MENU THE DAILY POST FOOD AND DRINK GUIDE September 09
It’s Chile out there Heart-warming wines from South America
Time to dine
From the city centre to the suburbs, we visit some of Liverpool’s hottest new establishments in a restaurant reviews special
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Country flavours THEY live in a corner of England where hedgerows are still alive with birdsong and the village fete cake stall groans with entries. So it was only a matter of time before the Archers produced their own cookbook. Jennifer Aldridge’s Archers’ Cookbook features 150 seasonal recipes like Annabelle’s Tarte a La Tomate – puff pastry, Boursin cheese and cherry tomatoes – Chilled Fruit Pimm’s with Adams strawberries and Lilian’s Rich Tiramisu. It’s also peppered with jottings – “Granny Perkins often added cold coffee instead of milk to steamed chocolate of ginger puddings” – and “misty memories”. ■ AVAILABLE at £9.99, published by David & Charles.
try it . . .
THE Co-op has introduced a new rosé wine to its Fairtrade stable. Its sparkling rosé comes from the Du Toitskloof wine co-operative, in the Western Cape of South Africa. Made from 80% Shiraz and 20% Cinsault, the rosé is dry and lively, with notes of strawberry and cherry. It has an introductory price of £5.99.
■ A NEW monthly wine club has been launched in the city, courtesy of Simply Heathcotes. The Beetham Plaza-based restaurant is providing a trained sommelier to show diners how to open, pour and taste wine like a professional. The club will run alongside paid-for meals and each month will cover a different topic, including the origins of particular varieties and choosing the best bottle, while also dispelling some common myths about wine. Chef Paul Heathcote says: “People are increasingly aware of the wine choices they make, so I wanted to create a club for people who share an interest in good food and good wine.” ■ FOR more information, call 0151 236 3536
food facts FRESH strawberries were once used as a toothpaste, as the juice cleaned discoloured teeth.
food facts NATIVE Americans created an early version of baked beans, flavoured with maple syrup and bear fat, baked in earthenware pots covered with hot rocks.
Soul food AS ONE of the hottest popstars around right now you might expect Pixie Lott, right, to be hanging out celebrity haunts like The Ivy and Le Caprice. However, the Mama Do singer is clearly keeping her feet on the ground. While out and about in London at the weekend, she was spotted grabbing herself some Nando’s chicken. She was obviously feeling a bit peckish . . .
■ STARLET Amy Adams appears in the film, Julie & Julia, opening this week, about a real-life woman who spent a year following Julia Child’s instructions in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Adams, right, plays Julie Powell, who tried 524 of the book’s recipes in a year to take her mind off her dead-end job as a secretary. She wrote a blog on her progress which gained a cult following. “It's beyond surreal,” says Julie, reflecting on her sudden success. “It knocks you for a loop.” ■ JULIE & Julia opens on Friday.
■ MORE than 50 of the and local musicians city’s top bars and entertain crowds. restaurants will be Over the course of the plating up at Sefton Park week, restaurants around this weekend for the the city will be putting on Liverpool Food and special offers around Drink Festival. various themes. Next Sunday, chefs On Monday, restaurfrom Malmaison, ants across Liverpool, London Carriageworks, including Filini, Spire and 60 Hope Street, 60 Hope Street will offer Liverpool Food & Drink Panoramic and dozens Festival organisers Candice two-course meal deals for of others will be offering Fonseca, Vince Margiotta £15 per head, while on free and low-cost tasters Tuesday restaurants and and Denise Harris of their signature dishes. shops will offer cheese Andrew Mountfield, boards and chocolate from the Quarter, will join experts from confections and drinks from around £7. Delifonseca, Sapporo and Zeligs, who will The festival launch runs from 10.30am be sharing their culinary secrets in a demo to 5pm on Sunday. For more information tent, while producers like the Liverpool on festival offers, go to www.liverpool Cheese Company showcase their wares foodanddrinkfestival.co.uk
Dinner date WHO would you invite to your dream dinner party? Bono, Richard Branson right, Liz Jackson, Doris Day, Olly Smith, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela,
Judith O’Brien, 50, MD of IT Answers Jamie Oliver, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Ellen Degeneres.
What would you all drink? Champagne, Galliano and orange juice.
What would be the topic of conversation? Life and the way in which things make us happy.
Who would be your nightmare guest? Liz Hurley or David Cameron.
What would you serve? A wide variety of fresh seafood.
