Hard Rock Cafe have brought out their latest cocktail creations for the Summer season, focusing on the ever-popular Spritz, twisting them with familiar names such as Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniel’s, Grey Goose and Chambord.
Kick-start with my personal favourite of the ‘Jack and Diane’ that see’s Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 combined with Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and topped with lemonade for a bold hit of whiskey and orange. A close second for me is the ‘Chambord Supernova’ that see’s Chambord blended with St Germaine elderflower and topped with Prosecco, soda and a lemon twist. Rich, refreshing and offers a long finish!
A fantastic Grey Goose offering in ‘Good Limes, Bad Limes’ is available, showing the flavours of St Germaine elderflower, fresh limes, Prosecco and soda, whilst the ‘Thyme Warp’ offers a highlight of the Bombay Sapphire experience with fresh lemon juice and tonic, with a sprig of thyme to bring out the fresh aromas.
The two other Bombay Sapphire creations include ‘Gin Ginie’ that see’s the bolder profiles of Chambord mixed with the British gin and bitter lemon, topped with a sprig of mint, whilst the ‘My Gineration’ focuses on the gin with orange juice, tonic and plenty of orange peel for garnish.
Six refreshing serves, priced between £9.45 and £9.95, served up, if you wish, within a Hard Rock souvenir mason jar (for £11.80) whilst rocking out in the sunshine (or what’s left of it) on their terrace. And if you’ve ever read my previous features on Hard Rock Cafe’s food offerings, you’ll know you can make an afternoon of it!
Jack & Diane with a Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger for me. I’ll see you at the bar.
Hard Rock Cafe are well-known for their burgers across the world, and all 199 sites have been coming up with creations that define their corresponding city. For the next two months though, customers are being invited to sample the aptly named Local Legendary Burger offerings, with 8 being highlighted at Manchester’s Hard Rock Cafe over the coming weeks.
So, if you pop in this weekend, you can grab yourself the Indian styles of the Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger, coming complete with chicken breast marinated with authentic tandoori spice and fresh herbs, topped with Jack cheese, cucumber and mint yoghurt. Or perhaps the Java Lava Burger from Seattle, America that involves the beef patty rubbed with espresso to release a subtle flavour of coffee, alongside homemade lava sauce, java onions, Cheddar cheese and smoked bacon. This works perfectly with its American cousin the Maple Old Fashioned, Hard Rock Cafe’s twist on the classic American cocktail that uses Makers Mark bourbon, cherries, maple syrup and orange juice, garnished with a stick of crispy bacon.
San Antonio in America are also featured, giving you an insight into the city’s culture with their Jalapeño Cream Cheese Burger. This comes layered with double-battered jalapeño slices and jalapeño cream cheese, alongside red onion and Sriracha mayonnaise. The South Pacific island of Guam also makes an appearance with their Chamorro Burger, using island spices that are rubbed into the beef patty, with layers of Pepper Jack cheese and homemade Chamorro glaze and chilli paste on top. Perfect to accompany is the Mai Tai One On that features Mount Gay Eclipse rum, Cointreau, Monin Orgeat, fresh lime and orange juice.
Other cocktails that work perfectly with the World Burger Tour include the likes of the Pomegranate Mule, blending Absolut vodka, Monin Pomegranate and ginger beer together, as well as the Mezcarita that offers Del Maguey Mezcal, Cointreau, Malibu and fresh strawberries for a Mexican flavour.
Of course no visit to the Manchester cafe would be complete without the Lancashire Hot Pot Burger that features a de-constructed Lancashire Hot Pot, minted lamb pate, potato rosti and onion frazzles, all topped with gravy!
As of June 1st though, four new burger variations will be available, including delights from Miami, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Guatemala. So you have two reasons to pop in and really splash out on your cultured cuisine!
I’ve been to the Manchester branch of Hard Rock Cafe a fair few times over the years, but it had been a while since my last visit. Time to duly rectify this with a burger hit on #NationalBurgerDay of all days!
Although the rise in smaller independents that cover Manchester, Hard Rock have always had a good selection of burgers available including the likes of the Mushroom & Swiss, which combines sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese, and the Fiesta which heavies on the Mexican flavours of roasted jalapeño salsa, melted Jack cheese, freshly made guacamole and pico de gallo. However Hard Rock were vying away from the menu a little on #NationalBurgerDay in that all burger loving customers could create their very own with choice from a great selection of toppings!
