Food Review & Competition Announcement: Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

When my friends message me to see if I want to go for food, the usual suspects pop up such as Nando’s, Italian restaurant, French cafe, or one of the billion burger joints in any city centre. Often we leave it until we go out and wander around the city, occasionally wandering into pubs along the way where someone will suggest “why don’t we get food here?”. This will often be followed by sighs and tuts before one optimistic fellow pops up and says “hey guys, we’re all hungry, how bad can the food be?! And look our table is right next to the bar!”. This will often be said 20 minutes before seeing a burrito that has clearly been chucked in the microwave for 3 minutes and looks and tastes like dog food in a wrap – I’m looking at you Wetherspoons!

Reputation is everything and “pub grub” is probably the lowest of the low in terms of food reputation so I was sceptical when I got invited to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. They let me take over their Instagram story for the day and if you have me on Instagram, then you guys know how much I do enjoy a boomerang, so I agreed to come along.

As I entered the building, it had that usual, traditional,  pub vibe about it and then I was greeted by a lovely member of staff. We were then lead upstairs into this beautiful dining room filled with traditional Scottish decor without being dreary or dated. We got seated right next to the window and I am such a nosey person, if I can sit at a window whether it’s on a plane or a restaurant, I will sit there so I can just look out it and take in the scenery and people watch. If you don’t sit, look at people and try and guess what their life is like then you’re a liar… Or maybe It’s just me. The best thing about the view was that it faced down onto the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, such a beautiful city with so many beautiful people.

We sat down, got introduced to our hostess who was such a delight and absolutely lovely who got us a bottle of water while we ran our peepers over the drink and food menus. I went on to select Nicholson Nachos as a starter and a chicken, chorizo & cider pie for my main. Yes, you heard that right. Chicken, chorizo and cider all in 1 pie! That is my 3 favourite things in a pie or my 4 favourite things on a plate if you include the pie – I was excited!

However, before I got to the main, I had to tackle the starter and I wanted something light and not too heavy if I was going to tackle the pie so I went for Nicholson’s Nachos. Whenever I eat out I often find nachos are more miss than hit, sometimes the chips are soggy, salsa is often flavourless but you eat them anyway, ’cause, well they’re nachos. However, seeing this elegant little bowl of goodness filled me with so much hope. The chips were drizzled in a cheese sauce with perfectly placed guacamole, salsa and sour cream topped with jalapenos. The flavours blended well with nothing overpowering the others and even the cheese sauce had a certain tangy buzz to it and the colours were just beautiful.

Although, the nachos were amazing, the portion size was a fair size. The nachos we got was shared between 3 people and it lined us up nicely. This is not a starter for 1 person but if you have a group, I highly recommend you go for this starter. The only way this could be improved is if they grated a little cheese on top instead of just a cheese sauce. But saying that,  although this may get an extra mark for taste it may have lost several for presentation. However, this video sums up my reaction to the nachos…

Next up was the main course, the moment we all had waited for – The chicken, chorizo and cider pie. Ugh, yes! And it was every bit as good as it sounds. The pie was accompanied by a beautiful mound of mashed potato, carrots and kale at the side of it along with a nice boat of gravy. Just look at that presentation…

You finished staring lovingly at the picture yet? It truly is the Mona Lisa of pies, it took me a good 5 minutes of picture-taking and genuine admiring along with another 5 minutes of being scared to even touch it because I didn’t want to ruin its appearance. When the time came to it, I cut firmly into this beautiful well-crusted pie and out oozed this brown/orange sauce. I got emotional. The chicken was cut to perfection, every time you ate and tasted a bit of chorizo it was a beautiful surprise each time. It’s like when you reach in a bag of Haribo and put whatever sweet in your mouth without looking and it turns out to be a cola bottle, a beautiful, beautiful surprise. I often find alcohol and food don’t mix, in my opinion, red wine doesn’t belong on duck, the same way beer batter should not cover sausages. But the cider gave the sauce inside the pie that tangy taste that makes your taste buds tingle. I could talk about the pie all day but I should discuss its plate companions – the mash was soft and fluffy, the carrots were cut to the perfect size, the gravy was well-seasoned and was made perfectly, not runny or too thick and the kale was, well, it was kale… Not much I can say apart from it was green and wasn’t soggy, I had soggy kale once and it was not pleasant. The portion was huge, I recommend if you have this then only have 2 courses – I would recommend a main and a dessert but If you go here, I recommend this “perfect pie”.

