabulous Christmas has been and gone and now we are looking straight in the eye of a new year, which is already filled with so much promise, excitement and gratitude. I just wanted to take the time though boys to write about our Christmas so that as it starts to fade from your memories you will be able to look back at this letter and remember.
The Build Up to Christmas
The build up to Christmas for us was hectic, we had just moved into our fabulous new home but everything was in chaos, the house was still half full of boxes and we seemed to be constantly trying to unpack and sort (just as we are now still). We’d had a few awful bugs which went through us all (literally) However we did manage to fit in some lovely Christmas activities though which included a trip to Winter Wonderland (an indoor theme park) and also breakfast with Father Christmas at a forest school.
Christmas Eve started early (as it always does with you two, one day I hope you will sleep later than 5am!) and we went downstairs to find that the elf had gone back to the North Pole but had left a Christmas eve box for you both.
The box had new pj’s (which is a tradition now in our house) for you both, a couple of books which I get out every year as I think they are lovely Christmas books. There was also the Muppets Christmas Carol dvd as that’s the one I always hold back to watch on Christmas eve as a family. It’s something I always did with my mummy when I was living at home so I like to carry that on. I’d also put in some hot chocolate, that we could have with the film and some minion popcorn which I know the boy would love. Lastly there was a Christmas jigsaw which I thought would be fun to do, as it turned out I ended up doing it on my own and some reindeer slippers for the boy. I didn’t get any for Flixster as he just doesn’t keep them on long enough. Then at the back I slipped in the usual Father Christmas plate and some reindeer food.
During the day on Christmas eve we just spent time together as a family, daddy had to spend most of the day in the garage building your play kitchen as we hadn’t had time to do it before. I took Flixster out for a walk for his nap to a local mill shop where I went to look for some Christmas place mats as I realised we didn’t have enough for the next day.
As it started to get dark I could feel the excitement building, the boy wanted to get the reindeer food out on the lawn, so we had made you both some tea, put the new pj’s on and stood at the front window scattering the food from the window onto the grass, which was followed by drinking hot chocolate and watching the muppets Christmas Carol.
After hot chocolate it was bed time so that we could wait for Father Christmas to come (we put out the obligatory mince-pie, carrot, milk and magic key of course!) and mummy and daddy could have some dinner and settle down to wrap the final bits!
I love that Father Christmas always leaves snowy footprints on the carpet!
The morning came very quickly and of course you were both up early. The stocking on your doors kept you busy whilst we all got ready and dressed. When I was a child we couldn’t go down until we were dressed and altogether as a family (well at least my mum was there!) A quick photo on the bottom of the stairs to capture the moment and then into the lounge to see if he’d been..
After a few presents had been opened we moved to the kitchen to start preparing our first treat for the day a fabulous daddy special breakfast. We took the play-doh toy sweet shop with us. The boy had wanted this for so long, I’m really not super keen on play-doh and even less so on mixing the colours (shock horror) but it was worth it to see your face and the fun you’ve had with it. It was the first time I’ve seen you playing quite nicely together and it made my heart feel warm and fuzzy.
The breakfast (which was more brunch) was so lovely and I was thankful throughout the day for having my family around me, food on the table and presents under the tree. I am so lucky to have so much to be thankful for.
Soon after breakfast my mum and dad arrived as we had invited them to come to ours for Christmas day, it’s the first time in 9 years we’ve been able to do it as we now have a bit more space to host people, rather than having to drag the table to the middle of the living room.
The boys played with Grandma and Grandad whilst hubby and I sorted out a starter. We put Flixster down for an early nap so that he’d be awake in time for the main dinner in a couple of hours time.
We did a trio of mini starters which consisted of tomato and basil soup with a slice of baguette bread, pate with crisp bread and prawn cocktail on a lettuce leaf. I’m sure I could have come up with fancy names for it but I like to keep things simple.
I’d looked forward to setting the table for so long, all the time we knew we were moving I was planning the Christmas table in the back of my head. I wanted it to be amazing to look at visually, I love Christmas so much. After a break of an hour or so it was time to serve the main event.
I have to say it was delicious, hubby did most of the cooking as its his thing. I helped with a few bits and the presentation of course!
