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Review: Chamas – Beverley’s brand new Brazilian restaurant

DO NOT overload on the carb section of the buffet, no matter how much you want too …

It’s only just opened but already Chamas is fully booked for two weeks – and I can see why.

Based in Beverley’s Wednesday Market, this Brazilian restaurant is the perfect place for meat lovers, but with the twist of a full vegan menu.

We arrived at 6.30pm on a Thursday night and every table was filled with diners, which is always a good sign.

We took our seats in the window and were told how the restaurant works.

First, you sit down and choose your drinks, second, you help yourself to the unlimited salad bar and finally, you wait for them to start bringing the meat.

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Often when you hear the words unlimited salad bar, you imagine those chain restaurants that put on a spread of limp lettuce and soggy croutons, but not at Chamas.

There are blocks of varieties of cheese to help yourself to, smoked salmon, cured meats, pasta, vegetable dishes and even a bowl of anchovies.

You can get freshly buttered new potatoes, rice, vegetable curries and there is even a sauce station with a choice of condiments.

I will put the warning out now. Do not over do it at the salad bar, no matter how good it looks. You will inevitably have to roll home and squeeze into your once baggy pyjamas.

Costing £27.95 per person, the price isn’t half bad for all-you-can-eat food at such a high standard. The extras we paid for were a lovely bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at £16.95, as well as dessert and a cocktail.

Each person is given a cardboard disc on the table, with a red side to show you are having a break and green to tell them to keep bringing it.

Passadores with skewers of freshly cooked meat walk around delivering slivers of amazing quality, and we started with some amazing minted lamb straight from the leg.

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Throughout the meal we tried chicken thighs, several cuts of perfectly cooked beef (the rump with garlic is a winner), gammon, chorizo and even chicken hearts – a Brazilian delicacy.

In fact, there are up to 15 different cuts of meat to choose from, and if what you’re after isn’t circulating the restaurant, you can ask them to bring some out for you.

Chefs will also come out bringing tasty morsels of Brazilian cheese bread, garlic bread and all manner of accompaniments.

It is easy to go wild.

The Brazilian music playing in the restaurant really does give the place a holiday feel, with the decor consisting of the soothing colours of a sunset.

I was told during the meal that a Brazilian restaurant can’t be a Brazilian restaurant without three things.

Pincanha steak (which was amazing), Caipirinha cocktails and a creme caramel.

Obviously we tried all three.

Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime. It’s sweet and light flavours cut through the rich meat perfectly and you can see why people love them so much.

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But despite all the wonderful, juicy meats being paraded around the restaurant, I think the real star of the show was the Creme Caramel.

Made with condensed milk and vanilla pods, this pudding is a luxurious wobble of vanilla custard topped with biscuit crumbs and caramel sauce.

As a savoury person, this dessert was heavenly and I would go back to Chamas just for that.

But you don’t have to be excluded from this experience if you don’t eat meat.

As well as slow roasted Brazilian cinnamon glazed pineapple going around, diners can pay to just have the vegetarian or vegan options. So they can indulge in the non-meat items being brought around, as well as full use of the salad bar, which quite honestly is enough when you look at the options.

The nearest restaurant serving meat in this style is Leeds, so get booking your table and add a taste of Brazil to your weeknight – or make sure to get the cocktails in on a weekend.

How Tewkesbury Park Hotel & Spa had me ready to move in

With rolling hills and lovely wine, I was truly in my element …

Have you ever felt so comfortable in a hotel you didn’t want to go home?
Well at Tewkesbury Park I was ready to pack my stuff and move right in.

If there’s ever a chance for me to glide around in my dressing gown and slippers, all while having the prop of a winding staircase, then I will take it.

The family run hotel overlooks the famous site of the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury, which was a turning point in the War of the Roses, and the views are totally breathtaking.

Photography at Tewkesbury Park Hotel, Spring 2016

We stayed in the main house – the Duke of Somerset suite – and with just a quick waltz down the stairs were faced with the beautiful hotel bar and lobby.

The Georgian house is set in 163 acres of luscious land, which includes a 72 par golf course and spa facilities – and several bars.

After a long day walking Tewkesbury’s historic streets, there was nothing better than soaking in the outdoor hot tub, having a splash in the pool and then a lounge in the steam room and sauna.

