Part two of our guide to the best festive feasts in 2020
Earlier this month, we published our Liverpool 2020 Christmas menus part one, featuring everything from mince pie milkshakes, spiced duck leg pancakes and Christmas tree beer, to a nostalgic 6-course taster menu inspired by the seasonal warm-and-fuzzies.
Now, we’re bringing you a second instalment which is an equally tempting concoction of classic and divergent menus, from giant pigs in blankets and turkey burgers with all the trimmings, to sprout bhaji butties, homemade Italian recipes and festive fine dining.
Any Grinch-like beings or Scrooges in attendance, divert your attention because The Art School are certainly not doing Christmas by halves this year. So much so, its festive offering has been bundled into an entire catalogue of seasonal magic. There are four menus to spoil you with: the Prix Fixe, the Christmas Excellence, a festive tasting menu and a dedicated Christmas Eve foray. As you can imagine, each showcases an array of sophisticated plates, locally-sourced ingredients and refined flavours that are far cry from ya ma’s Boxing Day bubble ’n’ squeak, but we’d expect no less with Chef Askew’s right hand man, Vincent Premel-Cabic at the helm. Think along the lines of venison carpaccio, game pie, salt-aged duck, baked parmesan salsify and Valrhona dark chocolate torte. Those looking to celebrate in style can reserve the deluxe Moriarty private dining room, which is served by its very own bar and kitchen and can comfortably seat 30 guests at a safe, social distance. The ideal scenario to avoid those embarrassing work Christmas do tête-à-têtes to be honest. Can’t make it in person? Treat yourself to something indulgent from the online Christmas Emporium.
Festive Prix Fixe available Wednesday – Saturday, 12.00pm-4.15pm, 5pm-6.15pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm (3 courses, £36pp). Festive Menu Excellence available Wednesday - Saturday 12pm-1pm & 6pm-9.15pm and Sunday 12.00pm-4pm (£75pp). Festive Tasting Menu available Wednesday - Saturday 12pm-1pm and 6pm-9.16pm (£95pp + optional wine flight £55pp). Christmas Eve menu available 24th December, 12pm-2.30pm (£75pp - ticketed event).
The Art School, 1 Sugnall Street, L7 7EB
‘Vegetarian Indian street food’ and ‘festive specials’ are two phrases we never imagined would share the same sentence but kudos to the rule-breakers at Bundobust who have engineered just that. With four knockout specials on the festive menu, which have also been combined to create the ‘Christmas Combo for 2’, we hope you’re feeling hungry. First up are the sprout, onion and broccoli bhajis - which are a bit of a seasonal Bundo tradition - served with a zingy cranberry chutney. These babies also provide the main component of the next dish which is so humbly titled the ‘Sprout Bhaji Butty’ and features the Bundo sprout baubles with red onion, kachumber sambharo and green chutney on a vegan brioche bun. Then we have the festive curry and jeera rice, comprised of winter veg and french beans in a tomato and coconut sauce with cinnamon, star anise and curry leaf. Last but my no means least is a new addition for 2021 and it’s the mince pie paratha - a flaky flatbread stuffed with dried fruit and coconut. The perfect way to mop up your plate or line your stomach before heading to the bar for a seasonal cocktail or two. Choose from the ‘Naughty’ or the ‘Nice’ - the former being a spicy, salted-rimmed margarita with green chilli; the latter being a virgin beverage with apple juice, cranberry juice, soda water and a Christmas spiced syrup.
The Bundobust festive menu is available all week from 12pm throughout December.
Bundobust, First Floor, 17-19 Bold Street, L1 4DN
If you’re after a top-notch spaghetti bolognese in sophisticated surroundings, with a glass of bubbles and a side order of local celebrity spotting, San Carlo is your golden ticket. In homage to all things holly and jolly this year, San Carlo have created two festive menus for diners to feast out on, staying loyal to its roots in classic Italian cooking. The ‘Christmas Fayre’ lunch and dinner menu boasts everything from garlic prawns and lobster ravioli to Melanzane alla Parmigiana with finely sliced aubergine, and pan-fried beef medallions. Dessert seduces with Marsala tiramisu, pannacotta, poached pear, Christmas pudding and of course, San Carlo’s famous pistachio cake. Christmas Day ‘Special Lunch’ offers both traditional and more contemporary Italian cuisine, including Avocado Bernado, smoked salmon, carpaccio, rack of lamb, escalope of veal, cheese and truffle ravioli, and turkey with chestnut stuffing.