After conquering the “perfect pie” I was on the fence about getting a dessert, as much as I enjoyed the food, my stomach couldn’t handle anymore but fast-forward 15 minutes and the hostess was dropping off some dessert menus on our table. The 2 people I were with, were dropping out, they couldn’t handle it but your boy soldiered on and ordered a dessert – a chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream.  You know that way where you think you physically can’t eat anymore but somehow you see something just incredibly tasty and somehow you find a tiny gap in your belly? Well, that’s what happened here, look at this beauty!

The portion was considerably smaller, the fudge was warm and even more fudgier than expected. I watched the ice cream melt over the brownie and I had to at least have a couple of bites just to write this review,  I mean it would be rude not to… The brownie just melted in my mouth and even though I was full from nachos and the pie, I could have easily eaten another brownie! The portion size was perfect for a dessert and the flavours of the brownie and the chocolate sauce just came together perfectly.

After that, I spoke to the staff and thanked them for being such great hosts and generally just for looking after me and my team so well and also complimented them for the food. I then finished up and left a parting video on their Instagram, saying thanks to the staff for looking after me and also to everyone who was engaging with me on their Instagram story over on (@nicholsonspubs). If you tuned in then you know, that I announced a competition would be happening, well I can announce that is true and the winner shall receive a £50 gift voucher for Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. You too can have the chance to have the same experience that I had at this lovely venue. Go on my Facebook (PookiepopBlog) on Monday, 1st May 2017 at 6 pm for all the information to find out how to win!

 

Enter the competition and you too could be as happy as me!

 

Conclusion

A great venue, that mixes traditional and modern that is based in the heart of Edinburgh overlooking the famous Royal Mile, with a charming decor along with great customer service. The food was incredible and the pie that I had is a pie that will live in the memory for a long time and the fudge brownie was just the perfect end to my day at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. All the food on the menu is very affordable in terms of the quality and has changed my opinion firmly on “pub grub”. In conclusion, if you’re in Edinburgh and looking for a quality bite to eat but in a relaxed atmosphere then I highly recommend checking out this place.

You can find out more information about the venue by clicking here.

 

VENUE – 8/10

CUSTOMER SERVICE – 10/10

STARTER – 7/10

MAIN – 10/10

DESSERT – 9.5/10

VALUE FOR PRICE – 9

OVERALL – 8.9/10

 

Jay Carrington

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Ryan Lawrie: ‘If Only’ Single Review

I often find when someone leaves a boyband their debut single is quite different to the music they had been churning out whilst in a group. Could you imagine NSYNC singing “Cry Me A River”? or One Direction performing “PillowTalk”? When artists break away and go solo, 90% of the time it is to be an artist in their own right and have more creative control over their music and just like Timberlake and Malik,  Lawrie looks to be doing the same. 

At 19 years of age, Ryan is now releasing this single, not as a former viral sensation, nor a former boy band member but as a true musician. In this song, he has taken several steps away from the clean-cut image that has been so carefully carved for him over the years of performing to a young audience. With his image and sound edgier and darker than before he has evolved from just another pretty boy singer into a credible artist in his own right.

If Only is the lead single from Ryan Lawrie’s currently untitled EP which is due to be released around late SpringThe song that makes this song so great is its originality. Usually within songs, you can hear a major influence from one genre and people will say that sounds like an *insert artist* song, this song doesn’t do that from one in particular. Although it is a solid pop song it edges on the more experimental, edgier side of pop rather than the watered-down bubblegum we have come to expect from people who tend to be just under the surface in order to achieve chart success. A bold move but one that pays off as his creativity and talent shines through on this delightful funky pop track

His fans that have followed him since the beginning will be able to identify his vocals in amongst the unique and exciting mix of plucky guitar riffs, funky bassline and the use of bongos. The only thing that remains his from his boyband past is his crisp, boyband vocals that blend incredibly well with the instruments and will surely appease his original fans. What shines through the most on the track, isn’t the solid vocal performance, or the killer musical production, it’s the songwriting. This song proves Ryan Lawrie can not only pen a catchy pop song but he has an eye for a killer hook as the chorus proves.

