Rebecca Wharmby

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Prohibition reviews Fire Lake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at Radisson Blu

To celebrate the launch of Radisson Blu’s brand new, standalone Cocktail Bar and Grill House – named Fire Lake with reference to its Minnesotan roots (for those of you who aren’t aware, Minnesota is known as ‘the land of 10,000 lakes’ and actually has 11,842) – The Light’s social media team was invited for lunch to experience first-hand what the new venue has to offer.

Although Fire Lake has only just officially opened (back on June 1st), we’ve already heard a lot of great things about it. We were especially excited to visit Fire Lake after reading the official restaurant review in the Yorkshire Post last week, in which the food and service was given a massive five out of five stars. Surely it must be good?

The word ‘good’ doesn’t cut it.

Words that do spring to mind following our lunch experience are ‘amazing’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘delicious’, ‘ ‘TO DIE FOR’, ‘presentation’, ‘FUSION’, ‘refined yet down to earth’ and  ‘Yorkshire’ (of course)!

There really is no other venue in Leeds quite like it, and here’s why…

On arriving we were led to one of the chef’s tables – a long-high bench – positioned with a front seat view of the kitchen. It’s easy to get distracted, as you take your seat, by the colourful delights adorning the chef’s pass, including mini chilli plants and jars of pickles.  You’re surrounded by details and Fire Lake has got service ‘off to a tee’, from the tiny pegs designed to attach your napkin to your clothes and the ice cold water containing summer berries.

Once seated, the attentive staff talked us through the menu; a treat in itself. The waitress points out the subtle nods to Yorkshire scattered through the menus, such as the starter ‘Buckets O’Mussels’ and the main course of ‘Line Hooked Seabass’ accompanied by ‘Bradford Onion Bhajis’, which she tells us are proving to be a fast favourite. The specials boards include speciality meals created by each of the chefs – as if the menu wasn’t overwhelming enough.

What’s unique about Fire Lake is that all of its meats are cooked in a josper, a special charcoal oven which helps to bring a smoky flavour to all grilled meats. This form of cooking gives the meats a taste that’s like no other and the staff, who clearly know their stuff, urge steak lovers to sample the delights from the grill.

Following a lot of big decision making, we finally made our choices and ordered. One of the team is a vegetarian, and as any veggie knows, a grill house can be a bit tricky. You often get stuck with one option (normally a salad) as you watch the rest of your party get excited about the vast array of choices before them. Not at Fire Lake!! Many of the dishes are veggie-friendly, or adaptable (all detailed in the menu) and the staff are eager to offer assistance to make your meal as special as the meat eaters’ in your party. Our resident veggie opted for pea soup to start (without the Yorkshire ham which normally comes on the side), followed by the falafel-in-mushroom burger for main. And for the meat lover in the team, a starter of fried melting crab croquettes and with ‘The One and Onglet’ butcher’s steak for main.

We were served works of art, presented to the highest standard with extreme attention to detail. Just take a look at the pictures which speak for themselves…

Pea soup

pea soup

The pea soup came highly recommended by two members of staff and it did not disappoint. Extremely tasty, the dish was simple yet moreish and each spoonful went down a treat. The accompanying bread melted in the mouth – it took a lot of restraint not to lick the bowl!

Falafel-in-mushroom burger

falafel burger

The bun-less burger came wrapped in protective paper with hummus and seasonal veg on the side. It was simply delicious and was finished far too quickly. A hearty option for the vegetarians out there.

Melting crab croquettes

crab croquettes

The crab croquettes were an absolute ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ delight. Containing no potato, the little balls were bursting with crab meat and were seasoned to perfection. The accompaniment of the red onion relish was a fantastic pairing for the dish and added just the right amount of bite! Crispy, tasty and an all-round winner.

‘The One and Onglet’

steak

This was the real shining star of the meal. They say the josper brings a whole new taste to the steak and boy does it do just that. Ordered medium rare, the steak was supremely succulent and had been marinated in a special marrowbone gravy –  the only way to describe the taste is heaven! Although the steak came with a sauce of your choice, béarnaise in our case, it was unnecessary as the juices of the steak were too good to mix. This was nothing like any steak we’ve tasted before and even though it was only lunch time, the whole plate was cleared!