In my element of course, the choices of sauces were vast and included the likes of tangy, heavy metal, texan, bbq, ranch, blue cheese, red pepper, butternut squash and zucchini. To go with your choice, bacon, cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, Swiss cheese, onion frazzles and caramelised onions were amongst the options to fill out your piping hot meal. My choices turned to be Sloppy-Joe (sweet chili pepper seasoning), American and Jack cheeses along with bbq sauce, complete with a double burger and side of fries and blue cheese and horseradish mayonnaise.
Considering I’ve never had the pleasure of the American classic they call Sloppy-Joe, I gambled with a great pay-off as it really enhanced the burger flavours, with the two cheeses mixed well to round the experience off. I love bbq sauce, so that added richness to it all and gave me something to mop the fries with.
Shockingly, no dessert for me though. My creation left me struggling to even attempt to look at the menu, which was by no means a bad thing. Good food had been consumed and it did what all food should do; filled me up!
I’m sure Hard Rock Cafe will be offering similar deals in the future when it comes to creating your own burger, but if you pop in on a day that they are not, you won’t be lacking options on the menu. The previously mentioned are only a few from the menu that also boasts Hickory BBQ Bacon and Cheese and the ever-changing Local Legendary, which offers flavours unique to Manchester!
Go in, order a burger, leave full and wanting to return quickly. #NationalBurgerDay or not, sometimes you can’t beat a more recognised figure.
This week I had the chance to experience Hard Rock Cafe in Manchester. Not a new venture for me as you can see here, but a welcoming return as this is one of my ‘Manchester Gems’. Invited to try Hard Rock’s Legendary Burgers and sample the cocktails on offer, myself and my girlfriend (who we shall name Miss C) settled for a busy Wednesday evening, and browsed the drinks menu whilst waiting for our table.
Their ‘Classics and Favourites’ covers all the basics, Alabama Slammer, Piña Colada , Cosmopolitan and Daiquiri as well as some quirky little numbers like Rum Runner (Bacardi, banana and blackberry liqueurs, grenadine, orange juice and sweet and sour topped with Myers rum), Tropical Rock (Stolichnaya Raspberry, crème de banana, piña colada mix, pineapple juice and Midori) and Mosh Pit (Bombay Sapphire, Absolut Citron, fresh basil, lime and strawberries). All reasonably priced too, with over twenty to choose from between £5-7. I myself started my night with a Southern Rock (£6.75) – a mix of Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Chambord and Smirnoff mixed with sweet and sour mix and topped with lemon and lime soda. Refreshing is all I can say. Not badly balanced either despite some heavy spirits in there. Miss C went for a fresh fruit Mojito (£6.25) with a Bacardi Superior base. Mixed Berry was her choice out of the original and raspberry, muddled with of course mint, sugar and lime. It looked stunning, a dark, rich red colour made it a very inviting drink, although a little awkward to drink with the fresh fruit not the best to suck through a straw.
With our table ready, we headed up to the main restaurant level and glanced over the Legendary Burgers menu (most priced £13.95). With classic 6 oz. burgers, to a mega 10 oz. and the cheese layered The Big Cheese Burger, there are plenty to choose from. We opted for a bit of a range, so heading our way were the Local Legendary (Lamb burger combines minced lamb patty topped with caramelized onions, and a crispy Potato Rosti with a side pot of gravy), Hickory BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger (Basted with special Hickory BBQ sauce and smothered with caramelized onions. Topped with crisp seasoned bacon and melted Cheddar cheese), Red, White & Blue Burger (Laced and grilled with spicy Buffalo sauce and Cajun Seasoning, then topped with crumbled blue cheese and a crisp fried onion ring) and California Burger (A toasted bun brushed with Ranch dressing, fresh cucumber slices, lettuce, tomato, and fresh made Hard Rock guacamole and topped with Monterey Jack cheese.). What a feast!
All four burgers came medium-well and still hot, fresh from the grill. All came with fries and dip, with courteous check-back from the attentive waitress. Now to sum up the four, I can say with satisfying greed that they all nearly went. The Hickory BBQ Bacon Burger went down a storm with the caramelized onions blending well with the bacon and melted cheese, as did the Local Legendary which is basically a Lancashire Hotpot burger. Dripping with gravy, its a bold yet brave move, and worked like a charm. These two put the other two in the shadows a bit, although each had there own merit. The California Burger came with a good helping of guacamole and Monterey Jack cheese whilst the Red, White and Blue Burger offered more a layer of flavour, with the hot Buffalo sauce dominating once it comes along.