Even Flixster ate way more than he normally does which was endorsement indeed! We all throughly enjoyed sharing the meal together around the Christmas table.
After dinner we were all very full and the boys were ready for a play again with a ll the wonderful things they had received as presents. They were very lucky, we tried not to buy too much as we are grateful for them having both sets of grandparents who also like to buy a gift or two. It was time for another tradition from my childhood, tree present’s. These were the very last present’s of the day hidden inside the tree, there are always a low value gift that’s usually a novelty, maybe a magazine, a tiny toy, bubble bath etc. I wanted to carry this on with the boys so I have done tree presents every year. We passed them around and everyone enjoyed the last of the presents.
The rest of the afternoon was spent drinking coffee and just being us. Grandma and Grandad left after the sun had gone down to go back home and we wound down for bedtime. Exhausted and happy the boys were put to bed and we had time together to reflect on the day (and eat the traditional Christmas day eve cheese and crackers!)
Another fabulous year together and another fabulous Christmas day, exhausted, happy and grateful we tucked ourselves up in bed to start again the next day.
So boys more family festive memories were made.
Please always remember I love you both unconditionally….forever.
Wow, just wow. I actually don’t know the best way to start this blog post. I have so many thoughts running around my head about the ‘Dine around the Dome’ event I was very grateful to be invited to attend last Thursday evening. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I certainly didn’t expect the culinary taste teasing tour that we were treated to.
We were told to meet at 6:30pm at the Circle 360 champagne bar on the upper level of The Orient area in the Trafford Centre. Anyone who knows me personally will know how often I frequent the Trafford Centre. It’s almost my second home. I love the place. As a family we spend quite a lot of time there because living in the Manchester area we aren’t blessed with the best weather so the convenience of having a covered area which has everything you need in one place and free parking is the perfect solution. I love that it has entertainment, Odeon cinema, ten pin bowling, adventure golf, Legoland and Sealife to name but a few. As well a massive variety of shopping and so much choice when it comes to food. No matter what your taste they’ll always be something to suit you there.
Before the boys came along and it was just the two of us we would head to the Trafford Centre on date nights to try new restaurants, any special occasion would be marked with a meal and a few drinks. We’ve had many great nights there and worked our way around many of the eateries. So when thinking about dining around the dome I wasn’t sure how many new things I’d discover.
A little before we were due to meet up at the Circle bar I met with my good friend and blogging inspiration Jenny from Lets Talk Mommy. I haven’t seen her in a while so it was great to have a quick catch up together. We headed up to the bar and signed in. I love meeting new people and chatting but I felt a little nervous at this event as I knew it would be a small gathering and thought that perhaps everyone would already know each other. Over the course of the evening I got to know quite a few people and everyone was so lovely. I certainly have quite a few new blogs to add to the list to read now!
At the bar we were given an Elderflower martini which as the description said was dressed dirty with a twist of lemon. As I was driving I was very careful to just take a little sip to sample the flavour. It was at that point I instantly regretted not being able to drink the whole thing. Wow, what a start to the evening, it was beautiful! I could have sat there and sipped the whole thing, if the evening had ended there I would have been a happy lady. I haven’t stopped to have a drink at the bar before. It always looks like a fab venue. Having young children it’s never been possible to just take time out to sip on a champagne but next time we have some couple time there together I am adding it to the must do list! I often walk past and see couples or friends sipping and chatting there, taking a break from shopping. The bar staff were lovely and I can’t wait to return and sample some more of the menu!
Jenny and I sampling the Elderflower Martini at Circle 360 Champagne Bar
After a few introductions we were off to our first stop on the tour Cafe Rouge. Now although I have eaten in Cafe Rouge a couple of times I’ve never considered it to be one of my top choices of food venues. I’m not sure why, maybe I’ve just not had a dish there that has wowed me. Everything changed last night. It was our first stop on our tour but they certainly set the bar high for the rest of the evening. We were served ‘Ceviche de Saumon’ which although originally from Peru consisted of Atlantic salmon slices cured in lime marinated with chilli, red onion and spring onion served on a bed of crisp baby gem lettuce. It was drizzled with Valles des Baux EV olive oil and finished with fresh coriander. It was delicious!
