Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Manchester Restaurant Review: Cabana


There's been so many new restaurants springing up in Manchester that I'm struggling to keep up; my 'must dine' list is becoming too long to comprehend.

One source of such new eateries is the recently renovated Corn Exchange - the grand old Edwardian building between Selfridges and the Printworks that you'd have been forgiven for bypassing prior to the big relaunch.

The focus for the Corn Exchange is definitely dining. With lots of new restaurants pitted around the grand central atrium inside, it's become a real hub for food and drink.

Itching to try some of the new restaurants there, I was delighted to be invited to test out Cabana, a laid back 'Brasilian Barbecue'-style venue.

Cabana Manchester Brasilian Barbecue
Manchester Corn Exchange Review
Cabana Brazilian Restaurant Review

Brazilian street party vibes are definitely the order of the day at Cabana. We visited in the evening and found that the dark interior lit up with eccentric neon signs and string lights gave the place a great ambiance, though admittedly we did feel a bit left out of the party being seated in the outer area of the restaurant - I'd definitely recommend waiting for a table inside!

We were promptly seen by friendly and helpful servers who were more than happy to offer their recommendations. We didn't need much time on the drinks after seeing that they served Sagres - a definite contender as one of our favourite lagers, much loved during quite possibly our favourite holiday to Portugal a few years ago.

Cabana Brazilian Manchester Street Food

On to the food. I decided to opt for Cabana's signature 'Malagueta Chicken', marinated chunks of chicken chargrilled with sweet peppers; I didn't regret my choice. The chicken was beautifully sticky and flavoursome, with a underlying spice which gave it just enough Brazilian kick.

Teamed with sweet potato fries (my favourite) and 'homeslaw', I also chose to supplement the dish with a side order of pitta from the streetfood/starter menu. Now this stuff is seriously good! The pitta was so pillowy and soft - if it wasn't made in house, it certainly fooled me. I wasn't sure what to expect of the chimichurri dip it came with but was pleasantly surprised. Really tasty with a distinct smokiness, it was the perfect soak for the hunks of pitta.

Chris decided on the rack of barbecue pork ribs, which were huge! The ribs would have easily been enough on their own, though come with a dish of the homeslaw too, and Chris also teamed them with a side of the cassava chips. Having never tried these before (neither had I), they were a bit of a gamble. We thought they were a bit lacking in seasoning but were great to dunk in Cabana's signature Malagueta sauce which was on the table, with the same great flavours as my chicken main.

Cabana Brazilian Manchester Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
Cabana Brazilian Raindrop Chocolate Nutella Doughnuts
Cabana Manchester Chocolate Cake Dessert

I have a huge sweet tooth so had been looking forward to the desserts all throughout the meal. We decided to get two different plates and share them. We went for the 'Nega Maluca' Brazilian chocolate cake and the 'Chocolate Raindrop' doughnuts. 

Warned that the doughnuts were very hot, we tucked into the cake - which was beautiful. With a rich chocolately taste and a dense, fudgey texture there was just enough here to happily share. The caramel sauce was an interesting but welcome accompaniment too.

The waiter wasn't kidding, the doughnuts were ridiculously hot! After learning my lesson the first time, we waited a little longer to tuck in. Once optimum temperature was reached, these were heaven. These fried doughnuts were filled with Nutella, with extra on the side for dipping. Washed down with Coconut 'Batida', made with cachaça and sweet condensed milk, my sweet tooth was satisfied. A perfect end to a tasty meal!

Cabana Restaurant Manchester Neon Sign Inside
Cabana Brazilian Restaurant Beer Sagres
Cabana Restaurant Manchester Corn Exchange inside

I'd definitely recommend Cabana for a tasty lunch while out shopping in Manchester or maybe a casual dinner date. I fell in love with all the interior finishing touches that give the restaurant wonderful personality. Next time I pop by I will head upstairs to the 'Caipirinha Bar' for sure, which has hammock seating!

Date night dressing can be tricky if it's just a casual affair and wearing a white shirt to a Brazilian Barbecue restaurant was definitely a risky decision but luckily I covered most of it with my super-versatile light waterfall blazer jacket from Luxemme.

My go-to evening piece of the moment, this is ideal for dressing up the simplest of outfits. Luxemme are one of the best sites I've found for higher-end looking high street.

Blogger Black Waterfall Jacket
Fashion Blogger Black Blazer

Star choker - ASOS
'K' Letter Chain - Vintage
White Shirt - Warehouse
Black Jacket - Luxemme*

 Have you got a fail-safe date night look?


Monday, 21 December 2015

#JLTAW15: Autumn/Winter Trends at John Lewis


I recently attended a great fashion show at my local John Lewis at Manchester's Trafford Centre.

We were treated to a glass of fizz and took our seats ready for the show. We were introduced to trends and seasonal looks chosen by the staff, presented with models of different ages with a new spin on how to wear the looks for each group.

A distinct 1970s style was present in many of the trend sets. Some of my favourite pieces were faux fur gilets, tops and dresses in shades of Wine, knee high suede boots and glam clutch bags - perfect for a Christmas party!

The local team did a brilliant job with the show and it was lovely to see real John Lewis ladies modelling! They even sent us home with a jam-packed goody bag. Some of my favourite products I found inside are below. I love the beautiful candle from Kew, subtly fragranced with citrus notes and the Burts Bees Almond Milk hand cream tester - which is so amazing that I'll definitely be ordering full size!

Admittedly, John Lewis is sometimes more of a walk-through store for me when visiting the Trafford Centre - but no more! The huge range of brands the store carries is staggering. I was surprised to find that JL stock some of my favourites like Kurt Geiger, French Connection, Miss Selfridge and All Saints.

I've put together a selection of my favourite current season pieces at JL, below.

John Lewis have been firmly in the limelight recently after launching their eagerly anticipated Christmas ad this year. I wasn't sure about it at first, it didn't seem to make much sense, though after I learned that the retailer teamed up with Age UK on the ad to raise awareness of the loneliness that elderly people often feel at this time of year, it gave it much more impact.

Love it or hate it, it's definitely been a talking point this year!

What's your favourite Christmas ad this year?

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