Listening to a good mix of rock from Fleetwood Mac to Van Halen whilst relaxing and eating gave off the perfect atmosphere, one you kind of expect in a Hard Rock Cafe I suppose. It doesn’t disappoint in what your expectations are for this worldwide chain.
Back to the cocktails and I noticed a section named ‘Classic Rocktails’. Genuinely surprised to see names such as Sazerac, Corpse Reviver, Hemingway Daiquiri and Aviation on the four strong list. A sucker for classics, I just had to order a Sazerac (£6.75), and hand on heart, one of the best I’ve had. Using Jim Beam, Benedictine and brandy alongside blackberry liqueur, bitters and sugar it balanced perfectly. Yes, OK there’s no traditional absinthe there and they’ve used a dash of blackberry liqueur, but for a cocktail that could have easily gone ‘the wrong way’, Hard Rock have created a very good variation. With this, Miss C opted for a Hemingway Daiquiri (£6.75) – Bacardi Oakheart, cherry liqueur, sugar, lime and sweet and sour. Again not a bad variation to the original and it showed off a fantastic colour.
The dessert menu just had to be looked at, and rather glad we did. I do love a menu where you think ‘I could have that, that , that and that’, which is exactly what me and Miss C did. After much analysis, we decided to go for the Hot Fudge Brownie (£6.45) and Strawberry Cheesecake (£4.25). A good sized fudge brownie arrived, nicely warmed, with vanilla ice cream layered on top of the brownie itself. Above that, fresh whipped cream covered in chopped walnuts, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry. Delicious. Well and truly. The cheesecake again was rather put in the shadows, however the presentation surprised me in that it came in a large shot glass. Light texture and not over dominating strawberry made it a good alternative to a heavy dessert, but if you put it next to the brownie, there’s only one winner.
To finish the night, Miss C went for a Blue Devil (£6.75) – Captain Morgan Spiced, blue curacao, fresh margarita mix and raspberry syrup. You could see this coming towards you, it wasn’t hard to work out a name for this one. My last tipple was to be the Aviation (£7.25). A tweak from the original using Hendrick’s, Monin Elderflower syrup, cherry liqueur and sweet and sour mix. It went down way too quickly.
If you ever get the chance to experience Hard Rock I’d give it a thumbs up. Even if your not a fan of rock music itself, it’s still a great place to eat, lots to choose from with both food and drink, the waiters look after you and you really are more inclined to have three courses because these guys do not believe in small portions.
Check out the rest of the photos from my visit via my Facebook page.
Yesterday I swung by Manchester’s Printworks where the ever impressive Hard Rock Cafe can be found. A popular place that in the past has always left a lasting impression on me whether its food or drinks, this time though, I went for a couple of cocktails before the commute home.
Making my way to the large open bar, a rather busy, yet unfazed barman was creating drinks left right and centre, so I scanned the bar menu and looked for any delights that caught my eye. Almost immediately, the Rum Runner was selected. A combination of Bacardi Superior, banana, Chambord, grenadine, orange juice and sweet and sour mix, shaken and poured over ice with a Myers rum floated on top. Fantastic! Despite the bar being a little busy, I was served within minutes and I was enjoying the drink as I took in the rock memorabilia around me. Being a Manchester based venue, there were quotes from Oasis scrolled around the walls, The Beatles equipment, and even Roger Taylor’s (Queen) jacket from a tour. Signed posters, records, drum kits and guitars were all neatly presented so that it didn’t look like your were drinking in someones cluttered basement, but more an open museum. Anthems from Muse, Journey and even Louis Armstrong were played in the background, loud enough for you to hear, but quiet enough for you to actually enjoy a conversation without straining your voice.
The next drink I chose was the Exotic Margarita. A blend of Patron Silver tequila, Cointreau and Monin Pomegranate, shaken into a rather sizeable Margarita glass complete with salt rim. Noticing that Hard Rock stocked one of my favourite tequila’s, i looked over their back bar to see what else they offered. Bourbons Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Knob Creek mingle with Myers, Bacardi Gold and Superior whilst Grey Goose, Skyy, Absolut and Stolichnaya are available for your vodkas. I even spotted a bottle of Remy Martin XO on the shelf! On tap, only Stella Artois, Becks Vier and Boddingtons are seen, however their bottle collection more than makes up for it including Corona, Budweiser, Magners, Heineken and Leffe Blonde. A simple yet good selection of wine is also on offer, with all bottles less than £20, with the odd bottle of sparkling wine and Champagne thrown in their too.