For drinks (it was lunch time after all) we stuck to a small glass of white wine each. The menu does boast an extensive list of cocktails and on returning, we would most definitely opt for one of the barman’s fruity masterpieces – the one’s we peered at from across the bar looked amazing!

A meat lovers last thoughts:

A beautiful restaurant that caters for all occasions. Be it lunch, a romantic dinner or a special celebration, there’s a part of the restaurant for everyone. The food is first class and the steaks are to die for! My recommendation for steak lovers would be to look no further than the butcher’s block (aka the steak section) when ordering.

A veggie’s verdict:

Not what you’d expect from a grill house, where salad is often one of the only suitable choices on offer. You can relax in the sophisticated and stylish surrounding, while you pick out the minor details scattered around this utterly transformed venue. If you visited before the renovations, you’re in for a lovely surprise. I plan to visit again and again.

Our pick of the best food and drinks blogs in Leeds

Our outreach team here at Prohibition spend a lot of time identifying and engaging with online influencers across a wide variety of fields. Regardless of whether it’s a brilliant product or a less-tangible idea or issue, the end result is organic word of mouth for our clients, a powerful thing with today’s media-jaded consumers.

This month we’ve been busy speaking to food and drinks bloggers in Leeds for a new bar/restaurant we are launching next month. As anyone who’s visited the city in recent months will know, food and drink is now a major draw in Leeds, with more pop up bars, street food vendors and hipster eateries than you can shake a stick at.Guacamole_Pepper-Jack_Burger

As such, Leeds now boasts a huge number of brilliant food bloggers, catering to this exciting scene and giving the latest tips, advice and inside track on what’s happening in the city when it comes to food and drink. Here’s our pick of some of the best:

  1. Gourmet Times Leeds is a digital food magazine that focuses on fine-dining in the Leeds area as well as in your home. The blog is great for a number of reasons, not least because they encourage everyone to be a part of it by using their user-generated-content gateway, allowing readers to add their own recipes, articles and reviews. Their restaurant guide is definitely one not to be missed and is home to all the information you need when it comes to finding a restaurant.
  1. Whip Until Fluffy is written by Lil, a Leeds food blogger with diabetes living in the city. Her blog is a haven for finding yummy recipes and fabulous bar/restaurant reviews and recommendations. Her blog has really simple navigation, and easy cooking tutorials, and is a favourite among those seeking home cooking inspiration or anyone looking for great restaurants around Yorkshire.
  1. Big Spoon Little Spoon is a food and lifestyle blog by Becca, featuring posts on recipes, reviews and diets. If you are looking for inspiration on where to eat out in the city of Leeds then look no further, with reviews of the latest restaurants. I especially like her honesty and candid views.
  1. Jo Blogs. Part of the Leeds food & drink association, this Leeds lifestyle blog specialises in food and restaurant reviews, while Jo’s lifestyle posts make this blog more than just one for the average foodie.
  1. Breadsticklers – “For the love of food”. As well as restaurant reviews, this great blog also features delicious homemade recipes that will inspire you to become a master in the kitchen. Written by Claire, she has been sharing her love of food since 2011, and prides herself on writing about only her own experiences and honest opinions when it comes to reviewing great places to eat.
  1. Amy Liz is a food blogger based in Leeds posting about recipes and restaurant reviews. However, aside from writing exclusively about food, she also likes to blog about fashion and her lifestyle in Leeds, categorising her posts into; Leeds life, recipes, outfits, book club and restaurants, meaning there’s something for everyone.
  1. Eating Owt. It is exactly what it says on the tin… reviews, recipes and ramblings about Yorkshire food. This should be your go-to-guide when it comes to finding hidden Yorkshire treasures and reviews of some of the newest restaurants. If that all doesn’t take your fancy, check out her “All things cheese section” which covers, as you can guess, cheese reviews. Yum!
  1. Angel In The North may predominantly be a Yorkshire lifestyle blog, but her food and drink section is a great place to find reviews of restaurants not only in Leeds City Centre, but in the wider county, with the likes of Le Chalet Tearooms, Cielo Blanco, Bird and Beast, Cafe Rouge and Roxy Lanes reviewed.
  1. Them Apples is a blog about the food adventures of Rich. With absolutely no training when it comes to cooking, Rich takes inspiration from family and friends to create his masterpieces in the kitchen, something he shares with all his readers. His blog covers a variety of issues including eating out, food politics, books and kitchen gear.
  2. A tale of two sittings is written by a passionate Leeds food blogger who is also keen on photography. Originally from Wales, Diane‘s blog posts are a mix of food and drink, restaurant reviews and general lifestyle adventure posts. It’s one to be enjoyed by those who not only have a passion for food, but by those who enjoy finding out more about what Yorkshire has to offer in the way of food and culture.

