Dirty burgers, clean(ish) eating and classic comfort food
The nights are drawing in and we want comfort food. We want huge stacks of fluffy pancakes, piles of salty chips and giant steaming bowls of delicious things for dunking various carbohydrates into. We reckon that's what you might want too....
Here are five of the best things to eat this month from misty morning until cosy evening.
Vegan burger and rosemary salted chips - Honest Burgers (£13.50)
Herbivore, carnivore, omnivore. Is there a more satisfying start to the week than a dirty burger? It was a dreary Monday evening and we were on the hoof in search of a quick meal before ‘Les Mis’ at the Liverpool Empire. Bold Street is always a better pre-theatre option than Queen Square, even if it means trudging across town in the pissing rain.
If you need convincing that vegan food isn’t all lettuce leaves and carrot sticks, the Honest Burgers plant-based patty is an absolute gamechanger. Served with vegan smoked Gouda, Rubies’ chipotle mayo, mustard, red onion, pickles and lettuce, it’s a match for any beefy opponent. Holy cow, this bad boy is even gluten-free, using a similar recipe to the Beyond Meat brand rather than seitan. The result is a bloody delicious meat-free treat that might have fooled me in a blind taste test. I can’t believe it’s not burger!
The good news for all you cowboys and cowgirls is that November is World Vegan Month; the perfect time to make your moove. Vicky Andrews
Honest Burgers, 100 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4HY
Buttermilk Pancakes - Finca (£8.50)
When it came to choosing the best thing I’ve eaten this month I’ll admit it was a close call between this and the cinnamon French toast I ate in Leaf, but I’ve been telling anybody who’ll listen to get their mitts around these and thus a champion was crowned. Even the setting - the stunning cavern of Duke Street Market, to the aesthetics (this made a killing on the ‘gram) are superseded by how undeniably, lick-the-plate-delicious they are. Finca, the Cuban street food lads who won backing last year on C4’s Million Pound Menu now call Duke Street their home and they’ve really knocked it out of the Autumnal brunch bag with this one. The pancakes are sprinkled with fresh, diced mango and a thick mango caramel (a nod to their Caribbean roots) and finished with a warming pumpkin spice granola and a cloud of whipped honey cream. It’s cosy season on a plate. Rebecca Fry
Finca, Duke Street Market, Duke Street, Liverpool L1 5AS
Falafel with hummus, tabbouleh and harissa - Maray (£6)
A falafel is a falafel and hummus is just hummus. They’re basically just chickpeas in different disguises and glorified picnic fodder for the type of people who read intellectual literature and actually care what wine they’re sloshing down their necks on a Friday night. The guys in the kitchen at Maray work some kind of complete and utter magic though to elevate this humble (albeit a bit boujie) snack to otherworldly levels.
I went to check out the new(ish) Maray restaurant on the Docks at the weekend and ordered myself a big glass of ruby red Trashumante and the ‘Falafel’ with hummus, tabbouleh and harissa. What a heavenly combo. The wine was delicious and the perfect companion for the hot nuggets of veggie goodness sat on a puddle of creamy hummus and chilled, minty tabbouleh – a real melody of textures. The whole thing was drizzled with a punchy harissa sauce and bejewelled with a spattering of pomegranate seeds so the dish looked every inch as fabulous as it tasted. Back of the net, Maray, back of the net. Stephanie Whalley
Maray, Unit 4, Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AD
Mutton scouse – Fodder Canteen (£6.50)
Let’s be honest. A bowl of scouse, no matter how fresh or well cooked, isn’t the most appetising thing to look at. But looks can be deceiving, and Fodders scouse is deceptively good. The mutton is so tender that a spoon becomes a knife. The veggies are all so tender that every mouthful falls apart. And just when you think you’re getting tired of the same flavours and textures, the red cabbage is there to wake you up from your scouse-induced daze. This felt like the ultimate home-made comfort food. This is comfort food so great you’d wish you brought your PJ’s. Desmond Hogan
Fodder Canteen, 65 Norfolk Street, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool, L1 0BE
Black Forest Gateau - Wood (£10)
I ate this for the first time at Wood in Manchester and then again at the newly opened place in Chester. I didn't get it the first time around. It's deconstructed. On the second occasion I changed tactics; instead of eating it ingredient by ingredient, I made a small pile of the lot and necked it spoonful by spoonful. And it was glorious. Unfortunately, ran out of the sexy, sharp but sweet cherries at the last spoonful, so, chef, one extra please in future. Gordo
WOOD Chester, Grosvenor Park Road, Chester, CH1 1QQ