EAT LIVERPOOL

Everything you need to know about food and drink in Liverpool.

Insta-Food

Bringing Liverpool’s first bean-to-bar chocolate to the Table.

It would be all to easy for this post to quickly descend in to a gushing ode to one of Liverpool’s coolest cafès bars: Ropes & Twines, but it’s not their passion for great coffee or carefully curated wine list that we’re here to dissect today, rather something a little more unusual. For in the basement of the aforementioned cafè comes a chocolate workshop and production line that would make Wonka himself start to sweat. Meet Table Chocolate, Liverpool’s first (and only) bean-to-bar chocolatiers.

Like all great ideas, R&T owner Tian decided he was going to make his own chocolate after a few drinks too many. One phone call to his old friend Remy (a master pastry chef, as it happens) and a few months of waiting out the pandemic pandemic and Remy moves his entire family from Argentina to Liverpool to start bringing the idea to life.

Whilst making great tasting chocolate is the goal, it’s the underlying principals of ensuring fairness and equality at every step of the production process that makes this endeavour different. Table Chocolate is about traceability, ethics and sustainability starting from the farmers who produce the cacao beans right up to the customers in store. ‘That’s where the name comes from’, Tian explains, ‘We wanted the whole process to be transparent… like we’re laying it all out on the table’. 


Table currently have 4 different chocolate bars on sale, all produced in house including the grinding, tempering, pouring and packaging and the result is a super high- quality, luxury product. The current range of bars include two darker chocolate bars (Tanzania & Madagascar), a Haiti milk (my personal favourite, with hints of banana and toffee) and a Nicaraguan white. You can get them in store at Ropes & Twines as well as a few other select suppliers. 



Have a look on the website here if you want to know more and keep an eye out to see what’s next from Table Chocolate. If you’re lucky you might be able to go and see how it’s done & make your own bar at some point in the future & if their Easter egg selection was anything to go by, the Christmas collection will be nothing short of sensational. 





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Mani, Mani, Mani

It’s a dark Wednesday evening, I’m nursing a large white wine spritzer alongside a bowl of Mani’s signature salami crisps and for a brief moment everything is good in the world. I hadn’t pegged 2022 to be the year Lark Lane finally had a revival but stranger things happen in this city so little takes me by surprise any more. 


The aforementioned salami is one of several reasons why one of Lark Lane’s newest indies has already made an impact on this booming, boho area of Aigburth. On a previous visit (strictly for a Caramac espresso martini that I’d spotted on Instagram), a couple on the table next to us wouldn’t let us leave the building until we’d eaten some. It’s the crispy bits of a pepperoni pizza in bar snack form- meaty, greasy and ridiculously salty. My three favourite flavours funnily enough.


Don’t let my lurid descriptions of salty bar snacks fool you, Mani is a sleek Italian inspired tapas restaurant with a small but perfectly formed menu of the traditional with a twist.The croquetta for example are stuffed with chunks of harissa roasted cauliflower. The bruschetta comes topped with a single, sliced heirloom tomato, fresh pesto and flaky sea salt- it’s one of the best four pounds you’ll spend these days.

We’re ordering from the ‘hands full’ menu so aside from snacks and starters we get two big plates and two sides for just £20 a head. As with all small plate restaurants these days the tables are challengingly tiny and before long it’s a game of tapas Jenga trying to fit in the dishes as they come flying out of the kitchen.

The fritto misto comes with big, meaty pieces of seafood- our ‘catch of the day’ a full soft shell crab- one of my guiltiest pleasures in life- alongside generous chunks of white fish and squid. Mains are more traditional- fresh pasta and home-made sauces (not too much choice if you aren’t a pasta lover) and for dessert we squeeze down tiramisu and a humongous pistachio cannoli. 





Overall you’ll find the food at Mani to be deceptively good. It’s a serious contender for Lark Lane’s burgeoning restaurant scene if not for their interesting take on tapas then certainly for their smashing service, great cocktails and utterly iconic salami crisps. It’s a resounding yes from me.

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*Part of this meal was gifted to me in exchange for an optional, completely honest review…and here it is! 



