Hello Again, Bottlecraft

Sean Dissington || July 21st

Independent businesses are funny things, you're essentially buying the owners and the staff rather than the product. After all, there are supermarkets and online stores that sell a wide selection of craft ales and beers and many at very low prices – so why would you go to a bottle shop in Hanley when Tesco can step on the balls of suppliers so well?

It's not to collect miniature Tom, Amo and Chris characters with every purchase (although that idea is as marvellous as it is dreadful, over to you internet), and it's not just because there's more to value than price, it's because of the love of it. You do it because there are people who love what you love, and they show their love of it every day. BottleCraft on Marsh street was where I discovered many delicious new drinks, a love of sours, and people i'd never have met otherwise and for that I'm eternally grateful.

But this is supposed to be review of BottleCraft 2.0 so I'll crack on. It's now on 33 Piccadilly, has a large upstairs seating area and a wider tap range. It's bigger, has a (purposefully) limited spirits menu and a small but well chosen selection of wines. No longer will wine drinkers have to endure the glass sized bottles that used to reign, you can now get a perfectly drinkable Sauvignon or Shiraz if you're that way inclined. You can even get (their words) shit tea and coffee too!

On the subject of prices, they are still tremendously low, £20 will take you on a wonderful tour of tastes and styles and leave you cursing the last one that you had. It amazes me that the drinks don't cost more, but BottleCraft's crowd drink to explore and Chris and Amo feel a duty to offer their customers the best prices they can, and who am I to argue with that?

So the shop is new, its existence is the very proof of their success and that the idea they had of great drinks and a friendly atmosphere has hit home with drinkers in Hanley. Hopefully the new shop will expose more drinkers to the joys of small batch limited run drinks. One thing that I can guarantee wont change is that new things will be tried, friendships forged and that 11% DIPA lamented the next day. BottleCraft is starting to etch itself into the make-up of Hanley, and that's a great thing.

I spoke to BottleCraft Chris today (all of the team have now had their names prefixed by BottleCraft by deed poll) and he told me that he, Tom and Amo had sworn that the first man to mention BottleCraft 3.0 would receive many a punch. I give it a year.

LOCAL CRAFT ALE FAVOURITE BOTTLECRAFT SET FOR EXPANSION

Bethan Shuff

Bottlecraft Is Expanding

One evening, three friends got together over a few craft beers, and a drunken conversation led them to a brilliant idea. Bottlecraft. Bottlecraft has become a household name for anyone that’s a fan of craft ales and exciting, modern brews. With craft becoming more trendy and the more hops the better, Bottlecraft are now expanding and hopping into a new, bigger shop (see what I did there?).

Bottlecraft can be found hopping all over the shop (the puns will stop eventually, promise), providing their services at events such as The Honey Box and gigs like Don’t Call Me Ishmael as well as hosting in-store art exhibitions and live music. They make exploring the new tastes and flavours of craft a friendly and more accessible experience.

In just two years, their homely little store on Marsh Street has progressed so much that Rich, Tom and Chris are taking it over to the one and only Cultural Quarter; home to their soon-to-be new neighbours RAWR, Klay, TSP, Piccadilly Brassiere, 51-53 and Zest. Bottlecraft are sure to fit right in with the trendy and innovative entrepreneurs that can also be found on Piccadilly.
Bottlecraft’s Chris Wilson thinks that the reason the shop has been so successful is that ‘our hands on and personal approach to helping customers has been a big plus for us. We’ve always aimed to create a comfortable, friendly environment for everyone who walks through our door. Pair that with a commitment to develop and encourage local artists, we’ve made ourselves part of the alternative community.’

This July, Bottlecraft will be opening their doors at 33 Piccadilly, formerly Gemini menswear, sandwiched between RAWR and The Regent Theatre making it the perfect place to get a pre-theatre tipple. For the official launch party, there will be a live DJ set from Bottlecraft’s good friend Disco Dick in store while you browse the newer and wider range of brands and flavours to choose from.

You can expect to see lots of new breweries coming to Bottlecraft. The new shop will have the space to feature 12 keg lines; ‘hot new brews on our shelves and in our taps’ says Chris; an increased range of standard and chilled beers including new brands like Odyssey, Deya and Verdant; increased seating area; wines, spirits and hot drinks; events; more space and most importantly, more fun! 

A NIGHT OF EXCESSIVE GIN ENJOYMENT IN NEWCASTLE

All the Gin Joints in the world and she walked into...quite a few in Newcastle.

Lucy Marie

Gone are the times where your only gin-based option was a dusty bottle of Gordon’s hanging off the optics, these days this joyful juniper berry based beverage has gone pub-lic.

Due to my being absent for Stoke’s Gin Festival on June the 23rd when I’ll be sunning myself in Santorini, (although the people behind the Gin Jamboree event save the day on the 10th and 11th November. Phew)  I decided to rope in a few friends and do a DIY gin-athon of my own.

Friday night in Newcastle-under-Lime (cause of the gin, geddit?) and I was ready to discover if there was more to the town’s bars than beer and Bombay sapphire.

10 Green Bottles, 

46 Merrial Street,

ST5 2AW

If there’s one thing I love as much as a great gin, it’s an exciting array of craft beers and 10 Green Bottles provides both! The enthusiastic staff are just as happy to suggest a perfect gin combo, as they are to cater to your individual needs. The guy who served me happily created my mad mixture judgement free. Want an impressive present for a gin loving pal? 10 Green Bottles sell a wide variety of fancy gins to take away and gift vouchers if they’d prefer to choose their own. Even better still, 10 GB is coming to my home town of Stone meaning there is now the potential for the tasty tipple to become Lucy’s ruin, rather than mothers.

What we drank:

A self designed chemical concoction (just call me Heisenberg) consisting of Hendricks gin, slim-line tonic, a juicy slice of grapefruit, mint leaves and raw cocoa.

&

A shot of Bobbie’s Schiedam dry gin, a thick wedge of lime and lime leaves topped up with fever-tree tonic.

The Lymestone Vaults

Pepper Street,

ST5 1PR

I’m a firm believer in supporting my local community. And if this support happens be in a boozy form, who am I to argue?

I’d heard of Lymestone Brewery and the delicious beers they create, however I wasn’t aware that they also share my passion for gin. Their cosy Newcastle venue hosts a large selection, complete with multiple mixers and plenty of fruity extras.