I also had an incredible body scrub and massage, which allowed me to sleep like a baby in the beautifully decorated suite – which had one of the biggest bathrooms I have ever seen.

Photography at Tewkesbury Park Hotel, Spring 2016

It’s safe to say I have never bathed and showered so much in my life, but I loved every minute of it.

While Tewkesbury Park is a golfers paradise, it is also a must for foodies.
We had to get a doggy bag for our afternoon tea because there were so many incredible, homemade cakes and sandwiches to choose from.

A main highlight of our break was our meal in the Garden Restaurant. Overlooking valleys and rolling fields, we ate scrumptious local food including scallops with chorizo, trout ceviche, Gloucester Old Spot pork and Hereford steak.

The lounge menu was lovely as well, with the halloumi salad and fish and chips going down a treat.

Photography at Tewkesbury Park Hotel, Spring 2016

With a multi-million-pound renovation project almost at an end, if you want to be looked after then head to Tewkesbury Park.

Where: Tewkesbury Park Hotel & Spa
Call: 01684 272300
Web: http://www.tewkesburypark.co.uk

 

How Edinburgh captured my heart via whisky and haggis

I have found my new favourite city break …

London has always been my “go-to” for a city break. But after last weekend, I think Edinburgh has surpassed England’s capital as the place to go.
We arrived on a Friday lunchtime to a surprisingly dry Scotland, and walked the stone’s throw from the station to the Radisson Blu Edinburgh.
Situated right on the Royal Mile, you can be immersed in the centre of Edinburgh in seconds, and the Scottish breakfast they serve is one of the tastiest I have had – complete with haggis, of course.

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The four of us decided to take a walk down the Royal Mile as our first port of call, which stretches from the castle down to Holyrood Palace.
The street is packed with tartan stores, whisky shops and beautiful architecture, including St Giles’ Cathedral and historic tenement buildings.
It wasn’t long before we heard bagpipes serenading the visiting crowds – AC/DC’s Thunderstruck was a particularly wonderful choice of tune – and we rambled around indoor markets and cricked our necks looking up at the architecture.
After an amazing night’s sleep, we hopped across the road to our next accommodation, the Old Town Chambers.
Nestled in a hidden square, these self-catered luxury apartments have been created inside the former Old Town chambers, with exposed brickwork and steel girders creating centrepieces in the rooms.

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We stayed in two one-bed apartments, which we could have happily lived in.
With a huge bed, beautiful decor, smart TV and Bluetooth sound system, there was a small kitchen fitted with a dishwasher and washing machine, and a bathroom fit for a king.
Our apartment was perfectly situated for our next trip to the Real Mary King’s Close.
This historic tour is an absolute must-see.
With a tour guide in character, you go underground and take a look at the preserved housing before modern Edinburgh was built over the top almost 200 years ago. Full of tales, it is no wonder TV’s Most Haunted made it one of their paranormal destinations. I wouldn’t want to be down there by myself.
As the Saturday was an unusually hot day for Scotland, we decided to go on our own impromptu Harry Potter tour. Just off the Royal Mile is The Elephant House coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote Chamber Of Secrets and The Prisoner Of Azkaban.
We then walked five minutes to get to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, which is an amazing Gothic churchyard in the centre of Edinburgh.

Greyfriar’s Bobby, a famously loyal Skye Terrier, is also buried there, which is a real tear-jerker when you see that visitors have left sticks on his grave.
But also in the graveyard is the resting place of Thomas Riddell and apparently Alastair Moody as well, giving Rowling the inspiration for her characters.

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I think this tour, along with the Scotch Whisky Experience complete with tasting and whisky glass, were a true highlight of our weekend.
What also surprised us was the amazing food we were lucky to stumble upon.
Element, in popular Rose Street, provided us with an incredibly delicious meal – make sure to order the sticky toffee pudding – with atmospheric surroundings, but if you want pure luxury head to the Waldorf Astoria.

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The Pompadour by Galvin is a Michelin- starred restaurant serving up mouthfuls of intensely flavoured food in a truly luxurious setting. With fresh Scottish food and amazing wine to boot, we revelled in the palatial surroundings.
I can’t express enough how much I loved this city, and I could carry on talking about it until the cows came home. Perhaps you will have to create your own stories when you visit?

Review: The Pompadour by Galvin in Edinburgh

Why people from Hull don’t deserve pattie and chips for every meal …

What happens when a family of Northerners take on a Michelin tasting menu?