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5 Fab Things I ate in....September and October

As usual my good intentions to make this type of round-up up a monthly feature fell pitifully at the first hurdle, in other words: a busy few weeks at my day job. That means this months fab-food recommendations come 2 in 1: the highlights of two months worth of basic bitch, autumn themed, pumpkin-spiced deliciousness. In no particular order...

Beef Short Rib- Pen Factory

I'd need more than two hands to count the number of times I've popped into The Pen Factory for a drink but for some reason the opportunity to order from their menu has always eluded me. Their new, ever-evolving small plates menu is a sophisticated and original pick 'n' mix that suits their cool, academic clientele to a tee. Whilst their staple of hummus and chips is inexplicably delicious, their beef short rib stole the crown for me (and for Remy too by the looks of it).

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AD- Loire Valley Bucket List

If you saw my post a few weeks ago you'll know that September has been a month of celebrating and enjoying wines from the Loire Valley region in France.I've been sampling the bottles, making my own food pairings and even got a chance to visit the Loire valley tasting truck down at the Albert Docks. (It's a tough job, I know).

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AD- Loire Valley Wine in Liverpool

Like wine? 'Course you do. But how much do you know about the Loire Valley? Known not just for it's stunning scenery, luxury chateaux and historic French architecture, this region in central France is known for it's famed wine producing industry and abundance of vineyards. Never been? Nope, neither have I, but this September the Loire Valley are bringing some of their most famous export over to little ol' Liverpool with a month-long celebration of their wines, free samples, tasting sessions and special collaborative events across the city.


When does it start?

For the first time ever the renowned Loire Bucket List is being introduced outside of the capital and gives the people of Liverpool a chance to rediscover their own city, visit some of our best bars and restaurants and find out a bit more about Loire Valley wine along the way. It begins with some free sampling at The Royal Albert Dock this weekend (4/5th Sept '21) from their gorgeous little wine truck, no bookings or tickets needed- just go for a stroll along the water and pop in for a glass of wine along the way. Not a bad way to start the month!

Where will it be?

The Loire Valley celebrations will be taking place across the city with their wine truck debuting at the Albert Docks on 4/5th September. From then onwards there’s a suggested Loire Bucket List route- all the venues you can see below:

What's the wine like?

To get me in the mood for the festivities the lovely people over at the Loire Valley sent over some samples of their most popular stuff, all of which I decided to pair with some of my favourite food. Using the handy guide on The Wine Society website as my sommelier, I put together the following matches.

1.  The Society's Celebration Crémant de Loire 2018

A really lovely sparkling wine perfect for a special occasion at a super reasonable price point. Food pairings recommend were fish based but we enjoyed sipping the bubbles with a mixed grazing box of charcuterie, cheeses and olives.


2. Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles 2019

An all-round easy drinker and thirst-quencher perfect with salty food, meat, fish and charcuterie. The website recommended it as a good pair for dim sum so we had it with some dumplings and spring rolls.

3. Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine Guénault 2020

This fruity Sav Blanc was suggested to go well with fish so we drank alongside my favourite week night tea of grilled salmon, fried rice and veggies.


4. Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Echardières 2020

Last but not least we have the Touraine Rosé, a fruity little number with bags of flavour. I’m not usually a rosé drinker but this one I just enjoyed on its own, super cold with a Friday night film.

You have all of September to try and tackle the Loire Bucket List, visit some brilliant places and discover some new favourite wines along the way. I’ll be having a go myself so let me know how you get on!

X


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5 Fab Places I Tried In... July

They may not be new to everyone but they’re certainly new to me! Here’s five new places I tried this July.

Tempest on Tithebarn Street

As the name might suggest this cafe-come-cocktail bar has recently opened inside the tempest building on Tithebarn Street and is the new venture from the people behind Ma Boyles (not too far down the road). It’s a cool building and they’ve managed to wrangle a street-side drinks terrace to open alongside their rooftop space. The menu is pretty small but good for breakfast and would make an excellent work space if you need somewhere chill to hang out for a few hours. 

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