When I first moved to Liverpool in late 2009, I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly have the best perception of the city’s food. Blame it on the chip on the shoulder that I carried around with me as an exiled Mancunian, or just blame it on the fact that I didn’t watch nearly enough Brookside when I was a kid, but (I’m ashamed to say), I thought that the only culinary highlight I’d find would be a plate of Scouse. Well, I hold my hands up – Liverpool, I was wrong about you. And, as time goes on, I’m beginning to see that there really is more to the Merseyside cuisine than Gregg’s pasties and Egg & Chips.

And I’m not the only one. Of late, there’s been a real gastronomic buzz around the place, a feeling that Liverpool is finally beginning to catch up with the rest of the world. Dining clubs such as the excellent Liverpool Supper Club and the newly formed Scousetroclub are allowing fellow gourmets to mingle with each other on a regular basis whilst dining on inventive and delicious dishes. A quick walk around the city centre reveals a plethora of brilliant independent eateries, from the consistently excellent 60 Hope Street, Lunya and Delifonseca, to the vibrant Leaf and Bold Street Coffee (pictured – which a Mancunian coffee shop-owning acquaintance of mine recently conceded served the best Flat White in the North of England), both of which have helped to reinvigorate Bold Street. Look across the water and you’ll find Da Piero, a restaurant which – according to the Guardian – is currently serving up some of the best Italian cooking in the country outside of London, and Fraiche, one of the few restaurants in the North West of England to be awarded a Michelin star. OK, so none of these places are reinventing the wheel, but you’d be hard pressed to argue that they don’t do what they do extremely well. Indeed, when it comes to fine dining, I’d actually say that we’re capable of doing it a lot better than our noisy Mancunian neighbours.

But here’s the thing. Why aren’t we making more of a fuss about this? Scousers aren’t shy of putting themselves forward when it comes to asserting that the city has produced some of the best art, music and sports teams in the world. Yet when it comes to boasting about our wealth of gastronomic riches, the cat appears to have caught our collective tongue. I’ve lost count of the times recently that I’ve watched Gregg and John on Masterchef raving over a mediocre London restaurant, completely unaware that there’s somewhere in our corner of the world serving up exactly the same stuff, only done a million times better (which makes me wonder when the powers that be behind these cooking shows are finally going to pay us a visit to praise our food, rather than cooing over us as if we’re exotic beasts at the zoo having just acquired the power of speech).

So. Here’s a radical thought. It’s time for Liverpool to start making some noise. To head to blogs, to Facebook, to Twitter and tell the world that there’s more to this city’s cuisine than meat and two veg. To convince respected food critics to come visit us and see what we have on offer without tugging our forelocks every time someone from the London media elite proclaims our restaurants to be quite good. To just generally be a bit more Scouse. Because if we don’t do it, no one else is going to do it for us.

7 Responses to “Eat up, speak up: why Liverpool needs to boast about its food scene”

  1. So let me sum this ‘column’ up. Someone comes to live in the city, finds out we have some nice restaurants. Is surprised, says we should brag about it. I don’t want to sound harsh, but since when has something so inane been worthy of Seven Streets? This isn’t a column, and should have been pushed back at your editorial meetings with a firm ‘come back when you’ve got an idea’ from you guys. Must do better, because we expect better from you. We know about Leaf and Bold Street Coffee and Da Piero, and we are making a fuss about them . Youve written about them, rightly so, many many times, as have The Oldham Echo and Liverpool Confidential. If they’re a shock to your foood columnist I have to say that says more about her. Please, a little more editorial nouse if you’re going to add columns, or this fine venture will start looking very bloggy indeed. I offer this as an admirer of your site, but this piece really falls way below your submission standards.s

  2. Isn’t it interesting to hear what people from outside the city, with a fresh perpective, make of Liverpool? That Liverpool has no reputation for cuisine outside the city? The point of the piece isnt that Da Piero and Leaf are good – its that beyond the city no-one really knows about them. And they should. Christina writes about food authoritatively and amusingly – I think that’s a perfect fit for the site.

    Fundamentally, we’re a broad church. You’re going to read articles you don’t like. And, no doubt, the people who’ve told us they like it won’t like other stuff. That’s life.

  3. The criticism of the article seems unfair. As Robin points out the article doesn’t just tell us that Liverpool nowadays has good eating around town (although I still think that is worth saying – even to some locals who mightn’t have realised this yet) but also that this is not known so much outside of the city region. I would disagree however with the latter being a result of our not bragging enough about this. Clued-up locals are as likely to tell people they meet elsewhere as much as those from any place and the local media such as it exists, including 7sts, review and praise the good restaurants we have here.

    The only issue seem to be that the media in London and other places elsewhere don’t pick up on this. Well, that’s their fault and not ours. Let’s face us, the UK media’s neglect, at best, of Liverpool isn’t confined to not reviewing Liverpool restaurants in Sunday supplement food columns.

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