Plus sushi burritos, the return of the Zanzibar and more
April is the rock star of all months, doing what she wants, when she wants. One minute you’re enjoying the sunshine in the park with a barbecue and some beers. The next thing it’s snowing outside and you’re holed up in the house with the heating on and a hot water bottle. April really doesn't give two hoots.
But with beer gardens and outdoor terraces opening on Monday, nothing is going to rain on our parade. Visiting the River of Light installation on the Liverpool waterfront was pure joy and now we can’t wait to get back out there, whatever the weather.
Read on for this week’s food and drink news including ginspirational spirits from Wirral, a taste of Japan in Chester, and the All Out Garden Party in Sefton Park. Bring it on, April. Bring it on.
Slice to meet you
As if we need an excuse to eat pie, now there’s one with a social conscience. The Knowsley Pie is brought to you by The Alchemic Kitchen, an innovative social enterprise working to reduce food waste and improve access to food across the North West. All of their products are made using surplus fruit and veg. It’s all perfectly edible just a bit wonky. Their latest creation is a delicious game pie made with pheasant reared on the Knowsley Estate and paired with a Cumberland sauce gravy.
At least £1 from every purchase goes towards The Alchemic Kitchen’s work to support communities in Knowsley to access nutritious food and build the food future they want. It’s made in collaboration with Homebaked Anfield, so you’ll also be supporting the fantastic work that they do in the community too. Eating pie never felt so good. The Knowsley Pie is available from LIDS Delivery where you can also grab yourself some Alchemic Kitchens' Scouse Sauce.
Bring back the music
The closure of the Zanzibar in March 2020 was a massive blow to Liverpool’s live music scene but the new owners have announced that the live venue will be making a comeback.
Based on Seel Street, the Zanzibar was established in 1990 by the late Liverpool music legend, Tony Butler, who sadly passed away in 2018. Tony was a huge figure on the Liverpool music scene for many years and The Zanzi was probably best known for being the home of The Bandwagon club night. The grassroots venue hosted loads of incredible acts over the years including Noel Gallagher, The Coral, The Zutons, The Libertines, Shonen Knife, Courtney Barnett, The 1975 and Travis.
New owners Pub Invest Group, who also own Brooklyn Mixer, The Peacock, Moloko and Lago, say that they plan on continuing The Zanzibar’s legacy by providing a space for local bands and touring acts, as well as alternative club nights. We just hope that it doesn’t become another poser lad-rock bar.
Sushi burrito comes to Chester
As Chester’s al fresco hospitality gets set to re-open on 12 April, the city has also seen a flurry of new openings including imaginatively titled The Hotel on Newgate Street, Mediterranean restaurant Artezzan on Pepper Street and Japanese joint Hamayuu on Watergate Street.
Offering up kushi skewers, don-buri, bento boxes and sushi platters, it’s fair to say that Hamayuu is the one that really floats our boat and they’ve already had takeaway punters rolling up for their sushi burritos. Raw fish, guac and beans? No; the burrito is a thick roll of sushi wrapped in seaweed like Futomaki. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Visit the Hamayuu website for their full menu.
Clean, pure and elegant. Three words you won’t find on our dating profile but have been used to describe a new gin from Wirral-based The Organical Botanical Spirit Co. Owner Alex Griffiths has launched his first product, a classic Organic London Dry Gin, which contains 100% organic grain and botanicals that are Soil Association certified. The company has also cultivated a sustainability criteria right from the start and for every bottle sold it will plant a tree through a partnership with Plant For The Planet.
It's a dream job for Alex who admits to being a gin collector with more than 150 different bottles in his collection so far. And that’s the kind of profile that we can totally get on board with. The Organic London Dry Gin costs £39 and is available to buy now online.
#LIVERPOOL #MANCHESTER #CHESTER #WIRRAL - we want to hear about your favourite #LGBTQ+ owned or allied businesses. Entries are now open for the first ever LGBTQ+ Business Awards! https://t.co/FuXhG8vkAF pic.twitter.com/MTKPyP8Zlm
— LGBTQ+ Business Awards 🏳️🌈🏆 (North West) (@LGBTQ_business) April 7, 2021
Celebrating queer allies
If your favourite Merseyside restaurant or bar is queer-owned or a fierce ally then why not show them some love in the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards. Founded by Wirral businessman Drew Cockton, the newly launched awards aim to celebrate LGBTQ+ allied businesses that go above and beyond to support the community. Categories include the LGBTQ+ Hospitality Award which will be given to a restaurant, bar or venue that’s run and owned by a member of the community who has achieved great things in spite of the pandemic, or a non-LGBTQ+ owned business which demonstrates an inclusive attitude. Nominations for the LGBTQ+ Business Awards are now open.
Fancy celebrating the end of lockdown with a proper party in the park? Then you’ve probably already bagged your seat for the All Out Garden Party at Sefton Park Cricket Club next weekend. Organised by the lovely people behind Smithdown Festival, Saturday and Sunday of the event sold out so quickly that an extra date was added on the Friday. Now, just a handful of tickets remain for the three-day pop-up beer garden which takes place in Sefton Park from 16 - 18 April.
Andy Scott, co-organiser of the event, has been bowled over by the overwhelming response. “We are absolutely made up that the event sold out so quickly. It should be a brilliant weekend,” he said.
“We've got DJs and live music at each session from Ali Horn and his amazing band. The barbecue sounds delicious too with loads of options for any meat eaters or vegans. Personally I'm looking forward to a big fat BBQ cauliflower taco.
“This is hopefully the first of many events for Smithdown Fest at the cricket club. We are looking at another pop-up garden over May Bank Holiday weekend and a few other things over the summer too. I’d love to do an outdoor cinema event there so we are just working on that at the moment, which would be loads of fun.”
Andy also hinted that a big announcement about Smithdown Festival is on its way very soon; watch this space. Tickets for the All Out Garden Party are available from Skiddle.