05/01/14 - Exploring Liverpool: Leaf and Alma de Cuba

Looking back over the past few months of this blog, I realised that I've become lazy when it comes to actually doing things that involve leaving the house which means I've been reviewing and recipe-ing away for ages without getting out and about.  Since graduating, my social life has stalled a little and the few times I do venture beyond my kitchen, I rarely remember to document what I'm up to.  This won't happen in 2014; I will make more of an effort to do blog-worthy things and to remember my camera when I do!  However, I need to apologise in advance for the photos in this post - my parents' big impressive camera would never fit in my clutch bag, so a combination of my old Fujifilm and my friend's Instagram will be providing the images for this post.

There is very little better than chowing down and catching up with an old friend.  I don't believe Heather's featured on my blog before, which is frankly a travesty as she's been my bestie since we were two little brainiacs working on primary school projects together!  Now that we're both back in the parental homesteads, there's no excuse not to see each other...we spent a couple of days over Christmas actually working together, for goodness' sake.  So we've decided to have a monthly excursion in which we will explore the independent restaurants that Liverpool has to offer; we both get an outing and I get something to write about on here!  Everybody wins.

We started at Leaf on Bold Street, best known for their wide range of exotic teas but also serving a delicious and varied menu of carefully hand-crafted food.  After wandering in and out of a few places and being turned away (why on Earth didn't we think to book somewhere on a Saturday night?), we found ourselves on a small table amid the hustle and bustle of Leaf's slightly bohemian atmosphere.  The service was impressively quick for a busy Saturday evening, and the food was of a really high standard and very reasonably priced.  The whole meal couldn't have been more than £25 for both of us.

Heather opted for a spicy falafel burger, which came with Greek salad and a side of the most delicious fried potatoes.

I had a mixed vegetable Goan-style curry served with coriander rice and naan bread.  The curry was thick and creamy, filled with fresh vegetables and rich flavours.

Like the sensible girls that we are, we decided to pace ourselves and started with tea rather than alcohol.  As it's what Leaf is famous for, it seemed silly not to!  We both chose white tea sprinkled with champagne flavour and cassis, which was fruity and refreshing and a perfect compliment to the food.

After dinner, it was cocktail o'clock!  Well, come on, when isn't it?  Our next port of call was Alma de Cuba, a bar and restaurant with a mix of Cuban, Hispanic and Latin American influences located in the conversion of St Peter's Catholic Church.  The surroundings are utterly spectacular, complete with stained glass windows, pews for seating and a DJ booth up behind the altar.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the bar as the lighting was low and atmospheric...totally not conducive to blogging, how selfish of them!  Heather snapped a few, which begs the question of how her phone camera can be better than my actual camera?  I think I need to upgrade!

 The cocktail menu is extensive, featuring all the classics you would expect mixed in which twists on these classics and some totally off-the-wall creations.  You'll find something for everyone, from your cocktail traditionalist to someone who wants something a bit more unique.

Lycheetini with a sherbert and poppy candy rim
I believe this was something with passionfruit and prosecco...
basically the only drink Heather had
that wasn't a strawberry daquiri!

I didn't get any photos of it, but my favourite drink of the evening was the passionfruit and chilli caipirinha.  It was zesty and refreshing with a definite kick of chilli that lingered in the back of the throat...definitely one I would have again.

As we sipped and surveyed the other patrons , we got chattering away about everything under the sun - well, what else is having a girly cocktail night for?  Before we knew it, it was 11pm and that's when Alma de Cuba really comes alive!  The music got louder, petals began to fall from the upstairs balcony (where I believe the restaurant is located) and a woman in a sequinned bikini with a feathered headdress began shaking her money-maker to the fast Brazilian beats.  It was definitely an experience and one I would love to repeat!

After deciding we probably couldn't afford another of Alma de Cuba's delicious cocktails, we started scouting around the surrounding area for somewhere else to go for another few drinks.  I can't remember exactly where we went, but it really opened to my eyes to how little of Liverpool's nightlife I've experienced.  I mean, why have I never had a frozen piña colada out of a pineapple before?!

While we originally intended to have a rather sedate evening of dinner and a few drinks, we may have left that behind somewhere around out third cocktail.  We had some hilarious experiences of beard-scouting, telling off a groom for trying to get with drunk women at his own stag do, and returning to Alma de Cuba for one more drink for the road...but it's never just one, is it?  

I had a brilliant evening and I'm so excited to do it all again next month...with possibly a few less drinks, as I'm feeling rather delicate as I type this!

Where's your favourite place to go for cocktails?  Let me know in the comments!


  1. I love Leaf! I always have those fried potato things, they're so good! If only I liked tea though, it always seems such a shame not to try one of their (many!) teas!

    1. I'm not the world's biggest tea drinker, but it seemed perverse not to try one and I was pleasantly surprised! The food was amazing, I'm definitely going again very soon :) xx

  2. Hannah as IF I have only just read your blog!!! I think I will be having a good read through it soon! <3

    Love this!!! You must have gone to Aloha for the piña colada... does that ring a bell??? Have you been to Santa Chupitos Hannah??? they do this really nice ice cream cocktail for £5.50 on a milk bottle!!! <3 (It's called the Fiver Dollar Shake!)

    Hope you're ok! xxx