Who would do the washing up? Olly and myself, while Richard would dry the plates.
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Eating like a native New Yorker is easy Emma Johnson takes a bite out of the Big Apple without setting foot outside Liverpool
T IS at the heart of Liverpool's business district, but the James Monro’s menu has its roots on the mean streets of New York city. Described as an NYC restaurant and speak-easy, it promises authentic New York indulgence “from Little Italy to the Latin Quarter to the American great plains” and, while there is no steam coming up from the pavements outside, they sure have the Big Apple’s flavours nailed. The sister ship to The Monro, the award-winning gastro-pub on Duke Street, the James Monro (named after the first scheduled passenger ship service to New York from Liverpool back in 1817, itself named after then US President James Monro) has a similar feel to its famous sibling in that its traditional pub exterior belies a stylish and modern eaterie. When we popped in on a Friday lunchtime, it was awash with office workers swapping dinner al desko for some proper food. However, we were able to grab a good booth. Getting drinks was a bit more difficult. Although we initially ordered at the bar, about 15 minutes later the waiter came over and asked again for our order. Still, it was peak time, and at least it gave us more time to study the menu. At lunch time this is split into five sections: pasture raised burgers, NYC lunch plates, JM sandwiches, lunch lights and the veggie corner. Although a committed meat lover, I rarely eat burgers, but the ones here seemed worth breaking tradition for. Both the James Monro chilli burger (£8.25) and the Latino burger – Spanish chorizo with fresh ground beef and a chorizo chutney (£9.25) sounded delicious. In the end, I ordered the Bronx burger (£8.95) a homemade 12 oz pattie, topped with melting Gruyere cheese, fries and a tomato relish and loosened my belt. My husband, meanwhile, in some odd reversal of appetites, was toying with rather healthier options, including pan fried salmon (£8.95) and wild seafood risotto of clam, prawn, crab and smoked salmon infused with saffron (£8.95). Eventually, he chose the marginally more calorific Sicilian chicken linguini with Mortadella sausage (£7.50). There were no starters as such, but the dishes on the lunch lights section
Authentic New York indulgence – The James Monro restaurant, Tithebarn Street, Liverpool Picture: HOWARD DAVIES made obvious appetisers so we ordered one home-made paté with melba toast and spiced New England apple chutney (£3.95) for me and the Chinatown BBQ Peking pork spring roll (£4.95), for him. Unfortunately, the delay with the drinks was repeated with the food. However, when it did arrive (at least 20 minutes after we ordered) things immediately looked up. My paté was light, foamy and richly flavoured while the chutney was excellent. In fact, my only complaint would be the one I always have with paté starters – not enough bread. There were no complaints from my husband over the spring roll which was bursting with filling. Unlike our starters, the main courses arrived swiftly. Although, as soon as they did, I regretted the starter. My burger was huge and I had to take it apart to stand any chance of getting my mouth around it. Still, the
They sure have the Big Apple’s flavours nailed
12oz monster pattie was one of the best burgers I have ever tasted. Moist, tender, pinkish inside and utterly gristle-free, it beat some steaks I have eaten. Mind you, half of it ended up on my husband’s plate, as I just could not finish it. The fantastic fat, hand-cut chips went the same way, with him proclaiming them to be the best chips he had eaten in years. Not that his Sicilian chicken linguine had been disappointing. He described the sauce as just spicy enough and said the mortadella sausage added a good earthy depth to the dish. After that orgy of meat and carbs, dessert was sadly out of the question. Although I have to admit, a New York cheesecake would have been a fitting finale. ■ THE James Monro, 69 Tithebarn Street, Liverpool. 0151 236 9700. firstname.lastname@example.org
A fabulous world of flavour in the heart of Liverpool THE name never did do justice to the 19th-century grandeur that meets you at 62, Castle Street, writes Emma Pinch. It was one of those trendily unimaginative bar/club monikers that came into fashion a while back. They read like they’d been thought up in a tired moment in someone’s kitchen. Loaf, Sugar Lounge, Milk bar… and Room. Happily, Room has now made space for the classier sounding Merchants Bar and Restaurant, after the hotel management took over the eating and drinking quarters downstairs. The lofty ceiling of the former North and South Wales Bank, with its marble carved cornices, balustrades and swags, still provide a feast for your eyes when you go in. But, anticipating a night chock full with visual delights at the Pier Head later that night, it was the edible type we were after. Merchants’ new menu is vast and wideranging. It flirts with Asian influences like rare beef and udon noodle salad, five Italian pasta, risotto and gnocci dishes as well as a list of grills. The bulk of the menu is British posh nosh. The larger plate classics list (there are smaller lunch-time dishes, too) features high-class comfort food like shepherds pie, bangers and mash and JW Lees beer battered haddock, chunky chips and pea puree. The mains and starters run from gastro-pub classics like paté and brioche, lamb hotpot and sea bass to plates with a dash more verve, like rabbit or sushi risotto. Intrigued, I went for the latter, pan fried king prawns and sushi flavoured risotto (£6.95), while, in similarly daring mood, my friend opted for the cream of sweetcorn soup, with chorizo and grilled tiger prawn (£4.50). Ensconced with our drinks – Pino Grigio San Antonio at £4.75 per glass – we had a chance to look around us. We were ushered to the split-level dining part, up a few steps at the side of the bar. It’s done out in glamorous dark shades, with dark silky drapes and dark wood tables and chairs. A screen decorated with velvet Baroque squirls separated us from the back of the bar behind us, and another protected us from a side drinking area. The menu was capacious; the siting of the dining area made it seem less so.