Magic. That’s what.

Would the words “upscale French haute cuisine in a palatial Victorian railway hotel dining room with castle views” expect to cause an immediate uprising demanding Pattie and chips?

Well it turns out not quite.

Us local yokels may appreciate a good Yorkshire pudding or ten, but we sure know how to conduct ourselves when the time requires.

The final flourish to our Edinburgh exploration was celebrated at The Pompadour by Galvin (Christ, there is even pomp in the name).

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Apparently, the restaurant was unveiled in the autumn of 2012 in one of Scotland’s most magnificent dining rooms at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian.

We had feasted at the celebrated Cucina on the Royal Mile, dined on superb sticky toffee pudding at Element in Rose Street and now was the time to put our pageantry to the test.

The four of us went for a five-course drinks pairing menu, something we had never indulged in previously and instead sparingly eking out a bottle of red, and we revelled in the new found splendour.

The dining room itself needed more drama for my liking – not enough black – but the food was faultless.

Not only did we get to experience pretending to understand the Sommelier (sounds too much like smelly egg for me) but we got to taste snipets of food bursting with flavour.

An avid carnivore, this is the moment where I throw my steak knife to the ground and admit the most memorable ingredient in the meal originated from the vegetarian menu.

Our entrees of smoked eel and oyster emulsion were a splendid thing, but I still can’t get the sister’s pea veloute out of my head. Sweet, rich, heavy, light – the taste was maddening.

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To add insult to injury, it appeared a second time on the menu cohabiting with mushroom gnocchi and onions. Lucky git.

Throughout our dining experience all manner of ingredients were brought forth.

The heritage tomatoes were sweet and sun-filled, the foie-gras creamy and rich, and the sea bass skin was a perfect crisp.

But then the big boys arrived.

There is nothing more likely to get the heart racing than a trolley of cheese. Nothing. And trying to decide which 5 slivers to pick while cradling a fifth glass of very expensive wine made the task more adventurous.

I don’t quite know exactly what I chose, I just know it was the right choice. If my tastebuds serve me well they were all soft and Scottish or British, with some washed in whisky and others already melting under the ambient lighting of the dining room.

The port that arrived with them was 18 years old, and tasted of sweet raisins and spices. Incredible.

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Six glasses of wine in we were amazingly all still speaking to each other, and had remained civil in some manner.

There had been no eye-rolling, no quick snaps of disagreement and certainly no one trying to diffuse a situation ready to flurry itself into chaos.

I think we were all looking forward to pudding too much.

Strawberry cheesecake complete with strawberry sorbet and a biscuit crumble – amazing.

The night ended with mint macarons and cacao nibs, and after much photography underneath the hotel’s incredible chandelier, managed to stumble into the taxi while raring to get our pyjamas on.

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The Hull folk had done it. We had conquered a meal fit for the economically privileged (the delights came with a £450 price tag) and felt satisfied the waiters hadn’t deemed us too common.

Robinsons 1 – The other half 0.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO could open the floodgates for other artists

Having seen them at Wembley the previous week with 70,000 people, Hull gave as good as they got to create the same electric atmosphere …

People dance, cheered, clapped and even cried at KCOM Stadium’s biggest ever gig.

Jeff Lynne’s ELO were the first major band to hit the city centre stadium after Rod Stewart last year, and it went down a storm.

The lasers, fire and fireworks created an atmosphere unlike anything seen in the city since the Made In Hull event at the beginning of our culture year.

Audience members showed their appreciation by saying it was the best gig they had ever been to and the light show was a true spectacular. Even support acts The Shires and Tom Chaplin had people on their feet.

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Maybe it was the bottles of wine people were swigging – quite rightly – from the bottle or the fact the stadium was quickly running out of Carling, that people were shaking their heads in disbelief at just what a sight they were seeing.

Some people even showed their moves on the floor, but again I blame that on the daytime drinking.

Just under 20,000 people made their way to the venue on Saturday night and the drinks were flowing as the band blew everyone’s socks off with hits including Mr Blue Sky, Rollover Beethoven, Wild West Hero and Sweet Talkin’ Woman.

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The social media response alone was enough for Mr Lynne to post his selfie of the Hull crowds and thank the city on the night for an amazing response.

