Birthday cake, cocktails & general mayhem…

Rhode_6709_534218259956231_575556778_nHey guys, how’s it going? It’s a chilly Tuesday afternoon and I’m hunkering down to my first blog of the week with prerequisite cup of coffee to hand (thank you to Rockstar Rosi at Rhode Island). So, what have you been up to? It’s been a fun few days. Two birthday celebrations, discovery of two restaurants and fleshing out a brand spanking new project has kept me (relatively) out of mischief.

A few days ago, I happened to stumble into the Beales Market Place Restaurant on the third floor. Granted, the voucher for free coffee initially piqued my interest. Which now leads me to say, to the barista doing her rounds during lunch hour dishing out free coffee vouchers – well played.  She must have a “coffee-addict-radar”, because she made a beeline for me whilst I was en route to another meeting at another café (cough, Costa, cough).

Bealesbolton-001I’ll always associate Beales (Whitakers in a former life) with my childhood. I remember first going to the restaurant with my mom when I was a precocious ten year old. I recall marvelling at the beautiful surroundings that seemed as grand as an Empress’s lounge. I fell in love with its art deco beauty and how grown up I felt taking tea there. Why haven’t I visited for a while? Well, a thing called life gets in the way. I moved away from Bolton and lived in many places (Derby, Nottingham and London are just a few to mention. Having recently revisited the café, I’ve fallen in love with it all over again and I know where I’ll be headed for a hit of nostalgia. If you’re after a cup of steaming hot coffee, or fat chips (that look and smell so delicious that you’ll want to dive in with all the finesse of an ex-Atkins acolyte), I urge you to check out the Beales Restaurant. They have some really great daily offers including a delectable carvery, whilst their lunch menu is bang on trend with seasonal changes that make the best of local produce.

Lucy_Cake401193_10152668622110307_2008172_nI also must add a very Happy Birthday to Gal Pal L and Cake Delight: thank you for the invites, you’re all gorgeous girlies and I love you and your cakes! The gorgeous birthday cupcake above was crafted in the magical kitchen of Cake Delight (do check them out if you can guys, their frosting is to die for). It was actually during the birthday celebrations at the weekend that I had the good fortune to dine at Danilo’s in Hale. It’s a pizzeria trattoria and that rare combination of classy kitsch, where prawn cocktail is delivered with aplomb and tastes delicious. The food was divine. Their Linguine al Granchio (linguine sautéed with fresh white crab, cherry tomatoes and drizzled with chilli and lime olive oil) is the best I’ve tasted up north, whilst their pink Prosecco was the perfect complement to a wonderful dining experience. I’ve earmarked their Lobster Ravioli for next time, because I know I’ll be headed there soon. It’s the waiting staff who were the icing on the cake; efficient, knowledgeable and on the right side of cheeky, they made a great night into an awesome one.

Another restaurant which is real grower is Bella Italia. Now, I’m generally not a fan of franchises, but I’m starting to really really like Bolton’s Middlebrook branch. The food is surprisingly ‘unfranchisey’ (I know that’s not a proper word). I dined there with latent cynicism, ready to dish out mental strikes with what I expected to be average, nondescript fayre. And I was pleasantly surprised. Well shocked, because I wasn’t expecting to adore their Diavola calzone. It was a steaming hot pillowy parcel that enveloped pepperoni, chicken, red onion and mozzarella. The spicy Arrabbiata sauce was downright delicious, and I couldn’t help delve into it. Note to Bella Italia – my date must think I’m a totally greedy pig, as he watched me demolish my calzone. Thank you. 🙂

Their mains are seriously moreish, but don’t get me started on their desserts. Their Cookie Dough Lava Cake is heavenly. Really. I can’t help but crave their gooey, chewy, scrummy cookie and ice-cream concoction and cannot wait to pop in for my fortnightly visit this coming Sunday.

I also managed to do a bit more writing, discovered (and was blown away by) Reddit, and am currently fleshing out another really cool feature for the website. I promise to keep you posted when I finalise details. It’s looking to be another chocca week, as I cram in more writing, attend a buttercream class (bring on the frosting!) at Cake Delight amongst writing more reviews and general mayhem. Actually, whilst writing this, I think I’ll do a standalone post on the cake class which is due to take place on Thursday. OK, REALLY must dash. Have a smashing Tuesday guys!

Smooches, RAxx