My risotto came attractively presented with fat, juicy prawns and a verdant mound of risotto begging to be explored. The sushi element turned out to be tendrils of Nori seaweed and cucumber, but distinctively Japanese. The sweetcorn soup was sunshine in a bowl with the chorizo in a smooth red dollop to be squirled around. For my main, I chose pork belly, crushed butternut squash and tomato and chorizo chutney (£12.95). Again, the presentation was beautiful, and I was particularly impressed with the vegetables, often an afterthought next to the main event. Matchstick slivers of carrot and cabbage came tightly wrapped, spring roll style, in a cabbage leaf, seasoned to perfection. The sweetness of the butternut squash was balanced by something with a citrussy zing. And the slow-roasted pork belly was silky smooth, with the intriguing chorizo
paste making a welcome return. Gorgeous. You could taste the ground steak used to construct my friend’s towering Merchant’s smokey beef burger with bacon and Emmental cheese, served with chunky chips and spiced onion rings (£10.50). Lean, flavoursome and light years away from its processed pub grub cousin, it could just have done with a bit more lubrication to help it go down. After a second or two protesting no we couldn’t possibly, we both succumbed to a slab of double chocolate brownie with malt ice-cream with two spoons – provided happily by the friendly staff. Almost fondanty in texture and generously nutty, the brownie battled with my main for highlight of the meal. Offering a cornucopia of crowd pleasers, Merchants offers excellent quality food and fair prices. I hope it continues to find room for the adventurous stuff, too. ■ MERCHANTS Bar and Restaurant, 62, Castle Street (12 noon to 10pm). Tel: 0151 702 7897
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Inviting alternative to the u
HE Stables, in Garston, opened around Christmas if memory serves me right, but word has spread quickly about this classic-style pub and restaurant, on St Mary's Road. Around the corner from the Under the Bridge estate and on a road better known for more traditional earthy pubs, it's fair to say The Stables is something of a departure for the area. The interior is full of polished brickwork and photographs of horses and cobbled courtyards that point to the history of the site. It's more hearty and convivial than intimate and romantic, with a friendly atmosphere. The wine list is pleasantly long, with bottles starting from £12.50 and moving up to £33. The South African Franschoek Chenin Blanc, at £13.50, sounded good to us, with a trip to Cape Town and its Winelands on the cards for me this October, so a bit of early studying was undertaken. Turning to the food. There were a choice of six starters, with extras on the special board, ranging from £5-£7. Chef Stewart St John, formerly of restaurants like Newz and Ziba, says that he tries to source all of their food from within a 50-mile radius. That includes chicken farmed by Reg Johnson in Goosnargh; beef reared in the Ribble Valley from master butcher John Penny; and beer brewed in Rainford by George
Luke Traynor takes a ride into Garston to sample some home-cooked gastro-pub fare at The Stables Wright brewers. It is a commendable aim and, for that reason, the potted Southport shrimps with mace butter took our eye. In the end, I went for the ham hock terrine with piccalilli and granary toast, at £5.95. This was a dish I’d never tried before so the chewy wedge of meat and vegetables, coupled with the spicy piccalilli, certainly challenged the tastebuds. It was an interesting merging of earthy ham with spicy sauce and it did work pretty well on the thick brown crust. My wife opted for smoked haddock salad with soft poached egg, from the specials board, at £4.95. She described the fish as lightly smoked
A tasty chocpot dessert at The Stables
the supper club
TWO COURSE MEAL with Live Entertainment THURSDAY £15.95
