Harley Young visits the newest member of the Leaf family for brunch
What: Little Leaf at One Fine Day
Where: Old Hall Street
Food/drink type: Breakfast, brunch and lunch
When: Monday to Wednesday 9am - 3pm, Thursday 9am - 9pm, Friday 9am - 3pm
Independent or chain: Independent, with a few other sites dotted around Liverpool (Bold Street, Smithdown Road and West Kirby)
Located inside the Cotton Exchange building alongside One Fine Day, Little Leaf is bright and airy yet cosy and snug at the same time, if you catch my drift. There’s comfortable chairs and little nooks in the cafe for solo guests to sit in and get stuck into a book, but there’s also large tables for multiple friends and family members to gather and enjoy a bite to eat.
It’s simple, sweet, and tastefully laid out, like all the other Leaf sites are.
The Main Event
With over 40 loose leaf tea flavours on the menu to choose from, avid cuppa consumers will probably want to spend a while perusing the menu.
I went for a cup of the butter truffle loose leaf tea - a creamy, buttery, indulgent warm hug in a mug made from Amarettini, cardamom and almonds - while Lowri opted for the Three Graces; a brew named after the beautiful architecture on Liverpool’s waterfront. This tea consists of rose, camomile and lavender, perfect for unwinding with. The teapots they came in were particularly cute.
To eat, I ordered the eggs Benedict in griddled sourdough. It was as easy on the eyes as it was on the palate, a real classic. The poached eggs were cooked perfectly, ooey-gooey in the middle and the yolk melded with the hollandaise as I gently pressed my knife against them. Bliss.
The ham was cut thick and had some real bite to it, but no rind of fat in sight - just how I like mine. The sourdough makes you put in the work to cut through it, but it’s bloody worth it as it tastes sublime. A couple of minutes after the hollandaise-egg yolk combo had soaked into it, it was good to go.
Lowri decided to verge on the more ‘lunchy’ side of brunch with a portion of king prawns in garlic and chilli butter from the nibbles section of the menu, along with a portion of hand cut chips and ginger ketchup. The prawns were fragrant and well doused in the butter, topped with a piece of focaccia for mopping up all the remnants with - lovely.
She mentioned that the prawns were nicely cooked and not rubbery, which often happens when they’re a little overdone.
Her hand cut fries were chunky and nicely salted, though slightly anaemic-looking. However, my mum taught me you should never judge a book by its cover and the one I stole from her plate tasted nice so I can only assume the rest did, too. The real star of the show was the ginger ketchup though, a nice homemade alternative to your usual Heinz, adding a bit of spice to an otherwise fairly normal side portion.
Little Leaf is a vibrant and busy environment for catching up with friends, squeezing in that important business meeting or simply just watching the day go by with a cup of your favourite brew. The staff are friendly and helpful, should you need any recommendations for tea, cake or other popular menu items. It's a pleasant little place.
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If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request. Or maybe ask the restaurant.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.
Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?
Eggs Benedict 8, king prawns in garlic 7.5, fries 7