Welcome to 2013!! Well, I guess it is a little late for that having only just got my act together to write something up nearly a fortnight into the year, but you can’t blame me too much.
It has been rather a busy time of late with the Laboratory playing host to the families for Christmas Dinner and then a leaving party for a friend on NYE, but that doesn’t mean the experiments and observations have stopped at any point!
As alluded to in some of my (less than occasional) twitter updates, there is much on the horizon this year to get gastric juices flowing and to feel rather excited about in the first few months of this year at least… I have no doubt there will be much more in the pipeline later on too.
First up is the CAMRA Winter Ales Fesitval which is taking place again over in Manchester [http://nwaf.org.uk/] which we attended last year and were pleasantly surprised at some very good beers on offer. Full details can be seen here: [http://electrokemistcuisine.weebly.com/1/post/2012/02/threshold-festival-gets-its-own-beer-plus-the-camra-winter-ales-festival-in-manchester.html]. However, due to the seasonality and hop availability, you must go expecting the more Chestnut and Amber Ales to take the place of paler counterparts. Bear in mind that there are some exceptional Stouts and Porter Ales also available, not least last years superb offering from Coniston Brewery in the form of an oatmeal stout. The festival is running from the 23rd to the 26th January at the Sheridan Suite in Manchester, Saturday and Friday tickets are £5 for the session and you will be charged another £1 at least for a programme!
Also described in the article linked above was the Threshold Festival [http://www.thresholdfestival.co.uk/], which is back this year with a vengeance. Holding the festival in March will mean slightly more clement temperatures than those experienced last year, but the Camp and Furnace will be ready for more great music, art and Threshold’s own delicious beer from the Liverpool Craft boys. More details on the festival will be given in another article at some point soon!!
The Laboratory is considering some events of its own this year, in lieu of the successful Wheat Beer tasting that was run during the summer of 2012, there is going to be an introductory wine tasting conducted at some point (explaining the very basics of wine, vintage, grapes etc). Stay tuned for details on this; the pricing is likely to be in the region of £12 per head (with all wine and probably some cheese and nibbles included!) and places are going to be limited based on the venue we have available. There may be follow up tastings based on the success of this event with some more experienced speakers, so I will keep an eye on things and keep you all informed!
The second event that the Laboratory is hatching is going to be a pub crawl, which was conducted last year to great success across the city centre, picking people up along the way and finishing with a curry at East Z East at the King’s Dock on the waterfront. The event will be completely free aside from providing your costs for booze and food should you feel the need, but at some point soon, a map will be published showing the likely establishments that the Kemistry will be taking place. Full details will be given soon.
A return visit to the Liverpool Organic Brewery has been booked for the 2nd February, a full review of this can be seen here: [http://electrokemistcuisine.weebly.com/1/post/2012/11/liverpool-organic-brewery-tour-november-2012.html]. I shall report back if anything has changed, but suffice to say, the event was great and there are two extra dates planned in March (Saturday 23rd) and in May (Saturday 18th). You can book onto the Brewery Tour events here: [http://lobtours.eventbrite.co.uk/]
Finally, I shall leave you with a brief write up of a restaurant we attended at the back end of last year for a break at the Manchester Christmas Markets, as always, no marks out of five or ten, but our best descriptive offering should suffice!
ElectroKemistry Review: Phetpailin – 46 George Street, Manchester
Disclaimer: This review was conducted in December, so it is possible the menu and prices have changed.
After picking up a couple of decent bottles of vino from Hanging Ditch (located near the cathedral), we headed to this place on the recommendation of a friend who was due to attend the following week for a Christmas meal with work colleagues.
All in all, we were not disappointed with the food on offer and the experience was overall, a very pleasant and positive one.
The ambience of the restaurant is pleasant enough, with the usual Thai paraphernalia placed around the restaurant along with various greenery, although this does make it feel a touch more claustrophobic with the premises being relatively long and narrow as it is. With the restaurant busy or 'ticking over', you can still hold a conversation without too much raising of voices, again, another positive.
The food was very very good, all presented very well and cooked perfectly. The dishes our party ordered ranged from sharing platters of spring rolls, bite size entrees and dips to excellent Peanut (penang) Curries with King Prawns and the 'Weeping Tiger' (sirloin steak sliced and cooked with spices, beanspouts and other vegetables). All the food was delivered in a timely manner and with a friendly smile. We had expected some fuss over the wine we brought, but a cooler was brought without fuss for both bottles.
I would definitely recommend this place for a visit, the pricing was reasonable for all dishes, plus being able to bring your own drinks means it works out a lot cheaper to pair beer or wine with your meal should you want to give the soft drinks a miss.
One minor quibble was that over the charge we incurred for asking to take some leftovers (of which there were a reasonable amount - portion sizes are fairly generous!) away. A surcharge of 50p per plastic tub was added to our bill, which while no great shakes in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty poor touch considering the restaurant had scored highly for everything else in our evening. I would suggest this is scrapped in the interests of their reputation.
Short of ideas? You could do far worse than giving this place a visit, just remember to bring your own drinks!
Well, that was rather a jam packed episode this time around! I hope you stayed focused and are rubbing your grubby palms with glee at the prospect of the forthcoming events in Liverpool?
I shall endeavour to keep you all abreast of the events as details reveal themselves to us at the Laboratory and bid you farewell for a couple of weeks until more information hits us!
Adios mi todos!