Saturday, 9 December 2017

Winter Menu at the Olive Tree Brasserie, Preston.

We had a fabulous lunch last Sunday at the Olive Tree Brasserie in Preston, wonderful food and great service. The brasserie serves Modern Greek inspired food in a fabulous setting, the interiors are particularly special, especially at night.

Modern Greek food, served in  a contemporary setting in the fabulous Grade 1 listed Victorian shopping arcade in the heart of the city, we just had to indulge in some exterior shots of the Miller Arcade as it wonderful and this is where you will find the Olive Tree in Preston.

The Olive Tree also has branches (see what I did there) in Lytham St Annes and Chester too.

More detail indulgence of the Miller Arcade before we get on with our review. Its just so beautiful and is currently seriously under used. The upper floors are magnificent.

On escaping from a cold blustery wintery Preston in to the warm brasserie we just knew we were in for a treat, the Christmas decorations were tasteful and complemented the contemporary decor, it was quiet when we arrived but we were early and that's great for us as we can take a few interior shots without disturbing other diners. Things soon got busier as other diners joined us to eat lunch.

Lots of  urban chic decor, dark wood, funky lighting and lots of glassware, cool and contemporary are what you can expect. Classy without trying too hard.

The menu is extensive whether for food, wine or cocktails and has something for everyone and helpfully includes translation of the Greek terms used so you can be confident of your choices. The cellar of the Olive Tree is also a cocktail bar called Elia which is open in the evenings. As we visited for lunch I can't comment on this but have friends who have partaken and they love the bar area, its also handy for a pre dinner drink too.

This is my mocktail (as the designated driver) an Earl Grey Iced tea - it was very tasty and refreshing but could maybe have been a little colder,it had a good earl grey tea flavour and contained peach puree, lemon juice and sugar.

On the waiters recommendation we chose an appetizer of Greek marinated green and black olives, mild green chillies and ciabatta to have whilst our food was cooked for us, the olives were great. We both love olives, I particularly enjoyed the black ones. Also pictured in this shot is Mr LF's Fine and Dandy Cocktail but more of that later.

For one of our starters we  ordered Marida, whitebait and aioli with a beautifully dressed lambs lettuce salad. A delicious start to the meal, crispy and light, the portion size was very good and well complemented with the aioli, to cut the richness of the fish.

Our other starter was Manitaria Skordata, roast mushrooms, cream and garlic served with toasted ciabatta. This dish was very popular with Mr LF who loved the creamy garlicky sauce and the dinky little pallets that they used for serving the dish on.

I chose a Classic Greek Moussaka as my main, this the second best Moussaka I've eaten and the best was in a beachside taverna in small fishing village on the West coast of Mainland Greece about 25 years ago whilst on holiday, eaten in blistering August heat, so pretty stiff competition to any dish served in a wintery Preston. This version had potatoes, courgettes, aubergines and a rich beef mince in tomato sauce and a creamy bechamel sauce, maybe if it had been lamb it might have been number one, who knows....

A shot of the wine cages in the cellar

Now that Fine and Dandy cocktail

Fine and dandy cocktail - Havana 3 year old, Havana Especial, Dandelion and Burdock syrup, Dandelion and Burdock bitters, lime juice and whites. A taste revelation and very much enjoyed by Mr LF who loves the traditional flavours of Dandelion and Burdock and he also loved that his cocktail was served in a heavy crystal glass, very masculine.

Mr LF's main was Lavraki - two  pan fried sea bass fillets, accompanied by a feta potato cake herby, perhaps a little too herby in this case, a delicious sweety silky parsnip skordalia (garlic and parsnip puree)and lots  kolokithakia (courgette fries). Overall very tasty just slightly let down by a heavy hand with the thyme in the potato cake.

So now it was time for pudding, our waiter informed us that two of the options were unavailable as they had sold out of the Saturday night. But we still had plenty of choice, Mr LF has loved Turkish Delight since he was a child so was happy to order the Loukomia - sugar coated Turkish Delight, the menu promised some with a chocolate coating, so we were a little disappointed as was looking forward to trying this classic flavour combination when they didn't appear in the dish when served.

Our other choice was the Sokolata tahini brownie, with haynoto syrup (Greek liqueur) and deliciously creamy hazelnut ice cream. So a rich dense nutty chocolate brownie with tahini, boozy syrup and ice cream. Very scrummy and a very large piece, so much so that we had to take away some of the Loukomia as we couldn't finish it all.

All in all, we had a great time and the food was very very good, going Greek for a change was good fun. The Olive Tree also have a good lunchtime offering of a limited menu for a bargain price and even a Greek Roast on Sundays too. So check out their website and book yourself a table.

We dined on a complementary basis after being invited to give a review, all thoughts, views, opinions are our own. We were not expected to give a positive review.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Seasonal Favourites at Twin Lakes Velo Cafe, Croston

There is a definite nip in the air now and things are starting to feel a little Christmassy so for our last Clandestine Cake Club outing we made a welcome return visit to the Twin Lakes Velo Cafe in Croston. The Cafe is aimed at cyclists but everyone is welcome including hardy cake fans like our members. Our theme was Seasonal favourites and once again we had some great cakes enjoy with a warming brew.

The cafe is a hidden gem with two gorgeous lakes outside which create a wonderful calming view,  the cafe is cosy inside and serves a great range of food and drinks. Thanks to all the team for hosting our event.

Tea and cake, what more can one want, Gluten free Ginger Zinger cake.

White chocolate and cranberry cake

Gluten free Clementine, almond and pomegranate cake 

Gluten Free Ginger zinger cake

Astrids festive no bake cake

Pear and mincemeat cake 

Apple and Mincemeat cake

We also had an alternative christmas bundt cake but I didn't get a picture sorry Helen.

Some of our members enjoying a chat and a great range of cakes

Smiling faces enjoying the treats we have to share, thats what cake club is all about.

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