HoSt has a clever name. It’s a blend of Hope and Street. Good eh? Except it’s a reference to some streets in New York. So that’s a bit confusing.
It’s a little bit fusion-y and a bit open-plan and laid back. Lots of restaurants get the ‘fusion’ tag, and it’s often a bit of a concern; one man’s ‘fusion’ is another man’s ‘anything goes’.
There’s an added personal back story to HoST, as it’s owned by the same people that own 60 Hope Street, a restaurant that SevenStreets hasn’t visited since being part of a large group of wine drinkers who were told by a waitress and chef that the corked bottle of wine we had ordered wasn’t corked. A salutary lesson in how poor customer service tends to stick in the memory.
But, open mind and all that, plus owners The 60 Group also run The Quarter, which is always excellent. HoST is well situated and looks pleasant and airy inside – and every new eaterie that comes along brings with it a little thrill of a potential new hang out.
So, SS headed off there with hopes high. Having not reserved, we found ourselves situated along the side window, but that’s our look out, and there’s a bit of noodle bar chic to it all. Plus, with views of the Hope Street environs, what the hell?
The fusion thing becomes apparent with a look at the menu, which occasionally looks a little over-egged to our eyes. Butterfly chicken with Thai curry risotto and seaweed? Whole continents of food seem to roam across the menu and individual dishes, and we’re not convinced that all of these dishes will work as well as the Chicken Katsus and trad noodle dishes elsewhere on the menu.
Nevertheless, some of the items on the menu looks excellent, especially the strips of beef with ginger and chilli and belly pork on the specials – so we go for them.
There’s the usual ‘we serve your food when we’re ready, not you’ shtick to go through, and the beef dish doesn’t look as excellent as it might, with cold peanuts flaked over the top. The first bite may be with the eyes, but all the subsequent ones were intensely flavoursome without drowning out the beef. The accompanying veg may have been a little overdone, but it was full of flavour.
Also excellent was the belly pork, which absolutely melted in the mouth and coconut rice and a small side salad were well judged accompaniments.
So, a pretty limited tasting but the portents are good. HoST adds another choice in the pre- and post-theatre stakes and slots into the area nicely.
What’s more, it’s reasonably priced, the service is good and it’s all pleasingly unfussy. Sure, you can go to Wagamama, but why not try something else? A return visit is on the cards.
31 Hope Street, Liverpool
0151 708 5831