Rebecca Fry thinks this deserves to be equally as popular as its siblings
In an age when everyone and their dog has a social media page, it’s surprising there’s anywhere left that could be described as a hidden gem, but I’d happily wager that the café at Oh Me Oh My is one of them.
If you’d trust them with the most important day of your life why wouldn’t you trust them with making your lunch
This huge, self-proclaimed secret space on The Strand is sister restaurant to popular Liverpool tearoom Leaf, as well as the more recently opened and similarly successful One Fine Day in the business district.
However, unlike its siblings Oh Me Oh My is known mostly as an events space. It functions first and foremost as a wedding venue, a place for hordes of lovers from across the city to tie the knot and after one look at the venue who could blame them?
Facing the famous Mersey skyline, Oh Me Oh My has glorious views of the Royal Liver Building from all angles, as well as from the attached Goodness Gracious roof garden. The rooftop bar is the crowning jewel of this grand Grade II listed building, a place where you can sip cocktails and come face to face with The Three Graces during the summer months.
Fortunately the interiors are equally as stunning as the view (apparently the name of the place is based on the words you’ll squeal in excitement as you walk through the doors - oh my!) and by day the building takes the form of a grand Parisian style café.
Delicate wooden tables are nestled among huge marble columns, where afternoon tea and café-style lunches are served to a backdrop of drifting mellow jazz music. Its superman-esque transformation from wedding venue to teahouse only discernable by the strings of twinkling fairy lights left dangling from the mezzanine.
With the lunch menu only available in a small weekday window, the fact it was open as a café had eluded me and judging by the amount of people in there (or lack thereof), I clearly wasn’t the only one. The menu is small but has a sharp focus on simple, quality ingredients: think soups, sandwiches and a choice selection of main plates alongside the family hallmark of loose-leaf teas and a spattering of pretty-looking cocktails.
A garlic chicken sandwich (£5.50) was a good of example of how to make a boring packed lunch staple worth eating and consisted of a crunchy focaccia roll, packed to the hilt with thin strips of hot, charred chicken breast. The chef appears to have used some artistic license here since there was no sign of the advertised chimichurri or crispy onions. Instead it was accompanied by a layer of crunchy leaves with a heavy smear of smoky chilli mayonnaise underneath, ideal for taking the edge of that excellent, but jaw-achingly chewy bread roll.
On the side, a portion of skin-on-fries (£2.50) were exactly what a proper chips (and most of the best food) should be: hot, crisp and salty: the perfect utensil to mop up any fallen dollops of that rogue chipotle sauce. Even the obligatory side salad managed to earn its place on the plate thanks to a tangy vinaigrette dressing, packing a real punch of fresh lemon and fiery whole grain mustard.
A smoked haddock and mature cheddar fishcake (£8.95) was, much like a sumo wrestler, pretty big but surprisingly delicate. Presented just as beautifully as its surroundings, it came in a shroud of tangled, buttery greens and a rich cream sauce that really complemented the chunks of firm, smoky fish.
In fact, the only real dud of an otherwise solid lunch was the falafel (£2). Aptly named on our bill as ‘misc food item’, it was promised with fresh beetroot hummus and mint but sadly arrived at our table sans accompaniments. Lacking spice and texture, it was in dire need of some moisture that I’ve no doubt the hummus would have graciously provided.
There’s no question about the quality of the food, drinks or the staff at Oh Me Oh My, and let’s face it, if you’d trust them with the most important day of your life why wouldn’t you trust them with making your lunch?
Like a slightly overlooked middle child, the café at Oh Me Oh My seems to have slipped into the shadow of its sisters but, in my opinion, deserves to be equally as popular. Sure, the window of opportunity you have to eat there is slim (weekdays only, 11-4pm), but if you find yourself with the time, this is one hidden find that is definitely worth seeking out.
Oh Me Oh My, West Africa House, 25 Water St, Liverpool L2 0RG
Follow Rebecca on Twitter @eatlvpl
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.
Garlic chicken sandwich 8, skin-on fries 8, falafel 4, fishcake 8
Simple and friendly
Very relaxed but it’s a big space to fill