Liverpool – The Hunt for Decent Food
Let’s start with why I visited Liverpool. I was supposed to run my first marathon at the Liverpool Rock n Roll event, but unfortunately I injured my foot the week before. I’ve run several half marathons and other races, so this was going to be the icing on the cake. Of course I could not let this weekend getaway go to waste, so I went anyway. Luckily my sister came as planned and cheered me up. The city itself has its pleasant parts, particularly along the docks and on a few streets of the city centre. We visited the Beatles museum on our last day of the trip, which was better than expected. Students get a discount if you show your ID. We spent most of our food hunting times on Bold Street. Bold Street is lined with trendy cafes and restaurants that look very cool with a hipster vibe inside and out. It reminded me of parts of Austin and the Montrose area of Houston. So it was a struggle (and not because I had to limp everywhere hahaha) finding decent food in Liverpool and boy did we try! The TripAdvisor ratings were surprisingly high (4.5 to 5 stars) on the places we tried. I’m not sure about the taste buds of Liverpool (sorry).
Mowgli Street Food: First of all, it seemed like almost every restaurant had “street food” in either the description of the place or as part of their name. I’m thinking it’s an excuse to serve smaller plates at higher prices (makes sense to me). We walked into a buzzing restaurant with fun vibes, artsy decor, and friendly staff. The menu is full of Indian dishes served tapas style. The second round of drinks was a yuck rosé wine that took me awhile to finish. I don’t even remember what I had for my first drink because the second one obviously overshadowed it. Here’s what the table ordered: Mowgli’s Sticky Wings, House Lamb Curry, Mowgli House Keema, puri, and basmati rice. I’m not even sure where to start. The food comes out in these “tiffin” containers. The sticky wings were AWESOME — gram floured fried wings drenched in a sweet molasses-based sauce and sprinkled with sesame. They were so good, we went back our last day to snack on our own individual plates for lunch. The lamb curry was okay with bits of soft and dry lamb chunks which threw it off a bit. The lamb curry sauce tasted tomatoey (is that a word) and not of curry spice. The keema was just okay as well, with an odd tangy taste. The rice was oh so sad, but the puri (fried flat bread) bread was delish. Overall, the main dishes lacked flavour, but looked “healthy”. “Healthy” meaning no visible ponds of oil pooling in the sauces. All in all, I would just grace this place with your presence if you love chicken wings and want to check out the cool lighting.
MacKenzie’s Whisky Bar: Being a whiskey lover, I had to visit MacKenzie’s. Luckily there was a band playing the night we went. The bar was jammed pack with locals singing along with the band and dancing. The drinks were flowing and the spirits were high! I had one of my favourite Japanese whiskeys, Nikka, with ginger ale. The streets itself were buzzing with people. This may be the norm, but this weekend was bank holiday weekend.
Vincent Kitchen Bowl Food: I was so excited to try my first poke bowl! Boy was I disappointed!! And the name doesn’t help. Let me set the scene. You walk up to an assembly line setup similar to Chipotle. You are asked what base you’d like: jasmine rice, salad, rice noodles, and brown rice. The brown rice was not ready when we arrived. Next you pick your meat or tofu, vegetable, and sauce, followed by garnish and toppings. If you are not as picky as me, then you can choose from one of their recommendations. I chose to make my own with sushi rice (not a part of the base but it is a part of one of their pre-designed bowls), salmon, and some other toppings. My bowl didn’t look like all the vibrant poke bowls I’ve seen on Instagram, so I was not happy (could you image if I was hangry). And before I even took a bite, my sister warned me the sushi rice was “rock hard” and “ice cold”, and just plain gross. Who in the world would serve crunchy cold rice that I swear was from two days before. We switched out the sushi rice for the warm jasmine rice, which barely helped. Overall, the bowl was just a sad mess, but the facility was clean and roomy. The best part of the meal was the warm jasmine rice with the hot ass sriracha I doused it with.
Jenever Gin Bar: My my my, this is the cutest, friendliest bar I’ve been to in the UK. We met the owner who was oober funny and nice. The young ladies behind the bar were cool and sweet. They seemed liked a little work family the way they were cracking jokes. They do know their gin concoctions! I just said I prefer dry and boom…a lovely drink was presented. There are other drinks, if gin is not your thing. It is a must visit!!
Meet Frank: We were determined to eat something good and my sis found this hot dog joint trolling through Just Eat. Meet Frank is a food stand that happened to be at Ghetto Golf, which was quite close to our hotel. I’m still tripping over the name Ghetto Golf, but let’s move on. These are gourmet hot dogs with interesting toppings and they are handmade using free-range pork or prime beef. They also boast being gluten free and having vegan and vegetarian options. Meet Frank has items besides hot dogs, such as mini corn dogs, wings, salad, and sandwiches. I was super excited I finally found a spot that serves 100% beef dogs!! Of course I had to make things complicated and order a oak-smoked beef frank with chilli con carne (as they call it here in the UK), crispy onions, and cheese served on a toasted brioche bun. I also ordered a side of plain skin-on french fries. After I took minutes and minutes to take pics of the food, I finally sunk my teeth into the hot dog. The beef frank was so juicy and full of flavour.
The chilli itself was bland, but combined with the beef frank, cheese, and mustard, the hot dog was on point! The fries were skinny and crispy like I prefer them. They have a good selection of sauces, including a curry ketchup and honey mustard. Meet Frank made a good honest attempt to mimic the American-style gourmet hot dog. My name is Mfonobong and I approve of this message. Cheers!
Leaf on Bold St: We passed by Leaf a few times and decided to try it out Sunday for brunch. The ambiance is hip and artsy and the space is lofty. You grab a table and order at the bar. The food is brought to your table when ready. We ordered the cinnamon toast with a side of bacon — cinnamon brioche topped with mascarpone, peach and vanilla sauce, dried banana chips (guess they couldn’t afford fresh banana which would of made a HUGE difference for the better), and pecans.
In my mind, I thought I was ordering french toast, but nope. It was literally just as it said. I ended up ordering eggs to give me the feel of eating french toast. Our coffee orders were well made and delicious. This cinnamon toast dish was decent but not something I would eat again. I did notice that most of the folks in the restaurant were eating the traditional full English breakfast. That is something I have yet to try simply because I could easily make at home if I really wanted to. Well to be fair (I’m getting the British lingo down), I could probably make most of what I eat at home if I enjoyed cooking as much as I enjoyed EATING!