Rebecca Fry carb loads with a two course brunch at Neon Jamon’s latest incarnation
It’s been an uncomfortable few months watching bars and restaurants across the city fight for survival whilst closing for quarantines, implementing distancing measures and furloughing staff. Sadly, not everywhere has made it through.
However the owners of the former Iberian restaurant Neon Jamon appear to be managing well, on the outside at least, having managed to open no less than two new different restaurant concepts during these ‘uncertain’ and, let’s face it, completely crazy times.
Freshly cooked, soft and pancake-y, these waffles are a good base for which to pile on all sorts of toppings
The first, Berrington’s, is a classy affair based around steaks, seafood and wood-fired cooking (read our review). Opened on their former Penny Lane site just days before lockdown began, they’ve since reopened to pretty a marvellous reception. It fills a gap we were missing in Liverpool and the food is more than fabulous enough to soften the blow of losing one of my favourite tapas spots.
The second however, and the subject of this review, seemed to have appeared almost overnight. The more recent incarnation of Neon Jamon was gutted almost under cover of darkness to make room for another contrasting concept in the form of Wolf and Waffle- a café-cum-sports bar with a menu made up entirely of, yep you guessed it, waffles.
The airy Berry Street restaurant has always been a bit of a stunner, oozing cool with concrete floors and floor to ceiling windows which provide the perfect people watching spot whatever time of day. The space has now taken on a bit of greenhouse look with an abundance of hanging baskets, planters and succulents providing a leafy canopy across the ceiling. Natural wood lampshades and a touch of worn leather add to the casual vibe and look so at home there you’d be forgiven for thinking it had always been that way.
It’s odd that a restaurant with a menu comprised solely of breakfast food doesn’t open until noon but nevertheless we bided our time until the doors opened ready for our rather belated Sunday brunch. The menu, an unashamed ode to the waffle, divides up into sweet and savoury and there have already been a few changes even since my visit just the other week. Freshly cooked, soft and pancake-y, these waffles are a good base for which to pile on all sorts of toppings, and reassuringly neutral in comparison to those sugar coated ones that stick your teeth together and require a full knife-and-fork effort to cut into.
The Canadian (£10) a savoury waffle with buttermilk fried chicken and a runny poached egg was right up my street- a hit of hot mustard in the maple syrup provided just enough of a kick to keep it from veering into pudding territory.
A waffle topped with salt and pepper lamb belly (also £10) went down well with my breakfast companion, but was a bit overwhelming for me at that hour of the weekend. The rich earthy flavour of the lamb fought vehemently for the forefront alongside hot Sriracha, red chilli and spring onion. I’ve saved you the trouble of trying it for yourself anyway as it appears to be one of the casualties of the recent menu overhaul - make of that what you will.
In my book, waffles are destined to be sweet and the Black Forest waffle (£7) we had for breakfast dessert (no judgement, please) was enough to prove that. The sweet waffles come in understandably smaller portions than the rest but what they lack in size they make up for in sheer indulgence. In homage to the German classic, the Black Forest waffle came with cubes of rich chocolate brownie, a syrupy sour cherry sauce and generous dollops of thick, clotted cream. Surely breakfast doesn’t get any better than that?
Brunching aside, Wolf & Waffle is more than just a café. There’s a full bar, a cocktail menu, beer on draught and benches outside in the garden. Lovely for a boozy brunch, but ideal for watching the football, which they stream live inside and out depending on the weather. Since my visit just a couple of weeks ago a lot seems to have changed and I guess that’s only to be expected of a new business finding its feet. The menu is slightly reduced and they’re opening earlier now which is probably a sensible decision given the latest of the government’s hospitality restrictions. Operating as a restaurant as well as a cocktail spot and sports bar is the definition of a multi-functional business and offers customers an excuse to visit whatever the time of day.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where the ‘wolf’ comes in to Wolf and Waffle I’d guess it’s because they’re following in the footsteps of many Liverpool bars now and are completely dog-friendly so there’s no need to leave your poochy pals at home. Either that, or it’s a reflection on how you look eating chocolate brownies and whipped cream for breakfast…who knows?
Wolf and Waffle, 34 Berry Street, Liverpool, L1 9DF
All scored reviews are impartial 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.
Canadian 8, lamb’s belly 6, Black Forest 9
Easy like a Sunday morning