Is it possible to drink yourself sober?

‘Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk’ – Tom Waits

It’s no secret that I enjoy a glass bottle of wine or two on a weekend so I believe I’m able to speak with some authority when it comes to being drunk. I’m afraid to say as well that I’m probably one of those annoying drunks who speaks too loud, has an opinion on everything, exposes everyone’s secrets then ends the night crying.

20160227_165357Who doesn’t love being in the pub at 2pm?!

My absolute favourite type of drinking is daytime drinking. Having a glass of wine with lunch in a pub on a Saturday (or Sunday if you’re not at work the next day) afternoon is the stuff dreams are made of. Of course that glass of wine with lunch inevitably leads to a few post drinks and before you know it it’s 5pm and you’re eyeballs deep in a session! So in my vast experience in all different types of drinking, it occurred to last Christmas day when we were cracking over the 6th bottle of wine (there were 10 of us!) is it actually possible to drink yourself sober?

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First, in true L’Oreal style, here comes the science bit so concentrate…It takes your liver approximately 1 hour to metabolise 1 unit of alcohol so technically if you drink less than 1 unit an hour you’ll never really be drunk (and where’s the fun in that?) so if you drank 5 pints it would take you 15 hours to fully sober up. In short, no, it is not medically possible to drink yourself sober.

We/I turn to alcohol for almost everything, if I’m celebrating, commiserating, bored, tired, can’t sleep, hungry, the list goes on. And we have quite a unique drinking culture in the UK as well, daytime and binge drinking are perfectly acceptable ways of passing the time (I’m not saying it’s a productive way to spend your time; it’s just acceptable). Every time I see my American friend Meagan and we open a bottle of wine she’ll inevitably end up saying something like ‘you’re so tiny but you can drink so much!’

I am of the belief that the longer period of time you’re drinking over, the more you pace yourself therefore the less drunk you feel. For me, it’s the Christmas day effect. We start drinking (albeit very slowly with a bucks fizz at about 11am) and continue through until perhaps midnight/1am. But because you don’t have as much of a time limit as you do when you’re just out for the evening, there’s no real rush and you’re just nicely keeping the alcohol levels steadily topped up thus giving your liver chance to metabolise it a bit better. As such I usually crawl into bed on Christmas night full of turkey and bubbles and bash out a solid 11 hour sleep.

Enjoying the all inclusive lifestyle back in January

We’ve also been on a few all inclusive holidays over the last few years and whilst we’ll no doubt have put away an obscene amount of units each day, I very rarely have hangovers on holiday because it’s nicely paced out throughout the day and when you can have whatever you want whenever you want, there isn’t the rush to get absolutely piss eyed. As with Christmas, you learn very quickly what’s appropriate to drunk when for example, bucks fizz, mimosa or bloody mary; very much a breakfast drink, after 1pm pretty much anything goes then you have your whiskeys and your baileys for the strasse.

This is all very tongue in cheek and I’m of course not trying to advocate excessively unhealthy lifetsyles. I try my best wherever possible to stay fit and healthy by going to the gym regularly, eating sensibly and almost never drink 5 days out of the week unless it’s a really special occasion. I just find it interesting that after I’ve been drinking slowly throughout the day have zero hangover the next morning whereas a few too many glasses on a Friday night because I’ve had a busy week at work and the Beer Monkey* has absolutely paid a visit and opened up the gates of hangover hell.

*Beer Monkey – n. Mythical Simian like creature that magically appears during the middle of the night to ruffle your hair, crap in your mouth and steal your money while you sleep. Often visits after you’ve been out on a heavy Friday or Saturday night and is known to favour between 3-4am whilst you’re totally wankered.

Elliott’s Kitchen, Wylam

‘I like to be able to sit in a cafe and watch the world go by and observe people’ – Sophia Myles

There’s a lot of negativity on the world at the moment. Even on Facebook and instagram there’s people eye rolling at their so called friends who are at the gym or posting their slimming world meals. There doesn’t seem to be much bigging each other up anymore.

So let me buck the trend and take a moment to gush about our amazing friends Jill and Phil Elliott who after what feels like years of near misses have finally fulfilled their dream of owning their own cafe. And what a cafe it is.

