Richard Miller embraces breakfast, lunch and dinner, all at the same time
The rise of the fancy food hall continues, and I’m all for it. You’ll find Liverpool’s latest, The GPO (once the General Post Office, now the “Global Provisions Outlet”) on the upper floor of the Metquarter.
Breakfast consists of the classic bacon and caffeine double act with the leftfield addition of some Indian street-food.
It’s a vast space filled with an array of independent stall-holders showcasing their worldly wares. Initial problems with the app from which you order appear to have been ironed out, with none of my food, to my knowledge, ending up in Sheffield or Stretford.
Evidently it’s only idiots like me who are up and about at this time on a weekend, which means that most of the vendors are still elbow-deep in prep when I land, mid-morning, bleary of eye.
It’s entirely my own fault for not doing my homework efficiently, and it means that breakfast today consists of the classic bacon and caffeine double act with the leftfield addition of some Indian street-food action. Because why not?
With a menu featuring beefy options such as The Ulti-Pat burger, or The Frank Butcher, Patty B’s are usually in the business of keeping the dude food movement alive and well. At this hour, however, the choice is condensed to a selection of breakfast sarnies at four quid each.
I get jiggy with the piggy, where three rashers of streaky, salty bacon have been grilled enthusiastically until the dancing fat is golden and crisp. The accompanying chilli sauce is bracing. This is a good start. (£4) At least it was.
I can’t make out if my steaming Americano from the In Bloom Coffee Co (£3) is one of those modern and interesting craft brews that people who know about this kind of stuff like to nod and pontificate over, or if it’s just not very nice. It’s as murky as the Mersey, with undertones of warm, flat Lilt. Perhaps to some this is a good thing.
Far more invigorating is the delivery from Chit n’ Chaat. Watching the fella behind the counter methodically build my samosa chaat (£5.95) makes for a transfixing few moments.
He bashes a warmed samosa, its pastry shell blistered and golden, and ladles on a chickpea masala that will go on to make my skin prickle with its slow-burning heat.
Cooling yoghurt tempers the spice, while tangy tamarind, the pop of pomegranate and spiky coriander complete the food-in-HD experience. I am well into this.
Beside me, small plates are being readied for the conveyor belt at the Carousel Cheese Co, where wedges of, say, Killeen Gouda or Old Winchester could be yours with a glass of good wine. In theory I like the idea of poshing it up, but I’m not sure if this industrial, informal setting works for what is essentially swanky scran and luxury booze. (Plates £3 and up)
Regretfully, I take issue with Jailbird Chicken and its promise of “criminally tasty” fried bird. My batch of wings (£6.50) may have been upgraded to Nashville Hot, but the only burn emanating from these comes from the over-cooked and bitter coating. They taste, bizarrely, of nothing, and the best part is dredging a tart pickle through the creamy ranch dressing.
Better is a halloumi wrap (£6.90) from Greek Mythos. Sure, the pitta and salad are supermarket standard, but the chunks of cheese have been knowingly grilled until tanned on the outside and creamy within. Discovering a fluttering of fries amidst the contents will always bag extra points.
A schooner of GPO lager, crisp and cold, cleanses the palate without fuss or fanfare as I embark on my gastronomic global walkabout on the top floor of a shopping centre.
If I didn’t have a train to catch I could continue my odyssey with hotdogs, wontons and bao buns but, alas, the Transpennine Express waits for no man. Maybe next time.
And there would be a next time. The food sampled on today’s visit may best be described as hit and miss, but the GPO is somewhere that I would return to for its reasonably priced, egalitarian offering, especially if I was with a group of indecisive pals.
Plus, anywhere that’s knocking out an A1 samosa chaat under 6 quid must be worth a visit. Just don’t get there too early.
Follow Richard on Twitter: @eatingthenorth
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Bacon sarnie 8, Americano 6, Samosa chaat 8, Halloumi wrap 7, Chicken wings 5, GPO Pilsner 7.5
Didn’t take long to get to grips with the app, and no lengthy waits.
Quiet during my visit but like most things, it probably improved once I’d left.