Universal Restaurant: Food Bloggers’ Trail

May 16, 2011

I was recently invited by Ashley, of Food Pampering, to attend a Food Bloggers’ Trail. I was intrigued…visit a restaurant with lovely fellow food bloggers, enjoy lots of yummy food and engage in food-related chatter…. “Sounds fabulous”, I thought. Count me in!

And so, one recent Saturday a group of food bloggers gathered at Universal Restaurant in Lygon street. We were warmly greeted by Alfie, who introduced us to the resuatrant – a friendly Italian eatery, established in 1969, which aims to provide good, honest and affordable food. We were also given a tour, where we saw the spacious and modern upstairs function room. Here they hold sit-down dinners and cocktail parties.

Back downstairs we perused the menu, which is quite extensive and boasts hearty Italian fare (you can view the menu here). The prices are reasonable in light of their generous portions. Alfie brought out a range of food for us to try…

Burschetta Roma – a lovely warm, soft pizza base topped with a nice pesto and fetta.

Garlic Pizza, which smelt amazing but was a bit heavy on the cheese for me.

Oysters – both naturale and kilpatrick. I am not an oyster lover, alas. It is such a shame, they’re so good for you (absolutely full of zinc!) and I enjoy all other seafood. Maybe one day…

Buffalo Chicken Wings – I tend to steer clear of wings. I don’t enjoy chicken skin, which leaves very little meat on this cut. Having said that, though, the marinade was yummy, and the bits of meat I did eat were really delicious.

I am Angus Pizza – I loved the free-form shape of the pizzas. They were served on very attractive wooden boards, and looked wonderful. The base was quite thin, which was nice. Topped with thick beef strips, I quite enjoyed this pizza.

Chicken and Avocado Pizza – I have never understood the combination of chicken and avocado atop of pizza or in pasta. But I quite enjoyed this dish! Perhaps I shall re-think my attitude, as it seems I am missing out on a delightful flavour combination.

For the mains were were brought another selection of eats:

Slow Roasted Pork Ribs – these were really yummy! In the same way I don’t go for wings, I tend to avoid ribs. But these were really meaty – lovely and tender. Yum.

Salmon with Ratatouille – The salmon was nice and chunky, although a tad overcooked for my liking. The ratatouille was wonderfully rich.

Tuscan Chicken on Mushroom Risotto – this risotto was delicious. Nice, thick mushrooms and al dente rice.

Porterhouse Steak – I’m always a fan of steak, even though this one wasn’t particularly melt-in-your-mouth. The fat chips served alongside it were nice and chunky.

Risotto Poseidon – a flavour packed tomato-based risotto loaded with prawns and mussels.

Food bloggers at work…

And then we were finished.

Just kidding, of course we were treated to dessert! We sampled one of each that was on offer. A spoon (or few) was just enough to give us a sweet hit and send us entirely over the edge into the “completely full” category πŸ™‚


– we tried a scoop of lemon, nougat, blood orange, mango and chocolate. Overall they were a little too sweet, but the chocolate scoop was smooth and rather delicious. I am informed that they are aiming to be making their own gelati by the summer. This is a fantastic idea, and I look forward to seeing the results!

Tiramisu – not a standout, but great serving style. I do love a dessert in a glass πŸ˜‰

Blueberry Cheesecake – very rich, this was incredibly indulgent. If you’re a cheesecake lover, this will definitely hit the spot!

Chocolate Mud Pudding – this was devilish and delicious. This may be oversharing…but I’ll say it anyway – it was that time of the month for me, and this cake was exactly what I had been craving.

Panna Cotta – points for presentation, how gorgeous is the persian fairy floss! I love a good panna cotta. This one was strongly vanilla flavoured, which I enjoyed.

All in all we had a great lunch at Universal Restaurant. Friendly service, relaxed atmosphere and pleasing food. The pizza, ribs and chocolate mud pudding were my favourite eats of the day. Universal is a great place for big groups to catch up over some tasty food, without blowing the budget! A big thanks to Ashley and Alfie.

Check out the lovely Michele‘s review (link here). I think she’s the first one of us to get her review up, and her pictures are to die for. I’m going to immerse myself in her photography tips (link here) and get my study on!

Heidi xo
  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 16, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Talk about foodie heaven! What fun!

  • Leah May 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Looks like a wonderful day Heidi! xo

  • Hannah May 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I'm a cheesecake lover! I'll have your share! And fie, "too much cheese"?! Never! πŸ˜›

  • Blithely Unaware May 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I love chicken and avocado on pizza!!! You're cray cray girl!!! β™₯

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    That looks like a lot of fun! And at first I thought it was a version of the Universal restaurant we have here but it isn't πŸ˜›

  • thanh7580 May 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    It was nice to finally meet you in person Heidi. The meal was definitely good and very filling.

  • Iron Chef Shellie May 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    delicious post girl!! Love that photo of me πŸ˜› haha!! might have to borrow it for facebook with crediting you of course!!

    and thanks for the shout out links!! xxx

  • FOOD May 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Great post Heidi!

    It's definitely nice having you there and getting you to share how you balance being a food lover and dietician =)

  • Heidi May 17, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Lisa – indeed!

    Leah – thank you, it was πŸ™‚

    Hannah – hehehe I know, fie! Love it.

    Blithely Unaware – I can't believe I was off it for so long!

    Lorraine – well it is a Universal sort of name… (sorry :P)

    Thanh – nice to meet you too, Thanh!

    Michele – yes, totally take it! πŸ™‚

    Ashley – thanks again for having me there πŸ™‚

    Heidi xo

  • blushingstrawberries May 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

    What a lovely experience to have! I love eating with people who are happy to share their meals because I tend to get wild with food envy!

  • Jemma May 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Hey Heidi,

    Let me know when the next event is, I would love to come along too! It would be nice to be not the only one taking photos of food.. πŸ™‚

    Jem xo

  • Heidi May 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    blushingstrawberries – yes, sharing is the best! You get to try far more that way, and satisfy the food envy beast πŸ™‚

    Jemma – hehe, sure thing! I'l let Ashely know.

    Heidi xo

  • The InTolerant Chef May 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Sounds like a great night out, food and fun!

  • Anna Johnston May 18, 2011 at 7:25 am

    It sure does sound like a great night out & getting to taste all those dishes too. Fun, fun πŸ™‚

  • Heidi May 18, 2011 at 7:30 am

    InTolerant Chef – ooh it was πŸ™‚

    Anna – yes, there was SO much to taste!

    Heidi xo

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds May 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    All those pizzas look amazing! And I love nougat gelato – if it's done right. I know what you mean about it being too sweet!

  • Heidi May 19, 2011 at 7:00 am

    This was the first one I've tried. I can imagine it can be lovely, yes! I'm not a huge nougat fan though… xo

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) May 21, 2011 at 2:40 am

    What a great idea to share a lovely evening with like-minded blogging friends! Did you also share the food, so you try a little bit of everything?

  • Almostalwaysravenous May 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    SHaring was incredibly difficult with some of the dishes LOL. luckily no one was particularly germ-o-phobe

  • Heidi May 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Kath – yes we shared!

    Allan – haha, yes it was hard sometimes – those ribs! πŸ™‚

    Heidi xo