We know this list isn’t exhaustive, so if you’re not included, please let us know about your blog in the comments and explain why we should all read it.

Internet Activism vs. Keyboard Warriors

The fact that social networks have become a vital information resource for mainstream news outlets, brands and everyday people is no longer news to anybody. We’re all aware that brands have been using them to their advantage for quite some time now, having noticed the benefits of investing time and effort in social media, grade A brands such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Converse are all still leading the way in this space and are benefiting from the added awareness that strategic social media programmes create. More recently, lesser known brands have been using this benefit to their advantage, these brands being everyday people like you and me.

The most important and powerful element of social media is the word ‘social’. Defined as relating to society, companionship or an informal social gathering; it is this element of a connected network, joining together and sharing things of a similar interest that adds true value. It is this concept that is making way for a new, more powerful use of social media, something that aims to make a difference or inspire a change; the rise of internet activism.

I recently read an article based on this topic, it is inspiri4069040701_b78c100d18_zng to see just how much social media has changed the face of activism and empowered people to make a change who otherwise would struggle to have any influence at all. One recent example is that of the woman of Turkey who rallied together to post laughing “selfies” in protest of the deputy prime minister who claimed women should not laugh in public. This inspiring display of a nation of women coming together was a great example of social activism and sent a strong and clear message which spread all over the world, gaining global media attention. Result.

Another great example is the #nomakeupselfie which aimed to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I bet you’d struggle to find anyone who wasn’t subjected to seeing their newsfeed f2772956930_c2ce2cf085ull of us women’s beautiful, au-natural faces, am I right? Yep, thought so. The trend was an internet sensation and encouraged women all over the UK to bare it all in the name of charity. The movement was supported from a whole host of famous celebs including Beyonce, Rihanna and Cheryl Cole and raised an astonishing £8million in just six days. If that’s not an excellent and clever use of social media then I don’t know what is.

However, the very latest example of this trend that is currently taking the internet by storm is the ice bucket challenge; aiming to raise awareness and money for ALS, or Motor Neurones Disease as it is known in the UK. Launched by the ALS Association, the array of celebrities to get involved with the campaign so far is astonishing and with a whole host of A-Lister’s still jumping on-board, this is set to be the biggest display of online activism we’ve seen yet. Just to name a few, throwing a bucket of ice water over their head for charity, we’ve seen Mark Zuckerberg, Christiano Ronaldo, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears and even George Bush. And with George Bush having just challenged Bill Clinton, things might be just about to get political – could Obama be next?

So it seems social media is now proving a great way of empowering society and is helping to join people together in order to make a positive change, however, like all things, with the good always comes the bad and you will always get those that spoil it for everyone else.

Take the Keyboard Warriors for example, these fine specimen of social media users feel that because they are behind the safety of the computer screen, and can often use a fake alias name, they can say whatever they feel without any consequence. Yes, we’ve all experienced them and all been annoyed by them. Personally, the types that rile me up the most are those that feel the need to bring down others who are actually trying to do something positive. Take the #nomakeupselfie for example, how many people saw a negative comment along the lines of ‘How is uploading picture of your ugly face going to make any difference?’ from a serial keyboard warrior. Well, £8million was raised in total for the cause, so in your face keyboard warrior.

Sadly, there are many cases where internet activism has been used for all of the wrong reasons and as PR Moment pointed out, the use of internet activism can get ugly. Take the London Riots for an example. In 2011 word spread over social media like wildfire and within hours thousands took to the streets of London to riot in protest following the death of Mark Duggan. You know the rest, not a positive use of internet activism at all.

From a PR perspective it’s important to bare this in mind when thinking about your own clients, considering both the positive and negative. Whilst this form of activism could well help a client campaign take off, using the public voice to garner awareness and credibility, you could also find yourself battling a nasty group of aggressive keyboard warriors determined to tarnish your client’s name. I say down with the troll!