so as not to be overpowering, the egg was cooked perfectly, with added croutons giving body to an otherwise light dish. There was a wide choice of mains, from six or so Home Comforts dishes, priced at around £10, and a long list of steaks and sauces. Stables Scouse, roast beetroot and farmhouse loaf, at £8.95, looked good, as did the honey roast ham, pickled red cabbage and fried potatoes (£9.95). The wife got in quickly to claim the lemon, garlic and thyme roast Goosnargh chicken with bubble and squeak. I looked to the steak menu instead and selected the 12oz rump steak, which came with home made chips, a beef tomato, a Portabello mushroom and rocket for £15.50. After prompting from the waitress I agreed that, yes, a bernaise sauce was necessary to lavish over the steak at an added £1.95. Medium rare is how I like it cooked, and this was flamed exactly as ordered, with the size of the steak warranting the slightly pricey outlay. There was a generous quantity of chunky chips and the whole dish certainly took some eating. But finished it was, and it was hearty enough for me to declare the dessert menu unnecessary. High praise to the kitchen for this dish. My wife’s chicken was well cooked and moist,
Starters Chefs Homemade Soup of the Day V Served with bread flutes & butter Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon & Char Grilled Asparagus with baby leaf salad V Served with a light horseradish dressing Confit of Corn Fed Duck Leg on a Light Salad of Bean Sprout, Sesame & spring onion With puy lentils, pak choi & oriental dressing Haddock Fish Cake Bound with Fluffy Desiree Potatoes Deep Fried to Perfection Then sat on a creamy veloute & drizzled with a sharp gazpachio dressing Warm Wild Mushroom & Goats Cheese Tartlet V With sautéed woodland mushrooms, baby spinach & flakes of Welsh goats cheese bound together in a crisp pastry shell, summer leaves & herb oil and balsamic syrup. Low Roasted Asian Sliced Belly Pork Served cold with a noodle & oriental style salad with chilli, tomato and coriander dressing Main Courses Seared Darne of Wild Salmon Sat on a light bed of peas, cos lettuce & diced smoked Italian pancetta Goosnargh Chicken Breast Stuffed with Baby Spinach & Camembert Cheese Served with herb linguini & in a roast garlic jus Braised Double Shoulder of Welsh Lamb With spring onion, Savoy cabbage and parmesan bubble & squeak with a rich redcurrant & rosemary jus Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Ravioli V In a light cream sauce of roasted bell peppers finished with parmesan shavings & wild rocket Fan Fried Fillet of Sea Bass Served on Bombay potatoes, with Romesco sauce & a cooling yogurt and mint dip Roast Pesto & Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble V Topped with creamy piped potatoes in a rich tomato sauce Sides House Salad £2.50 Home-Made Chunky Chips £2.50 All main courses served with steamed seasonal vegetables
Blundell Street, Liverpool L1 OAJ
(Opp Echo Arena)
Reservations 0151 709 5779
with slight sweetness to the skin giving it a good flavour, and the accompanying bubble and squeak was tasty and seasoned perfectly. The service throughout was excellent, and the staff made a point of frequently visiting the table to check everything was to our satisfaction. Obviously, in these hard times for the pub and restaurant trade, The Stables is trying to establish a reputation of looking after its customers. We didn’t have room for dessert but puddings on offer included a homemade cherry Eccles cake, custard tart and three local chutney cheeses, all for around £5. Afterwards, we moved into the bar area for a couple more drinks and relaxed in the inviting rounded leather booths. Certainly, for the locals of Aigburth, Allerton, Cressington and Hunts Cross, The Stables is an inviting alternative to heading into town or making another trip to the now over-rated and over-populated Allerton Road. Every week, it seems a bar or restaurant is throwing in the towel, so to launch an ambitious venture like The Stables in the uncharted waters of Garston is an admirable step. I'd urge everyone in south Liverpool to give it a try. ■ The Stables 1-3 St Mary's Road, Garston Tel: 0844 209 4005 Bill: £53 for two starters, two main courses and a bottle of white wine Value: Very good Service: Extremely friendly and attentive Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-11pm, Sat, 8am-midnight, Sun, 8am-10pm.
