The Four Seasons restaurant seemed to appear astonishingly quickly. One minute the Rapid Hardware store, the next an empty frontage, the next a swish-looking Chinese restaurant.
And a big one at that. There are still tell-tale signs that this upmarket, if you will, Chinese hasn’t been open long – the odd unvarnished wall and the like – but the overall effect is impressive, if a little sterile. It’s very smart, with clean lines and clean table tops everywhere. It feels like a place where business cards may be exchanged at table. No chopsticks are offered; just chunky knives and forks.
The menu is vast. There are traditional Chinese staples but there are also a number of Thai stand-bys. The menu isn’t radical, but it’s wide-ranging. There are plenty of beverage choices too; when we go there’s a deal to buy two of the same beers for the price of one.
We quickly choose roasted belly pork and are rewarded with a dish full of pork. These oblongs of belly are marbled like a layer cake; with each new strand comes a different flavour or texture. The dark stuff at the bottom is almost translucent and hard, giving way to softer tones and meat.
There are small latitudes of fat but this too is largely delicious, bar some of the flobelly bits that many will enjoy but some will baulk at. Finally a crackly, salty bit of skin with some fruity, umami flavours round off little bitesize portions that are lovely to enjoy.
There’s very little more to dish; there’s a light soy at the bottom of all the meat and we choose an egg-fried rice to accompany it all. Some green veg would have been nice too, just to break it up a bit.
Our partner has a red vegetable Thai curry – bursting with flavours, peppers and bamboo. There are very few veggie dishes on the menu, considering it’s size, so this was a special request that didn’t pose any problem for the attentive and friendly waiting on staff.
We couldn’t finish our belly pork so took the rest hone with us but just as we’re finishing up we’re brought some jelly, fruit and cream, which could have seemed odd but served as a wonderful palate cleanser.
The beers were 2-for-1 if you bought two of the same beer, so we had two pints of Amstel for 1.70 each, which is nothing to complain about.
The bill came to a shade over £25 but given the quality and quantity on show we were more than happy with that. We’d ponder whether a starter is a necessity too – we’d never have got halfway through our main course.
Four Seasons looks very promising then. That it is not within Liverpool’s traditional Chinatown is interesting; this seems very much like an attempt to ‘posh up’ Chinese dining.
Business lunches are available and the stark – almost clinical – decor seems like a very different take to Chinese cuisine and dining than most alternatives in Liverpool. Four Seasons seems well-placed to hoover up some of the wandering masses who might not normally venture down Berry Street.
Much of the menu remains untouched, but the two very different meals we had were very good. We’ll be back to try more.