Before we released our competitive streaks at Ibis Styles Liverpool Dale Street last week, the Ibis and Gray Matter team thought it would be a good idea for us to get to know each other over dinner before the long day of games. With drinks on tap all evening it was certainly an ice breaker, and it wasn't long before the eleven of us were sat down at a long table in the centre of the hotel's open-plan dining area, taking photos and chatting away.
We were lucky enough to be trying the taster menu that evening, which meant sampling pretty much every dish that they had to offer, which looked like more of a challenge than it originally sounded when six different starters were brought out and placed on boards in front of us. Even though the menu is simple and quite basic, the quality and presentation of the food for a budget hotel was quite impressive. The Prawn Twisters and the Posh Squid (Ibis Styles' genius name for calamari) were to die for, as was the Hearty Leek & Potato Soup with a toasted Croque Salmon on the side. Along with Rustic Charcuterie Boar (AKA, cured meats with ciabatta) and Falafel-stuffed Pittas, there was so much food on offer that we could have called it quits after starters, but we resisted finishing off the battered prawns to save a little room for the mains.
The only main dish I was disappointed with was the Mini Chicken Caesar, which I found to be all lettuce and not much of anything else. But who is going to go for a salad when there is Spanish-style Surf and Turf on the menu? This Valencian paella dish containing mixed seafood, chicken and chorizo was so moreish it was at danger being placed next to me on the table. I did force myself away from it to sample the other dishes, however, and the Salmon Supreme (salmon with a white wine sauce and roasted vegetables) and the
fancy fish finger sarnies Mini Cod Goujon Sandwiches both got points from me (can you tell I like seafood?). For people who aren't big on fish, they also had some restaurant classics including Aberdeen Angus Mini Beef Burgers plus Steaks Frites, which were cooked perfectly.
As intimidating as dessert sounded after the abundant amount of food we had just consumed, there were only two to face and the mini portions were perfect to take the edge off my sweet tooth. In fact, after I had tried one of the Mini Chocolate Puddings I'm sure I could have had another couple. The Apple Crumble was lovely too, and was finished off nicely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The #CaptureIbisStyles Campaign
Full, and with a cup of green tea in hand (because we all know the green tea cancels out at least 75% of calories consumed, right?), we were briefed on our tasks for the following day plus the worldwide campaign, which- as promised in my last post (read here)- I am going to tell you more about today. As previously mentioned, Ibis Styles are launching a campaign on Friday, March 13, 2015, offering Instagram users residing in six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil and the UK) the chance to win from a possibility of fifty-seven pieces of designer furniture that are showcased throughout the fifteen participating Ibis Styles hotels.
If you are local to one of the hotels (Liverpool and Edinburgh if you are in the UK), all you have to do is pop in with your smart phone and take a photograph of whichever of the four pieces of designer furniture on offer take your fancy (they will be in the lobby area with an Ibis Styles label attached to make them easy to spot) and then upload it to Instagram with the designated hashtags. It is then up to you to use the power of social media to collect as many 'likes' as you can on your Instagram post. The amount of 'likes' required to be in with a chance of winning your chosen item will be stated on the attached Ibis Styles label, and once you reach this target you will be entered into a draw to pick the lucky winner of the piece of furniture. Exciting, no? If you don't live close to one of the participating hotels, don't worry- there will be a digital version too, so head over to the #CaptureIbisStyles webpage for more information on the competition and to see the pieces of furniture that are up for grabs (very jealous of the folks over at the Lille Centre Grande Place hotel in France who can win this adorable elephant stool!). The competition will run for two months from March 13 to May 13, so there's plenty of time to gather up those likes!
Will you be entering the #CaptureIbisStyle competition?
*DISCLOSURE: I was kindly invited to stay at Ibis Styles Liverpool free of charge to take part in their #CaptureIbisStyles campaign. All opinions stated are 100% honest and my own.