Jill and I have been close friends for over 15 years when we worked as barmaids together at our local pub in Cramlington (she taught me everything I know about alcohol). She married professional chef (and all round lovely bloke) Phil is 2009 and they’ve been great friends to us ever since.

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Elliotts Kitchen on Main Street in Wylam is everything you’d want in a cafe and more. In fact to just call it a cafe is doing the a disservice. Phil has honed all his years in the professional catering industry to create a fantastic gastro cafe serving not only your regular coffees and traybakes but ever changing lunchtime specials like quiches and runny scotch eggs. All freshly made on the premises with local produce.

We visited at about 2.15pm on a Saturday and it was just nicely busy after the lunchtime rush, enough people in to create an atmosphere but even free tables to get a good seat. The decor inside is minimalist but classy, big windows letting the sun stream in and light wooden furniture and fittings.

We only went for coffee and cake; a latte (made with Italian coffee) and slice of rocky road for me and a pot of Earl Grey and a date scone for Dave. Both treats were a decent size (there’s nowt more frustrating that a small scone) the rocky road was stuffed with fluffy marshmallows and not to over powering with sickly chocolate, so you don’t have to worry about your kids bouncing off the walls after a slice. Two drinks and two sweets came to around £8, which isn’t unreasonable, particularly for Wylam.

We didn’t stay for lunch, although judging by the smells from the kitchen perhaps we should have! Their manu changes regularly if not daily and an example of some things they’ve had on recently are spiced parsnip soup, aberdeen angus shepherds pie topped with swede & potato mash, beef onepot served with onion bread & parsley dumpling and stilton and mushroom tarlets. Not to mention sandwiches and a different cake of the day.

Of course it’s easy for me to be bias, they’re my mates after all, however to be honest I think that just means I’d be more brutally honest if i didn’t think they were quite up to scratch (or at the very least just not say anything at all!) but I honestly honestly am super impressed and proud, not only in the hard work and sacrifice Jill and Phil have made but in the genuine quality of the food and the menu.

If you want a boring croque monsieur then go to Cafe Rouge. If you want quality, locally produced homemade food with a quirky twist. Go to Eilliott’s Kitchen!

Address: Main Road, Wylam, Northumberland NE41 8AQ
Phone: 01661 852422
Facebook: Elliott’s Kitchen
Twitter: @foodmatters07

 

Review: Rub Smokehouse & Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne

‘Ribs are a spiritual experience for me’ – Bill Rancic

Along with all the million other reasons why Newcastle is so great, that fact that the city now has more dining options than I’ve had marmite sandwiches these days warms my little blonde heart because I love my food.

We have programmes like Man v Food to thank for the latest injection of meaty, bbqy smoky emporiums, 3 adjectives that happen to be what I look for most in a restaurant so it was never going to be long before we tried out Rub Smokehouse & Bar which has just opened up where ASK used to be in the Gate.

I’m not sure how many branches you need to have to be classed as a chain but Rub in Newcastle is the 3rd branch to open in the UK (the other two being in Nottingham and  Birmingham) and in a city that 5 years ago used to be overrun with red & white table clothed Italian Restaurants, they’re a welcome addition in my eyes. We decided to pay a visit on a Friday evening with my brother and sister-in-law, and more importantly fellow food connoisseurs, to get our Rub on.

Thanks for Katie from ladyfromatramp for letting me use her interior pics

From walking past a week or so before I knew it was brightly lit with a half diner, half 50’s malt shop kind of vibe. We’d reserved a table however needed have as the restaurant was only half full (it’s worth noting that it’s a very big establishment so would take quite a few bums on seats to be full) there were enough people to have a nice atmosphere. We ordered drinks straight away, pints for the boys, a pint of diet coke for me (i tend to prefer not to drink booze when I’m eating – need to savour the experience) and Ice Tea for Ruth which was bottomless (a popular concept with me!).