“If Only” gets released on the 26th February and you can pre-order it here. The song is Ryan Lawrie’s lead single from his as yet untitled EP which is set for a Summer release.

Verdict

9.5/10

Original, catchy and has an infectious chorus that will lead to an instant singalong. Put it this way, if Justin Bieber released this song then he would have a certain number 1 on his hands. I hope this song gets the support, airplay and success it certainly deserves.

 

 

My Session With AG Fitness Trainng

Due to my “Get Fit” resolution highlighted in my diary last week, I decided to turn to Andy Graydon, one of Scotland’s finest PT’s. Since Andy is based in Glasgow and so am I, it seemed only fair that I paid him a visit.

I got in about 30 minutes early and sat down and observed a Crossfit class that looked simply terrifying. While they were doing what seemed like 997867868676576 pull-ups and 18 minutes of kettlebell(ing?) and skipping – a workout that would send a shiver down the spine of even the most hardened athletes. I contemplated running away as I imagined myself trying to do one pull-up and not even getting off the ground while everyone in the gym gave me a wedgie each, which would be labelled under “#LADGymBantz”

Finally, they finished and Andy came over, introduced himself and put my mind to much-needed rest. He talked me through what I was going to be doing and made me  sign some forms – nothing major, just that if I died then my family couldn’t sue them, no biggie.

My workout was fun but tiring, I’m used to going to the gym by myself, putting on my headphones and zoning out but there is something incredibly enjoyable about having regular “gym bantz” rather than just silence. I often find going to a gym alone can be a rather tedious and boring affair but when you have someone next to you who you can have a laugh with and generally have a good chat it can be a much more enjoyable experience.

 

Post-workout pic

 

Workout

We did a 5 minute warm-up on the rowing machine. Followed by a little bit of shoulder mobility work with a resistance band.
We started off the resistance training with a bench press. the bar was 20kilos
then we had 5kg each side, so a total 30Kg.
After that we went on to single arm kettlebell rows, using a 12kg kettlebell.
We then finished up with the battle ropes and a stretch.

Verdict

 9/10

It was a great experience and taught me exercise can be an enjoyable social experience rather than just a lame workout. Anyone can tell you to “do exercises and get fit” but the way Andy talked me through each workout and explained why we were doing it and what we were doing was beneficial. Andy’s personality and knowledge gave this such a strong rating. I would have made it 10 since it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing exercise. However, it is still exercise… *minus 1 point*

You can check out Andy’s website here, Facebook here and also his Twitter here. If you’re like me and need to get back in shape to have a sexy 2016 then make sure you get in contact with him!

 

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Jelly Bear – Healthy Bear Review

Jelly Bear is one of the finest dessert parlours in Scotland and has gained a stellar reputation for its quality sweet treats. Everyone loves eating waffles, cakes and ice cream, but they have realised – as we all do at the beginning of a new year – that health is also important. Introducing: Healthy Bear.

Healthy Bear is the exciting new launch of this healthier alternative sister company to Jelly Bear, the perfect way to usher in a new year and help you stick to your weight-loss resolution. No longer will you have to look all over for quality, tasty, reasonably-priced, healthy food before deciding to head to your nearest Greggs and feeling disappointed with yourself because you chose a lukewarm sausage roll over something healthy because you didn’t want to pay £10 on a salad.

As soon as I stepped foot inside the building the decor is unlike many of the usual sweets and treats stores which usually leave you trapped in confined spaces on uncomfortable wooden chairs and awkwardly touching the person next to you. This was a spacious, modern building that instantly seems inviting  – imagine if the Apple store sold food instead of technology. This is how these sort of stores should be, fun and friendly. I mean, they even had beanbags to relax on!

I then looked over the menu, each item looking as appealing as the next. I don’t know whether it was because they all looked so good but it taken a good 10 minutes for me to decide what to order as I sank further into my beanbag before opting for the “Red Thai Chicken wrap” a braised chicken breast with Thai herbs, spices and coconut milk. A delightful meal, not overly spicy but yet full of flavour. I find healthier meals often leave my stomach unsatisfied and leaves me feeling hungrier than before I ate but this freshly-made bite left me feeling full and content.

