Sister venue to London Carriage Works serving up pizza, pasta and Malfy gin

New openings are usually accompanied by lavish launch parties and blanket social media coverage. Hope Street Hotel has always done things a bit differently, so it was with a quiet confidence that they opened the doors to their new venture, 1931 restaurant.

People think that The London Carriage Works is far posher than it actually is

Nestled among Liverpool’s finest eating and drinking spots in the Georgian Quarter, the building on the corner of Hope and Hardman Street was previously let to Pizza Express. When the chains disappeared during lockdown, the owners of Hope Street Hotel decided to use the empty space for their own independent restaurant.

1931 Restaurant Hope Street Hotel London Carriage Works Aa Rosette Liverpool Georgian Old Blind School
Hope Street Hotel is set in the heart of Liverpool's Georgian Quarter Photo: VMA

“We’ve not done a lot of advertising because we want to open and make sure that we get everything right,” says Charlotte Winby, executive sales manager at Hope Street Hotel.

“There's a lot of pent up demand in the city. When we reopened The London Carriage Works it was packed. People want to go out, people want to have fun. People want to spend some money, people want to be out, not sitting at home in their four walls.

“Opening weekend for 1931 was really good. We've had lots of our staff coming in with feedback and we'll tweak the menu, just to double check things are right.”

1931 Restaurant Hope Street Hotel London Carriage Works Aa Rosette Liverpool Georgian Old Blind School Pizza Pasta Express Carbonara Egg Pizza
Carbonara pizza. With a gluten-free menu, the pastabilities are endless

The menu at 1931 features pizza, pasta, salads and sharing boards. There are international breads - Pide (Turkish flatbreads) and Manouche (Levantine garlic bread with harissa, oil and sumac). Desserts include biscoff pizza with caramelised banana and vanilla ice cream, and they serve Malfy gin and tonic. There's a full gluten-free menu packed with pizzas and pasta, a kids menu, and loads of veggie and vegan options.

“We’re excited because this will be a really good addition to this area with all of its independents; The Quarter, Fredericks and The Pen factory,” says Charlotte.

“And I think for the local residents, another neighbourhood restaurant is what's needed. A place where people know you and know what you like.

“It’s brilliant to be welcoming more businesses up here. It’s a special place to come and it's different to Castle Street; it’s got its own vibe.”

1931 Restaurant Hope Street Hotel London Carriage Works Aa Rosette Liverpool Georgian Old Blind School Pizza Pasta Express Meatballs And Penne
The menu at 1931 has an international flavour, with classic pasta dishes alongside Turkish breads

Hope Street’s flagship restaurant, The London Carriage Works, opened in December 2003 and quickly established itself as one of Liverpool's leading places to dine, enjoying rave reviews and two AA Rosettes. We've reviewed it at least three times - it's the kind of place that keeps you coming back. The building dates back to the 1860s and was once the warehouse of a coach and carriage builder. During renovation, the original name was discovered carved in the stone lintel above the front door and kept out of respect for the building’s history.

The Hope Street Hotel complex includes the elegant Venetian palazzo of The London Carriage Works, as well as two sections of the former Blind School, dated 1851 and 1931. The hotel has bolstered its offering dramatically since it first opened 17 years ago, growing from 49 bedrooms to 89 and now 147. Recent developments include rooftop suites with their own terrace and spa bath, that come complete with their own unique view across the city.

1931 Restaurant Hope Street Hotel London Carriage Works Aa Rosette Liverpool Georgian Old Blind School Pizza Pasta Express Vma
The new restaurant is inside the 1931 wing of Hope Street Hotel Photo: VMA

There’s also the largest urban spa in the Northwest, featuring an indoor pool, vitality pool, Himalayan salt sauna, aroma steam room, tepidarium and more. I had a guided tour around the spa and was gobsmacked with the size of it and the range of treatments and pamper rooms - ice, fire, water. Please tell me that someone has invented a spa day themed around Game of Thrones, because if not, then this needs to happen.

Owner David Brewitt has invested lots of money into the bricks and mortar of Hope Street, but he also puts a high value on his staff. Nobody was laid off throughout the whole of the pandemic and everybody went on furlough, including those on zero hours. 

“We've been very loyal and kept our workforce," says Charlotte. 

"A lot of places did not do that and I hope that at the end of the day, a lot of places are judged by how they behaved. If you stood loyal and firm with your workforce, I think they would be loyal and firm back. A lot of other places weren't quite so supportive."

1931 Restaurant Hope Street Hotel London Carriage Works Aa Rosette Liverpool Georgian Quarter Interior Tlcw Vma
The London Carriage Works has two AA Rosettes Photo: VMA

Hope Street Hotel is still a big draw for visitors to Liverpool, but with so many places to eat and drink in the city, has the restaurant kept its local appeal?

“The London Carriage Works is a strange one,” says Charlotte. “It’s seen as a destination restaurant, somewhere you go for birthdays or anniversaries that people think is far posher than it actually is. 

“It’s got two AA rosettes and it's award-winning - it’s got all of those accolades. But it’s not as expensive as you think. It's quality food, but not frightening prices. It's not got people fussing over you. It's quality dining but in a relaxed atmosphere and I think that is its biggest draw.”

As well as the popular a la carte menu and afternoon tea, TLCW hosts regular cheese and wine evenings with sommelier Matt Cooke and Vickie Anderson from the Liverpool Cheese Company. July will also see a winemakers' dinner hosted by sommelier Rak Jain from House of Townend, exploring wines from the regions where the Tour de France pedals.

Launching this week, on Wednesday 30 June, is a new monthly event called “Field to Fork”, celebrating and focusing on one product. First up is "beef" with head chef Mike Kenyon and Neil Dempsey of Lakes Speciality Foods - expect insights into the best cuts to cook with and top tips on the perfect steak. The menu includes beef cheek, beef short rib, fillet steak Rossini and flank steak. That’s one meaty menu. For pudding? Fig and stout tart, orange blossom, milk ice cream. No beef with that - but we imagine you could eat it 'til the cows come home.

Too book a table at 1931 restaurant, or for more information on events at The London Carriage Works, visit the Hope Street Hotel website.

Read next: Free Bloody Marys at the dock and new openings - Bitesize food and drink news

Read again: Michelin’s green stars of the North: “We should all be eating less meat”

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