Liverpool has gotten a hot new destination for eating out with the opening of Duke Street Food & Drink Market this week in a 100-year-old refurbished warehouse.
The million-pound development project will showcase six independent food brands and will also be home to a flagship restaurant, three bars and a florist. The team behind the restaurant, Pilgrim, appeared on BBC2’s My Million Pound Menu earlier this year. Pilgrims Anthony Power, brand and marketing director described its food as “radically seasonal” and a contemporary take on classic Spanish and Iberian flavours, all cooked over wood charcoal on its centre-piece live fire hearth.
The food market follows the London trend where openings over the last year have included Market Hall Victoria, Boxpark Wembley and Vinegar Yard. However, unlike most food halls, food at Duke Street Market will be served to the tables by waiting staff managed by the operators.
Matt Farrell, co-founder of the market, said they want it to be an artisanal hub for years to come.
“There’s understandably a hype surrounding London-based offerings, which is further supported by the capitals diverse economy and demographic. This has traditionally acted against northern cities, but Liverpool now has the largest number of independents outside London and this is really mirrored in the diversity of the offering,” he said. “When people visit and see what’s available, it is evident that there are a rapidly growing number of unique, independent concepts, which are full of character and creativity and contributing to the Northern powerhouse.”
The traders include Cinder, which will specialise in open wood fire cooking and Cucina di Vincenzo, a family operated Italian restaurant based on Woolton Road, which will be serving up pasta and pinsa dishes. Ginger is also featuring at the market, a new Asian bowl food concept devised by 60 Hope St founders, Colin and Gary Manning, which will offer simple and classic dishes with a taste of the Far East, from salt and pepper squid to classic Japanese katsu curry and Korean bipimbap.
Food Spark takes a look at some of the other dishes being cooked up.
Bone and Block
Signature dish: The 1kg, 35 day dry aged shorthorn Cote De Boeuf. It’s a sharing steak for two to three people. “I think it will work so well in the Duke Street Market for groups wanting to celebrate a special occasion,” says founder Harry Marquart. “You can choose between Cafe De Paris Butter, Sauce Diane or Chimichurri. My favourite is the chimichurri as is cuts through the deep flavoured fat beautifully.”
Inspiration for the dish: “It’s a real showpiece and I'm sure that it will leave a lasting impression when it’s put in front of our guests,” he adds.
Why diners will love it: Marquart believes that the modern diner now wants more than just a meal. “Theatre is an integral part of the dishes from the crockery choice to the story behind the dish,” he comments. “Bone and Block will allow guests to speak to us directly and we want to share as much knowledge about our sourcing. We take so much pride in the fact we are supporting local business and using ingredients from our doorstep.”
The next dish on the radar: They will be led by their butcher Edge and Sons in the Wirral.
Signature dish: The Full Indigo Grill – their take on a full English breakfast. But diners will also be captured by Vish, Chips and Mushy Please with a fruity curry sauce made with banana blossom, says founder Mark Aston.
Inspiration for the dish: From our own desires as newly turned vegans and wanting to eat comfort foods but plant-based versions, comments Aston.
Why diners will love it: “People will love both of these dishes as they are classics with a modern twist but of course without any of the cruelty and suffering and without compromising on taste or quality,” he comments. “Many carnivores actually prefer our versions, which are also presented very artistically and always vibrant and fresh when served.”
The next dish on the radar: The Green Grill – griddled greens, with caramelised onions, tahini, peanut pesto, pomegranates and beetroot hummus.
Signature dish: Since starting trading in the summer of 2016, this outfit has become famous for their Cubano sandwiches. There’s the traditional grilled sandwich with a filling of mojo pork shoulder, roast ham, gouda cheese, house pickle and sweet mustard. They also have a pulled garlic mushroom Cubano, says co-founder Joe Earnshaw. For the sweet tooth diner, there’s the bunuelos – warm Cuban doughnuts with Latin vanilla ice cream, honey spiced peanuts and salted caramel sauce. “We worked with an ice cream parlour on the Wirral called Cafe Cream to create our own ice cream for this dish,” adds Earnshaw.
Inspiration for the dish: “We're inspired by the Central American and Latin flavours and love to use these in all of our cooking,” comments Earnshaw. “The original idea for the concept came from a trip Michael (Leen) had to Cuba – where he was inspired by the street food.”
Why diners will love it: A modern take on Cuban street food using local and exotic produce.
The next dish on the radar: A weekend brunch menu, which will feature dishes such as a Breakfast Cubano with mojo Hollandaise and a fried egg and Mango Bunuelos with natural yoghurt and mango compote.