Sunday 4th September
AND so it returns, promising to be bigger and better than previous years with more stalls and celebrity chefs. The Liverpool Food and Drink Festival, an event that you’ve probably heard of and had someone tell you how much you would have enjoyed it.
Saturday was caught in the rain but Sunday promised to be dry. We arrived at 2pm to see families and couples making their way inside. With each step forward the clouds moved further away and the sun broke through. We bought our tickets (£5) at the front gate and decided to get additional tickets to see John ‘Masterchef’ Torode at 3pm (£5 extra).
On entering, the first image we were presented with was young children sat learning how to make cake toppings and it was accompanied by the sound of a fantastic live band playing a Bob Dylan track. Not what we’d expected at all.
We strolled around, taking in all the activity at the different ‘restaurants’ and ‘bars’, and briefly watched some cookery demonstrations before agreeing that we would sample as many new foods as possible. This agreement only lasted seconds as we spotted Bem Brazil and went straight for their garlic chicken skewers (£2.50). That theme was set to continue as we saw a large group of people eating Brenda’s sui mai. We quickly found their location on our map and made a bee-line for it. Six sui mai (£3) later and we were well into the groove.
Deacon Blue, The Kinks and Dolly Parton were all being covered as we passed through the bustling groups and headed for The Ship and Mitre. A relaxing pint of Guinness (£3) and it was time to go and meet Mr Torode.
A thirty minute lesson on the links between Asian and Anglo food ensued and it was all encompassed with an omelette and curry demonstration. Torode was incredibly down-to-earth and, despite suffering with a chest infection, his enthusiasm for all things culinary became contagious. Alongside this, his banter with the audience made for a very enjoyable, although short-lived, experience.
We popped out of the ‘Celebrity Chef’ tent and headed off to meet our friends but not before a quick detour to Sapporo where we had tempura vegetables (£2.50) and chicken satay (£2.50). The Flanagans and Ventrys had discovered Spire tucked away in a corner and were waxing lyrical about their food. A few bottles of Chinese beer from 60 Hope Street (£3 each) were washed down with great music, conversation and many packets of Warburton’s new range of pitta bread crisps (free).
Before we reluctantly had to leave, we made our way over to Mr Fitzpatrick’s for three bottles of quirky flavoured cordial (£10) and finally a slice of chocolate cheesecake from Oomoo (£1.70).
A great afternoon had come as a great surprise. We were adamant we’d return next year and we set off to tell everyone we knew how much they would have enjoyed it.
A really good day. I went down Lark Lane on Friday and a few of the locals were moaning about having to pay but I honestly felt that the fact it was ticketed made it a better event than it has been previously. Went on Saturday and Sunday and the festival is a really welcome addition to the city’s calendar.