Liverpool is my home city so you can only begin to imagine the amount of food I have consumed here over the years! Some of it has been absolutely awful, yeah, but most of it has been bloody delicious and since I’m starting a blogumentary (is that a word yet, cause it should be) about my culinary adventures, I thought it only right I give a shout out to some of the best places to eat in my own neck of the woods. So without further ado (in no particular order)…
Mowgli – ‘Little Mowgli‘ is probably my favourite hot spot of the moment. Tucked away at the top of Bold Street, this charming eatery is always buzzing with happy customers. A niche fusion between urban street food and traditional Indian cuisine, you’ll never want to eat takeaway from your local again! My usual order is a Mother Butter Chicken Curry with a side of Gunpowder Chicken and a Mango Lassi (pictured, right) but I’ve heard great things about their Yoghurt Chat Bombs and Himalayan Cheese Toast too. With their mean cocktail list, affordable menu, gluten-free options and unrivaled atmosphere, Mowgli is one of the best things to happen to the Liverpool independent dining scene in my opinion.
Hanover Street Social – A little more on the pricey side but equally as delicious is Hanover Street Social. As the name suggests, this swanky bistro is located on Liverpool’s bustling Hanover Street, not far from the Liverpool ONE shopping area. Recommended by the New York Times, this is a great place to go if you fancy a luxurious Sunday roast and a fancy dessert. With it’s open kitchen, bare brick decor and top quality bistro menu, it’s a firm favourite of mine.
Lucha Libre – Head back up to the city’s cultural quarter and find Lucha Libre – an authentic Mexican independent with a menu to die for. Not for the faint-hearted, the Lucha menu is great if you fancy a spicy light bite to fill you up while you wander around the city or grab a snack before heading down to their underground bar Maya. The Cali Steak Burrito is a good place to start but don’t miss out on the Piggy Piggy fries either.
HOST – I discovered this fabulous Pan-Asian restaurant a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back since. It’s my go-to choice when I just can’t quite decide where to go or what to eat because I know it’ll never disappoint. Not only is the food great, HOST is a pretty memorable experience for it’s beautiful location, situated slap bang between Liverpool’s two magnificent cathedrals which stand proud at either end of the city’s famous Hope Street. I am a bit of a creature of habit so I always go for the same thing: tasty duck gyozas to start and then one of the best Thai green curries (both pictured below) I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The affordable menu means you can have a luxurious, modern experience without feeling too guilty on your bank balance afterwards.
Côte – Côte is a new kid on the Liverpool block but already an acclaimed eatery which boasts a portfolio of restaurants in a number of UK cities. I have loved this French brasserie chain for a good few years now after frequenting its three London branches so I was more than made up when I discovered it was coming up North. Again, I usually get the same thing: the Poulet Grille (chicken in a rich mushroom sauce) with dauphinoise potato and a side of honey-glazed carrots. If I’ve got room after I’ll either get a chocolate mousse or a praline crêpe because their desserts are every inch as good as their mains. Côte do a great traditional French breakfast too which they serve ’til 1pm at the weekends so it’s perfect for a lazy brunch. Complimentary filtered water, impeccable customer service and fantastic mid-week deals mean they’ve got those little finishing touches covered as well.
Unit 51 – Unit 51 is a super cute cafe located in the Baltic Triangle where Liverpool’s up and coming creatives reside and this place has a menu to match. Full of gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, uber-healthy items, this place is really cashing in on what seems to a worldwide health kick. From smoothies and soy coffees to hearty breakfasts, tasty soups and unique lunch options, this is the place to be if you’re knockin’ about the creative district. I worked in this area for a year after graduating from university and I have to say, I think a good 15% of my wages was pumped into getting my Unit 51 banana and peanut butter soy smoothie fix (pictured, left).
The Egg Cafe – ‘The Egg‘ is somewhere I’ve been visiting for a good ten years now and it definitely holds a special place in my heart and when a restaurant can achieve this, I think it’s worth a mention. In a nutshell, The Egg Cafe is a budget cafe located off Bold Street, in the attic of an unspectacular building, serving homemade vegan and vegetarian food and drink. However, I urge you not to judge by this description because The Egg is a true hidden gem. The first and (currently) only vegetarian restaurant in the city, this rustic Aladdin’s cave is always a hive of activity and atmosphere. Doubling up as an exhibition space, the decor is an artwork in itself with it’s royal purple paint, climbing ivy and cosy lighting. From healthy smoothies and soups to vegetarian curries and vegan baked goods, you’re sure to leave here with a full stomach and a virtually untouched bank balance! Oh and it’s BYOB (with a corkage fee).
LEAF – LEAF cafe, which doubles up as an intimate live music venue, is one of the ringleaders on the independent scene in Liverpool, whipping up a storm through day and night with it’s varied breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and it’s jam-pack programme of events. Anywhere that runs on the mantra, ‘where there’s tea, there’s hope’ is a winner in my eyes. Breakfast here is pretty unbeatable (pictured, right) but its selection of soups, tasty stews, fish dishes and gourmet sandwiches are great too. I always leave LEAF feeling like I’ve done my body the power of good thanks to their fresh ingredients and hearty options. I’m yet to make it to LEAF’s Pudding Club but I’ve heard great things about it. Let me know what it’s like if you manage to get there before me! I would warn that LEAF isn’t necessarily the best place to take children – it’s more for catch ups, business meetings or stealing an hour to yourself under the fairy lights with a cup of herbal tea.
Matou – Moving up the price bracket a bit but absolutely unmissable is modern Pan-Asian restaurant Matou. You can tuck into some seriously good salt & pepper ribs and an unrivaled Pad Thai while you look out over the River Mersey through the modern floor-to-ceiling windows. Speaking from experience, I’d advise you to book ahead to avoid disappointment as tables here get booked up pretty quickly.This place is very much like HOST when it comes to the menu so if you’re sticking to a budget, grab something to eat on Hope Street then head down to the Pier Head for a stroll along the famous Albert Dock to walk it off!
Some other gooduns worth checkin’ out if you’re still feelin’ a bit peckish:
- Motel – super spicy, super tasty taco tray, plus an upstairs oriental restaurant called Miss Kitty’s.
- Oh Me Oh My – for it’s beautiful terrace with views across the city and incredible afternoon tea.
- The Brink – Liverpool’s only dry bar with a great programme of events year round.
- The Shipping Forecast – 2-4-1 burgers on a Tuesday and bloody good burgers they are!
- The Quarter – lovely little Italian in the posh end of town with lots of great veggie options.
- Almost Famous – this is a little bit style over substance but definitely worth checking out for the experience if you’re visiting the city.
- Sapporo Teppanyaki – a Japanese Teppanyaki where you get your food cooked in front of you. Quite pricey but definitely worth it.