The winners have been announced; some are worthy, some are questionable. I’d like to take this opportunity to bestow my own awards, which I can almost guarantee will not be appearing in anyone’s PR kit in the near future.
Best source of caffeine: Bold Street Coffee. Founder/Owner/Coffee Fanatic Sam Tawil has brought independent, quality coffee back to Bold Street after the closure of Coffee Union last year. He also runs the mobile coffee company Transition Espresso, which you can visit at farmers markets and events around the city. Their coffee has flavours you won’t find anywhere else in the city; witthout a doubt it’s the best I’ve tasted in Liverpool.
Not a coffee drinker? Then get to Brew.
Best new bar: (tie) Santa Chupitos and The Shipping Forecast
Though these two appear rather different on the surface, I think their aims are the same: great drinks in an interesting space. Santa Chupitos feels like the hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar you might find in New York; Shipping Forecast gets the students in with a fine range of beers and food and its venue space. Both are standouts on Slater Street.
Best new addition to Hope Street: Clove Hitch Bar and Bistro
Occupying a former Mexican restaurant, Clove Hitch has kept its decor simple and its menu straightforward. The evening menu offers well-prepared standards (I couldn’t fault my mushroom risotto) and the daytime one has a variety of sandwiches and platters for all tastes. A good selection of vegetarian options too. A few beers on draught wouldn’t go amiss, but I will gladly miss out the taps if it means they keep the increasingly elusive Kopparberg Elderflower and Lime cider in stock.
Best restaurant/deli on the way to world domination: Delifonseca
I don’t eat at Delifonseca often enough. But now that they’ve opened their second branch near Brunswick Dock, that might change. I used to live within staggering distance of their new location in the former Il Bacino, but now I’m only a short drive away, and don’t have to worry about where to park.
We visited last Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The beer list offered an Scottish brew from Innis and Gunn, aged in bourbon casks over 77 days. This maturation give it an unusual whisky flavour, and a bit of a kick at 6.6% ABV (laugh away, I admit I’m a total lightweight). We shared a chicken liver pate to start, then the herby fishcakes for me and the bangers and colcannon mash for him. When I asked for mayonnaise with my chips, a waiter emerged from the kitchen to apologise that it wasn’t available and offer some garlic aioli instead. Now that is the kind of substitution I like to see. The fishcakes were excellent and husband’s colcannon mash was mouthwateringly creamy.
We were too full for dessert, but did have a stroll through the foodhall. It has an expanded selection of the ranges available in Delifonseca Stanley Street, and the addition of Brough’s Butchers. Really though, it was the cheese counter and the discovery of my namesake cheese that has sealed my love and loyalty.
Correction: Both bars are on Slater, not Seel, Street. Sometimes you wouldn’t know I’d lived here five years.