Thursday, 21 July 2016

Event: Marco Pierre White Birmingham Rooftop Terrace VIP Launch

When you receive an invite to Marco Pierre White's Rooftop Terrace VIP Launch, you know you're going to need a new dress.

Sadly the only thing I could find was a black summer number, but I digress.

As one of the hottest places to be seen in Birmingham, we locals and visitors alike love to flock to the rooftop terrace when the sun's out. But when the rain starts to come in, we've always had to duck for cover; until now.

Having undergone a £100,000 transformation, with a new conservatory to shield us from the elements, guests can now enjoy the rooftop views come rain or shine, and there are even new heaters and blankets on hand.

Promising free flowing Bottega prosecco, the invitation wasn't wrong as I made my way up to the 25th floor to see the newly revamped terrace.

Supplying us with Bottega served in stylish test-tube like glasses as well as nibbles from the new Light Bite Menu including Mushroom Arancini and Glazed Pork Belly, the terrace was full of the city's glitterati.

There was even a gold Bottega motorcycle on display!

Are you visiting the MPW terrace soon?

Photo credit: Mark Little Photography

*With thanks to MPW for the invitation

Monday, 11 July 2016

Food Review: Giraffe Restaurant Grand Central Birmingham

Since opening last September, Grand Central has become a foodie hotspot in Birmingham, bringing with it a host of new restaurants such as Caffe Concerto, Tapas Revolution and Giraffe.

It was Giraffe in Grand Central that I was kindly invited to review last week, and I took along a few friends and a poorly son to try out the menu at this new eatery.

Giraffe is known as a family friendly restaurant, and is so called because 'giraffes are so tall, they see a different view of the world'. Exploring foods from around the world, it's fair to say that it's difficult to pin point any singular type of cuisine, however, the menu encompasses dishes from the USA, South America and China.

Meeting outside the restaurant, we were seated at a table that was part booth, part table and shown the menu. I asked for the gluten free menu and was given an extensive allergens folder. For my friend's son, we also took a look at the children's menu.

Firstly, we ordered our drinks. The girls both ordered the Mango Colada and I ordered the Orchard Pig Strawberry, Blackberry and Apple juice.

My friends son ordered from the children's menu which came to £6.50 for a meal, drink and a dessert. He went for the breaded fish fingers with beans and chips, and we requested a colouring sheet and crayons too.

We really pushed the boat out with dinner and ordered a real variety to get an idea of what was on the menu.

For starters, I ordered the Halloumi Skewers, which came served with a light pea salad. Seasoned with fresh lemon, my two skewers were grilled and tasted light and fresh.

F ordered the Chicken Gyoza, which came in a large portion of five pieces. Golden dumplings were heartily filled with a soft chicken mixture and the pastry was not too thick and crispy in the right places. The accompanying sweet sticky sauce went down a treat.

M ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid, which was served soft in light crispy batter, complemented by a mango and chilli sauce which was sweet, with a kick.

For mains, we then went for two portions of Huevos Rancheros, one gluten free, one normal, and Chilli Beef Burritos.

First up, the eggs. These could be fried or scrambled, but we both went for fried which is more traditional. My gluten free version came on two small tortillas instead of one, but both were thin and crispy pizza style tortillas topped off with salsa, avocado, beans and cheese. Hurrah for this alternative to Avocado Toast, that Instagram cliche!

The Burrito was huge, generously filled to bursting with a beef and rice mixture, topped off with sour cream and cheese as well as pink onions, a Mexican specialty.

As there weren't too many Gluten Free dessert options, I had my friend's son's dessert of Strawberry and Banana Lollipops with a chocolate dipping sauce. F went for the Churros and M for the Banana Waffle Split.

The churros were hot and crispy, exactly as you'd expect.

My dessert was also, as you'd expect, fresh and would have been healthy if I hadn't eaten all the chocolate!

The waffle dessert was the real star though. A thick, warm waffle topped off with melting ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Cinnamon finished off the flavour mix and surprisingly, this wasn't too sickly at all.

I was impressed with the service, relaxed and fun atmosphere and most of all, by the variety of dishes on offer. The fact that Giraffe is so family friendly is a real plus, and there is a dish for all tastes here.

The staff were very clued up on how to use the extensive allergens menu, and I was pleased to see the chef's were able to make simple substitutions which meant I could finally enjoy Huevos Rancheros!

*With thanks to Giraffe for my partly complimentary meal.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Event: Meeting Roland Mouret at Selfridges Birmingham

Ever heard of the Galaxy dress? If you haven't heard of it, you'll know it to look at it. A sexy, fitted and yet flattering pencil style, Roland Mouret is the man behind the dress. Internationally acclaimed for his attention to detail, expert tailoring and love of the female form.

Eleven years on, Roland Mouret is back, designing clothes that celebrate women's bodies. Sexy, chic, understated and sexy, his garments are real-women-ready.

To celebrate the launch of his Autumn Winter 2016 collection, the man himself, Mr Roland Mouret, made a special journey to Selfridges Birmingham.

Hosted in The Balcony, guests were treated to Champagne and chocolate truffles before taking a seat beside the catwalk to watch a host of glamorous models show off his designs.

Seated front row with Ting, Emma and Olivia, we didn't stop snapping the gorgeous garments as they made their way down the catwalk.

Met with a huge round of applause, the man himself took a turn too and this was our cue to meet him, post show.

This handsome Frenchman stole our hearts, and had nothing but praises to sing of the beauty of the female form.

Next, it was time to try on a few creations with Ting. Despite the fact that we are completely different body types, I think we both looked pretty good in Roland Mouret dresses.

If you'd like to see his delicious designs for yourself, then head to Selfridges Birmingham to get hold of a piece of Roland Mouret.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Event: Pirlo's Dessert Lounge Birmingham Opening

When you're gluten free, dessert is something of a touchy subject. All too often I find it's ice cream or nothing when it comes to desserts, so my sweet tooth often goes unsatisfied.

I was invited along to the launch of Pirlo's Dessert Lounge in Birmingham recently, and knowing that I'm gluten free, the invite stated that there would be available options for me.

What I thought was just a token gesture, turned out to be a pretty healthy gluten free dessert selection, with one whole shelf of cakes dedicated to cakes and sweet treats that I can actually eat!

I headed to the official launch night and made it up the red carpet. Greeting with champagne and live music, I was also able to try a few of the desserts.

Served up by glamorous hostesses, I tried out the Peanut and Daim Cake and Gluten Free Victoria Sponge which were being handed out, canapé style.

Red Velvet cake and Salted Caramel Brownies were also being handed out at the event.

At the back of the bar, there was a cake buffet, and they were also serving up waffles, cookie dough, ice cream and cakes.

I can't wait to come back to Pirlo's to try out the rest of the menu, as I hear a rumour that they even make gluten free waffles.

Have you been to Pirlo's yet?