The menu is pretty extensive, it’s certainly a meat lovers dream and there’s plenty of different options to choose from whether it be a burger, a steak, a rack of ribs, a bowl of chili or a mammoth gargantuan Man v Food style eating challenge (which ins you a t-shirt if you are able to complete). If you did want to try and be healthy they do have salad options but are steep at between £8 and £12. We decided to share a starter so we could have a taste of everything; onion rings, cracklin, pulled pork nachos and loaded potato skins and rather conveniently there was 4 of everything which avoided any forks in the back of hands.

Mains we had a bit more eclectic. Dave and I both opted for sandwiches; BBQ Chicken Roll for him and the Kansas City Roll (which contains burnt ends – the meaty ends of beef brisket) for me, Ruth went for the mixed bean chili and Gary upped the ante with the brisket basket with a side of corn on the cob and some burnt ends.

On paper, it all looked amazing but in reality sadly everything fell a bit short for me. We waited almost an hour between starter and main course, even though as mentioned the restaurant was half full and there seemed to be staff hanging around with little to do a lot of the time. By the time the mains did arrive I’d almost gone past the point of hunger and the compilation of the greatest hits of the 80’s they were pumping out two notches too loud was starting to grate on me.

My sandwich was tasty enough, the meat was tender and succulent however was completely doused in their signature BBQ sauce to the point of being sickly. Ruth’s chili had a nice spicy kick to it but the beans were claggy with a weird texture. Worse offering had to be however Dave’s chicken sandwich which was essentially just a chicken mayo roll with a side of chips; completely underwhelming. Although our resident dustbin was perfectly content with his brisket and all the trimmings so at least that was a success.

Whilst the dessert menu looked like it could have been Rub’s opportunity to redeem it’s self, we’d been sat down listening to Bonnie Tyler for at least 45 minutes too long and were ready for our beds.

It’s a shame really. I really wanted to love this place, but everything was just OK nothing blew me away. I must point out that despite the food being slow the staff were excellent and attentive; the problem seems to be in the kitchen rather than the actual service. Rub have still got some work to do if they want to compete with ready established more local places like Longhorns and Hop and Cleaver offering a similar fayre they really can’t afford to be having teething problems.

Kingslodge Hotel – Durham

‘I love the traveling and the hotels and just seeing the world over and over again’ – Ronald Isley

Despite it being right on our doorstep; only 40 minutes by metro/train and half an hour by car, Durham isn’t somewhere we visit all that often. Which is a shame because because who live or went to uni there seem bed wettingly passionate about it. We needed a bit of post holiday merriment after a mild case of food poisoning so decended of the land of Prince Bishops for the day.

We always love a good pub crawl so planned out a route based on Internet recommendations and non chain related pubs (a more detailed break down of the day coming soon) but one thing that set this one apart from ones we’ve done in the past is that we were booked to stay over at the wonderful Kingslodge Hotel on Waddington Street at the end of the crawl.

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We’d visited the Kingslodge back in June where we sampled their delicious evening meal menu so we were so excited about being back and trying the rooms out.

The whole bar and restaurant area has been recently refurbished and they are in the process of doing a phased refurb of the 23 on site rooms. Our room had clearly recently had a makeover and it was gorgeous. The tartan fixtures and autumnal colour scheme gives it a real ‘New England in the fall’ Lodge type feel and compliments the similar decor that you find in the bar.

There’s a huge comfy sofa to put your feet up for 5 minutes and enjoy a cuppa using the in room facilities (Ringtons tea, coffee and biscuits no less which is a brilliant touch, I’m such a huge fan). It’s rare in rooms to actually have somewhere to sit rather than be perched on the bed all the time. The flat screen TV on mounted on the wall at the foot of the bed was modern and unintrusive, not that you’re likely to be spending your whole time watching TV but it’s always nice not to have a massive clunky prehistoric set that’s just going to sit there taking up space and gathering dust.

The bathroom is also lovely and spacious (being on the ground floor our room had full disabled access) with large bath with overhead shower. Room.also comes with an iron, hair drier (I ALWAYS forget my hair drier) and there’s free WiFi throughout the hotel, bar and restaurant.

We usually just bundle ourselves off into an uber after a day on the grape juice but having somewhere to officially end was a real highlight of the day. The Kingslodge is only a 5 minute walk from the centre of town and when you get there feels like a real calm oasis away for the craziness of Durham centre on a Saturday night.

