News from the food frontline
There’s so much to say about Albert’s Schloss we haven’t got space to spell it all out. Here’s the whistle-stop. Trof/Gorrilla/Deaf Institute sibling sitting on the ground floor of the Albert Hall. Manchester’s first Tankovna. There’s four, 900 pint, colossal copper cylinders crammed with Bohemian beer. Bohemian as in the best-beer-in-the-world. Add to that a Bavarian food vibe with an in-bar bakery and you’ve got an après-ski carb-fest with bells on.
Oxford Street’s Nudo Sushi Box is the group’s first site outside the North East. It promises, and delivers, quality, affordable, freshly prepared sushi. With a new site to open at Spinningfields in November we’re looking forward to swimming in sashimi heaven at lunchtime.
Bounce up the road a bit and get a brimful at Asha’s. Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle opened the new modern Indian venue and you can dine on dishes from her original recipes. It’s the tenth venue to open worldwide but the brand has taken a leap with a spangly interior and expansive cocktail list. We loved the Barrah Kebab (lamb chops in layman’s) washed down with the signature So Dubai cocktail.
Shaking things up in Spinningfields is Artisan with a seismic shift to sharing plates. Making for a much-improved meandering menu, we recommend you grab a booth and while away a winter afternoon with lots of picky bits of food. Crispy beef lettuce wraps were the stars of the show.
It’s a double Lowry shuffle over in Salford. A new chef, Andrew Green, will take up the tools at The Lowry Hotel’s River Bar and Restaurant. Over on the Quays there’s an extension and shipping container combo whacking a whopping 300 covers into waterside dining at Pier Eight at The Lowry Theatre. There’ll be casual and formal dining, plus a chef’s table, with promises of lots of local supply from Lancashire and Cheshire. Opens end of November.
Barton Arcade on Deansgate is embracing life as a new foodie destination. Across the way from the much loved Pot Kettle Black coffee shop, Liverpool’s Lunya’s stuffed full with lots of lovingly sourced Spanish fare. The deli is resplendent with hanging hams and oodles of other hand-picked delights. Hot on those heels in the New Year will see Solita launch a new look steakhouse. Less of the ‘Big Manc’, gut-busting, burger bonanza and more of a smooth, 1950’s style, elegant eatery. But this is Franco so we expect a twist.
For something different head over to Altrincham on November 14th and 15th for what’s claiming to be the UK’s first Fizz Festival. Cava, prosecco, English sparkling wine and champagne buffs will all be there to share their wares. Tickets are £20 and for that you get your own glass and the opportunity to taste samples from the 40 different supplies. There’s masterclasses and all sort of other things too. Should be a lively day out.
Out with the old and in with the new over at Great Northern. Home Sweet Home has taken over the previous Lucha Libre unit. The NQ place is often queued out of the door for breakfast at a weekend, so this bigger sister site should sate any Sunday morning Cheeseburger Toastie cravings. New to the menu are cake shakes. Yes, cakes in a shake. Calorific terrific. Over the way, Taps has turned into No 1 Watson Street. It’s goodbye to the the self-service table taps and hello to 48 bottled beers and 12 more on tap. There’s a great range of cocktails, ciders and wines too.
King Street finally kicks off the first of its eating offerings on the pedestrianised stretch. As we go to print, Quill is due to open in a matter of days. Fine, contemporary British food is being promised by chef Curtis Stewart. Dishes read as ‘Trout, Cucumber, Wasabi, Ash’, ‘Scallop, Bitter Chocolate, Salt Cod, Mooli’ and ‘Lobster, Mango, Coconut, Bisque’. Next neighbour due in is El Gato Negro at number 52 in February. More tip top tapas for the city.
Movement around the Northern Quarter includes a new home for the 63 Degrees team, the finest French food in the city we’d say. Find them at the old Market Restaurant site, 104 High St. Dive opens its ‘shutters’ to bring us a speakeasy-style shot den. Make sure you’re stocked with Alka Seltzer for that one. And Cottonopolis should open this side of Christmas with a pan-Asian influence, there’s talk of black sesame ice cream and a cocktail involving coffee liqueur and soy sauce. Something quite different for the NQ.
“Furrow is an extension of what we do at the bakery,” says Baltic Bakehouse’s Grace Henley. “Good ingredients cooked well.” But there’s more here – Furrow extends its offer, with meat from Edge and Sons, Raby eggs and hearty lunches and early dinners, with wine from Scatchards, breakfast blinis and bloody Marys. They’re open every day except Monday. And, of course, the bread is sensational. 97 Allerton Road, Liverpool/ @furrowcafe
American Pizza Slice have been quietly dishing out their street food philosophy for years – way before the first beardy start-up or small batch gin distillation. Slow food takes on a whole new meaning for them. But now it’s time for chapter two, as they’re opening up a proper sit-down-and-have-a-beer venue, at the top end of Bold Street. This dizzying pace unsettles us.
Talking of Pizza. And Bold Street. Paulo and Donato are busily transforming the old Home site into Crust – a new, authentically Italian pizza joint. If their present portfolio’s anything to go by, this is going to be another huge stride for Bold Street’s foodie renaissance.
Red’s True Barbecue, the self-styled “Church of True Barbecue” is hard at it in Hardman Street (No 51, to be precise) – throwing over £1 million into their latest venue. Hosting 150 covers, RTB – already a hit in London, Manchester and Leeds – is promising something special for Liverpool. “The design of this site will be the brand’s bravest creative direction to date, and we’re excited to see what the people of Liverpool think, says James Douglas, co-founder.
