What I Did On My Holidays – Liverpool
The last leg of my trip took me to Liverpool, a place where I’d spent only a fleeting amount of time in the past.
I was staying at the Adelphi which marked the final stop on a tour of faded grandeur hotels.
After a bit of a wander around I headed for pre-dinner drinks at Berry & Rye, a hidden-in-plain-sight cocktail bar on Berry Street.
Whilst there I introduced the bartenders to that beautiful heresy, the Ardbeg French Martini, while they made me an excellent Bobby Burns.
Then it was on to dinner at Italian Club Fish. With a bit of a Scottish influence in the ownership, this is part of a small collective of businesses under the Italian Club banner all in this neighbourhood.
I was plenty hungry enough so ordered two starters and a main. First up were four oysters served in the Rockefeller style with a spinach and parmesan crust. They were delicious.
Next was a very oddly presented dish of multi-coloured monkfish ravioli. The flavours were good but the look of the dish amateurish and decidedly off-putting.
Some simple grilled turbot followed with a mountain of samphire and some good chippy chips. I liked it.
And that was me for the first night as I was still slightly drained from the previous night’s exploits.
A bright and early start next day took me to Bakchich for Lebanese breakfast. This seems a popular spot for informal Middle Eastern dishes with a good selection to start the day.
I opted for their Arabic breakfast which brought together za’atar eggs, labneh, foul moudamas, olives and falafel.
The eggs were completely overcooked so a dull source of protein and little else. This was a shame as everything else was really impressive.
I particularly enjoyed the breakfast ball excellence of the falafel. They were flagrantly nutty and deeply satisfying. The foul was damn good, too.
After morning that took me to various iconic spots around the city, then to Moose Coffee for really disappointing espresso, I lunched at Maray.
This had a strong Middle Eastern influence in its small plate dishes so I was clearly feeling the need for a top-up of my sesame reserves.
At lunchtime they offer three dishes for £13.50 which sounded fine to me. I added a honey and lemon mocktail which was pretty good.
On the food front, I opted for seabass with confit tomatoes and harissa, lamb kofte with tahini, and cauliflower with almonds, yoghurt and pomegranate.
The kofte were splendid and the cauliflower outstanding. The cooking on the fish was spot on but the tomatoes were a bit of a flat accompaniment. Still, this was accomplished cooking that really hit the spot. I was impressed.
After a lazy afternoon, I sought pre-dinner drinks at the excellent Filter & Fox where I sampled an ace fennel pollen negroni.
Then it was on to Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant, but they didn’t care to feed me so I headed back up the road to Chinatown in search of restaurant names that caught my eye.
After finding a place called New Champagne in Cardiff, Jumbo City was almost anodyne by comparison but it pleased me nevertheless.
There I had a good plate of salt and pepper tofu followed by a rather unusual dish of roast duck and deep fried prawn. It was hearty and flavour packed but a little strange.
And that was that for my England and Wales odyssey. I’d had some splendid fare, kept the miss-fires to a relative minimum and had a jolly good break.
It’s back to auld claes and parritch tomorrow as reviews of Edinburgh places recommence.