Although we’d been on the go since 12.30pm we couldn’t resist settling in the bar for a couple of nightcaps and the temptation to treat ourselves to some delicious desserts from the food menu was too much room resist. My warm chocolate brownie with ice cream was absolutely heavenly and Dave’s Cheeseboard was one of the biggest I’ve ever seen; 4 very generous wedges of Northumberland cheeses with water biscuits, chutney and grapes. As the pub is dog friendly it added to the cosy feel having lots of four legged friends snoozing happily at our feet. Like them we crawled into our soft king-size bed very full and very happy!

Breakfast is included in all room rates and all hot food is cooked to order (off the ordinary menu which is available to non hotel guests too). There’s a self serve station of cereal, yogurt and toast should you want something a little lighter.

Throughout our stay service was excellent, nothing was too much trouble and when we checked in I overheard a member of staff  giving directions to points of interest in the city which is really useful for people who may have come from further afield. 

If I were to have my hand forced to make any criticism at all it would be the that floorboards above our room were slightly creaky and could hear people moving around in the morning however they do have plans to renew all the upstairs rooms as well so imagine this won’t always be an issue and it it’s not like it was at 4 in the morning or anything!

If you ever find yourself out and about in Durham, make sure you add the Kingslodge to your itinerary, for the brownie and cheese if nothing else!

Contact details:

Address: Waddington St, Flass Vale, Durham DH1 4BG

Phone: 0191 370 9977

 

Website: www.kingslodgeinn.co.uk

Twitter: @Kingslodgeinn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheKingslodgeInn/

Rooms start from £95 per night.

Our stay was complimentary however all views are my own.

Beer Tasting at Brewdog with Living Social

‘Hooray for beer, I’m really glad you’re here’ – Bowling for Soup

I’ve already mentioned before that one of the lies I told Dave to get him to like me when we first got together was that I liked beer. This was in the early 00’s when ladette culture was still prevalent and I wanted him to think I was a proper geezer bird. At the time, nothing could have been further from the truth, I mean, I could force down half a Fosters with lime if  I had to but that’s where my affinity with beer ended. Over time though, thanks to what I fondly like to call ‘chick beers’ like Desperados and Cubanisto I can easily sink a few pints on a night out before I go back onto the Prosecco. I’m such a laaad!

Ever ones to try something a bit different and broaden our horizons yet still live within the constraints of two NHS salaries we decided to get a Living Social voucher for a beer tasting afternoon at hipster joint du jour Brewdog in Newcastle. After all is was only £19.99 for two people  (only available weekdays or Sundays) and old Einstein Newman over here had the brilliant idea of booking it on a Sunday of a bank holiday weekend – I’m nothing short of a genius. How bad could it be?

Well as it turned out, not bad at all. In fact, as such a lover of the old grape juice, they were going to have their work cut out for them in converting me but the whole experience was very pleasant indeed.

We were met by barman Ben who was going to take us (and abut 8 others) through the different beers. He spoke enthusiastically about the company and although he said it was the boring bit, I actually enjoyed learning about how they were started by someone who hated his job and an accountant or solicitor or something like that and wanted to do something he was passionate about instead – stories like that make me believe anything is possible – even converting me to liking beer!

One point (before we get onto the beer) I found particularly interesting was when Ben said that Newcastle City Council were against them opening in the City due to fears it further encouraged binge drinking culture. This resonated with me as one of the very first blog posts I ever tried to write was a top 10 of Newcastle’s happy hours, until I learnt that bars aren’t allowed to advertise their happy hours (and ‘press’ like me are discouraged from writing about them) for that very same reason. Who knew that Brew Dog and I had so much in common?

Anyway on to the good stuff. We tried 5 in total and just got shy of half a pint each time (which at about £4.50 a pint at the bar seemed like a pretty reasonable deal considering what we paid for the voucher). We were talked through each craft beer (which is different to real ale FYI – craft beer doesn’t have live yeast in it) how it was made, how popular it was and what smells and flavours we were supposed to be able to detect in each glass.