If you fancy an accompanying snack to soak up the gin , Harry and his staff boast a well stocked with a variety of bar nibbles other than just your average drunken bag of KP nuts.

What we drank:

A super smooth Brockman’s gin with blueberries, cucumber and an elderflower tonic.

Bar Social

Unit 6, Lymelight Boulevard,

ST5 1PT

When I arrived the place was busy and a little rowdy (I’m more of a “hide up a dark corner” kinda girl) so I was slightly dubious.

However, seemingly one flight of stairs makes all the difference. I was greeted by the largest selection of gin so far, dimmed lighting and plenty of chesterfield sofas to sink into. Bar Social’s gin emporium lives up to it’s name. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed don’t worry, the bar staff know their stuff.

The gins may be slightly pricier than in some other places but the knowledgeable staff, relaxed atmosphere and generous measures make it worth every penny.

What we drank:

An elegant G’Vine Floraison with dried Persian roses, hibiscus flowers and grapes, finished with a Mediterranean tonic.

&

Thomas Deakin with cubeb pepper, a slice of grapefruit, a slice of lemon and elderflower tonic.

So remember, if life gives you lemons…head over to Newcastle-under-Lyme’s gin nirvana and make them useful!

Read more from Lucy Marie at https://lucymariev.wordpress.com/

The Exchange Launches New Menu

Mac and Cheese Bites

Mac and Cheese Bites

Bethan Shuff || March 8th

When I usually write about The Exchange, it’s because I’ve just been to a cracking gig in the basement, but this time, I bring you the beauty that is their brand new menu. Featuring some old classics and some newbies, this jam packed menu will leave you drooling.

At the menu tasting event, we were supplied with burgers, chicken, fish, curry, loaded chips – the lot.

If you like mozzarella sticks then you are going to love The Exchanges Mac and Cheese Bites. Yes. Mac and Cheese bites. Whoever came up with that idea is a genius because they are utter creamy, cheesy goodness. You can order these alone as a ‘small plate’ or on top of your new and improved Veggie Exchange Burger.

Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

From the Main Menu we had a Trio of Sliders and Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry. From the sliders I tasted the pulled brisket and smoked cheddar, and it was so succulent and the brisket just melted in your mouth. The curry was very light and not too spicy but still full of flavour, served with rice and naan bread.

Reach For The Fries is a section on the menu with a selection of loaded fries. A 12” plate of fries smothered in toppings of your choice. We sampled the Smokey Pig Mac Fries and the Red Hot Dutch. The Smokey Pig Mac Fries are seasoned fries topped with macaroni cheese and bacon, and while putting macaroni in or on everything you eat may sound strange, it works. Trust me. The Red Hot Dutch Fries are covered in fried onions with a ketchup, mayo and Dijon sauce for a bit of a kick.

Loaded Fries

Loaded Fries

Next we tackled the Sharing Boards called Sea, Farm and Field. The Sea platter includes garlic king prawns, Thai salmon fishcakes, mini cod goujons, parmesan and chilli whitebait, mushy peas and tartar sauce. Field is the veggie option with fried halloumi, falafel, mac and cheese bites, harissa hummus, olives and garlic mayo. And finally, Farm is the meaty option with southern fried chicken strips, BBQ chicken wings, Spanish chorizo, BBQ beans, katsu mayo and bacon bombs. But, what is a bacon bomb? I hear you ask. Pork and beef meatballs wrapped in smoked bacon, battered and fried. Also known as fried meat heaven.

Lastly we tested out one of this month’s Special Burgers: The Texas Melt. Two prime beef patties with Swiss cheese, mozzarella, Gouda, peppered brisket, bacon jam and American mustard all crammed into a sesame seed bun and served with fries. This is the ultimate man-wich. Built with love and flavour, you will not be going home hungry if you can tackle this beasty burger.

The new menu was launched today and is available to try now from The Exchange

Texan Melt Burger

Texan Melt Burger

The Potteries Home Brewing Club

Sean Dissington || February 23rd

Culture, a slightly sour taste with a hint of spice.

Culture is what we do, what we connect with and what we are passionate about - and there's a lot of passion in our city. One aspect of this is around craft beer, the making and enjoyment of beer because of a passion about understanding the work that goes into making a beer. Much like wine, or coffee or any product that's naturally derived beers are subject to infinite variation. The soil, the hops, the weather - whether it is served from a tap or can can all introduce subtle nuances of flavour. As a whiskey drinker, I know almost nothing about beer.

I visited Bottlecraft last year for the first time on their second birthday party at the end of the May bank holiday and instantly fell in love. Where some bars and pubs offer a few beers and a lack of engagement with their customers Bottlecraft have over 300 beers and can talk to you about each one. Like sour flavours with a finish of raspberry? Sorted. Prefer a milk stout that has hints of strawberry ice-cream? It's on the shelf. But again it's the passion that has helped make their business, after all, Tesco sell many of the same lines but don't offer the same support to their customers. (If you want a laugh, pop in to a supermarket and ask for a beer with a coniferous finish, record the conversation if you want to be extra cruel). It's this passion and knowledge for their product that has helped Tom, Chris and Richard grow their business to the point where their next venture opens on Piccadilly in early summer.

Tom Rushton is extra passionate about beer, he loves it so much that he wants to make his own - even more so, he wants to help other people learn about beer making. He wants to create a community of people who know beers, who love the infinite flavour variations that come from tweaking the process and ingredients. To this end he has created the Potteries Home Brewing Club, a group of passionate and curious folks who share Tom's appreciation of beers and want to join him on his brewing journey. They met for the first time on Monday night at the Hop Water Cellar in Newcastle and the evening was certainly a success - the attendees discussed brewing methods as well as sampled four home brews that we brought, one stout, two IPAs and a marvellous pumpkin sour. Contrary to what I thought there was no hipster talk, no boastful use of arcane terms - but genuine friendliness and a sense of community.

I have never had a desire to brew my own beer, much preferring that the people who are best at it to do that, in keeping with my philosophy that people should really stick to what they are best at, but even I was inspired. Who knows,one day there may be a quinoa sour with my name on it, until then I'll follow the adventures of the Potteries Home Brew Club with interest.

If you'd like to know more you can call in to Bottlecraft to ask Tom or take a look on the Facebook group @potterieshomebrewclub. The club meet in the Hopwater and at Bottlecraft - check out the Facebook group for the date of the next meet.

