Rudy’s – Ancoat, Manchester, UK

Rudy’s is a great Pizzeria in Manchester and the queues are always incredibly long. Luckily you can just put your name on a list with a rough estimated time wait and head across the street to Seven Brothers, a craft beer pub, to have some pre-dinner drinks while you wait to get a call from Rudy’s.

They have a huge pizza oven and its great watching them making their creations in there. Their pizza is Napoli- style with the gorgeous chewy but light dough, which I absolutely love!

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Campana Sharing platter
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Pizzas!

We shared some mixed olives and Campana to start – which we didn’t really “need” but we were just very hungry.

The boys all ordered the Calabrese which is smothered with Nduja and mozzarella and I had the Tarantina which is olives, anchovies, capers and mozzarella (usually called a Napolitan – one of my favourite pizzas).

The house red wine was lush, service was fab, great atmosphere and buzz, and it really does not break the bank.

All I can say is: Go.

http://rudyspizza.co.uk/menu.phtml

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El Rincon de Rafa – Deansgate, Manchester

I am not sure if you would know of El Rincon if you were not told about it by someone. It is really hidden away in the back streets in the center of Manchester, but surprisingly late in the evening on a Saturday, it was absolutely heaving with people. In fact we were really lucky to get a table there.

The restaurant was opened 22 years ago and has been in the same location ever since. The family-run restaurant was opened by ex-footballer Rafael Cabrera-Vargas, who can still be found running the show every day and family members can often be found behind the bar, in the kitchen, serving the tables.

These are the kinds of restaurants that I absolutely LOVE! Family-run, rustic, has a lot of history, passionate about their food, and they have a great vibe, not the commercial, frilly, over priced places and especially not chains.

We walked in and there was such a buzz in the restaurant. It was packed and the tables were all full so we got a seat on the bar until a table freed up for us.

The food was fab and we ordered quite a few bits on the menu.

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Jamon Serrano
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Queso Manchego
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Gambas Dos Salsas
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Chuletitas De Cordero
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Creme Caramel
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Almond Cake

Finished off with the desserts of the day which were light and gorgeous!

Definitely a great spot for a truly authentic, family run, rustic Spanish meal.

https://www.facebook.com/elrinconderafamanchester

The Drunken Duck Inn – The Lake District – Ambleside, Cumbria, UK

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Towards the end of last summer 2015 (yep a tad bit late I know) – Jack, Flex and I went up to the Lake District to visit the South Lakes for a day to explore as I had never been before.

Our first stop was Lake Winderemere where we sat by the lake and went for a walk. Next was Ambleside where we went to The Drunken Duck in for lunch (recommended by Jack’s mum).

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It is an inn that dates back to (apparently) the Victorian era and now also has a bar and restaurant with a lush yet cozy interior and an outdoor seating area that looks over the Lake District Fells.

As you walk into the bar there is a fire place that is burning away wood to keep the place warm and as you turn into the restaurant you pass a buffet of all the freshly made quiches, stews and salads that the chefs are making in front of you.

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We sat outside as it was a lovely sunny day.

I had the Lancashire cheese, red pepper and leek quiche with a mixture of all the salads and Jack went for the pork, chili and chickpea stew with a side of polenta. The food was delicious and full of flavour.

They have their own brewery to brew their own beers which have won awards!

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We then finished off the trip at Lake Coniston where we went for a long walk and finished off with a coffee by the lake.

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It was such a gorgeous day out!

Flex thoroughly enjoyed himself too – playing fetch on the large fields, swimming in the lakes and finding lots of choice of stones to put at our feet for us to throw for him. What a lad!

I definitely recommend The South Lakes and The Drunken Duck in. Perfect for a day out or to stay for a weekend.

http://drunkenduckinn.co.uk/

The Freemason’s Arms – Wiswell, Lancashire, UK

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It was Jack’s Grandma’s birthday recently and as they live up in Lancashire (and it was a birthday to celebrate), she chose a lovely gastropub called The Freemason’s Arms in Wiswell for a Birthday Sunday Lunch with the family.

From the moment we stepped out the car and walked up to the pub that was tucked away on a quaint little street, I warmed to it straight away. As the sun was out, we sat outside for a drink before we went in to choose from their interesting Sunday Lunch menu.20150816_142612
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IMG-20150823-WA0043Inside was cozy and decorated in a very old traditional British Pub style – with fox heads and stag heads, oil paintings, fire places and antique-looking dark wood furniture.

They brought us some bread, still fresh and warm from the oven. One was quite fluffy and made with herbs and olive oil and the other was more of a seeded rustic chewy bread loaf. Both was so good that I couldn’t help myself but eat them.
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IMG-20150823-WA0016For starters everyone had the cod except for Jack and his Granddad who had the pea soup.

The pea soup was so green under the cheese fondue. It had bits still which made it taste very rustic and freshly made. The fondue over the top gave the soup a little bit of an extra creaminess to it.

The cod came served on top of some very sweet melon with a slice of Iberica ham placed on the top of it all. The waitresses then came back around with some little see-through glass teapots with the broth of the ham which they poured over the top of it. Who would have thought that all these flavours would have married up so well together? But they did! With the smokiness of the ham and the sweetness of the melon together with the subtle flavoured fish – it was delicious.IMG-20150823-WA0015

 


IMG-20150823-WA0025For the mains everyone ordered the Aged Beef except for Jack’s Granddad who ordered the Organic Duck (what a rebel). I didn’t try the duck but it came very well presented. The duck looked very tender and with the Hong Kong twist of Pak Choi and XO Broth, I’m sure it tasted delicious.

The sirloin beef was cooked perfectly (still pink in the middle) and it came with lots of goodies as the trimmings. There were green beans and carrots (which weren’t soggy and still had a crunch), carrot puree (which added a little sweetness to the dish), mashed potatoes (extremely smooth and creamy like a puree), roast potatoes and a large yorkshire pudding (which were both perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside) – plus it also came with a side of cauliflower and cheese for everyone to share. I was very impressed.

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As you know, I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I chose the cheese for my third course. The board of 7 Lancashire cheeses came with a menu of all the cheeses on the board in order, a palette cleanser of what tasted like apple juice, a variety of crackers and bread, raspberry jam, syrup apricots and grapes. It was a delightful experience to try them all.

Everyone else had the Sticky Toffee pudding which, although I didn’t try any, I was told it tasted amazing. IMG-20150823-WA0042Patron Chef Steven Smith has created a Sunday Lunch menu has a modern twist to it which was absolutely divine and partnered with the quaint traditional British pub atmosphere and fine dining service, you can definitely understand why it has won numerous awards. A must try if you can!IMG-20150823-WA0028

http://www.freemasonsatwiswell.com/