I washed all this down with a strawberry, banana and pear smoothie. I can’t lie, it looked horrendous it actually looked like porridge. However, my mum taught me to never judge a book by its cover, so I went for it. You know how looks can be deceiving? Well, this was one of them. Really sweet, not too thick that it takes years just to drink it through a straw and not too thin that it tastes like flavoured water. I sometimes find a lot of places sweeten their smoothies so much you can actually feel your teeth disintegrating, with this smoothie you taste a lot more of the various blends of fruit rather than consume the usual diabetes in a cup we have often come to expect.

 

Verdict: TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY

  1. Healthy
  2. Delicious
  3. Affordable
  4. Relaxing Atmosphere
  5. Lovely Venue

Those 5 points should be the reason why you should head along to Glasgow’s new hottest and healthiest venue. If you are like me and you know come next week your “New year, new me” slogan will be firmly in the bin, you’ll never see the inside of a gym again until the week before you head off on holiday in the Summer and you’ll be back timing yourself to see how quick you can eat 20 chicken nuggets, then fear not. While your “never eating unhealthy again” may be a thing of the past there is no reason why you still can’t eat tasty food whether you are on a diet or not.

At least this way you can have a delightful, healthy lunch and then you can justify turning into Stewie afterwards…

 

Song of the Month “One Direction – Drag Me Down” (August)

Being a One Direction fan looks easy on the surface such as going to shows and buying merchandise, but it is a lot more than that. When they are not at a 1D concert or counting the days to the concert you can usually find them editing pictures/videos, creating new hashtags #OhNo(insert name), slaying rival artists and fandoms on social media (Naughty Boy anyone?), endless online promotion for new singles/albums/tours/fragrances/anything 1D related, writing “Larry” fanfiction. I could go on…

However, 2015 has been an emotionally and mentally draining for the band’s fans. Zayn Malik leaving the band, Louis vs Naughty Boy, Louis vs Zayn, Louis set to become a father – and they’re not the mother. The Directioners are still a fiercely loyal fan base and One Direction repaid their loyalty with a song which seem to make all the troubles over the past few months disappear.

Drag Me Down shows the band musically evolve once more, progressing from that stadium-rock sound of Midnight Memories and Four to a more edgy, lowkey rock vibe. When I heard it I couldn’t help but feel this song could easily be on the latest Fall Out Boy or You Me At Six albums.

At first I had doubts about One Direction after Zayn’s departure. In my opinion, he was the best vocally. I mean some of his high notes left me clutching my chest with tears in my eyes – So many feels… – *ahem* As I was saying I had my doubts, but this song put any doubts I had to rest. Two special mentions need to go to Harry Styles who showed off some incredible vocals at the end of the track. Louis Tomlinson deserves the other mention, Louis gets a hard time as the weakest vocalist. He’s not a bad singer, the others are just really, really good. He has a unique voice which sounds great on this type of song and his solo is a real stand-out performance for me. (For other great Louis solo’s check out “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “No Control“.)

Since its release it hit #1 in 82 countries, became the most streamed track on Spotify in 24 hours, gave the boys another new UK #1 and debuted and peaked at #3 on the US Billboard charts. Pretty amazing for a song released on the back of zero promotion.

If you haven’t already heard it, why not watch the music video? This way you get to listen to the song and see 4 guys training to be astronauts along with facial close-ups and endless hair flips.

Verdict

Great song, mature sound, but it’s just lacking that something (Zayn high note?) to make it a classic. Saying that, It is definitely still worthy of a slot on the Pookiepop Playlist.

4.5/5

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Jake Aldridge – Give You The World

Jake Aldridge might be a name unfamiliar to the average pop listener but Jake has been bubbling under the surface for a while now waiting on that big break racking up just under 100,000 plays on Soundcloud along the way.

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Give You The World is the latest track by Jake and this one has Summer written all over it. From the tinkly Summer synth to the uplifting catchy chorus this song will be incredibly difficult to forget whether you want to or not.

Lyrically the song is quite emotional about being in love and looking at the lyrics you can see it and relate but Jake seemed to struggled to transfer that emotion from paper with his delivery. If he had managed to deliver it with the same emotion as he wrote it truly would be an amazing song. That’s what people relate to, they want to feel the emotion through the song. The  middle eight was the game-changer for me and made the song end on a high. It was the most emotionally charged part of the song and you can really connect to it which really made this song go from average to good and made the song end on a high.