Bottlecraft Tasting Session Hits The Spot

Local Craft Bar Make Connoisseurs of REBEL

Lee Barber || September 12th

As we walked into Bottlecraft, the soft sound of Stoke band Camp Stag buzzed from the speakers as bass player Chris Wilson and Bottlecraft co-owner is cleaning the bar.

'It's pure coincidence, honestly. I have a playlist on really.' He swears to us, after he realises that all three of us in attendance are well aware that his bands new EP is playing out through the speakers of his bar.

The independent bar, stocking craft beer and real ale bottle shop and tasting room was Stoke-on-Trent's first of its kind, and their reputation has soared in the 15 months that they have been open. Stocking an illustrious and ever changing selection of the world's finest crafts, Bottlecraft pride themselves on their knowledge of product and their ability to create a truly splendid atmosphere for their customers, who undoubtably become regulars, even though they might have only popped in to buy my dad something for his birthday.

Chris hands us each a glass of water, and I instantly realise that this is no simple matter of downing a few bottles of craft. The water enables us to swill our mouths before we begin the tasting session, and also in between each drink to wash away the taste of the previous drink. Alongside the three glasses of water rest three glass of GO West IPA, and six rather keen eyes to go with it. Brewed by American company Anchor Brewing - who claim to be the pioneers of steam beer -, the 6.5% craft. Chris explains to us the perfect way of tasting craft beer, and his knowledge is outstanding. He talks to us about not only how to sample a craft beer, but he also tell us why. We haven't even touched the glass of the first drink yet and I'm drunk with knowledge.

Unlike with wine tasting, the taste receptors of your tongue lie more towards the back as opposed to the front, which unfortunately means you have to swallow all of the beer. Yes, we were gutted, of course... Smelling the beer is also a huge part of the experience, and the Go West IPA gives of a subtle pine sensation, with a stringent and coniferous quality. Anyone who knows Chris Wilson may recognise the latter words as direct quotes... Chris goes on to tell us the complete history of Anchor, which I will not write about here but will instead implore you to take yourself to one of Bottlecraft's tasting sessions.

After a marvellous start with the Anchor Brewing Go West IPA, we moved to a second IPA from Somerset brewery Wild Beer Co, who take the art of brewing right back to its roots. Almost literally. After mashing together all necessary ingredients except for the yeast, which starts the reaction of the sugars seeping out of the husks of the barley, and the the yeast is added at around 40-60 degrees. Traditionally, brewers would mix the beer and then simply leave them in the vats, where things pollen in the air and bugs would drop the yeast into it naturally, which would then begin the fermentation process. It's through this process that you can begin to guess that the first beer was probably made by accident. Wild Beer Co specialise in barrel ageing and spontaneous fermentation, with involved no yeast added directly by themselves. The beer Chris has for us is the 6.8% Madness, designed by an American who moved over to the UK and enjoyed experimenting with barrel ageing. Was you can imagine, there is a potent sour scent to the beer, with funky esters pottering on the enjoyable of zesty, bitter fruits. If the smell of the beer seems like a new sensation, the taste is just unreal and I am already marvelling at the scientific yet natural artwork that is craft brewing.

Beer can be split into two categories; enjoyable and challenging. The next sample, Chris explains, is probably going to be a more challenging beer from the pioneers of this particular style. Coming from Belgian brewery Dupont, Siason creates distinct flavours of fruit and, somewhat unbelievably, baked beans. But don't let that put you off; imagine the finest Belgian blonde beer you've ever tasted and then double that flavour, and you'll be getting close to Dupont's magnificent Saison. A variety of yeasts working together to combine English and German hops create a stunning and creamy 6.5% Saison, a name which carries a rather interesting backstory.

Our fourth beer of the evening brought with it the most powerfully smelling beer I've ever come across, which tastes simply divine. Expecting a vinegary flavour after the smell, the taste actually presented me with a warm feeling, something you expect from perhaps a good whiskey or mulled wine. It's certainly a challenging beer, but in a seriously good way. Be prepared for the woody kick at the back of your throat; it will make you want to curl up by the fire for the night. And at 6.2%, it's certainly a treat as we begin the walk through the autumn leaves into the cold winter nights.

In 1995, an new brewery under the name of Freedom formed in Fulham, before a move to Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, in 2004. Growing in stature and reputation at a quick rate, Freedom specialise in lagers brewed to the German tradition known as reinheitsgrebot, which is the oldest surviving purity law in the world, using only four ingredients; water, yeast, barley and hops. It is here that I learn how the word lager in fact came from the German word lagern, which translates to 'to store'.  The smell of the lager seems to be scentless, however on closer inspection, or upon the wise advice of Chris, canned sweetcorn does subtly waft beneath my nostrils. Make no bones about it though, the extremely light and clear lager tastes sensationally pleasant, perfect for a summers day.

As Chris prepares our final drinks of the evening, I see that what he is pouring is clearly a dark, which is certainly not my personally favourite, so needless to say I was a little apprehensive. The chocolately potency of Pearl Necklace soothed my worries immediately. Using Chesapeake oysters fresh from the Rappahannock River to impart a certain flavour, Pearl Necklace is actually very light (especially for a dark beer) light enough to warrant the term moussey, I might add. Pearl Necklace is brewed by Flying Dog, based in Maryland, who originally came from Aspen, with big friends coming in the form of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas author Hunter S. Thompson and, more importantly, Ralph Steadman, who has illustrated all Flying Dog brands. Innuendoes flow throughout the description of the flavour and it becomes clear that the selection of 6%+ crafts is now beginning work and I remember how I've not eaten since breakfast. As yet another Camp Stag song begins on Chris Wilson's 'playlist', we are quite gutted that the evening has come to an end. All in all, if you do one new thing this year, make sure it's a taster session at Bottlecraft. 

The Bakewell Baking Festival

After Attending The Bakewell Baking Festival, REBEL Contributor Chloe Evans Wanted To Find Out More

Chloe Evans || August 31st

Following The Bakewell Baking Festival I caught up with Paul Morgans, the festival director behind TBBF and asked him a few questions.

I started with the basics; TBBF didn’t start from nowhere, so when did it begin, what is the purpose and what are the aims? Morgans explained how the first festival was on the 8th-9th June 2013, just a mere three years ago. We spoke about how the main aims were to ‘promote Bakewell to a wider audience’. Morgans is a part of the Bakewell Town Council and ‘instigated a bid for Portas Pilot funding’ and even made a film to support it.