I love sea food more than I love meat so this was my idea of a great starter. I loved the way the sharpness of the lime worked with the heat of the chilli. The salmon itself had a lovely light flavour and the crunch of the lettuce made sure that it wasn’t a heavy carb laden starter which ensured we had lots of room to carry on with the rest of the tour. I do love bread but if I start with it when I’m already hungry I tend to eat too much then there’s no room for the fabulous main course.
The food was paired with a white wine called ‘Saint Etalon Sauvignon’ again I just had a sip but it was crisp and tangy and I thought it was in my own description quite sharp. Cafe Rouge said that it was a perfect accompaniment to a lime marinated fish. I’d defiantly agree with that. I enjoyed a lovely chat with my new-found dinner mates and all too soon it was time to move on.
So from France we headed to Italy in what was probably the quickest hop from country to country ever! So within minutes we’d hoped over the border and were seated in Carluccio’s which is located on the ground floor of The Great Hall at the back of The Orient in the Trafford Centre.
This time as most of the food was to be served cold the table was already laid with the dishes and was a fabulous sight it was to behold! Beautiful wood serving boards decorated with thinly sliced Italian meats from Carluccio’s own deli. Palma ham, Mialno salami, Napoli salami and herb roasted ham were amongst the selections decorated with olives, caperberries and home backed focaccia.
I love a pick and mix style meal so I was in my element with all the different things to try. By far the hit of the table was the Caponata.
Caponata as I found out was a traditional Sicilian dish of aubergine sweet and sour stew, served cold with toasted sliced focaccia for dipping. This dish took me by surprise. Looking at it you expect it to be a warm dish. It was chilled to perfection and it really works. It was so juicy and flavourful. This is something that I wouldn’t hesitate to order in future. I’m hoping that the recipe can be found in one of Antonio Carluccio’s cook books though as I really think the boys and hubby would enjoy the dish. It seemed to be a hit with everyone!
Shortly after we were seated the warm dish of the evening Pepolata Arancini was served to out table. Pepolata Arancini is a crispy fried pepolata and mozzarella rice balls served with a pepper mayonnaise for dipping. They were delicious, when you cut into them the outside was crispy and the inside a melted gooey mixture of the cheese and rice. I could defiantly see myself returning here for more of these little bites of heaven!
This beautiful dishes were accompanied by an Aperol Spritz which I had never heard of. As I learned on the evening Aperol Spritz is a classic Venetian aperitif of Prosecco, Aperol and soda. It is a drink that was invented in 1919, it apparently took off like wildfire outside of Italy in 2014 but I must have missed this being in the new baby haze of life. It is set to be a must-sip drink of summer 2015. I for one can see myself getting on board with this! Although again I only had a sip it was really refreshing. I can see myself ordering a glass of this next time I head to Carluccios’s which I imagine will be soon after the wonderful taste tingly samples I had on the evening!
From Italy we headed much much further west to latin America, Las Iguanas to be precise (which is only 30 seconds walk away!). Las Iguanas is one of my ‘go to’ restaurants when we are at the Trafford Centre. I love the flavours there. I thought I knew the food pretty well but as I discovered on the evening I haven’t branched out enough with the menu and was excited to be sampling dishes I haven’t had before.
On the menu was a fantastic selection of foods. Adorning the table as we arrived were some Totopos which are Mexican spice-dusted corn chips with tomato salsa, served with Peruvian olives.
Olives are like Marmite in that I think you either love them or you hate them. I used to hate them but after many years of trying them over and over again I now love them. The olives served at Las Iguanas were particularly nice! If you’re a lover of olives I’d recommend sampling those. Along side the corn chips and olives there was also a salad. It was a Mango and Pecan salad with avocado.
This was the only sample of a salad on the evening, it’s a good job though that it was as this one would have won hands down! The soft sweet mango was perfectly complimented by the crunchy candied pecan nuts, the baby spinach was lovely and fresh as were the peppery rocket and piquant peppers. This was the sort of salad that I wouldn’t necessarily choose normally but having tasted this one I would certainly look out for something similar in the future. As far as I could tell this was a hit up and down the table. I also loved the way it looked, very pleasing on the eye it made a great visual dish.