The song is an incredibly well-written and produced song but I don’t feel this will be the one that finally pushes him in to the mainstream. It just seems to be lacking that certain edge that people have come to expect from rap artists. I can’t help but feel that if this song had the same snarl of Professor Green or the delivery of Eminem combined with the vocal acrobatics of Emeli Sande or Sia on the chorus this song would easily make it in to the top 5 in the charts.

There is no denying the talent is there and that is the frustrating part. He can write songs with killer hooks, he has a good flow when he raps and he can also hold a tune and has the potential to be something rather special. However, some help is needed. It is difficult being unsigned and wanting to compete with signed artists who have 10+ of the best songwriters and producers money can buy with vocal coaching and basically everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them. The talent and potential is there he just needs some minor tweaking.

For Fans Of:

  • Professor Green
  • JLS
  •  Labrinth

Verdict

Good song but just lacking that certain spark.

2/5

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London Butterflies: Buy or Bye (Review)

Everyone enjoys a bath. There is no better feeling than enjoying a nice, relaxing bubble bath surrounded with a couple of scented candles and some absolute cheesy singalongs – if you say you haven’t belted out Dancing Queen in the bath then you’re lying.

Luckily, the lovely people over at London Butterflies realise that men enjoy a good ol’ pampering session as much as the next person. They sent me out the 2 most popular products purchased by men and I really did mean to publish this sooner but I have spent half my time in the bath and the other half getting people to smell me – I am normal, honest.

The first item I pulled out was the Dead Sea Salt and Sweet Almond Oil Bath Salt Scrub which was a nice change. I hadn’t used a bath scrub before and the texture of it was unusual, it felt like a really soft Vaseline feel and you can feel the salt granules along with the strong scent of almond oil – first impressions weren’t great. However, I hopped in the bath and used it, but focused more on the dryer areas of my body i.e. elbows. knees.

I left that bath feeling smoother than a baby’s bottom, my skin was feeling fresh, rehydrated and my skin had a real glow about it. I made the sad mistake of telling my mum who can often get dry skin – being a red-head she really does struggle during the Summer months – and she used it and was amazed, now I need to hide it from her. This unisex product is a must-buy for anyone seeking really soft, baby-smooth skin. Don’t be put of by the odd texture, it feels strange at first but you get used to it and works wonders

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Verdict:

Appearance – 2/5 Effectiveness – 4.5/5

Cost – £29.99

Buy/Bye

Item number 2  was the British Tundra Berries and Meadowsweet with Golden Jojoba Oil Body Butter Souffle. I’m quite apprehensive about body butter although most of them smell great a lot of them often make your skin greasy and the scent usually last for about an hour. However, this body butter doesn’t do that and makes your skin feel great and you literally smell like the best fruit bowl in the history of fruit bowls for the full day. I do have a confession to make, I don’t really know what a “British Tundra Berry” is or “Meadowsweet” but what I do know is that it smells bloody delicious. At this very minute I’m fighting the urge not to eat myself!

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Verdict:

Appearance – 5/5 Effectiveness – 4/5

Cost – £29.99

Buy/Bye

Overall Verdict – For under £60 you can have both of these products which work together perfectly. One makes your skin soft and fresh and gives your skin a new lease of life and the other makes you smell like a dream. Guys, if you’re heading out on the weekend trying to win the heart of an (un)lucky lady or guy… Or both – Whatever floats your boat. I read that within 7 seconds most people can work out whether they are attracted to that person or not so first impressions are crucial – don’t deny it, you’ve did it before. The top 3 main senses of attraction are appearance, smell and touch. If you use these products people will notice you have really good skin, then when you muster up the courage to talk them and they say yes and you’re leading them to the dancefloor they will realise that your skin doesn’t just look great, it feels great and then when you’re dancing closely they’ll realise you smell like the tastiest fruit salad ever.

So guys, don’t complain about how these products are for girls. Get your bahookie in to 2015. What first attracts you to someone, doesn’t only equate to you. You can beat your chest and call yourself a man but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look, smell and feel great and also be a man and that is why you should buy these products.

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