Morgans spoke to me about how pleasing it was that this year’s event was able to incorporate more street theatre, and how the comedy night has now become a fixture for the weekend festival, something I think is a brilliant idea and makes the festival even more diverse that will draw in a larger range of people. He also added that they plan on adding a cultural stand to the festival which is something that both the visitors and local community are getting involved with. He also told me how an art competition was also held – A Birthday Cake for the Queen – with Nadiya presenting the prizes, this involved the local junior schools and proved to be very popular, and Helen’s Trust, a local charity, are also involved with the festival – “we’re getting there” he claims, a modest statement to say the least.

I spoke in my previous article about TBBF about the beautiful vintage theme that covered the whole festival and I was intrigued to find out how it came to be, Morgans response hit the nail on the head – “We think vintage and baking work really well together, capturing a quintessentially British feel, something nostalgic, warm, charming and safe, like Bakewell really”. He also told me that the vintage element is something that they would like to grow further as they love vintage style, and I couldn’t agree more, I love vintage styles and it definitely comes hand in hand with baking!

The next thing on my mind was the food, because come on, it’s hard to forget good grub – “We hand pick each food supplier and they come from all over the UK, we try our hardest to ensure that they all offer something a little bit different and have a homemade quality to them. We also encourage them to dress up their stalls in a vintage way as the ones who do, not only contribute to the look of the festival but generally have a better trading weekend. Next year we will have prizes for best dressed stall. Next year’s festival is to be held 12th – 13th August 2017 and we are looking into the possibility of holding a smaller Xmas event next year. But only if it feels right and we can do something that is a bit different. It’s important to us that we create a festival in the true sense of the word and not just a food market”.

And of course, we discussed the main marquee, Morgans explained how they always try to get a ‘good cross section of bakers to represent as many different baking styles and techniques as possible’. And also how ‘Edd and Stacie have been with us from the beginning and the baker brothers Tom and Henry have been here for the last 2 years and they bring their family and make a weekend of it. This is exactly what we’re looking for and working towards as we want to expand the festival into something that will be much bigger in not just size but in concept and we really need bakers to love what we’re trying to do, something that is more than just a food festival, something that is about creating memories, eating healthy food and getting everyone baking. The problem we face is that we always want them all back again as we love them all. We’d love to see Nadiya back as she was really great not just super popular but she fitted in well behind the scenes and it was lovely to see her and Edd have time for a good chat, something that they’ve never managed before. So yes, it would be great to see Nadiya back again, but she is really, really busy so hopefully our dates will tie in with her availability and who knows what great bakers we’ll see come to the fore from this year’s GBBO. It’s one of our favourite bits of the festival, organizing the line-up”.

It was really interesting catching up with Morgans and with the GBBO back on our TV’s we can keep an eye on any of the bakers who could make an appearance at next year’s TBBF!

End The Summer On A Cocktail High

The Exchange Bar & Kitchen To Launch New Cocktail Menu This Bank Holiday Monday

REBEL Editorial || August 27th

 

'During the latter part of the 19th century the popularity of the telephone grew. In 1890, there were 211 subscribers in the area, and all the main police stations had been connected. The telephone was still a great novelty, and on a Sunday in April, 1891, the National Telephone Company invited people to their premises in Cheapside to listen to a church service from Birmingham; 40 receivers were used for the occasion. As the system developed, so did the need for such a means of communication. By 1899, the Company, recognising its essential role in the everyday life of the Potteries, decided to build a new and much larger Exchange. For this purpose it acquired approximately 600 square yards at the corner of Marsh Street and Mill Street (Trinity Street). The Company's directory of 1904-5 covered all the country, and the number of subscribers in the Potteries and district was about 2,200.'

Neville Malkin 24th July 1974

A lot has changed for The Telephone Exchange since the early 1900's, in fact a lot has changed since 1974, when Neville Malkin drew by pen The Telephone Buildings, which was erected on the corner of Trinity Street, Hanley. After the unfortunate demise of the popular Fat Cats Cafe Bar, it was thought the building would go to waste, but a group of passionate, local independent businessmen were determined to bring pride and heritage back to the building, opening the bar & kitchen known as The Exchange in 2013, and it is safe to say that the building has seen both pride and heritage restored.

Only nowadays, things are a little different. Telephones are handheld devices for playing Pokemon Go on, for a start, and The Exchange is now home to some of the finest drinks, and live music the city has on offer, and we don't even need to mention their infamous burgers. But since everyone will be wanting to lap up as much sun as possible before the dark and stormy nights kick in (don't worry, it's the name of a cocktail available at The Exchange, I wasn't simply being dramatic) we figured it would be the perfect opportunity to go and sample the wonderful new cocktails available soon at The Exchange.

A plethora of new cocktails, designed by The Exchange's mixologist bar manager Junior Isaacs, will be launched on Bank Holiday Monday, so of course, REBEL figured it would only be right that we headed down to the old telephone exchange building and sampled these spritely concoctions. So, after a very difficult evening of cocktail tasting, here is REBEL's Top Five Cocktails to end your summer on.

 

5. ZOMBIE THE OLD WRAY

Containing the sublime Wray & Nephew Overproof at 63%, you'd think that Zombie The Old Wray would be quite strong as it is. But no, add into the mix the glorious Old J Tiki Fire at 75.5% and you're somewhere near the top-shelf-worthy Exchange remix of a rum based classic. The fact that it says 'Must be consumed with caution' in the cocktail menu says it all, really.

4. GLAM MARTINI

With the perfect combination of lemon, apple and mint, this Tanqueray gin cocktail is the only relaxation you need after a stressful day at the office. Sit back and enjoy summer the way it was made to be enjoyed.

3. VANILLA ICED ICED LATTE

If you're not a coffee fan, maybe stay away, but if you are a coffee fan, this is quite literally your dream come true. A truly splendid summers edition of the Espresso Martini, whose maker, the legendary bartender Dick Bradsell, sadly passed away this year.

2. KYOTO SOUR

Strangely enough, this Japanese styled cocktail actually has a taste of Japan about it. Strangely enough, the side of wasabi peas also looks the business. Strangely enough, this cocktail is delicious, with Isaacs finally blending Plum Sake into a fine mix of midori, lemon juice and gomme, with a subtle aftertaste of pepper just to finish of his masterpiece.

1. STRAWBETTY MOJITO

Topping the bill is an ultimate classes in mixology, the Strawbetty Mojito. Listen to it, 'Strawbetty Mojito', it even sounds epically summery. With Havana Especial infused with mint and lime, the strawberry liqueur and juice is simply the finishing touch on a very special cocktail. Named Strawbetty Mojito in respect to a person close to the manager who is sadly no longer with us.