First up was the most popular Punk IPA – this is the stuff you’ll see in supermarkets (and I think they even sell it in Wetherspoons?) It was probably my favourite to be honest, it tastes the most like a good lager, a very ‘Sunday afternoon in a beer garden’ type of drink. Next was King Pin and 5am Saint which were both much of a muchness to me sadly. I mean, they were nice, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think my pallet is mature enough to tatse the subtle differences between each one and it all just tasted like ‘beer’ to me. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just couldn’t really tell the difference all that much – I happy sat and drank them though, very happily.

 

On each table there was also glasses of hops and barley to have a look at, sniff and even taste (only the Barley though, you don’t want to be eating hops – one of which was so malty it tasted exactly like Marmite, and I was in heaven)

After the third beer we were treated to a lovely spread of meats and cheeses to cleanse the pallet a little bit. I was very pleased to note that it was exactly the same board I’d seen going out to regular paying customers – so us voucher fwends weren’t getting a bum deal when it came to the scran.

‘After dinner’  or at least ‘post food’ we were treated to the last two beers, Jet Black Heart which was very Guinness like, very thick and heavy, almost chocolatey. I have to say the tasting of it I had I really enjoyed, it worked well after food as it felt very much like a desert, i’m not sure I’d be able to drink a pint of it though. Then finally the final beer The Hardcore IPA, named as such because it’s 9% (which, fact fans, is the minimum percentage of wine I’ll drink) and betchabygollywow did it have a kick to it. It was probably my second favourite after the Punk IPA to honest, perhaps that’s because it was another IPA or perhaps it’s because it was the closest percentage to wine, I’ll let you be the judge.

All in all it was a very fun bank holiday afternoon with the hubby, drinking beer, eating cheese and chatting to some different folk we would never normally get the opportunity to meet. Special mention must go to Ben who lead us through everything. Having someone passionate about what they’re talking about is half the battle and he really sold all the beers to us without ‘selling’ the beers to us. If that makes sense?

There’s always a worry with a Living Social voucher that you’re getting something a little sub-par, that’s not really on offer to the general public and it leaves you feeling a little cheated. Well I left feeling a little buzzed, but also like I’d learnt something, which is worth £20 of anyone’s money. I’ll be completely honest I’m not entirely sure it would be full value at full price (£52) and I’m also not sure who, other than a stag do perhaps, might buy such a thing. However if you ever see it pop up as an offer somewhere, there are worse places you can spend a Sunday afternoon for your money.

My only regret is I didn’t half inch one of the glasses when no one was looking – they were really cool!

 

 

 

Bottomless Prosecco at Newcastle’s No28

‘It is the hour to be drunken! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk’ – Charles Baudelaire

My hubby and I have a short history with bottomless drink offers. When we were in Vegas in 2009 we took advantage of the bottomless martinis from 4pm-8pm in the bar in our hotel thinking we would pre load before going to dinner. Needless to say I almost got into a physical fight with a 40 year old with a face like  a 70 year old who tried to pinch my bar stool and had a serious and vocal rant about Jesse McCartney’s blatant wish to become Justin Timberlake before both passing out in out beds and waking up the next morning having lost a night of out holiday. Good times!

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Having learnt a valuable lesson that day (namely that drinking hard spirits at 4 in the afternoon will get me thoroughly kippered) and being  ever so slightly more sensible these days, we were pretty excited when we found out one of our favourite bars in Newcastle, No28 had introduced the concept of bottomless prosecco on a Saturday afternoon. Quaffing prosecco in Newcastle is way classier than getting piss-eyed in Vegas anyway. Besides, Dave had just done his latest running triumph and completed a 100K race the weekend previous, our super clever nephew graduated from Leeds University with a First and I, well I was just pleased to approaching my 34th birthday without having severely injured myself or anyone around me. We were celebrating!

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The deal is 2 tapas dishes each, from a wide selection on offer and free flowing, unlimited prosecco, served every Saturday between 12-5pm. Reservations are essential so we made sure we arrived bang on time at 1pm. On arrival we were shown straight to our table and offered our first glass.