The cooked food selection was soon with us and we were once again in for a treat. At Las Iguanas we were served Churrasco Skewers which are mixed marinated and flame-grilled skewers of honey glazed chicken and halloumi, served with Manioc root cassava fries with home-made tomato salsa. I tried the fries first. I hadn’t pre-read the menu so I assumed they were normal potato fries. I was in for a pleasant surprise. I’ve not had cassava before so I was keen to look it up and discovered it is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. It was really nice, quite sweet not dissimilar to sweet potato. The salsa was a lovely accompaniment to the fries too.
I’m a big cheese fan and halloumi is up there as one of my favourites, especially when its been flame grilled so I was looking forward to the skewers and they didn’t disappoint. I only tried a small bite or two as I wanted to make sure I had room for all of the other delights of the evening. I can tell you thought that’s it defiantly a dish I’d add to the list of foods I’d like to go back and have again.
The last item to be added to the table was Empanadas which are crispy “street-style” pastries served as either brie and mango or tender lamb and mint varieties. Where I was sitting we were served the brie and mango ones so I didn’t get to try the lamb and mint although I heard the others talking about how nice they were. I cut into my empanadas which was steaming hot and looked lovely, I tried some expecting a sweet type of dessert taste given that it was brie and mango but it wasn’t that sweet at all. The brie complemented the mango perfectly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had warm mango that I can remember but it was really tasty. I almost wish I could have eaten the whole thing but given that we still had a couple of stops on the tour I didn’t want to fill up too soon.
The food at Las Iguanas was accompanied by a Mango Collins drink. Mango Collins is a cocktail I’ve had before at Las Iguanas so I already knew that I loved it. For anyone that hasn’t tried it it is a refreshing cocktail of Absolute Mango vodka, triple sec blended with orange and mango juices topped with lemonade which gives it a gently sparking taste on the tongue. It was a great pairing with the summary foods we’d been served and if I wasn’t driving I’d have indulged in a glass!
All too soon it was time once again to switch countries this time we were headed back east to Japan and Korean. The restaurant we were going to is called Wokooshi. Out of all our stops this one was new to me. Wokooshii can be found at level 1 of the Orient in the Trafford centre. It was founded by Gerry Yeung who is also the founder of Manchester’s famous Yang Sing Chinese restaurant. We were delighted to be served by Gerry himself who explained all about the family ethics of the restaurant. He is passionate about bringing the Japanese and Korean flavours to the diners.
Wokooshii has been open since early 2012 and the word Wokooshii, amalgamates the words wok and oishii, which means ‘delicious food’ in Japanese and the description couldn’t fit the food any better. I love how involved Gerry is with running the restaurant he explained all about the sourcing of ingredients for the menu and how everything is made in-house from scratch. Nothing is bought in pre-made at all so you can be assured all the flavours are authentic.
On the table as we arrived was a cup-shaped lettuce leaf for each person, we joked that we’d eaten so much so far that we really could only mange a leaf. Thankfully though the staff of Wokooshii had other ideas and within moments they had brought out Beef Bulgogi to our table. This was beef marinated in Korean soy sauce, sugar and black pepper to enhance its tenderness. It is traditionally served with a side of lettuce which is used to wrap the cooked meat to add crunchiness. We all picked our pieces of beef, added a hot sauce and tucked in. I have to admit beef isn’t my favourite meat so I was very pleasantly surprised when I found myself finishing the whole leaf wrap. Gerry explained that Bulgogi means ‘fire meat’ in Korean. The dish is listed 23rd in the ‘Worlds 50 Most Delicious Foods’ poll. The meat was historically grilled on gridirons over a brazier, but now it is also popular to pan-cook the meat. Wokooshii Bulgogi is cooked on a sizzler or hot plate.
We didn’t have to wait long to taste the flavours ourselves. We were first served a Japanese dish of Salmon Teppanyaki which was a succulent salon fillet cooked on a teppan (hot plate) with butter, garlic, sake and Japanese soya sauce accompanied by mild peppered teppanyaki vegetables and rice. The dish was accompanied with sizzling seafood udon noodles with scallops, king prawns and squid. The noodles were served on a sizzler with a lively Japanese soya sauce.