Bakewell Baking Festival

Chloe Evans || August 26th

Bakewell is a small market town in the Derbyshire Dales, home of the Bakewell pudding and a plethora of wonderful independent shops, bakeries and of recent, the Bakewell Baking Festival. I really enjoy baking though I find little to no time to ever practice it, but I do find the time to watch an extremely popular show, The Great British Bake Off. To find out that the GBBO’s very own Nadiya Hussain was featuring in the main marquee I couldn’t resist but heading over to see for myself.

Before entering the festival which was just a short walk away from the town itself you walk over Weir Bridge one of the most touching and beautiful sights covered in love-locks, a decoration that is becoming more and more popular across the globe. Each lock is engraved with names of couples past and present, names of deceased loved ones, pets and dates and can be purchased in a store not far from the site. Under the bridge itself is the beautiful River Wye, filled with Grayling and brown trout, and above the water ducks and geese bathing in the warm sun, it’s a beautiful view but not what I had come for, so on forth we went to the festival.

Upon entering the theme is evident; vintage Britain. A range of food stalls, local businesses, hay bales, portable bars and entertainment for all age ranges filled the fields and further afar the marquees which were holding events throughout the day. The first thing I did was found a small tea and scone stand so I could gather my bearings and figure out what events I would like to watch. A beautifully decorated caravan with an open front, covered in pastel buntings and floral fabrics with small circular tables and chairs outside was the perfect spot for a good ol’ English brew. Whilst scanning the festivals programme I noticed I was by one of the first displays I’d wanted to see, the vintage car display featuring a stunning collection of Austin’s. The time and effort that has gone into this display is extraordinary, inside some of the cars were small props that were relevant to the age of the car including cigarette cartons, books, picnic sets, clothing and hats. There was people sat outside some of the cars drinking tea from flasks and enjoying a sandwich, the atmosphere was so relaxed and humble.

When looking at the cars I started to smell a plethora of foods, it began very oriental, Thai or Chinese food, leading to a more spicy Mexican food. Being a big foody I was quickly drawn to the strip of stalls and started to explore the wonderful assortment of businesses that had set up for the event. I chose a chicken and chorizo paella from Las Paelleras. When heading over to the collection window you could see into the multi-coloured tent that surrounded the huge paellera pans that were creating the wonderful aromas. It was served in a little cardboard box with a little rustic wooden spoon, I stood admiring the set up that they had and was really taken back at how amazing it really was. Hundreds of little potatoes, huge pans filled with the traditional Spanish dish and minimal people manning the decks. Personally I’m a real OCD freak when it comes to food temperatures, doing the work I have in the past makes you that way, so I’m always quite cautious about eating from somewhere that I don’t know if the food has been kept correctly, when taking my first bite I was overwhelmed with flavour and the fact that the food was piping hot. The chicken was beautifully tender, fresh and the sweet smoky flavours of the chorizo came through like little drops of pork heaven. Las Paelleras spent summer 2010 driving a camper van from Seville to San Sebastian and many other trips around Spain and have really brought a bit of Spain back with them in their food.

Whilst finishing the food I decided that it was probably best to stop getting side-tracked and head over to the main events, only to get side-tracked once again by the stalls that created the mass of the festival. The first that caught my eye was full of vintage heirlooms, I just couldn’t resist. Trinkets, blankets, cast iron signs, old vinyl, jewels and gems, tea sets and picnic sets, crystal glass and old teddy bears; the list was endless. I was in my element. The next was like a country dream, wooden shelves with burlap covers, china blue and cream cushions lined perfectly next to tiny little lavender plants in neutral shades of pottery. Light blue glass jars and bottles with speckled feathers, time-worn baking pans and ceramic vases each colour complimenting the next, making me feel like I’d been transported to a small cottage in the hills, the chic set up was by Harry & Frank – Instagram/harryandfrank, Twitter @harryandfrank. Something that I saw a lot of over the course of the stalls was hand embroidered dinner-wear; napkins, tea towels and hand towels. Now, studying textile and surface pattern design I know deep in my heart that embroidery isn’t a lost art, during the middle ages it was a means of creating luxury textiles and designs on furnishings, one of the most wondrous and amazing things about embroidery is the time it takes to create the detail that a lot of us may take for granted, but whilst being at the Baking Festival I saw how many people were going and admiring these valuable trinkets and I was blown away by the response as well as by the designs themselves.

Amidst the wonderful stalls was everyone’s favourite and what we all came for, cake, biscuits, puddings, brownies, giant Jammy Dodger style biscuits, rocky road, gingerbread men, you name it, they had it. Showcasing just how you can bake to your heart’s desire in the warmth of your home was a collection of wonderful bakers, Edd Kimber; the original GBBO winner and author of three popular baking books, ‘The Boy Who Bakes’, ‘Say It With Cake’ and ‘Patisserie Made Easy’, Nadiya Hussain; the current winner of GBBO who has also recently released a book as an imprint of Penguin Books, Nadiya’s Kitchen, Henry Herbert; a 5th generation baker who, with his brother, makes up the ‘Fabulous Baking Brothers’, Stacie Stewart; a Master Chef finalist, TV presenter, author, columnist and DJ, Howard Middleton; the gluten free God who was one of the UK’s favourite GBBO contestants. Each baker showcased their skills on stage in front of the hundreds who had poured into Bakewell over the weekend, promoting the recipes from their recently published books and finishing with a special book signing for all those patient enough to wait in the queues that stretched the length of the marquees.

I had curiously examined one of Nadiya’s books just days before the festival, which features over 100 ‘simple and delicious family recipes’, ranging from ‘lazy Sunday morning’ recipes to ‘cosy evenings and midnight feasts’, each of which gives you a wonderfully manageable twist on family favourites that even the worst cook in your house could make. From Scotch Pancakes with Mixed Fruit and Lemon Thyme Compote to Kofta Kebab Pitta’s with Tomato and Cucumber salad, there’s a recipe for everyone in the family and shows her real culinary expertise. One of the best parts of cooking books is the dreamy images that go with the writing that usually comes in reels, instead of this Nadiya features those dreamy images but gets straight to the point so you can get it from paper to cooked and into your mouth as quick as possible, a great plus about this particular cook book. Through the introductions and conversation from Nadiya to the reader a real homey feel is experienced throughout and a real insight into Nadiya, something that all fans love when baking from their favourite cook’s books. A definite must for a busy family who wants to eat healthy and explore new ideas and flavours.