THE bookings list at Crosby’s newest dining establishment The Fat Italian is full to bursting, writes Emma Pinch When I called, the weekend was out of the question, but they could just squeeze us in on a Tuesday. The restaurant stands in a weary-looking row of shops on Coronation Road. Inside, at 7pm, it was already filling up nicely. It makes the most of a small shop front space with a light modern interior – cream and dark walls – clever use of mirrors and a small bar at the back. Despite the name, the dishes offered an unchallenging amble round all of the Med, from goat’s cheese salads and gambas pil pil to feta lamb, mushroom stroganoff, fajitas and an impressive selection of steaks. Pizza and pasta were a tried and tested selection of favourites, like lasagne, meatballs and a specials board changes daily. I went on a seafood theme – wild sea scallops wrapped in parma ham set on black pudding with creamy Dijon mustard sauce (£6.95).
The scallops were delightful, silky and sweet, with the ham adding a subtle savoury flavour. The black puddings didn’t overpower the delicate flavour of the scallops; just thick enough to offer a dash of warm earthiness to the dish. My friend was less satisfied with her fungi rarebit (£5.50). The description on the menu was accurate enough – large field mushroom baked and stuffed with own rarebit mixture and topped with caramelised red onion – but the lonely single fungi that arrived was underwhelming for the price. Continuing the fishy theme, I chose crab and crayfish linguini tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, chillis and wilted spinach (£9.95). I loved its lightness and the chef hadn’t scrimped on the sweet white crab or crayfish. As the menu said, it was a dish that came without sauce, and it wasn’t drowned in the arteryclogging sea of butter or oil that TV chefs are so fond of. My friend’s pan-seared duck breast, stacked with roasted sweet potato and red onion, and served with a port and red
Executive chef, Stewart S delicious dishes – grilled
An unchallenging amble arou currant reduction (£13.95), was a richer proposition. She asked for it medium cooked, and the thick, meaty rounds of dark meat that arrived were succulent without being fatty or pink. The sweetness of the potato discs was balanced by the sharp taste of whole
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Hey, Pesto! The perfect al fresco option at last BEFORE the days of Liverpool One, options for al fresco dining were severely limited. But since we were blessed with a shiny new place to shop and eat, the world is our oyster . . . or sushi roll, or fajita, writes Dawn Collinson And where Liverpool One wins hands down over its Trafford Centre rival is when the sun shines. Because, far from sweltering in the undercover heat, you can cool off in the fresh air instead. One of those taking full advantage of its indoor and outdoor location is Pesto. “At Pesto,” explained the menu, “we invite our guests to experience the flavours of Italy by choosing a number of small dishes . . .” And you can’t say fairer than that. The only slight issue is that my friend and I have differing tastes – she is a meat-lover, while I’m more veggie. But, familiar with the compromise, we decided on four dishes to share and two to keep all to ourselves. Actually, one of our halfdozen was a bit ill-thought out. Having gone for a bruschetta al pomodoro e basilico (£2.95), we then ordered a selection of Italian breads (£2.45) too. Who on earth wants two of their six
dishes to be bread? Not us, to be honest, but the bruschetta was so nice – lots of chunky sweet tomatoes and plenty of garlic – it outweighed any regrets. For our other two shared dishes, we chose aranchini, deep-fried balls of saffron risotto rice filled with mozzarella (£3.25) and insalata nicoise (£3.75). Emma’s meat option was the polpette di manzo, spicy beef and pork meatballs in a tomato sauce (£3.75) while I stayed on
the veggie side with melanzane alla parmigiana, aubergine layered with tomato, parmesan and mozzarella (£3.45). The service was brisk but not impatiently so, and our dishes arrived en masse around 15 minutes later. In a tapas competition, it was a three-way dead-heat between the rice balls, the aubergine stack and the meatballs. The rice balls had a lovely gooey cheese centre and crispy crumbed exterior, while the meatballs were nice and lean, sturdy and with a richly herby sauce. My veggie option was delicious, especially the thick parmesan sauce. The only disappointment was the nicoise salad, which was uninspiring and swimming in a rather thin dressing. Still, as with any tapas experience, you learn from your mistakes. With two glasses of lovely Pinot Grigio rosé still on the go, we finished with a tiramisu (£3.25), perfectly balanced and creamy with an alcoholic kick. The Italians do al fresco so well, don’t they? Maybe we just need more practice. ■ PESTO, Liverpool One. 0151708 6353
St John, outside The Stables on St Mary's Road, Garston; and, front cover, one of his salmon with gem lettuce and real salad cream Picture: JAMES MALONEY
bottle of the house red, a Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (£11.50), popular in Italy and a great choice for the Crosby restaurant. By now, about 8pm, The Fat Italian was loosening his belt. Crammed into its living-room sized space was a lively mix of
■ THE Fat Italian, 60, Coronation Road, Crosby, L23 5RQ. Tel: 0151 924 8842.
