Bakchich & Arabic Afternoon Tea

Last weekend I was invited to attend a blogger event at the newly launched Manchester branch of Bakchich, whose flagship restaurant can be found on the coolest street in Liverpool, Bold Street.

You’ll find it tucked down Chester Street, off Oxford Road, nestled in the heart of a buzzing student area. Keep your peepers peeled for this sign.

bakchich

The event was themed around Arabic afternoon tea, which was a very intriguing concept to me. I’m not overly enamored by British Afternoon tea. I prefer Cheese scones to fruit, and I’d take pie over cake if given the choice (I know I’m totally Northern, and proud).

We were greeted warmly by Gary, the General Manager, possibly (and I mean this in a highly complimentary way) the most Manc person I’ve met in a long while. Floral shirt button up the top, and rocking a haircut the Gallagher brothers would approve of (approval being some form of curt nod, following by an utterance of “Kid”).

After being seated and plied with Morroccan Tea (mint, green tea and a generous injection of brown sugar make up this delicious traditional brew, poured from a great height to generate bubbles), I took I few moments to appraise the interior.

You’ll find the staple beauty that are Morroccan tiles and prints, splashed across walls, floors and the menus in various guises and palettes; interspersed with burnished copper, filament bulbs and an urban vibe in the wall art and the tables and chairs.

What followed was a flurry of dishes being circulated between myself and my Husband and the other couple who had attended – well known and well loved Arabic, Moroccan and Lebanese favourites in miniature form – Shawarma, falafel, Lebanese Sausage, Halloumi, Manakeesh… As well as many other things I can’t recall the names of.

You can browse the full menu here.

One of the main highlights for me was actually the variety of soft drinks that were served – 3 different types of handmade Lemonades, blended with mint and limes, Rose, or pomegranate and orange blossom. They were all absolutely delicious, so fragrant and refreshing. None of the photos I took were very flattering but you will have to take my word for it that they looks beautiful, too.

The main delight of the event for me was meeting Amine (Pronounced Eh-min I believe, and apologies to him if I’ve spelled it wrong!). Founder of the restaurant, he served us many of the dishes and explained to us what they were, if they were vegetarian and what they were made of. He came to sit with is while we were enjoying our pastries and Arabic Coffee and we chatted happily to him about his passion for serving fresh handmade food. Amine was delightful, sharing our enthusiasm for Liverpool, where my husband and I used to live, and also sharing our joy that so many Indie restaurants are finding a home in Manchester.

His main vision, he said, was to make sure his food was tasty enough and also very importantly, affordable enough to have families dine with him as often as they chose. His menu is very reasonably priced; his food, right down to even the dips was clearly hand made with love and care, and his staff were friendly and welcoming.

Thank you to Amine for hosting us, we had a wonderful time – my husband was the happiest I have seen him in a while when that dish of pastries was placed before him!

2015-11-21 15.01.21coffee

You can be sure we will come back, and I will tell everyone I know that Bakchich is delicious, and affordable.

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Feeling the Lebanese vibe

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Solita Prestwich Menu

SoLita Manchester – Prestwich Launch

This weekend my husband and I visited our newly opened and local SoLita restaurant- Manchester’s finest burger restaurant in my opinion. There appears to be a bit of an abundance of the super-junk-food joints springing up across the city, but to me, SoLita has managed to remain honest and unpretentious (Almost Famous goes just a bit too far for me to enjoy eating there).

What we like about it, is if you don’t quite fancy a burger there’s still a great selection of delicious dishes in the form of Chicken, Steak, Fish or otherwise that you don’t miss out!

For the first 2 weeks of service there is 50% off the food bill, so its a great time to try it out if you’ve never been, or even if you have! We ended up paying a mere £40 and I had two cocktails. The same price as  TGI Friday’s and at least two times as good.

The Prestwich restaurant is sleek and cool, while managing to blend into it’s surroundings – apart from the trademark neon logo in the window and the lego brickwork that is!

We ordered Ribs, Wings Rings and Things for starter to share (What it says on the tin – the things being corn on the cob), which was delicious, totally gluttonous and finger lickin’ good.

Solita's Ribs, Wings, Rings and Things
Ribs, Wings, Rings and Things

We each ordered a burger, my husband opting for their famous “Big Manc” burger, and me for the Jack Daddy, with Sweet potato crinkles – so delicious!

Big Manc Solita
Holy mother of burgers
Jack Daddy - Beef patty, sticky Jack Daniels sauce with onion rings and monterey Jack cheese.
Jack Daddy – Beef patty, sticky Jack Daniels sauce with onion rings and monterey Jack cheese.

And because evidently that food wasn’t enough (!!!!!) we shared the SoLita Vanilla Icecream Donut Sandwich! Warm chocolate sauce with dark chocolate chunks… delicious!

vanilla icecream donut sandwich
vanilla icecream donut sandwich

These Prestwich digs make their restaurant number up to 3, with the Northern Quarter and Didsbury restaurants,too. All I can say is, long may it reign. The food is delicious, the service was great, and it helps that I live so close by so I can waddle home after eating so much food!

Thank you, Solita! Take a look at their menu – what do you fancy?