Back to the cocktail menu, and theirs all your usual finds in Long Island Ice Tea, Cosmopolitan, Daiquiri and Mojito as well as a few variations of the Margarita. Their ‘Alternative Rock’ section is for the drivers of the day, with a ‘Groupie Grind’ not surprisingly catching my eye! (mango puree, pina colada mix and pineapple juice with a strawberry swirl). The cocktails are between £5.15 and £6.80 which are bargains, especially with the size glassware you can get with some of the cocktails. A selection of the drinks can even be upgrade to have them made into a Hard Rock Cafe branded glass, which you can then take home with you – a collection that is growing steadily at mine!
My time at Hard Rock Cafe flew by as I got caught up in the atmosphere and chatting with Nathan the bartender. A man of many stories, including the time he had to host one of Hard Rock Cafe’s ‘Shake It Up’ events with 12 women, who were determined to drink nothing but straight vodka! He’s also a man of class, naming the Old Fashioned as his favourite drink.
This is an excellent place in the heart of Manchester to come and unwind after work or a day of shopping, with kids allowed to be present too so families are welcome. The restaurant on the upper level never seemed empty, despite it being in the middle of the afternoon, and the comfortable looking bar booths and high tables were filled with business men, chatting women with glasses of wine, or families waiting around for a short while to experience the food menu – a menu that will be explored on my next visit!
Myself and my friend popped in to Hard Rock Cafe for a bite to eat after a long day in Manchester this week, after the promise to myself to explore their extensive menu after my visit above.
Being seated straight away, we were nestled on the outskirts of a relatively full restaurant, with menus handed to us and orders of Margaritas taken. Myself I went for an Exotic Margarita (the same as above, with a combination of Patron Silver tequila, Cointreau and Monin Pomegranate) whilst my friend enjoyed a rather fancy yet sophisticated looking Tropical Rock (Absolut Raspberri, crème de banana, piña colada mix, pineapple juice and Midori). With big appetites to fill, we opted for the Jumbo Combo to share, which once arrived, wished we’d brought backup! An array of Santa Fe spring rolls, Hickory-smoked chicken wings, onion rings, potato skins and tupelo chicken tenders, all served with ramekins of BBQ, sour, mushroom and blue cheese sauce. Laid out over an oval place, with a sundae bowl in the middle that held the spring rolls amidst lettuce, jalapenos and tomatoes with dollops of cream sauce to mix, the presentation alone was a sight to see. With an atmosphere comprising of a mix of rock and roll and indie tunes, together with families, couples and the odd group of friends, it gave the place a sort of relaxed feel, with no hint of a rush. There were a few customers dotted around in the bar too, with the familiar sound of a cocktail shaker being put to good use on many occasion.
Once we made our way through the platter, our mains arrived, with a good-sized 10oz burger cooked medium rare for myself (you have to applaud a restaurant that asks customers how they would like their burger cooked – a trend that unfortunately doesn’t seem to catch on at others), smothered in Hickory BBQ sauce and caramalised onions and topped with crisp seasoned bacon and melted cheddar cheese. My friend opted for Hard Rock’s Legendary 10oz burger that comprised of two slices of cheddar cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and pickles. With fries on the side of both, and although piping hot throughout, I have to admit we were defeated fair and square. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs this time round! We were given time to ‘attempt’ to finish after a glass of water but it was not to be. And as you can imagine, we laughed with the waiter over his habit of asking if we would like to see the dessert menu.
With no obligation to leave, we finished our drinks and chatted before browsing their Hard Rock store for a memento of the night. A rather snazzy Hard Rock t-shirt bought by myself – well I do already have all the glassware that’s available!
We genuinely had a great experience at Hard Rock Cafe. The food was excellent with great portions, cooked to spec and piping hot, the Margaritas were spot on, and the service we received could not have been faulted. The prices are reasonable too, with the sharing combo £15.95 and both burgers at £13.50. Theres more to offer than sharing platters though, with nachos, chicken wings, potato skins and bruchetta to choose from, before you hit the mains that include BBQ ribs or chicken, club sandwiches and a range of salads and burgers. With kids menus available too, families are welcomed, even at the bar where there is a slimmed down menu to enjoy.
I might try that side out soon, but in the meantime, give Hard Rock Cafe a go, and give me a shout if you see me there!
To check out photos from all my Hard Rock Cafe visits so far, click here.