We’ve loved their bagels for a couple of years. Now, thanks in part to a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Bagelry gets a place of its very own. New to Chinatown, the Bagelry is the first bakery dedicated to hand crafted boiled and baked bagels. If you, like us, have sampled their deliciousness at Baltic Bakehouse or Cow & Co, this news will make you Very Excited Indeed. 42 Nelson Street.
Neighbourhood, Spinningfield’s hugely successful New York flavoured bar/bistro is heading closer to the Big Apple. But only 35 miles closer. The venue’s soon to open up, perhaps under a different name, in Liverpool’s historic Trials site – that gorgeous old, Grade II listed building hall. It’s promising more of the same laid-back dining, Premier-League people watching and Russian hair extensions. But the food’s great, and that’s why we’ll be going.
Taking over where the controversial Pink Bar left off, Wall of Fame is the latest restaurant to open in the Mathew Street/Victoria Street quarter of town. It promises a music-themed bar with burgers, sharing charcuterie platters and frothy steins of craft ale. It’s one of only a handful of independents in this corner of the city – Turtle Bay and Grillstock the latest chains to arrive in the cavernous old Produce Exchange in time for Christmas (Turtle Bay is actually opening two venues in the city, the other over in Liverpool ONE’s new Hanover Street food stretch) – so we wish them well.
Commotion was caused when the old Starbucks on the corner of Castle Street and Water Street was mooted to be turned into a Ladbrokes. Common sense prevailed, and planning was refused. Makes a change in this city. Good job no-one made a move to turn it into student flats or a swaggy-crap hotel, eh? Now, Graffiti Spirit, the surefooted team behind Santa Chupitos, Salt Dog Slims, 81 Ltd, and Slim’s Pork Chop Express are planning a sixth outlet, a pizza joint provisionally titled Santa Maluco, for the site. “It’ll bring something different to that end of town and finally get that building back into use” Graffiti’s Matt Farrell tells Bitten. All bets are off as to how successful this latest venture will be, if past form is anything to go by.
The transformation of Hanover Street into Liverpool ONE’s second food terrace continues apace. Food and Beverage is now the most growing sector in this retail record-making retail quarter. Known for its decent pizzas and burgers, Roxy Ball Room throws pool and ping pong tables into the mix too. It’s about having fun, apparently. The long awaited Club House should also open on Chavasse Park before our next issue is out.
Plans have been approved and, yes, smoking in a pub is back on the cards in Liverpool. Well, not quite. But it’s as close as we’re going to get. Turmeaus – Britain’s second oldest tobacconist – are opening a whisky lounge and specialist cigar shop on Old Hall Street, in the Albany building. The venture will allow customers to sample cigars within the premises because of its, ahem, specialist nature, which means it sits outside the smoking ban. Fat Havanas all round.
That late night beacon of take-home booze, Hardman Street’s Swiftdrinks, could soon be no more. The shop, and the cavernous warehouse beyond, could be transformed into the street’s latest restaurant venture. Plans submitted to Liverpool City Council by Frensons (who own huge swathes of the Ropewalks) would see the space remodelled by Snook Architects, with an entrance on Henry Street. There’s no denying it – it’s a space with huge potential.
Rob Gutmann’s renaissance continues apace, with a new venue opened up in Lark Lane. Love and Rockets is a pizza’n’craft beers place, and his homage to 1980s Mexican comics. You knew that. It joins Yardbird, Motel Bar and Miss Kitty’s in Rob’s astute game of Second Life.
Five Guys burger joint is headed to the old Rat and Parrot building at Queen Square. The chain’s famous for its build your own burgers – have it how you want it is their mantra. We might suggest whizzing it in a Nutribullet and serving it with toasted amaranth. They use grain fed, rather than grass fed beef. We’re not sure this is a cool thing. Cows like grass, don’t they?
Leeds is the site chosen for the next chapter in the Revolution story. The Revolución de Cuba concept will see the bars’ offer skew even further in the direction of rum-based cocktails, as our love affair with vodka continues to slide. The new venue, just down the road from the traditional Revolution Bar, is the culmination of over a £3m investment in two new sites (the other’s in Milton Keynes), both offering Cuban inspired cocktails and, no doubt, plenty of space to shake your stuff in this huge venue, site of the old Baracoa Bar at the bottom corner of the street.
Talking of Baracoa, owners Jimmy and Symon Dean have now found a new venue a few doors down. The new Baracoa Luxe Bar will open in the former premises of the Rock Bar. Dress up though. None of your new season Adidas here, this is a classy joint, right?
We’re loving Headrow House – the new indie venue, gig space and food court breathing much needed new life back into the former textile mill at Bramleys Yard. The multi-million investment looks like money well spent to us. The project’s the realisation of Belgrave Music Hall operators Ash Kollakowski and Simon Stevens hooking up with street food operator Ben Davy for the project. It’s a collaboration that reaches its highpoint in the ground floor steak restaurant The Ox Club.
Homage2Fromage, the Leeds-based cheese club created by Nick Copland and Vickie Rogerson, and beloved by Blur cheesehead Alex James, has opened a pop-up cheese cafe at the Merrion Centre. Open until next spring, the cafe promises a cheese fest of epic proportions – with a solid Yorkshire presence (who doesn’t love a tangy bit of Wensleydale?), and a range of dishes centered around the stuff. Whey to go.
After a decade doing its thing, The Reform is heading south. Deep south. Technically, it’s still on Merrion Street. Now totin’ all things Texan, from bourbon-and-rye cocktails to slow roasted pork, the Mean Eyed Cat – it’s a Johnny Cash song – is the latest city bar in a desperate bid to show it ain’t standing still. Do that, in this city right now, and you’re dead, partner.