Where the rhythmanita never stops!
Christmas Party Nights BOOKINGS NOW BEING TAKEN
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK: 12 - LATE
Monday & Thur sday nights V a ri a b le P ro ★ gramme Wednesday Nig ★ hts Salsa Classes followed by La tin Party Night w ith DJ Pascual Friday Nights ★ ★ Live Salsa B ands Saturday nights ★ ★ Live Salsa B ands ★ Sunday afterno ons ★ Live Latin Ja zz Band Sunday nights ★ Latin Party Nig ht with GUEST DJ
Picture: JASON ROBERTS/ jr040909italian-1
redcurrants punching through a rather bland gravy. A dish of vegetables came on the side. Not cheap for a suburban restaurant main, but substantial and just fancy enough to justify the extra pounds. We washed it down with a
Tapas and a la carte menu served every day from 12 - late Midweek Lunch Express Menu Monday to Friday 12 - 4 Sunday Roast 12 - late ★
2 Campbell Square, Liverpool, L1 5AX 0151 709 5335 www.lacubanita.co.uk • Vibrant Atmosphere • Live Music • Great Latin Food
und all of the Med – The Fat Italian, Crosby
people. There was a mid-teens boy and girl on a date, chastely drinking water, a family celebration and huddles of friends swapping gossip. The lights dimmed and the atmosphere become more intimate. We weren’t going to have dessert but the list proved too irresistible. We weren’t disappointed – for me, it just pipped the scallops as the nicest part of the meal. We had Italian lemon tart and the obliging staff were more than happy to supply two forks. It had the just right amount of zesty tang and was moreishly moist and dense. The Fat Italian’s charms are the freshness of its ingredients, a light hand on flavours and polished presentation and most of all a welcome warm enough to rival anything the Med could offer. It has dishes as good as many city centre Italian restaurants, and is just what affluent Crosby was craving.
Fantastic homemade food
Ca mp bell
The Fat Italian, Crosby
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Leave the world behind and relax S
Wirat Sutthamma, head chef at new Thai restaurant, Chaophraya
Picture: JAMES MALONEY
Spoiled for choice by Thai cuisine I
T WAS with my mind and tastebuds open that I made my way over to Chaophraya and a wonderfully warm welcome. Our waitress greeted us at the door, and showed us to a table on the top floor. The decor in Chaophraya is stunning – a tank of goldfish preside over the entrance, and huge chandeliers hang from the ceiling. But it’s the menu at Chaophraya that’s the real star. As a vegetarian, I was spoilt for choice. Thailand remains one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world, so most Thai dishes are, at the least, vegetarian friendly. Drooling over the menu, I couldn’t choose a starter. So I went for everything. Well, a taste of everything, with the Chaophraya mixed vegetarian appetisers (£5 each, with a minimum of two people) – a selection of the house special starters. Admittedly, I had to convince my meat-eating date to join me in the veggie option, but after one look at it, he was glad he had. The platter arrived laden with goodies. I started with the satay hed, a bamboo skewered kebab of marinated mushroom, Spanish onion, cherry tomato and peppers. They were wonderfully moist, but didn’t taste of much until I dipped them into the accompanying sweet chilli and satay sauces. It was a case of texture over taste, but the texture was so good, I didn’t really mind. Then I tackled the tempura, or pak thod to give it its proper name, big red pepper and onion rings in a light batter. These were heaven in a
Jade Wright samples the most glamorous addition to Liverpool One’s dining options
mouthful – crisp, fluffy and just melted in the mouth. The poh piah jae were golden spring rolls, stuffed with vermicelli, sweet mushrooms, and pieces of carrot. Again, the texture was superb, but they lacked flavour without the sauces. But the stars of the show were the delicious tod mun khao pode – deep fried sweetcorn cakes blended in red curry. I could have eaten 10, but thankfully they saved me from myself by serving just two. As a quirky little touch, the tod mun khao pode were served in a bowl made of deep fried filo pastry – perfect for
Choo Chee (duck dish) – just one of many succulent offerings at Chaophraya
