Celeriac shawarma, cider and onion soup, Ginsmiths of Liverpool sausages…
DRY January? We’ve navigated round it by supping soup made with cider and sausages filled with gin, and we recommend you do the same. Thanks to a much-maligned root veg come good and an Italian classic, maybe winter’s not so bad after all.
Here are the things we recommend you eat and enjoy this month…
Gin and Tonic Sausages – Love Lane Brewery, Bar & Kitchen (£6)
Gin, glorious gin. You’ll find it in ice cream, marmalade, popcorn, crisps and chocolate. Müller have even brought out a G&T flavour fat-free yoghurt, so you can involve it in your breakfast routine. But how would a gin and tonic sausage go down? It might sound like the wurst thing ever, but Love Lane Brewery have come up trumps with pork sausages made from Ginsmiths of Liverpool dry gin. The boozy bangers are a meaty treat with a subtle hint of gin rather than a lotta bottle, complemented by a grapefruit salad that adds citrus zing and peppery leaves. The dish is only a starter, so if you’re after more than a bar snack then pair it with a ploughman’s beer board (local cheese, cured meats and pickles) and a Love Lane pale ale. And for afters? Gin and tonic sorbet, of course. Vicky Andrews
, 62 Bridgewater Street, L1 0AY
Lasagne – Casa Italia (£8.35)
I’m sure you’re well aware by now of how bleak and seemingly endless January can be, but what makes the start of the year truly gruelling for most is the expectation to give up the booze, re-join the gym and swear off sugar. Personally, I’ve long since given up on this ideal and instead think January needs a rebrand as another month of indulgence. And what could be better for the soul on a cold, wet night than a blistering hot bowl of Casa Italia lasagne? Sure, it’s 90% cheese, comes in a portion big enough to feed a small elephant, and will leave you rubbing your stomach and groaning like an expectant mother, but that’s what great comfort food is all about. No wonder there are queues out of the door. Becky Fry
Casa Italia, 36-40 Stanley Street, L1 6AL
Cider & Onion Soup – The Restaurant Bar & Grill (£6.50)
If you’d have told me last month that I was going to get excited about a bowl of soup, I’d have laughed you straight out of the front door. If anyone tells me they’ve had soup for a meal, I always snort and say something along the lines of: “Pfft, soup’s a drink, not food.” After a recent trip to The Restaurant Bar & Grill, though, I’ve eaten so many of my own words that I’m now stuffed. Behold, the cider and onion number from the RBG starters menu which comes served with a slice of toasted sourdough plastered in molten cheese. The soup is thick and silky, hearty and satisfying, and the perfect balance of flavours. An earthy sweetness from the onion overrides but is brought back down to earth with a tang of cider and a generous helping of garlic. The flavoursome cheese on toast on the side is a stroke of genius and a match made in heaven. A substantial starter, or the ideal bite if you’re looking for a quick lunch in the city’s Commercial Quarter. Stephanie Whalley
, Halifax House, Brunswick Street, L2 0UU
Celeriac Shawarma – Cinder (£tbc)
Ok so this isn’t exactly a new dish. In fact, it’s been doing the rounds for quite a while – but who cares? It’s bloody fantastic and, for that, homage must be paid. My favourite dish of the month award (and probably for several months thereafter) goes to Cinder’s unbelievable celeriac shawarma. Who could have imagined that something as sad looking as celeriac could be so damn delicious? Maybe it’s the softness of the naan it sits upon. No, no. It must be the smothering of sauces and sweetness of pickled veg. Or maybe the pièce de résistance of this dish lies within the never-ending avalanche of crispy, crunchy fried onions. Oh I don’t know, but take my word for it: this shawarma will blow your mind and leave you begging for more. You’ll see Cinder’s shawarmas in all their guises (chicken, fish and veg) scattered all around the Duke Street Market, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying one, then I implore you to do so right this instant. Megan Walsh
Cinder, Duke Street Market, Duke Street, L1 5AS
Turbot, mussel, sea vegetable and Jerusalem artichoke - The Barn (£32)
Mark Birchall, chef-patron of the two Michelin starred Moor Hall in Aughton, has cause for concern, having turned his barn into a second restaurant, imaginatively called… The Barn. His head chef at The Barn, Nathan Cornwell, is cooking, after a short space of time, Michelin standard dishes. Will the pupil become the master?
Take a dish that Gordo had there last week. The Turbot was cooked to within a second of perfection. Moist, translucent in the middle, crispy on the outside, a good couple of thick, generous tranches lying on an artichoke purée and flanked by roasted artichokes, fat feral mussels scattered over, with sea veg and a seafood sauce.
This was a better fish dish than Gordo had eaten a week previously at the Michelin three star Guy Savoy restaurant in Paris. And that was a whopping £120!
Go to this lovely, warm, charming restaurant and eat historic dishes at a respectable price. Gordo
The Barn at Moor Hall, Prescot Road, Aughton L39 6RT