Newcastle Pub Sets A Standard

The Lymestone Vaults Provides Perfect Retreat

REBEL Editorial || August 2nd

After a hectic morning at Apedale Community Country Park for the Dogs Unite charity walk with Newcastle based dog shop Hounds, we returned to Newcastle town with tired dogs, a thirst, and empty stomachs, We knew exactly where to go.

The dog friendly Lymestone Vaults in Newcastle Under Lyme is the perfect location for a relaxing pint after a sunny Sunday morning walk, and the staff are very proud to be dog friendly, going out of their way to make a fuss of any dog taken into the pub and also providing a bowl of cold water without question.

The staff are actively passionate about their work, and this is shown with the standard of customer service. The barman was very knowledgeable on both food and drink products, and when he wasn't too sure about whether they had the vegetarian Cumberland sausage in stock, he was quick to go and find out. It has to be noted that while the barman was checking on this, another barman, who was enjoying his day off by supping a quiet pint at the bar, came back from the toilet to see me standing seemingly unserved at the bar, and was quick to jump around the bear and offer his services. I was happy to report that of course his friendly services were not required, and was even more than happy to let this passionate barman get back to his pint.

The Lymestone Vaults boasts a friendly, traditional pub atmosphere, warm and cozy whilst not being pedantic. Little touches make the pub a joy to sit in and soak up everything around you; the old piano in the corner, sofa's and chairs to lounge in, cleverly crafted candle holders made out of empty beer bottles. The beer garden can almost be classed as an actual garden, too, with wonderful flowers, plants and bushes dotted around the area. And of course not to forget Lymestone Brewery's own collection, which always goes down a treat. Something else The Lymestone Vaults should certainly be boasting about is their prices. Three great meals - obviously the vegetarian Cumberland sausage and mash, along with the Lymestone Ploughman's pickle platter, and home-made mozzarella stuffed beef & pork meatballs baguette (yes, it's a bit of a mouth-full to order but I can confirm it is more than worth it) - all for just £15. And all were good sized meals, too, adding to the value along with excellent presentation.

Cappello Lounge Hits The Spot

Newcastle's Cappello Lounge

Leah Hamer || July 30th

I’m not a food critic…but I eat, therefore this constitutes as enough of a reason for me to write about my latest dining experience, at Cappello Lounge, in Newcastle town centre.

Strewn with old-fashioned portraits of daisies, British country-sides, Jane Austen heroines, dapper moustached men and sepia stills of forgotten memories, bundled on top of mustard and foggy green flowered wallpaper, Cappello Lounge could easily be mistaken for an art gallery- if you ignore it’s more obvious restaurant-like qualities of course.

It has that Camden attic apartment vibe, with piles of board games and Kilner jam jars. Tasselled chandeliers illuminate the antique mirrors, shelves of liquor bottles and rustic scratches and carvings on the wooden bar. Coloured metal stools slide under long oblong tables and sunken, red leather sofas and circular, cushioned chairs slot around the lower coffee tables. There is no uniformity or restriction in the décor, the mismatched and odd-bod furniture make it a cosy and welcoming space.

Sitting by the window on a sunny Tuesday evening, Cappello is bursting with life- nearly full to capacity with couples young and old, families, and students. Each one of them have been through the same process, picking up the paisley-patterned menu and staring in concentration for what feels like hours at the endless amount of choice.

All day brunch, light bites, burgers, a specials menu, a batch of vegetarian/vegan/gluten free goods and the main attraction, tapas (at three for £9.95), are just some of the options that greet your eyes. Greedy for the veggie options, myself and my friend made a compromise- I stole half of her tapas and she stole half of my Veggie Kedgeree (£7.95) from the specials menu. And as it was Tapas Tuesday- a free glass of wine (or a soft drink) would be presented when you order any three tapas. Winner.

Ordering at the bar, the staff were chilled, happy and attentive, eager to ask lots of questions and ensure that you were getting the best possible experience. They were knowledgeable on the details of the specials, ingredients in the cocktails and everything else you could need.

As well as this, they were super speedy. Despite having a full house our food arrived within minutes, and all freshly and lovingly prepared. The tapas arrived in bowls balanced on a wooden board, with a mountain of ciabatta accompanying it. Patatas bravas with roasted garlic mayo, spinach and goats cheese croquettes with tomato tapenade and falafels with harissa hummus were our choices, and each pot glowed and overflowed with colour. The Veggie Kedgeree was made up of curried turmeric rice, spinach, halloumi and a poached egg- with the runny, lava-like yolk of my dreams.

A variety of textures- from chewy halloumi, to gooey egg, to crunchy croquettes, and flavours- with the spice of the curried rice and the tang of the potatoes and the smooth hummus, made it a meal that tasted as good as it looked, and as good as my surroundings looked. Once full, there was no lingering staff members waiting for you to leave so they could hurry up and clean up, we happily sat for the remainder of the evening, enjoying the lively atmosphere.

Cappello Lounge is a comfortable and relaxed environment, with caring staff and impeccable food at decent prices. Open all day it is perfect for pancakes in the morning, a panini in the afternoon or a Pina Colada at night.  

The Fitzherbert Arms Serves Up A Treat

REBEL Editorial || July 2016

 

THE FITZHERBERT, SWYNNERTON

It's a regular early evening question in our house on a Friday evening.

"What shall we do for dinner?"

There are, as always, three possible answers; cook in (rare), takeaway (less rare), eat out (not rare at all). On this Friday evening, eat out won out.

Our decision of where to eat was not so difficult. We had recently passed The Fitzherbert Arms and noticed there had been a definite change from the sad looking country pub I had seen many times before, to a rather dapper looking pub/restaurant.

The pub dates back to the early 19th century and its recent renovation has been completed by Lord Stafford and pub entrepreneurs Mary McLaughlin and Tim Bird. Its renovation was completed early in 2016 and the doors opened on February 16th.

On arrival we were greeted by an already almost full carpark – always a good sign. The restaurant itself is a large room with a central bar. The room is however divided by some original walls which help to provide an intimacy to the seating areas. We enquired at the bar about a table as we had not booked in advance – as it turns out bookings cannot be made anyway – and we were informed that tables were available and to choose one for ourselves. We actually liked the fact we could explore the restaurant before choosing our own table.

