Champion chicken and Cherry Blossom Chocolate - it’s worth indulging yourself this month
IT’s cold and frosty outside and that breeze whipping in off the docks is not for the faint hearted. As much as we’re tempted to pull the warm duvet over our heads and stay in bed until spring, we’ve got to get up and carry on. Thank goodness for comfort food; comforting puddings, packed festive sandwiches and piles of buttery carbs.
Here are half a dozen things we recommend you eat and enjoy this month.
Deep Fried Mars Bar, Six By Nico (part of a £29 tasting menu)
Tis the festive season, which means you’d better believe that I’ve eaten A LOT of great food this past month, but top of the pile just has to be the Deep Fried Mars Bar at Six By Nico. The acclaimed restaurant opened recently on North John Street with its six-course taster menu concept (£29pp). The menus are inspired by stories, themes and memories and change on a six-weekly basis. The mantra? To make fine dining more accessible. The Deep Fried Mars Bar dessert comes as part of the current menu going by the name of ‘The Chippie’, which takes influence from the most classic elements of a quintessentially British chip shop. As you might imagine, the plate is way more majestic than something you might find wrapped in greasy paper – in fact, the plate wouldn’t look out of place at an exhibition in the TATE. It truly is a visual masterpiece in all its deconstructed glory and it tastes just as otherworldly too. A quenelle of caramelia chocolate mousse is framed with glossy shards of cacao nib, an aerated orange foam, sweet orange sorbet and a nugget of molten, battered Mars Bar. The flavours sit perfectly between bitter and sweet, and the clash of textures is like a tastebud’s dream come true. Get it while you still can! Stephanie Whalley
Six By Nico Liverpool, North John Street, L2 5QY
Cherry Blossom - Lu Ban (£8.50)
Forget your current idea of Chinese food, if you’re after a special fried rice, spare ribs, chicken chow mein combo, then the new regional Chinese restaurant in Cains Brewery is not where you’ll find it. Lu Ban takes its inspiration from the Tianjin region of China where they specialise in small plates, or xiao panzi, prepared using traditional Chinese methods and skills. We were invited over to try a few dishes, but the one that stood out was the cherry blossom pudding. Beautiful to look at and delicious to eat (those two things don’t always go hand in hand) this cherry and ruby chocolate delice is made of multiple layers of light mousse with a surprise morello cherry compote in the centre. Chocolate ‘twigs’, real apple blossom leaves and dramatic cherry ‘tea’ smoke, make it worth saving some room for. Deanna Thomas
Lu Ban, Cains Brewery, Stanhope Street, Liverpool
Christmas sandwich - Lovelocks Coffee Shop (£6.50)
Roast dinner is my favourite meal all year round, so at Christmas I’m like a kid in a sweet shop. Give me the holiday burger at Frost, the festive pizza at the Quarter and the turkey taquito at Wahaca. Hell, I’ve even had a Greggs’ festive bake.
The winner so far is Lovelock’s Christmas sandwich; turkey, roasted parsnips, sprouts and carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy all on sourdough focaccia bread. The sauce comes separately so you can ride the gravy train or dip the light fantastic. There’s a meat-free version too with vegan sausages, so everyone’s good to gobble. Turkey talk aside, Lovelocks is a real coffee shop run by real people, serving fresh homemade food with local ingredients, including coffee roasted here in Merseyside.
They had a bit of a tough time trading when the new bus hub started to take shape at Old Haymarket, so pop in and support them with your pennies. It’s never too late to make it onto Santa’s nice list. Vicky Andrews
Lovelocks Coffee Shop, 6 Old Haymarket, Liverpool L1 6ER
Aubergine Shawarma – Maray (£7)
I think by now it’s safe to say that Maray can do no wrong. It’s a food nirvana and everything that comes out of its kitchens is a gift from god in its own right, this aubergine shawarma being no exception.
It’s not a new dish, but it’s definitely one of the best things on the menu. Yes, a bold statement. But it’s true and I’ll tell you why. Tahini on anything gets a thumbs up from me, but when it’s paired with sweet date syrup and splattered over gooey roasted aubergine, well, it’s almost too much to handle. And if that wasn’t enough – it’s dressed in a scattering of crispy fried shallots for that bit of texture. It gets better with every bite and one portion is almost certainly not enough. I praise you, Maray. Megan Walsh
Maray, 91 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HF
The Madonna pizza - The Quarter (£10.50)
The Quarter have a vegan pizza called The Madonna which is slowly convincing me that vegan cheese should now be the go to cheese for all pizzas. I know that’s a bold statement, but the Madonna is creamy and indulgent, and paired with tofu ‘meatballs’ and sriracha, makes for a really inspired dish. Desmond Hogan
The Quarter, 7 Falkner St, Liverpool, L8 7PU
JFC – Jimmy’s (£12)
When I heard that the newly opened Jimmy’s on the corner of Bold Street were opening their own restaurant I didn’t think much of it. Known primarily as a late night music venue I’ll admit I expected the kind of late night ‘food’ they used to serve in the Krazyhouse - fries, hotdogs and maybe a burger or two. What I certainly wasn’t expecting was a bloody gorgeous restaurant space overlooking St Luke’s bombed out Church as well as a cracking menu of South-American inspired small plates and a pretty entertaining drinks menu…read it and you’ll see. Whilst the fish tacos stole my mother’s heart it’s the JFC (Jimmy’s Fried Chicken) that has to be my champion. A huge fillet of chicken breast bashed and battered loaded with a silky curry sauce and rainbow slaw. What’s not to love? Rebecca Fry
Jimmy’s, 130 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4JA