So here’s the scoop. The deal is available 12-5pm and you have 2 hours o enjoy your bottomless drinks. Due to Newcastle City Council licensing laws I must point out that management reserve the right to refuse or withdraw service to anyone they deem too intoxicated, so basically as long as you’re not a knob about it, the booze will flow as long as you’re in an appropriate state to accept it.

After your first glass you’re given the rest of the bottle to finish off, which is nice, as in my experience the first glass doesn’t even touch the sides, so asking for a top up after approximately 5 minutes would just be awkward for everyone. Choosing off the food menu was difficult, it all sounded amazing. You hear tapas and you automatically think patatas bravas, however the menu at No28 has an Asian persuasion to it meaning it all sounded like nothing I’ve tasted before, and I wanted it all. On the recommendation of Iain, the general manager Dave went for the roast pork dumplings and the risotto arracini (kind of like deep fried cheesy risotto balls) and I had the chicken won tons and chilli beef nachos.

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The food was nothing short of exceptional. The spanish/thai fushion makes for a refreshing change when they could easily offer chunky chips and onion rings like everywhere else. The tapas style really fits with the cool quirky ambiance of the bar; real social sharing food that makes you want to drink more and talk louder. The roast pork dumplings were a particular Newman favourite, not gloopy or oil and jam packed with meat and flavour. Everything had the right amount of spice in too; spicy enough to taste and not too spicy that it’s over powering. Portion wise, it was just the right amount for an afternoon snack, the last thing you want is to be too full to fit in any more Prosecco.

I’m often wary about drinks offers like these as it sometimes smacks of somewhere that’s gotten hold of a load of ropy booze and are selling it off on the cheap but the Prosecco was really good quality, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s not the same quality that’s offered to all. Staff were friendly and attentive and after out first bottle kept us topped up whenever we needed it, although they say to go to the bar when you want some more, we never needed to as there always seemed to be someone walking around waiting to refresh you.

 

Of course deals like this always depend on how much you drink, If you’re a one glass wonder then it’s probably not the offer for you, however for a seasoned prosecco drinker like me, I certainly felt like we got our £20 worth, the food itself would have come to £16 had we ordered separately. As fair as I’m concerned it’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon with your other half or as a respite from an afternoon shopping with the girls. I’ve always loved No28 as it offers a classier more cosmopolitan feel than the many swanky hipster bars and Wetherspoons that Newcastle has to offer and now they have bottomless prosecco?! Well, that’s a sure fire way to win my heart for life.

Bottomless prosecco is available by reservation only. Call 0191 447 5590 to book

This has been a collaborative post but all views are my own. 

 

Kaspas vs Creams

‘Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table’ – William Powell

For years I always maintained that I was savoury over sweet, give me some chips and dip or a cheeseboard over a pudding any day. However I think over recent years; mainly thanks to the acceptance of American style cupcakes in the UK, deserts have upped their game, and I now have a very very sweet tooth.

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Desert emporiums Kaspas and Creams have been in Newcastle and on my radar for a while, Kaspas first on the bottom of Clayton Street then Creams shortly after in the Bigg Market. So similar in style were they that it made me wonder if they were in fact just the same company in two locations, however some brief research showed that the co-creator of Creams which originated in Lewisham in London fell out with the other owner and branched out on his own creating the very similar (yet different) Kaspas. Kind of like the Left Twix/Right Twix situation.

So since these places seemed so similar on the outside, and were practically on my doorstep I thought I’d drag my friends along (I have the best friends) to give both a whirl and find out once and for all which is better? Kaspas or Creams, there’s only one way to find out….

CREAMS

Visited: Saturday 7th May 2016
Tasting Partners: Ang, Dave G & John

Our plans were scuppered ever so slightly as wed actually planned to visit Kaspas first, determined, very fairly by a game of rock, paper, scissors, but when we talked past the queue for Kaspas was a mile out the door. We had made a plendge to queue whatever the circumstances but just out of curiosity, before we joined the pre-teen lineup, we walked up to Creams to see what the situation was up there and would simply join the shortest queue.

Rather amazingly there was no queue for Creams at all despite it’s better more central location. However we took full advantage of this and got seated in a cosy booth straight away.