The owners have done an excellent job in keeping the village pub feel to a large restaurant space. The walls are adorned with period mirrors, a number of caricatures, and collections of farm implements. Our area had a selection of saws, which I hoped would not be needed to cut the meat – they weren't! In fact our glass top table had legs crafted from old sledge hammers.

Food and drinks are to be ordered at the bar although there are a number of young attentive staff who roam the restaurant to serve meals and help with menu questions.

The menu is very traditional with a few exceptions. Starters featured a Seafood Chowder, Local Asparagus, Courgette and Soft Boiled Egg Salad and a meat or fish sharing platter amongst the options. We had decided to forgo the starters to leave room for desert so immediately considered the main courses. As mentioned, tradition plays a large role on the menu – fish & chips, sausage and mash, Calves Liver etc.. But let's be clear, these are no ordinary traditional dishes. The Sausage and Mash is 'Free Range Buttercross Farm Pork and Red Onion Sausages served with Creamy Mash, Shallot Gravy and Braised Red Cabbage.

Ultimately my wife chose the 'Slow Cooked Belly Pork served with Spring Onion Mash, Cider Braised Lentils and Leeks', and I opted for 'Pan Roasted Rump of Lamb served with Rosemary Crushed New Potato Cake, Seasonal Greens and a Minted Lamb Jus'. The meals were served to us promptly. The pork belly was a large slab of meat, beautifully crisp in the outer fat side and for pork belly, not overly fatty. Perhaps the star of this this dish were the lentils that had taken in the cider wonderfully. My lamb was cooked pink – as had been explained to me on ordering - and was as tender as I would expected. I seemed to have acquired braised onions also and although the mint just seemed to be more of a redcurrant reduction, the whole plate worked together incredibly well.

Schoolboy error by the way – we forgot to take pictures - which is ridiculous because my wife usually takes pictures of everything to send to our daughters in the interest of making them jealous! (Editors note: from experience, so does 'husband')

Mains completed we were able to order our deserts at the table from a helpful server. Chocolate and Hazelnut Brownie for my wife (chocolate fan), and Swynnerton Mess for myself (not a chocolate fan). As you may have guessed the Swynnerton Mess is essentially an Eton Mess. Both deserts were superb an distinctly above average portion size wise.

It should be pointed out that this establishment is still as much a pub as it is a restaurant. Showcasing a number of Real Ales from the area, over 30 types of Port and a 'Nibble and Natter' small menu, a lunchtime pint and snack will be the reason for our next visit.  

Holly Pender's Vegan Recipe's

Vegan Jaffa Cake Sponge Recipe

 

you will need:

For the cake:

  • 200g Chickpea flour
  • 200g Self raising flour
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp flax seeds (+12 tbsp water)
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Agave Nectar (or golden syrup)
  • 500 ml Orange Juice
  • 120 ml Olive oil2 tbsp Marmalade

For the buttercream:

  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp Valencian orange extract (can be substituted with a squeeze of orange)
  • 200g Non-dairy butter

For the chocolate frosting:

  • 60g Cocoa powder
  • 70g Non-dairy butter (softened)
  • 215g Icing Sugar
  • 60ml Non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extrac

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180º C or 355 º F.
  2. To make the flax egg replacement, add the flax seeds and water into a blender, mix well and keep to one side.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (chickpea flour, self raising flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and baking powder) and mix well.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl (flax mix, agave nectar, orange juice, oil and marmalade) and mix well.
  5. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix until smooth (this may require whisking).
  6. Separate the mixture into two well greased cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Whilst the cake is in the oven, take the ingredients for the buttercream, mix well and set aside.
  8. Repeat with the ingredients for the frosting and store in the fridge.
  9. When the cake is finished baking, allow to cool before removing from the tins.
  10. When finally cooled spread the buttercream onto the bottom tier of the cake and then place on the upper half and add the frosting.
  11. Decorate with shreds of orange and serve!

 

        Airspace host Mead-In

        Chloe Evans || June 2016

        Researching Sam Treadway opened an entire new meaning as what an exhibition could be, he defies the boundaries of filling a room full of photography or paintings and unveils a sensory experience that triggers a part of your mind that releases a whirlwind of memories previously forgotten. I arrived to the Airspace Gallery in Hanley somewhat vague of what to expect, upon opening the door I was hit straight away with a plethora of smells, music and the bright colours of the mead standing proud from the pure white walls. The first smell that I registered was beautiful and sweet but slightly smoky; it came from an arrangement of incense cones placed carefully in the windowsill on five glass jars that sat slightly higher on vibrant honey-yellow ceramic tiles creating an aesthetically pleasing honeycomb shaped arrangement of smell and colour. The bright white walls drew in the light and it bounced from the glass and illuminated the smoke into an almost mystical haze, at the bottom of the cones the oils had seeped onto the jars and created a perfectly apt colour of yellows and oranges, even though this small installation could have been easily dismissed in such a large windowsill, immediately from opening the door you are drawn in to the arrangement which really is the beauty of Treadway’s work.

        For a few moments the incense arrangement, ‘Smoker’, took me away from the music that was echoing through the halls; that was until a personal favourite of mine ‘Honey Honey’ by ABBA started playing and I was taken back to being 13 years old and screaming the words with my closest friend in her parents’ house and I was filled with a rush of nostalgia and warmth. Instantly I connected the song to the work and was drawn to a large white poster hung on the wall, ‘Twenty-One Songs (For My Honey)’, which is where I met Treadway himself. We discussed the wonderful memories that the exhibition took him back too and compared, something I’ve never felt I have done when visiting an exhibition. The poster contains a range of songs dating from 1963 – 2015, all personally picked by Treadway, all with the word ‘honey’ in the title.

        From my introduction with Treadway I was taken away to try the mead itself, somewhat anxious about this experience I hesitantly took a sip of the misty liquid and was extremely surprised by the taste; sweet yet not overpowering, a presence of alcohol lingered but didn’t shock my taste buds, and somehow a familiarity that took me back once again to memories of being a rebellious child and trying wine for the first time with my friends, although I didn’t let on that this was what I was thinking about! Treadway explained how the honey was locally sourced and the average time for fermenting was a year and that as the mead hadn’t been fermenting for that length of time yet he planned on reopening his exhibition again to have another ‘mead-in’ where it could once again be tasted and compared to that of its taste now. I shortly found myself trying a honey based cake that was beautifully browned and visibly soft and moist, this for me was heaven, being a lover of all things sweet I eagerly served myself a piece on the unconventional brown bag and tucked in. To say it was incredible would be an understatement and I had to control the urge to turn savage and eat the entire bake. I was then directed to a loaf of bread that was thickly sliced and displayed in front of an arrangement of whole loafs, I ripped a small chunk off, half expecting it to be slightly dry as there was no condiments served alongside to add but I was very wrong. The entire tasting experience had been almost overwhelming, mixed with smells and music that were channelling through the space I found myself recalling memories and feelings that I’d once forgotten.

