The Liverpool independent scene is on fire and has been for a number of years now. Not literally – don’t worry, we don’t need to call the fire brigade – but in the metaphorical sense of the phrase, it truly is up in flames.
On the illustrious indie food and drink scene, there’s everything from Indian street food and vegetarian junk food through to Venetian small plates Venice would be envious off and some of the best brunch spots this side of the milky way.
Next to join the rabble is interactive American-Italian restaurant, Smoke and Dough on the Liverpool ONE Terrace.
If you’re from Liverpool or the surrounding areas, you’ll most probably remember the notorious Red Hot Buffet which closed down a few years ago after… let’s just say, a bit of bad press. It’s great the see the expansive space finally filled to the rafters with gorgeous furniture, stunning decor and a stretch of lively, open kitchen as the brand new smokehouse joins the Liverpool ONE Terrace overlooking Chavasse Park.
If you’re looking to get your bearings – it’s sort of diagonally opposite Aether, right at the end of the row of bars and restaurants which you typically can’t even get near with a bargepole as soon as the sun comes out. With it’s inviting atmos, swanky-but-laidback vibe and unique offering, I think Smoke & Dough is going to be a refreshing – and very welcome addition – to the shopping district’s somewhat predictable portfolio of chain eateries.
The food menu at Smoke and Dough, Liverpool ONE
Smoke & Dough food menu category is: American-Italian meat and dough fest with plenty of delicious vegetarian and vegan options to boot. (If you didn’t read that sentence like Ru Paul then we can’t be friends, sorry).
The concept is described as an interactive culinary journey, which is right up my alley (as you might recall from my overexcited review of the Grand Pacific Buri Bop Korean hot plate). You pay £19.99 per person – which let me tell you right now, is a complete and utter STEAL – and covers two set courses.
The first course is an absolute picnic of dough-based delights (pizza, garlic bread, pastry twists), a selection of delicious dips (hummus, salsa, guac) and tasty, well-dressed salads for you to tuck into. The second course is array of grilled meats served on the lava coal pit in the centre of the table and left to smoke away as you devour. Standout cuts were the mango pork belly, hickory smoked sausage and sweet chilli chicken wings but we’d recommend eating the white meats first (or pop them onto a side plate) as they did get a little dry the longer they were left on the grill.
The meats can be replenished until you’ve had your fill and are accompanied by an eclectic selection of sides to sift through. Highlights from the sides for us were the buttery mash potato, the spicy green beans and the punchy peppercorn sauce which I contently soaked some onion rings in like the true savage I am.
I’m currently doing the Cancer Research Veg Pledge for the whole of November so it was the perfect chance to see how a meat-based restaurant caters for the non-carnivores amongst us. Although I was left drooling over the sizzling platter, I was definitely suitably consoled by my chargrilled halloumi with beetroot & pomegranate reduction, tomato rice and spinach & ricotta tortellini with saffron burre blanc.
The dessert menu promises something pretty special too so it would have been rude for us not to indulge, right?
Between us we went for the Tiramisu Cube (£4.99) and the Brioche & Cookie Dough Cheesecake (£4.99) – both of which were theatrical and beautiful with a spattering of edible flowers and a nest of candy floss which was dissolved to reveal the dessert by a miniature pouring jug of boozy cream. Again, more fabulous flavours and a finesse which makes the price tag feel like daylight robbery.
My partner in dine and I actually both went for a glass of wine but the Smoke & Dough cocktail menu is certainly not one to be missed if you’re in the market for that kind of thing. All super reasonably priced, the cocktails are muddled by the smokehouse’s in-house mixologist and many are laced with various themes of Liverpool.
You’ve got the Liverpool ONE Mojito (£6.49) with Dead Man’s Fingers rum, the Scouser’s Cocktail (£7.99) with Liverpool Gin and passionfruit liqueur and the Albert Dock (£6.49) with raspberry jam, rum and Amaretto. Oh, and let’s not forget the Smokey Dough Cocktail (£7.99) – pictured above – which is a signature concoction of bourbon, Southern Comfort, lime, sugar and edible smoke.
Looks like there needs to be a return visit on the cards for us very soon!
I was very kindly invited to review Smoke & Dough but all words, photographs, opinions, teeth, hair, boobs and nails are my very own.