The salmon was perfect, so moist with lovely flavours of the sauce, the vegetables were crunchy and matched the salmon well, I didn’t try the rice as I wanted to leave room for a sample of the noodles as udon noodles are my favourite and I wasn’t disappointed! I couldn’t just try the noodles thought without trying the seafood too. I’m pretty much in love with any foods from the ocean, I much prefer them to meat so I went in and helped myself to a king prawn and some scallop. I always think scallops can be a dangerous choice when eating out, it only takes a little over cooking to make them rubbery and not nice to eat. Wokooshii scallops however were as near perfect as I’ve ever had, a delight to eat and perfect with the king prawns, squid and udon noodles. I was sure to only have a small sample though as I knew we were going to be also lucky to try the Korean food.
The Korean taster was something I’ve not heard of before Spicy Chicken Bibimbap which is a signature Korean family dish made up of steamed rice served in a hot stone bowl topped with chicken, carrots, kimchi, black wood mushrooms, bean sprouts, seasonal greens and topped with an egg. This dish is mixed at the table with chilli fermented soya bean paste.
I particularly loved the way this dish was presented, Gerry himself mixed it for us after adding the sauce while explaining the elements of the dish.
The dish was accompanied by Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Sake which is one of the oldest style sakes. It is coarsely filtered and milky white in colour, which gives it a full pleasantly sweet complex flavour which is best served chilled.
I have sampled Sake before and yet again this had surpassed my expectations, it was something I will be going back to enjoy some time soon in the future it was a great companion to the Japanese and Korean food. We were also given a sample of Asahi Premium Japanese Black Lager. I am not a regular lager drinking I much prefer a wine or spirit based drink so I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one. As it was poured due to its dark colour I expected to be tasting something similar to a stout based drink which I’m not keen on but was very pleasantly surprised when I tried a sip. I’m glad I did as it was much much lighter to drink than its appearance made out.
As the saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover and this is very true in the case of this lager! It was very smooth. Asahi means rising sun and it is made using only the purest water along with the finest hops.
One of the things I loved most about the Wokooshii restaurant was the seating layout. There are so many different sized tables available, whether you are having a romantic evening out or dining as a large group there’s sure to be the right size table for your party. As we were a large group we spread out over two large round tables which made for great conversation and the meeting of new friends.
The last treat in Wokooshii was the sampling of a particularly nice sparkling sake, this was not something I’d had or even heard of before but is now on my must have again list. The bottle is came in is particularly beautiful.
I can see myself having to revisit Wokooshi quite a bit just to repeat all the fabulous flavours! Sadly before long it was time to move on to our 6th and final stop of the night, the dessert surprise!
We had been told that dessert would be a lucky dip, we’d be given and number and then asked to sample the dessert that corresponded to that number. In reality we all sampled each others, which was fab! The desserts were provided by a section of restaurants from around the Trafford Centre. There were far too many to be able to list them all. I’m a dessert lover so this was my idea of heaven! This was the sight that greeted us as we entered The Captains Table room looking out over the orient open eating area.
My number corresponded to a delicious lemon cheese cake, I was so busy sharing it around I didn’t even get to find out where it was from. I did however find out that the fabulous chocolate dip accompanied churros were from La Tasca. They have also been added to my list of places to dine for those beautiful treats alone!
The desserts were accompanied by Espresso Martinis provided by the 360 Champagne Bar, it was as though we had come 360 degrees ourselves, finishing off with drinks from the place we started! This was the drink that I wished I could have finished the most out of all the sips I’d had that evening. As a coffee lover this was an amazing find.
Coffee to accompany dessert was also served by Nespresso who were showcasing their new special edition coffee Peru Secreto an intensity 8 with an intense sweet round espresso flavour. As with all the special editions they won’t be around long so if it’s something you are interested in then get it while you can!
Before long it was time to say farewell to all my dining companions and new-found friends. Just before we all left we gathered for a group photo.
What an evening we’d been treated to, from far east to far west via France. So many wonderful flavours to tingle the taste buds. So many new finds to add to the list of places to visit. I can’t say that one dish stood out above the others because it didn’t, they were all so fabulous. I can’t compare country to country, like for like it wouldn’t be fair. I can say though that there wasn’t a dish I tried that I didn’t like, no actually love!