scooping up the last of the sauces before our main courses arrived. Taking the waiter’s recommendation, I ordered the gaeng daeng (£7). It was described as a Thai red curry with tofu, cooked in coconut milk with an aromatic selection of Thai herbs and fresh aubergine, bamboo shoots and Thai sweet basil. My date was braver, and opted for the gaeng pa (£8). Now I’d heard of this one – it’s about as hot as they get. A Thai jungle curry, it’s flavoured with indigenous herbs, with bamboo shoots, green beans, holy basil, green pepper, baby corn and lesser galangal. It’s made with a choice of pork, chicken, beef or prawns, and they say its hotness burns off calories on its own. We weren’t so sure, but he gamely volunteered and described it as fantastic. The beef was soft and succulent, the blend of herbs and spices heavenly. We’d ordered boiled Thai jasmine rice (£2.10) and Thai favourite sticky rice (£2.60) to share. It complemented the meal perfectly. My red curry was heaven itself. Delicately but beautifully flavoured, the vegetables swam in a delicious red soup. So delicious, that I’m still dreaming of it three days later. ■ CHAOPHRAYA, Liverpool One, 5/6, Kenyon's Steps. Tel: 0151 707 6323 email@example.com
ITTING across the park on the restaurant deck of Liverpool One, Yee Rah is from the same restaurant stable as the glamorous Chaopraya but offers fabulous food in a more relaxed setting, writes Emma Johnson. On our visit, early on a Friday evening, the restaurant was buzzing with the after-work/shopping crowd, but we were able to snaffle a nice spot on the mezzanine level offering us a spectacular view over Liverpool One and towards the river. The menu is huge at Yee Rah and eclectic, to say the least. Although the elephant at the entrance and the Buddhist icons suggest Thai, it actually offers a huge range of international dishes. Appetisers include everything from spring rolls to mini Thai pad noodles to barbecue spare ribs and calamari, while main courses veer from Thai green curry and noodle dishes to pork cutlet and sirloin steak. There are even pizzas and pasta dishes on offer, an endless salad bar and a good half dozen hot sandwiches, while in the morning they serve breakfasts from the healthy porridge to Americanstyle pancake stacks. After much deliberation, we opted to start our Yee Rah meal with a sharing platter. There are four on offer and we went for a dim sum-themed affair (£8.95) which was excellent. The prawn toast was done baguette style and packed with fish flavour, not at all greasy, while the won tons were crisp and light. But the chicken satay and the honey marinated pork were the real stars. Moist, tasty and melt-in-the-mouth they were
complemented well by the three dips. We washed them down with a bottle of Peroni (£3) and a glass of Chenin Blanc (£4.25). When it came to main courses, I went for classic Thai and the Yee Rah green curry (£7.95) which they offer with chicken, pork, beef, prawns or vegetables and your choice of rice from jasmine, egg, boiled or yellow. I went for chicken with jasmine rice. While I had little trouble ordering my main, my husband was completely overwhelmed by the choice. After debating a few noodle offerings, the sirloin steak and even pasta, in the end he went for the Yee Rah Grill Special (£15) a belly-busting mix of beef, pork, lamb and prawns with a side or rice. It really was something else. The beef and pork came hanging on a spike and would put Desperate Dan’s appetite to the test. It all got the thumbs up from my other half, although I was amazed he finished it. My curry wasn’t quite so spectacular, while the chicken was rich and moist and the rice fabulously fluffy and fragrant, the sauce was very runny and not really rich enough for my liking, it was all I could do for it not to spill off the plate. All that spicy food had left us both hankering after something sweet and even here the choice is extensive. Rather than make one, we opted for the assiette of three mini-desserts. These change weekly and I was delighted to learn that today’s was chocolate fudge cake, mini-cheesecake and American pancakes. All three were delicious but the pancakes were so good I regretted not ordering the full-size version. That’s what I’ll be having next time, because with all that choice there will definitely be one. ■ YEE Rah, Bar and Grill, Liverpool One. Tel 0151 709 7897.
