Since my tender teenage years of drinking Apple Sourz by the lorry load and swigging the cheapest rosé wine on the shelf like there was no tomorrow, I don’t profess to be much of a ‘drinker’. These days I much prefer a bit of nice nosh and a few cocktails to wash it all down with so you can imagine how chuffed I was to be invited for an evening of doing just that at local food hall and wine merchant, Whitmore & White.
Sitting pretty on the bustling bend of Banks Road in one of the Wirral‘s most popular coastline corners, Whitmore & White West Kirby is one in a line of three stores. There’s another just a 15 minute drive away in the quiet village of Heswall and a little further afield in Frodsham. The West Kirby gaff where myself and my partner in dine (PID) ventured to on Saturday evening proved itself to be quite the little sun trap in this wonderful (but suspiciously weird) warm weather we’re having in the North of England at the moment so we plonked ourselves down in a window seat where we happily passed away the next 4 hours. Let me fill you in…
Let me just start by saying, if you’re after a loaf of Kingsmill 50/50 or a baked spud with beans then keep walking to the Morrison’s supermarket just down the road because Whitmore & White is something a bit special. I mean, it’s not often you find a hang out that has a ‘By the Glass’ machine which stores premium house wines at specific temperatures for up to 3 weeks so you can enjoy expensive vinos on a shoestring budget. It’s no wonder this place was packed to the rafters with late afternoon beach stragglers after a frothy flat white, right through to the more sophisticated of Saturday night revellers much later on.
Like I said, wine ain’t really my pick of all the poisons so Whitmore’s impressive floor to ceiling repertoire of old and new world grapes were kinda wasted on me (sorry Dad) but the gin collection? Let me at ’em! While my PID sipped her way through a chilled Le Domaine d’Henri Chablis, I whet my appetite with an Old Tom and tonic. I soon moved onto a more fruity member of the gin family and found my new all time favourite – Brockmans gin. Generously laced with flavours of blueberry and raspberry, it’s the perfect Spring/Summer tipple. I even took my 1724 Tonic water bottles home with me where they’re now home to three beautiful white roses on my windowsill.
(If you fancy yourself as a bit of a gin geek, be sure to ask about the £15 gin board which lets you test out 3 gins by mixing them yourself with various tonics and garnishes. Alternatively, head on over to the Whitmore & White website when you’re done here to check out their upcoming gin tasting, food tasting and wine tasting events on the Wirral and in Frodsham.)
We ended the night on a Negroni cocktail using the classic recipe of Vermouth, Campari and gin poured in equal measures over ice. The concoction had been smoked in store for 3 weeks and it most certainly packed a punch. Let’s just say, it was a good job we’d been treated to lots of fabulous food throughout the evening to counteract the effects!
We had been instantly tempted by the Italian charcuterie board after mooching around the continental meats in store which came complete with cured pork shoulder, salami, prosciutto, olives, pickles, onion jam and smoked almonds. Super tasty and all for a just £13 too. We got some five seed bread on the side too which, like all of the bread in store, is baked daily at Nova Restaurant in Heswall. Delish.
That’s one of the things I love more about Whitmore & White – the way they combine local, independent brands with the big dogs to provide you with a supersonic selection of unusual delicacies and indulgent luxuries. Everything you can eat or drink off the menu is available to buy in store or baked upstairs in the kitchen so you’re never left wondering where on earth you can get your hands on those pistachio meringues or that irresistible mustard ketchup.
As you can imagine we left with some spoils (including Funky Nut Company milk chocolate peanut butter) and I’m hoping to head back there this bank holiday weekend for a Brockmans and tonic. See you there?!