We can often be found at the Trafford Centre as a family and from now on I can see that we’ll be working our way around the restaurants too. The only problem we’ll have is agreeing which one to go to!
If you’re still with me at the end of that epic blog post then thank you for reading and I hope you’re not feeling to hungry now!
Picture credit for some of the images to Jason Lock Photography of Carousel PR
Thanks to the Trafford Centre for organising the ‘Dine around the Dome’ event. I was not paid for this blog post but all the food and drinks were complimentary on the evening.
There are some unwritten rules of shopping in Aldi or Lidl, read on I will try to explain them!
I’ve been shopping in Aldi and Lidl for a couple of years. In the last few months I’ve noticed just how busy it’s getting. They used to be a fairly quiet place to shop. I think it’s fabulous that so many people have now discovered the treasures that they hold. But I also chuckle to myself every time I go in the shop and see someone who has clearly never been before. New shoppers stand out by a mile!
Shopping at Aldi and Lidl is unlike any other supermarkets experience. There is an unspoken and unwritten set of rules to follow when shopping there. If you’ve never been there before it can be quite daunting at first. So long as you grasp the rules quickly you will soon be fitting in like the rest of us! The planning starts before you leave the house too so don’t just expect to turn up!
The Rules (The unwritten rules!)
1) Bags – As with all shops now you’ll need to take your own bags, while they do sell them at the till for emergencies what you really need is some nice wide bottomed hessian type bags. They are perfect for packing up everything at the end, so you can see when you get home where everything is. I did see the other day someone in there with some fab bags that clip onto the shopping trolley and sort of line it. They looked fab and perfect for shopping there. I’ll be on the look out for those. Also make sure you take more bags than you think you’ll need. Trust me you always need the extra ones! No one ever goes to Aldi or Lidl and leaves with just an item or two!
2) £1 coin or a shopping trolley token. The trolleys always need them and even though you might think you can get away with a basket for just a few items, you never leave with just a few. Once you’re inside you’ll end up wanting to buy more than a basket full! Always have your coin or token ready for the trolleys.
3) The aisles won’t look anything like you are used to, theres way less choice which is a good thing. Believe me when theres only one type of baked beans it takes seconds to pick them up. Last time I went to Tesco to buy beans there was nearly a whole aisle of them, it took me ages to make my choice.
Although all the different beans looked great you’ll waste no time picking beans in Aldi, just pick them up! Although there are some branded goods most of the brands are their own and having tried most of them you probably won’t notice any difference between your usual brand and the Aldi or Lidl one. So just take a punt and try them, your purse will thank you!
4) The middle of the store is usually reserved for a variety of household goods stored in metal cage type storage bins which change on a regular basis. Each week new things are added. Try not to block the aisle hanging around the items though! If you want to know the price of something just look up, its usually there somewhere!
5) Wine – Don’t overlook it, you may be in a budget supermarket however both Aldi and Lidl sell some really great award winning wines. At great prices, the prosecco is fabulous! They usually have descriptions up as well as any awards, have a good look at them all. This is one of my favourite unwritten rules!
6) Checkouts – If you have a trolley full of shopping go against your instincts and pick the longest queue! Why you might ask? Well you need as much time as possible to remove all your shopping from the trolley and put it onto the belt before the cashier starts putting it through the till. If you spot someone with just a few items always ask if they want to go before you. Not only will they be grateful for getting through quicker but it buys you more time to get all the shopping on the belt.
7) Once all the shopping is loaded onto the belt get ready to whizz your trolley round to the other side of the cashier. There is no space to pack your bags there. I will say this only once…..
DO NOT TRY TO PACK YOUR BAGS AT THE TILL!
As soon as the item is scanned get it in the trolley. The lovely workers of Aldi and Lidl are the fastest scanners I know. The shopping will be coming towards you in a blur. If you get behind with putting things back in the trolley just do the one arm sweeper movement to get the shopping in the trolley, so long as there’s no eggs already scanned through you’ll probably be ok! If you want the shopping in any order in the trolley then you have to plan ahead and put it on the belt in that order. Don’t try to do it as its coming at you at 90mph through the till!