We ordered:

Ang: Coffee Affogato ( hote expresso plus fresh vanilla ice cream, coffee sauce with chocolate sprinkles ontop)
Dave: The Great Knickerbocker Glory (Chopped fruit served with scoops of strawberry and chocolate ice cream topped with fresh vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled in luxary strawberry syrup)
Helen: Choc fudge hot & cold volcano (steaming hot chocolate fudge cake combined with cold vanilla ice cream, hot toffee syrup  and milk choc shavings
John: Millionaires Chocolate & Fudge Cheesecake

Verdict:

In all seriousness, what’s not to like? Prices are great and menu is varied. I almost wished I’d ordered one of the waffles, 1. because I’m an absolute Nutella fiend and 2. because they looked bloody huge!  Price wise it averaged at a fiver for a desert which i think compared to most restaurants is reasonable considering the choice. Service was quick and staff were friendly. I personally wolfed down my Sundae with gusto, which was made with ‘Mr Whippy’ vanilla ice cream rather than hard, scoop serve style, and the hot fudge was satisfactorily warm, if i were to criticise it would be for £5.95 it could have been a little bigger (although that could just be the fat lass in me) but tatse wise I couldn’t complain. I also had a taste of John’s cheesecake and Ang’s Sundae, both of which were yummy.

I have a theory that i’m not naughty with food often,but when i am eating the wrong things, I want to do it right. So if I am going to allow myself a naughty sundae I want it to be the naughtiest of naughty with all high end ingredients, no corners cut and that was definitely the case at Creams. The chocolate was sufficiently chocolately, the ice cream was, in all it’s full fat glory, lovely and creamy. I didn’t feel like my cheat day had been in vain that’s for sure! Creams was definitely going to take some beating!

KASPAS

Visited: Sunday 8th June 2016
Tasting partners: Carrie, Emma & John

We ordered:

Carrie: Cherry & Coconut ice cream with strawberries and banana
Emma:
Strawberry & Coconut Ice cream with banana and strawberry
Helen:
Hot Fudge Sundae (A delightful combination of warm Fudge pieces, Chocolate, fresh Vanilla Ice cream, and Belgian Chocolate sauce)
John: Knickerblocker Glory (Chopped fruit served with scoops of Strawberry and Chocolate, topped with fresh Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and drizzled with luxury Strawberry syrup)

Verdict:

Although it was Sunday and we didn’t have to queue (yay!) I was still surprised at how full of tweenagers it was, which I’ll admit put me off a little, their million decibel shrieks every 20 seconds was messing with my chi; a peaceful Sunday afternoon Sundae with my friends this wasn’t going to be. Nevertheless we were just pleased to have a seat and had planned to get our sugar fix as quickly as possible before retreating to the pub; where the adults live.

In the name of fairness and comparison I had a second hot hot sundae, dubious at the fact that it was what looked on paper the same thing as at Cream but a pound more expensive. It was after my first mouthful that I realised what all those people had be queuing for the day previously. Whilst it was a pound more expensive it was without a doubt more than a pound better. It was bigger for a start and there was more fudge pieces inside. It’s hard to put your finger on the other differences, and although the ice cream and all the other tit bids were the same, it was just all round better, the fudge was fudigier, the soft serve ice cream was smoother – it just tasted better.

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Carrie and Emma were being relatively good and took advantage of their create your own option with scoops of ice cream and fruit of their choosing. So it’s refreshing to know that even if you are counting points or syns you can still come out for a treat.

THE RESULT:

It’s hard because from the menus down to decor these places are amazingly similar, it’s difficult to hold one up against the other. I hate queuing for anything, so the fact that you can walk into Creams on a busy Saturday afternoon and get your sugar fix almost instantly is a huge plus for me, however Kaspas hot fudge sundae was far superior in size and taste, even for the £1 extra

There really is very little in it to be honest, I think if I could have the ambiance, location, staff and price of Creams but the physical product of Kaspas it would be my ideal desert place.

What I do know is these places are on to a winner in my eyes. I’s a huge pet hate of mine when restaurants charge you £6 for a slice of fudge cake they’ve gotten from Costco, I would much rather spend my hard earned sugar pennies in a place like Kaspas or Creams – at least then I know I’m getting something decent for my dough.