        This for me was the most emotionally and physically interactive exhibition that I have visited and Treadway has created art that reaps the idea of sharing, connecting locally sourced produce to local people. To emphasise the idea of producing something that is the ‘manifestation of altruism’ Treadway invited the public over the weeks of his residency to visit the gallery in the a.m to be gifted with fresh baked bread and offered a free bread making workshop that featured a wood-fired bread oven. By doing this he brought the community together to bake with him and experience something he clearly feels strongly about and is proud to share within his exhibition. Under a small archway Treadway displayed a series of photographs of his visitors each holding a loaf of bread in front of the area that the images were hung. In each photo behind the figure you can see the images building up until they are filling the space and its undeniable that you feel the sense of warmth from each face after they have been gifted the bread. It’s said that traditionally bread is a housewarming gift, so that the home ‘may never go hungry’, and honey so that ‘your life is always sweet’, something that links wonderfully with the message of Treadway’s residency as a whole.

        Personally I believe that the unity of local communities is important for each one of us, sharing and the feeling of being a part of something gives everybody a sense of meaning in life and Treadway has explored that in an amazingly executed residency that I feel shows art doesn’t have to be about making money or selling work but it can be a promotion of what is good within a community and help bring everybody together and I am exceedingly excited for when Treadway reopens his exhibition next year so I can experience more of what this wonderful artist can offer.

        Wanderlust Cafe

        Words: Leah Hamer

        This world of ours can seem a little small and grey at times. When you are stuck in a rut seeing the same old faces in the same dull places, you can feel a little lost and in need of a wander…

        If this is you, look no further than Wanderlust Cafe, the new haven for all those seeking solace, love and a soya coffee on the side. Due to open in Congleton in September, Wanderlust Cafe is the brainchild of Kayleigh Marie Parsons, whose lightbulb alit during a ten week trip to India at the end of last year, along with her boyfriend, John Brindley (you might know him better with the second name Dhali or as Jonty).

        Sat in a hidden café in the mountains, surrounded by the smell of incense and stomachs filled with simple, backpacker grub, Kayleigh turned to Jonty and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be ace to run something like this at home?’, to which John replied, ‘Why don’t you?’. Despite initial self-doubt, Kayleigh ran with the idea- creating a Facebook page whilst still abroad, and launching her first event to raise awareness just a couple of months later.

        Wanderlust Cafe will be a vegan heaven, filled with homemade dahls, curries, pastas, sandwiches, soups, smoothies, teas, coffees and a selection of food-to-go. The recipes are an accumulation of dishes from the cook books of both Jonty and Kayleigh, and their friend Shane. Despite this keen interest in both cooking and veganism, both principles are fairly new to Kayleigh, ‘I’ve been a vegetarian for a year and a half, but I went vegan whilst in India. Jonty had been one for a year before that but I was always making excuses- cheese was my weakness! The transition was easy though, once I said I’d start, I did.’

        Vegetarianism and veganism are two ways of life that are growing faster than ever before, yet there is still a slight stigma surrounding both concepts. As someone who has been a vegetarian for the best part of my life, I’m used to the question- ‘Well what do you eat? Salad?’. Kayleigh is keen to break those barriers and show that this isn’t strictly a vegan-only-zone, ‘I think vegan is a word that scares people but it’s important to know anyone can eat here, it’s for anyone interested in trying something different. For one, it’s going to be amazingly healthy eating- so if you’re into your fitness, we’re going to do protein shakes and it will be great for those people.’

        Originally, food was not the focus of the cafe but it is an element that has grown as the business has. Kayleigh’s first priority was to make it a community space that would feature regular workshops, ‘A big creative hub for anything and everything- food, music, art’. Already a mass of people have shown interest with individuals looking to arrange workshops on everything from creating your own raw skincare products, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, to six week intensive language courses.

        As a visitor of the cafe you have the potential to spend an entire afternoon and evening there as the building has three floors that you can lose yourself in. The top floor will be the therapy and workshop rooms, below it will be a community shop where local distributors will sell their products, outside there is a garden that will have decking in order to feature outside live music and yoga sessions, then finally the ground floor will be the cafe.

        Kayleigh is full of sunshine. She sits across from me at a little café in Congleton with a glowing smile, an empty shop space behind her- the blank canvas of Wanderlust Cafe. At the moment with its fallen in ceiling and plain white walls, sandwiched in between corporate chains, it is far from the oasis that Kayleigh describes, but her vision captivates me.

        ‘On the back wall there will be a big mural of a map, then there will be the counter space and open kitchen, so you can see us cook. There will be a comfy area with floor cushions, low tables and sky lights, next to that will be a bookshelf with loads of books, games, art therapy packs. Then outside we will have tables and chairs too and instead of using numbers to mark each table- we will use names of countries.’

        All of this will be splattered with dashes of pink, turquoise, orange and white, ‘happy colours’. After spending the evening at Kayleigh’s previous event Bohemian Nights at Pilgrims Pit, I can picture the fairy lights and smell the dahl already. On that night there was a warm, happy atmosphere that Kayleigh induced on the room and it is clear that she wishes to replicate that on a larger scale.

        ‘Our cafe is just going to be full of love. A place in the community to bind everyone together, something for people of all ages. When we were younger- we’d just go to the park and drink alcohol and it was rubbish, there was nowhere for us to go. I want young people to come and sit on our floor cushions and enjoy a soya coffee and listen to live music, alongside the older generation. It doesn’t matter who you are, no one needs to be scared by it…’

        Half way through her joyful speech, she laughs ‘I don’t want to sound too hippy dippy!’ She sounds far from it, in fact, she sounds inspirational. Too many people fail to open up to new ideas and opportunities. Wanderlust Cafe is a space for people to try some different food, listen to some different music, and talk to some different people, all in one happy and welcoming home.

        Wanderlust Cafe will be welcomed to Congleton High Street in September.