8) Once you’ve paid your bill (and got over how much you’ve saved!) quickly move away from the till to the packing bench. If its full and it tends to get like that at the weekend then just wait for a spot. Get your bags out and start to pack up, replacing the bags in the trolley as room is made for them. Once you’re packed you’re pretty much done. On the way out pick up a leaflet for next weeks special offers, it’ll save you time looking next week and stop you looking like a newbie!
If you have any more tips to add please do let me know!
This week we are lucky enough to have Daddy off work for three days, two of the days the boy is going to be carrying on at nursery and on Friday we will all spend a family day together. Keeping the boy in nursery means that Daddy gets to spend some quality time with Flixster and we can go look at and buy some Christmas presents for the boy. This morning we decided to go and have breakfast out somewhere which is not something we often do. I love breakfast, I think it is my favourite meal of the day. As a breastfeeding mummy I get so hungry in the night and have a rumbly tumbly each morning. I’ve always loved breakfast especially cereal and we often have a vast array of cereals in the house. I could eat it morning noon and night (and have been known to!) So as we were discussing it last night I was googling places to go and Harvester popped up. We have 3 different harvester restaurants local to us so we picked the one that was on the way to the place we were going today. Daddy dropped the boy off at nursery and came back to pick us up. I was very happy to see this sign in the door taking proud of place, as we arrived.
I’m happy to feed anywhere but I hope that this sign makes other mummies who may feel uncomfortable feeding in public a little more comfortable. No matter if you’re bottle or breastfeeding, babies should be able to eat when they are hungry and mummies should be free to feed anyway they choose without being worried about anyone else.
We arrived not long after 9am and we were the first people in today. It had been open since 8am but it is midweek so I wouldn’t have expected it to be busy. Not long after we arrived other people started to arrive too. We were seated at a table of our choosing and offered a highchair which we politely declined as Flixster isn’t sitting up yet or eating any solids. Our waitress explained the new menu. I don’t know what they offered before but it is apparently now unlimited which is new with a choice of continental (£2.99) or continental and cooked items (£4.99). Unlimited drinks of tea, filter coffee and juice was an additional £2.25. After both choosing the cooked option and unlimited drinks we went off to see what was on offer. The usual salad bar had cold breakfast items which you help yourself to rather than salad as it does for lunch and dinner. The menu listed all these items too but I noticed somethings were on the menu but not out on the bar. There was however still lots of choice including fresh fruit, yoghurt and pancakes.
Over on the other side of the room there was a table set up with a large toaster where you could put a choice of bread, crumpets or muffins through. This was also where the drinks were on offer. There was two large jugs of filter coffee and a good selection of tea bags.
The toaster and coffee
The crumpets and muffins
Coffee and tea
Tea selection and decaf coffee
Juice and milk
Everything was lovely and clean and looked and felt fresh.
I started with a small bowl of muesli (I tried to start a little bit healthy!) from the cold bar and I took a couple of pancakes over to the toaster to warm them up and pour a little syrup on top. There were all sorts of toppings for toast including Nutella and Marmite. Whilst we enjoyed the cold items we ordered our hot breakfast items from the waitress, you can have whatever you want from the list which included lots of different potato and egg choices.
We both made our choices and finished up our cold items. The pancakes and syrup were lovely and hubby said the crumpets were nice too. The hot breakfast didn’t take long and was exactly what we had ordered. I’m not keen on meat so I ordered the cheese and leek sausage instead of the meat sausage. I did have the bacon and was hoping it wouldn’t be greasy. It was in fact just perfect, nicely cooked and not greasy at all.
The scrambled eggs were lovely and creamy and the mushrooms had a lovely flavour. I loved the veggie sausage although would only have one next time as I was truly stuffed! We rarely have breakfast out so really enjoyed treating ourselves. It was past 10 by the time we were ready to leave so we had been there well over an hour. The total came to £14.48 which I think was really good value for money considering what we had enjoyed and the time we had been there. I would definitely return again some time, I think the boy would love it too. I imagine weekends do get busier and having to wait a while to use the toaster (as you do in hotels) may not make it quite as fun but I guess I’ll have to go back sometime and see.
Overall we really enjoyed ourselves, the food was lovely and a really good choice to suit all tastes, the place was clean and the service was good. The price was just right and I would certainly be recommending the harvester breakfast to friends, I hope that we can go back again soon with the boy to see what he thinks!