If there’s one thing in this life that seems virtually impossible to replicate, it’s Mum’s roast dinner. It seems there must be some sort of chemical reaction that occurs in the brain when you conceive a child that automatically instils you with the ability to whack out the perfect roast dinner every single Sunday.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stumbled upon some valiant efforts in my time – most noteworthy being Burnt Truffle (Heswall) and The Viking (West Kirby) around my neck of the woods – but my quest in finding a Sunday roast that is going to knock the mothership off her lofty pedestal continues.
Next in the firing line? Dockleaf bar in Liverpool’s regnant Baltic Triangle, who have just recently launched their brand-new Sunday Roast Club.
First thing’s first, let’s be clear about the kind of cool ‘af’ establishment we’re dealing with here. Dockleaf ain’t no Toby Carvery; Dockleaf prides itself on having the heart of a cocktail bar with the soul of a pub and I’d say that’s pretty accurate.
The bar/pub/eatery sits in the heart of the renovated grounds of Cains Brewery, opposite the notorious Baltic Market and slap bang between Kiosk and Craft Minded (if you’re familiar with these parts). It’s a rustic, two-floor botanical hideout with mismatched seating, wooden tables that could tales as old as time and a sort of conservatory-esque vibe that is quite something when the sun is beating through.
Then there’s the various nostalgic trinkets dotted around the place which pay homage to the grounds’ historic roots in brewing, including the original filtration tank pipework which runs throughout. It’s trendy without really trying to be and a picturesque haven for coffee and the morning paper, or dinner and drinks with friends.
I won’t linger for too long on the impressive repertoire of international beers and seasonal Dockleaf cocktail menu because there’s only so much Sunday roast suspense that one person can take but it’s more than worth a mention.
The Dockleaf drinks menu is equally nostalgic as its surroundings and is split into sections based on five different settings within the old Cains Brewery: Harvest, Grain Silo, Fermentation Tank, Filtration Room and Mashing Room. A nice touch in concept but absolutely excellent in execution.
Highlights for me where a bottle of ice cold, cherry-infused beer and a potent muddle of Amaretto, cherry, whites (and some other goodness) from the seasonal cocktail menu which went by the name of Dawson’s Kriek. Every bit as delicious as it looks, I promise.
Okay…so now, let’s get down to the all-important verdict… Did the Dockleaf Sunday roast manage to beat momma’s into submission?
Not quite, not quite… but it certainly was another sterling attempt and one I will most definitely be hankering after seconds of! I went for the vegetarian version which manifested as a roasted butternut squash packed with vegan nut stuffing (£12) and it was delicious. Hot, hearty and beautifully homemade; like a great big cuddle of grandma.
My taste-bud went for the roast chicken with sage & onion stuffing (£12) which was also perfectly cooked, expertly seasoned and not a million miles away from something you might eat in front of the fire with your pyjamas on. She was torn between that and the topside of beef (£12) so there’s our perfect excuse for a return visit.
All roasts – carnivorous, herbivorous or 100% vegan – all come served with all, or a combination of traditional trimmings including roast potatoes, blanched carrot, steamed cabbage, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Additional sides include pigs in blankets (£3.50), sticky honey-mustard roast parsnips (£3), a fine example of cauliflower cheese (£3.50) and extra gravy for dunking (£1).
In terms of dessert, you have your pick of a sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream (£4) or a jam sponge pudding with custard (£4). Being brutally honest, neither of these were particularly mind-blowing but Dockleaf more than makes up for it in what it truly excels in and that’s good, honest grub and a bar that could surely leave you wanting for nothing.
If you fancy joining the Dockleaf Sunday Roast Club too, don’t hang about because it’s only served every Sunday from 12pm ‘til it runs out!
I was very kindly invited to review Dockleaf but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.