Brunch. That perfect excuse to have a glass of something alcoholic before Midday. I’m quite the fan of a brunch, and I have spent a lot of time over the years in visiting those highly sought after brunch spots. Not quite a breakfast, and not quite a lunch, I like the element of being able to graze over food and drink whilst spending quality time with my gal pals. When I heard that Kahlua were bring a brunch club to Manchester, I felt that it was definitely worth a visit. An espresso martini masterclass followed by a two course menu and rounded up with cocktail sounded perfect for a Saturday morning. Based at the newly refurbished The Loft on Quay Street, Manchester, I was really looking forward this.
The Loft, for those Manchester dwellers, is the building where Walkabout used to be. It has been totally stripped back inside with exposed brick, vaulted ceilings and concrete floor giving it a really industrial feel and a perfect blank canvas for Pernod Ricard to hold events. Pernod Ricard look after brands such as Absolute Vodka, Chivas Regal and of course, Kahlua. The Loft isn’t going to be a public bar, but an event space and it’s a really gorgeous space.
Upon arrival to The Loft, we were greeted with complimentary tea and coffee. Although I went for a peppermint tea, I did notice that they catered for the non-dairy folk and had soya milk to add to the hot drinks. Brownie points from me. Around the venue, comfy seats and cacti decorations, soft sofas with plump cushions and an interactive games room made for a great atmosphere.
The venue was filling up and they started to move us over to the long picnic tables. Whilst I don’t mind sharing benches with others, I did feel that there was one or two too many people crammed onto each bench. There was a further place setting however we couldn’t move up any further without being too invasive of each others space. On the tables, there were ice buckets, martini glasses and the lids for the cocktail shakers, ready for our masterclass. We were brought the shakers, pre filled with equal amounts of Kahlua liqueur, Absolute Vodka and espresso. We added the ice, and learnt how not to make a vacuum by adding the lid in two pieces. Shaking the cocktail shaker until you can hold it no more and shaking it in such a way that it adds the air makes the perfect foam on top. My cocktail was reasonable in looks with the three coffee beans on the top, but it tasted divine.
The first course served was the Eggcellent Kahla Stack; smashed avocado and poached hens egg on an English muffin topped with Kahlua and maple infused ham. The egg sat to the side of the stack was filled with hollandaise sauce that was absolutely perfect. The ham was delightfully crispy, and I have never seen such a perfectly poached egg in my life. So well poached that it had a really smooth oval exterior, with a yellow runny yolk that soaked into the English muffin. Avocado will always be my favourite, and the smashed avo was seasoned beautifully. It did make it quite difficult with how many people were on the bench as unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of space to move your arms to eat properly. Not great when trying to eat a runny egg whilst wearing white!
I have an issue with pancakes and I cannot stand the pancakes that are more like crepes, so I was so thankful to see a colourful stack of scotch type pancakes placed in front of me. Three pancakes liberally coated with warm Kahlua chocolate sauce and chocolate coffee beans, which we were able to decorate from the Kilner jars full of sweet toppings. Marshmallows, chocolate drops, strawberries and blueberries were available to use, so naturally I used them all. I did feel slightly uncomfortable dishing out the toppings as I was aware of the others on the table and that they also had some allocation out of each jar. The pancakes were mediocre; they were quite dry and cold, but the Kahlua sauce was beautiful. Rich and warming, with that hint of Kahlua. It does make me want to experiment at home when I am baking.
To round off the brunch, a Chokahlua Orange cocktail. Now, this did give me a bit of a va va voom as I got the hit of tequila straight away. The cocktail was made using Kahlua, Olmeca tequila, creme de Cacoa and orange, poured over crushed ice and garnished with a dusting of chocolate powder. Once the initial tequila taste merged with the Kahlua and orange, it was very palatable but with that cheeky potent finish. It was the ultimate palette cleanser after the brunch.
I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t honest, and I have to say that I was a tad disappointed with the set up. Whilst I don’t have any complaints about the food and drinks as such, I was really uncomfortable with the lay out. I felt that there was far too many people on the benches, which were packed so closely to the tables behind, that you were penned in. I couldn’t get out from the bench until everyone sat next to me had moved so I could manoeuvre my 6ft body out of the space. In a dress. With a bad back. I wouldn’t have been able to go to the loo during the brunch for love nor money. I simply had no room to get out. This also had an effect on how the food was served to us. As the waiting staff could only get to the end of the table, we had to pass plates of food down to each other. It was confusing because plates were being passed everywhere, people were being missed out and no one really knew what we were doing. It almost felt like I was on a school dinner bench. With all due respect, I should not be paying for food, and have to hand over a strangers dirty plate after eating to the waiting staff, or hand down plates full of food down a table.
That being said, the atmosphere and vibe of The Loft was great, the bar staff attentive and we weren’t kept waiting in between courses. Considering than an Espresso Martini costs roughly £8 in Manchester bars, the brunch is £20 which includes 2 cocktails and 2 courses which is really good value for money. There is also a discount voucher on the Kahlua Brunch site where you can get a 20% bringing the cost to £16. If you don’t mind being in quite an intimate seating arrangement, then I would say that it’s worth the experience. We don’t have many brunch clubs in Manchester, so to have a Kahlua brunch in such a vibrant space is brilliant.
I’m actually really keen to see what event Pernod Ricard next hold at The Loft. Lets hope it’s a good one! The Kahlua Brunch Club event is running over the May Bank Holidays before it leaves town for good.
*I was invited to brunch as a plus one of a fellow blogger and I dined FOC. All opinions are my ownThis post may contain PR samples that have been sent to me for consideration for review however all my opinions will be my own. The links in the post my be affiliate links which will earn a small amount of commission should you shop my recommendations.