Christmas menus available right through December. Reservations now being taken online with a £10pp deposit.
San Carlo, 41 Castle Street, L2 9SH
If we were asked to name one of Liverpool’s most iconic foodstuffs, The Baltic Social’s Punk Afternoon Tea would be one of the first on the list. A coveted creation sought after all year round, this take on the quintessentially British affair sticks two fingers up in the face of tradition and your recommended daily calorie consumption. This year, the Punk Afternoon Tea is getting a temporary festive makeover, featuring pulled ham hock, gouda and sprout croquettes, turkey and stuffing sliders, confit duck vol au vent, sage and truffle fries, cranberry and apricot scone, gingerbread brownie and a cheese board. If the mere sound of that is enough to make your eyes water, go for the Baltic Social Christmas burger which is (marginally) more modest - brioche bun, sage and onion-crusted turkey, sausage meat, stuffing, crispy kale, red cabbage and beer battered pigs in blankets with a teacup of gravy.
Head to The Baltic Social Instagram bio and click the link to secure your booking but be quick because spaces are filling up faster than a punk at afternoon tea.
The Baltic Social, 27 Parliament Street, L8 5RN
Bold Street is a melting pot of culinary cultures and if you fancy taking a trip down to the deep south this Christmas then navigate yourself to the neon beacon that is the Slim’s front door. Home of chicken & waffles and an award-winning Sunday roast, the Slim’s lot have turned their hands to some Christmas specials this year in honour of the festive season. Dishes include salt ’n’ pepper roasties (a first for the city if our memories serve us right) and the Slim’s Christmas burger with short rib patty, stuffing, turkey, bacon, cheese and cranberry sauce with onion gravy on the side. The notorious Slim’s Sunday roast is also being served with jingle bells on, accessorised for the season with roast turkey, pigs in blankets, carrot & turnip, creamy mash potatoes and sprouts if you dare. Don’t leave without a festive tipple either - make your choice between the ‘Apple Pie Martini’, ‘Santa’s Latte’ or the ‘Xmas Cracker’, or if you’re feeling up to the task, neck all three.
Slim’s Christmas dinner is available all week in December, so long as you remember to book it at least 24 hours in advance. Book online or by calling 0151 709 8413.
Slim’s, 108 Bold Street, L1 4DJ
It’s no secret how much we love Matou - just look at those 360-degree views over iconic the Liverpool waterfront and that’s just us getting warmed up. Matou’s pan-asian menu is a delight all year round but particularly exciting for those who don’t mind breaking the mould when it comes to festive dining. This year, the restaurant is offering a 3-course Christmas lunch menu served throughout the day and an evening Christmas dinner menu designed to be shared between 2-4 people banquet-style. For lunch, fusion dishes include chargrilled teriyaki sirloin, satay chicken, vegetable rendang and a rather tempting chocolate truffle cake. Those dining from the evening menu can enjoy a selection of sharer plates featuring salt & pepper pork ribs, nasi goreng, spicy sea bass and chocolate spring rolls.
Christmas lunch menu available until 31st December, 12pm-4pm (£29.95pp - includes choice of select house drink). Christmas dinner menu available until 30th December (£45pp - includes complimentary glass of prosecco). Christmas dinner menu requires minimum of 2 people per booking.
Matou, Mersey Ferry Terminal, 2nd Floor, Georges Parade Pier Head, L3 1BY
Listen, not everybody likes those classic flavours of Christmas and that’s okay, we aren’t here to cast aspersions about your questionable taste in food. For those if you who do prefer something a little more left-of-centre when it comes to festive dining, or if you find yourself in need of a big ol’ bowl of cards to soak up all the Baileys, La Famiglia has got you covered. The family-run restaurant in the heart of the city centre has curated a three-course festive menu of traditional Italian recipes, as well as an exclusive duo of Christmas Day menus for adults and bambinos alike. Dishes include a 125g burrata with smoked almonds, homemade meatballs, prawn cocktail with caviar and strawberry, Limoncello-infused sea bass, and a boozy Christmas pudding cake with rich ricotta ice cream.
Festive menu available until 24th December (3 courses, £27.95pp). Christmas Day menus available 25th December only (£55 per adult and £21 per child under 12 years old).
