Perfect pastry, marvellous mussels and gooey cheese. Here's what's hot right now
We've worked out what's the best hangover cure in town, the most indulgent pastry and how to eat mussels like a pro.
Here are the things we recommend you eat and enjoy in and around town this month…
Rhubarb and Custard Pastry - Artisaine (£3.95)
I’ve always hated the phrase ‘the early bird gets the worm’ since my sleeping pattern resonates more with a sloth’s than a morning lark, but getting coffee and a fresh pastry on a Saturday morning has got to be one of the very few reasons to justify setting the alarm. Authentic French pastry aficionados Artisane get me up chasing their perfect patisserie most weekends and, whilst their almond croissants have had me smitten, this month they’ve truly outdone themselves with a pastry based on one of the best childhood sweets. Their golden all-butter pastry has been filled with a sticky mess of sharp rhubarb, sweet jam and enough custard to have it dripping down your chin. C’est manifique! Rebecca Fry
Artisane, 263 Woolton Rd, Liverpool L16 8NA
Moules Marinière - Bread & Butter (£12.50)
I love seafood but I’m usually tight-lipped when it comes to recommending anywhere in Merseyside for mussels. I’m not being shellfish - I’ve just never managed to find a restaurant on either side of the water that really does them justice. Having discovered a version on Hope Street that’s fit for the King of Belgium, now is the time to come out of my shell.
Moules-frites are popular in many European countries but it’s thought that the dish actually originated around the Flemish coast. It’s considered the national dish of Belgium, where a staggering 25-30 tonnes are consumed each year. Arguably the only way to serve mussels is with fries or crusty bread and that’s exactly how they come at Bread & Butter; a big bowl of Moules Marinière cooked in white wine with shallots, cream and fresh parsley.
There are many more ways to eat these saucy bivalves; fork, spoon or fingers. I like to pull them apart and use one shell to scoop up the delicious juices. I’ve heard the ‘correct’ way is a little more refined, making use of an empty pair of shells as pincers to extract the mussel meat. Any which way is fine to be honest; just don’t moule over it too long. Vicky Andrews
Bread & Butter, 23 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ
Jerk Chicken - Eat Up Gud, Baltic Market (£7.50)
Some Sundays I wake up fresh, others I wake up with a dying feeling, mostly due to the previous night's intoxication. And when it’s the latter – after I begin to resurface from my comatose state – there is only one thing going through my mind: spicy food.
Along with a plate full of carbs, my taste buds cry for a blast of spice to eradicate the sins of the night before. So all I can is thank you, Eat Up Gud, for answering my Sunday prayers. For just over seven quid you get a colossal portion of rice and beans, salad and a whopper of a chicken leg that’s tender, juicy and smothered in a moreish jerk gravy. A plate of food that just screams redemption, it was everything I (and my hangover) wanted and more. Megan Walsh
Eat Up Gud, Baltic Market, L8 5RE
Baked Camembert with homemade granola - The Smuggler’s Cove (£6.95)
I’ve come to realise that the world is generally divided up into four main categories: starters people, desserts people, starter and dessert people, or salad people. I’m firmly in the starter and dessert camp, with all of my tastebuds split equally between sweet and savoury. What’s even better though is when you find a dish that manages to mingle the two together in one cohesive recipe and I struck gold during a recent treasure hunt around The Smuggler’s Cove food menu.
My edible spoils came in the form of a whole baked Camembert topped with homemade cranberry and pistachio granola and what a glorious clash of tastes and textures it was. The silken, earthy cheese was molten all the way through and brought to life with a sticky, sweet and crunchy coating of dried berries and pulverized nuts. It came alongside a small bowl of raw crudité carrots which to be honest, I sacrificed in favour of the fresh, warm flatbread that stole my attention away immediately. A well balanced, well presented plate of food that elevated a classic dish to something extra special. Stephanie Whalley
The Smuggler’s Cove, Brittania Pavillion, Albert Dock, L3 4AD
Thai larb oyster mushroom salad - Hypha, Chester (£7.25)
I’m going to Chester for my favourite dish this month. There seems to have been a food and drink renaissance over there, including some quality independents springing up in the indoor market. So if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit. Just above Joseph Benjamin, on the city walls, is the Michelin-recommended Hypha, a totally plant-based restaurant. So committed are they to the vegan cause they don’t even take cash because of traces of animal found in the production of bank notes.
Each one of the micro-seasonal small plates we ordered was beautiful to look and an absolute wonderland of seasonal flavour. It’s not easy to pick a favourite dish because they all worked so well together, but Thai larb salad with crispy oyster mushrooms, shallots, lemongrass, pickled chilli, lime leaves, mint, coriander, white cabbage, cucumber and hao khua (toasted rice) was a real stunner. Packed with flavour with a perfectly stringy, chewy and crunchy texture that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow belonging to even the most devoted meat eater – get in there quickly if you want this one, because the menu evolves depending on what fruit and vegetables are at their optimum best right now. Deanna Thomas
Hypha, 5 City Walls, Chester, CH1 2JG