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sommelier – Mathew Sloane
ESPITE us having endured a summer which could only be described as despicable, it would appear that this planet of ours has emerged from a Rottweiler of a hangover and remembered how to be a decent chap. In a month that saw the cancellation of Big Brother and the decision of a certain supermarket chain to withdraw its plan to besmirch the hallowed soil of Hope Street, I have found renewed love and respect for our bonkers little world. With overwhelming feelings of hope and high expectation, I intend to spend the foreseeable future engaged in a transglobal reconnaissance of some seriously superlative staggering sauce. My long-suffering valet has recently furnished my rooms with something called a “laptop”, which appears to be some sort of typewriter attached to an impossibly small radiogram or cathode ray device. It is seemingly powered by mystical forces, and must surely be the work of crazed alchemists from far away lands. These infernal machines are fairly commonplace and the only method by which one may receive the rather sinister sounding “electronic mail”. It was by use of this new medium I was informed of a public tasting of Chilean wines provided by my old sparring partners down at Vinea. The tasting is tonight, it costs £12 and the wines are from my favourite Chilean producer, Viu Manent. Give the venue a call on 0151 707 8962, I shall be there to provide an air of decency and good breeding to the event. Viu Manent produce a stunning range of well-made wines, my top bottles would be the luxurious, elegant Chardonnay and the decadent, shamelessly filthy Secreto
Sir Thomas still keeps its fizz
Malbec. I challenge anyone to find better wines at the ridiculously low price bracket, both under a tenner. Chile is a paradise for wine growers, Viu Manent have made certain to represent the excellent climate and geography of the region and I have to insist that you give this stuff a jolly good go. There’s some real love and devotion here, you can smell it. As you jostle your way home with a few bottles of Chilean madness, it’s important that you don’t swig it down with unsuitable tucker. The Estate Chardonnay comes with a fair whack of oak and a skipload of tropical fruit, so don’t bang it out with delicately steamed fish. This belter can deal with creamy chicken pastas, monkfish with parma ham, any rich fish or poultry dish. If I was drinking it tonight, which I am, I’d be grilling a butterflied chicken breast with some Cajun spices, knocking up some Louisiana style dirty rice, slapping on a Tom Waits album and daydreaming about Kylie in a cowgirl’s outfit. Brilliant. With the devastatingly rich Malbec, it’s going to take something special. This wine is one of very few that could handle a chocolate-based dessert, but pudding is for girls so I recommend serving this beauty with pan fried loin of venison with a chocolate jus. Hit the magical typewriter/television device and find a venison recipe you think you can handle, break out the Malbec, forget all of your troubles.
The Sir Thomas Hotel, on Sir Thomas Street, in Liverpool city centre THERE is something about the Sir Thomas Street hotel bar that keeps people coming back for more. Unlike plenty of other establishments at the top end of Liverpool’s fine dining and cocktail sipping scene, it’s riding through the credit crunch storm like an ice breaker cuts through the Atlantic. The Champagne cocktail list remains the envy of most of the city, while its laid-back yet sophisticated approach means the door policy is relaxed enough to ensure a healthy mix of partygoers and candle-lit couples. But that’s the great thing about the Sir Thomas, a crowd of young and old, great food and bar menus
and the welcoming staff. The decor is a combination of glass, wood and red velvet which screams comfort and couture. While, up at the bar, the expectant optics options are backed up by some more specialist bottles. For example, Bourbon lovers are spoilt for choice with classic Jack Daniels playing second fiddle to Knob Creek and the sultry smooth Makers Mark, to name but two, while beer drinkers can get Peroni on draught. For the ladies, a bubbly concoction from a revamped Champagne cocktails list is a must. ■ SIR Thomas Street, Liverpool city centre. Tel: 0151 236 1366
FRESHER’S OFFER 10% off & free soft drinks OPEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY & BOXING DAY BIGGEST BUFFET RANGE IN LIVERPOOL WITH OVER 90 DISHES
10% OFF FOR STUDENTS & OAPS
Bookings now being taken
TREAT YOUR FAMILY ON SUNDAY £21 FOR 2 ADULTS AND 2 CHILDREN
FRESH SALMON IS SERVED EVERY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
ALL YOU CAN EAT LUNCH BUFFET 11.30am-6.00pm
£5.95 Fri - Sat £6.50
Mon - Thurs
4 QUEENS SQ, LIVERPOOL, L1 1HF,
OPPOSITE MARRIOT HOTEL & QUEENS SQ BUS STOP
0151 709 2811
OPEN ALL BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Next to the Birkenhead Tunnel Stage for the Mathew Street Festival
GRAND BUFFET 6.00pm - Midnight
£8.95 Fri - Sat £9.95
Mon - Thurs
ALL DAY SUNDAY
11.30am - Midnight
KIDS EAT 1/2 PRICE BELOW 41/2 FT
DAILY POST Tuesday, September 8, 2009