La Famiglia, 12 Stanley Street, L1 6AF
A moment of silence please for the FSK Christmas burger… *pause for silence*. A fresh, golden bun envelopes a juicy turkey burger laden with rashers of crispy smoked bacon, melted brie, cranberry sauce and a tasty stuffing patty. The tower or indulgence is held to attention with a pig in blanket topping, all skewered together and ready for dunking in its accompanying American-style gravy. If your mouth isn’t haemorrhaging saliva right now then you need to make a doctor’s appointment pronto because it seems your tastebuds might not be working. Enjoy from the comfort of FSK’s newly revamped winter terrace and outdoor garden space, unless of course you prefer to stay cosy indoors.
Festive Free State Burger available for December only so whatever you do, don’t hang about!
Free State Kitchen, 1 Maryland Street, L1 9DE
Ma Boyle is well-versed in the magic of Christmas but this year, the festive foray comes with a twist because hey, 2020 has been a rollercoaster so why alight the ride now? This year, the famous Ma Boyle’s 3-course Christmas menu is being pimped out with optional bottomless spritz and festive drinks. Those looking for a more sober affair can simply enjoy three courses of classic Christmas fare with all the trimmings - featuring Ma’s giant pigs in blankets - but those wanting to get a little merry can enjoy 1 hour 45 minutes of bottomless booze at the same time. Ma’s generosity knows no bounds as over the festive period and beyond, guests can also partake in a Christmas bottomless brunch, offering unlimited drinks for 90 minutes to wash down any delicious brunch dish of their choosing. ’Tis the flippin’ season.
Bottomless brunch available Friday 12pm-2pm, Saturday 10am-3pm and Sunday 10am-1pm (£25pp). Three-course Christmas dinner available until the 24th December (£25pp) - add bottomless drinks for an additional £25pp. Bookings limited to 6 guests per table.
Ma Boyle’s, Tower Building, 7 Tower Gardens, L3 1LG
Oh and wait, before you go - we’ve got a handful of other honourable mentions that certainly deserve a shout out for their seasonal spirits (emotionally and alcoholically) and festive fodder…
On the 19th and 20th of December, the cool cats over at The Merchant are throwing a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Bottomless Christmas Brunch. Not just any old Bottomless Christmas Brunch though - a Nightcrawler Pizza Bottomless Christmas Brunch. Revellers get 90 minutes worth of all-you-can-eat pizza munching, all washed down with your fill of gin and prosecco, to the soundtrack of a festive bangers playlist curated by resident Merchant DJs.
Available 19th-20th December, 12pm-1.30pm. Maximum of 6 guests per table booking.
The Merchant, 40 Slater Street, L1 4BX
Home to six food kitchens, an annexe bar and its own coffee kitchen, Duke Street Market has transformed itself into an edible grotto of festive delights for the month of December. We’re talking plates including a Christmas cubano with roast turkey, pork shoulder, stuffing, molten cheese, stuffing, cranberry and dipping gravy from Cahita, and a vegan Christmas nut roast from Indigo Greens with garlic new potatoes, veggies and gravy. Things are looking pretty holly jolly at the bar too with Christmas cocktail specials featuring the ‘Gingle & Tonic’ and a good old fashioned ‘Eggnog’. If you can think of anything more festive than sipping an eggnog by the Christmas tree, with a belly full of brie and cranberry then we want to hear it.
Open Tuesday-Friday 12pm-late and Saturday & Sunday 10am-late. Available to eat in or click & collect.
Duke Street Market, 46 Duke Street, L1 5AS
If you and your bubble are still feeling hungry then a trip to the Baltic Market is in order and we suggest you make a beeline straight for the Hafla Hafla halloumi pigs in blankets. Yep, that’s right, squeaky cheese wrapped in crispy bacon, served with a fruity dip - and the festivities don’t stop there down in the Baltic Triangle… Press Bros Coffee is another market vendor getting into the spirit of seasonal gluttony with the glorious ‘Boxing Day Butty’, stacked high with roast turkey, sausage stuffing, deep fried brie, cranberry sauce, homemade parsnip and kale chips, with a pot of gravy for dipping on the side. With its heated outdoor seating area, special cocktails and top tunes to boot, the Baltic Market is a must this Crimbo.
Available to eat in or delivery via UberEats. Head over to the Baltic Market Instagram to stay in the loop with Christmas and New Year opening times.
The Baltic Market, 107 Stanhope Street, L8 5RE