Megan Walsh takes refuge in Woolton Village’s Icelandic gem
TIS the season and my visit coincides with the big Christmas light switch-on in Woolton Village. The locals are out in droves: mulled wine and hot chocolate stalls line the streets and there are mince pies everywhere in this historic little village - one of my favourite spots in Liverpool.
I can confidently declare that the rumours are true. This was the best cortado I’ve had anywhere in Liverpool
Woolton Village is home to some of the city’s finest including Crust, Simon Rimmer’s pub The Elephant and our much-loved Liverpool Cheese Company, to name a few. Today though I’m at One Percent Forest. Just a small veer away from the main drag, this humble little spot offers visitors much more than meets the eye.
Inconspicuously sandwiched between an estate agent and a solicitor’s office, you could walk right by this tiny independent without noticing it was there, be it not for the steamed-up windows and enticing smells of freshly toasted sourdough. You’ll have to be quick if you want to get a table though: I’d say it seats no more than 20 and the place gets chocker.
Inside it’s how every Scandinavian coffee shop should be and the attention to detail is admirable – from the geometric design to the picture of Björk, Iceland’s finest export, hanging proud in the loo. There’s a gift shop, too, selling art from local artists and all sorts of Scandi and coffee-themed gifts.
Speaking of coffee: I’d heard that OPF serves up the best coffee on this side of Liverpool, so here I was, ready to set the record straight. A couple of cortados later (£2.40) and I can confidently declare that the rumours are true. It was the best coffee I’ve had anywhere in Liverpool.
There’s a real buzz in here. Owners Hannah and Dean are locals and have created their Icelandic nook with a heavy community feel – in fact, they couldn’t have made their dream a reality without the backing of the 137 neighbours who contributed to the Kickstarter fund, and you smell the camaraderie by the number of local residents here today. Dogs are not just welcome, they’re celebrated. Each pet has a place on OPF’s furry wall of fame and today we meet one old boy – dressed for the occasion in a sparkly red bowtie – a beautiful cross-breed rescued from Portugal by one OPF regular.
But you’re here to read about the food, so I’ll get to the point. I decide that on a winter’s day like today, only a bowl of Scouse will do (£8). A hearty portion of the city’s favourite dish, I simply couldn’t fault it. It was warm and boozy from the red wine, and the brisket passed the spoon-slicing test with flying colours. Ten bonus points for the side of pickled beetroot and buttered sourdough, too.
The Christmas turkey sandwich (£6) could have been better. Don’t get me wrong, it was damn tasty – but a pot of gravy to loosen the dryness of turkey, stuffing and thick bread wouldn’t have gone a miss. Still, it was a good Christmas butty, but I won’t lie and say we didn’t regret not going for one of the famous grilled cheeses instead.
Naturally this time of year means that we couldn’t end our lunch without a couple of hard drinks to see us on our way – oh, did I mention that One Percent Forest is also a bar? Yes, it’s open until late and serves craft ales, wines and a decent list of cocktails, with regular events throughout the year. Sticking to the theme today, we go for a couple of Forest Founds (£7.50); a fresh drink of vodka, lime and genuine bits of Christmas shrubbery, before pouring back out into the flurry of festivities.
Walking out of One Percent Forest, I have to admit the place made a real impression on me. A small, Icelandic sanctuary for locals and visitors alike, this tiny café might be Scandinavian by design, but it’s 100% Liverpool by heart. And the coffee isn’t bad either.
One Percent Forest, 42 Allerton Road, L25 7RG
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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.
Food and drink
Cortado 8, Scouse 8, Christmas sandwich 5, Forest Found cocktail 6
Keep the change, you filthy animal
Lovely and comforting