Hopefully now other acts will see what a phenomenal response they will achieve from Hull if they decide to include us in their upcoming tours. Let’s please remind ourselves that Fleetwood Mac are embarking on a global tour next year, and if I don’t get to see it someone will be getting an earful from me.

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The idea of entertainment company Livenation already keen on looking at the city for next year’s calendar is very exciting, and maybe ELO have opened the floodgates for Hull to become a musical destination.

Here’s hoping our charm and dancing ability being shown to the country will mean more of us can see some of the world’s most prestigious acts right on our doorstep.

Easing away titanic stress and strain of everyday life

What better way to enjoy your day off than with true relaxation? After a fair few stressful shifts at work there was only once place I wanted to be on my day off – the Titanic Spa in Huddersfield.
The drive alone was picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful, and luckily we had chosen the hottest day of the year in which to enjoy our day of serenity.
On arriving, we were given individual itineraries for the day and our wonderfully soft robes and slippers – it isn’t a proper spa unless you get to wear your dressing gown all day.
You can also choose to stay overnight in one of the spa’s luxury rooms, complete with Champagne lounge.

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We immediately got into our cossies and robes and headed for the sun-drenched patio. It was heaven.
With a bacon ciabatta roll and complimentary coffee, we soaked up the morning sun while waiting for our first treatments of the day.
My full body massage was just what the doctor ordered.
The treatment rooms at Titanic smell incredible and are filled with soothing music to help you drift off.
I chose a deep massage to make sure all signs of stress would be eradicated, and sure enough 55 minutes later I was positively floating towards the sauna.
The main attraction at Titanic is the heat and ice experience.
A tunnel of rooms providing warm saunas, soothing aromatherapy or crystal steam baths, intertwined with ice cold plunge pools, ice rooms and jungle showers.
While I was being massaged my partner treated himself to a private mud chamber, where you sit in the warmth allowing the mud to coat your body and ease away impurities.

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After lunch, which was well-flavoured and created with local, seasonal produce, we found possibly our favourite room ever – the relaxation room.
Bodies were strewn around the floor snoring and snoozing as the dim lighting and relaxing music sent you off to the land of nod.
We nestled in to the floor, which was made entirely of bean bags that moulded to your body – a must-have in any future home.
We whiled away our day having treatments including Hopi ear candling and massages, as well as sipping beer in the heat of the tropical sun.

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We didn’t need to use the indoor pool because the weather was so glorious, and I even managed to go a bit red with a hint of tan.
It is true that doing nothing is extremely tiring – I have slept like a baby ever since my visit.
Titanic Spa, Low Westwood Lane, Linthwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5UN.
Visit http://www.titanicspa.com to book your visit.

Living in the lap of luxury for a lavish weekend

It was one of the best chocolate cakes I had ever eaten …

The first thing that struck the three of us when we swanned in to Jumeirah Carlton Tower was the smell – fresh cut flowers and oranges. We knew we were in for a treat.
Fresh fruit was on offer at the reception, alongside cooled, naturally flavoured water, and impeccable customer service.
As it was only lunchtime, we were slightly early for check in so decided to venture out for a while.

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Carlton Tower is in London’s Knightsbridge, with designer stores lining your walk from the Tube station at the top of the street. There is a Harvey Nichols on the corners, a private park just in front and we absolutely lavished in the proximity of Harrods, Hyde Park and the Mandarin Oriental – we even popped in for spot of lunch.
We headed for Camden, but we couldn’t quite contain our excitement to see our room back at the hotel.
The wait was worth it. Decorated in cool greys and purples, there was a bedroom and living area, with an extra bed, a large bathroom, plenty of wardrobe space and an a balcony.
Luckily, we seemed to have planned our trip when London’s weather was akin to that of the Costa Del Sol, so it was difficult prising ourselves away from just lounging with a bottle of wine and people watching from up above.

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They had even provided a gorgeous chocolate cake from the in-house Chinoiserie in celebration of my sister’s upcoming 16th birthday – it didn’t last long.
We lived in the lap of luxury for two nights and couldn’t bear to leave. We were just a skip and a jump away from Sloane Square and we didn’t know if we could cope going back to ordinary life without the incredible breakfast.
Imagine a buffet with everything imaginable – including fish – and then hot dishes cooked fresh and brought to you in five-star style. Don’t even get me started on the complimentary bath robes.
A weekend at Jumeirah Carlton Towers was just what the doctor ordered for a