LEAF on Bold Street in Liverpool has actually been an unwavering home-from-home in my life for absolute donkeys’ years. From Pudding Club catch-ups with friends and pre-work breakfast dates with my mum, to actual dates with my other half and work meetings over a white hot chocolate topped with toasted marshmallows. In fact, a review of LEAF was one of the very first blog posts I ever published under my Hungry Harriet pen name.
Basically, LEAF and I go way back so I’m absolutely chuffed to say that we now have one here on the Wirral, in the beautiful coastal town of West Kirby. I’m a rural homebird at heart and I just love being by the water so if there was ever anything that could make LEAF more lovely for me, it would be having one closer to home, away from the chaos of the city. Here we have it…
LEAF West Kirby
To those who know and love LEAF as much as I, I can confirm that the new West Kirby venue is every bit as rustic and cosy as all the others. It sits atop of Black Horse Hill, in a sizeable establishment which was home to Simon Rimmer’s, The Viking for many years. If you’re a reader of my blog, or you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I did actually really like The Viking and I was sorry to hear the news of its departure but it’s safe to say I have been rapidly consoled.
A lot of the interior elements are the same, with the cool Scandi vibe that The Viking had going for it and an organic kind of colour palette that, I guess, coincidentally aligned nicely with the LEAF aesthetic. Scoot up to the bar, find a table for two in the corner, join the end of a bench seat – either way, the vibe is familiar and unpretentious. Oh, and there’s no denying it’s dog-friendly status. We spent a good 60% of our evening goo-eyed over the catwalk (or dogwalk) of puppies in all shapes and sizes entering the nook of activity.
There’s a loft-style event space upstairs which is promising a roster of live music and happenings so all eyes peeled for that.
LEAF West Kirby food menu
It was a Friday evening straight after work that we were there so we were taking our pick of the LEAF Evening food menu, which is available Tuesday-Saturday 5-10pm and Sunday-Monday 5-9pm. The lunch and breakfast menus are a bit different so just keep that in mind depending on what time you’re headed there. Either way, you’re going to be spoilt for choice.
We got a nice, robust Malbec from the bar and cracked it open while we perused our difficult choice of so many delicious options. There are small plates, large plates, burgers, flatbreads and plenty of options for the vegans, veggies and pescatarians amongst us so there was a great deal of chopping and changing before we settled on our final order:
Two Pan Fried Chicken (£11.95), a portion of Crisp Fried Squid (£5.95) from the small plates, a side of tenderstem broccoli – oh, and some skin-on fries for good measure, please waiter.
I say please waiter but at LEAF, it’s an order at the bar and then bugger off without having to wait for the bill/card machine malarkey. This, I love but what I loved even more than that was that glorious pan fried chicken dish pictured up there. Well-seasoned, skin-on meat on a duvet of salty, creamed cabbage and a mattress of chunky bubble ‘n’ squeak. The closest thing you’re going to get to a damn good Sunday roast or Christmas dinner on a Friday in March.
The potent honey and mustard dressing around the edge and the generous sprinkling of crispy pancetta were a match made in edible heaven. Not a groundbreaking combination of ingredients, granted, but executed really, really well. I paired mine with some buttery broccoli that had been tossed with flaked, toasted almonds and it was the perfect, earthy embellishment.
That’s the je ne sais quoi LEAF has got working so magically in its favour – they know how to elevate classic to something more special. The crispy fried squid rings (a simple Calamari when all said and done) was made memorable with a sticky soy and chilli dressing that even a self-confessed squid-hater such as myself couldn’t help but dabble in.
All I can say is my poor bank balance and my poor, poor waistline.
Welcome to West Kirby, LEAF – I’ll be seeing you very soon to check out that breakfast menu!