We visited The Hub Alehouse and Kitchen recently, when we popped in for a pint and a sandwich and found a nice place for a stop-off – far from the madding crowds but central enough to be a pleasant stop-off.
So, as we do, we went back for an unfussy evening meal and a good pint of bitter. And we found a relaxed, open, calming environment that serves a really good pint of bitter. Things are promising and the service is friendly and attentive. We pick our table, and then we get to pick between a dimpled glass and a straight one for our pint of Lancaster Blond (the Liverpool Organic Bitter was off). There’s a good selection of bottled beers from around the world too – and Addlestones cloudy cider if you’re that way inclined.
The menu is a good mix of hearty British fare that’s making something of a comeback in gastropub-style eateries: potted shrimps and ham hock for starters at around a fiver; ploughman’s and game pie and braised oxtail at around a tenner for mains, though there are more prosaic pizzas available at around six quid.
We go for a ham hock with carrot and celery on toasted brioche, some bitter leaves and a citrus marmalade that’s an intriguing addition to the salty, fatty ham but is too sweet for it in the end. Still, it’s an interesting mix and with a more bittersweet accompaniment would have been superb.
Our partner’s main was a simple pizza of tomato mozzarella and basil. It arrived at the sort of temperature that suggested it had been waiting around for a bit and without any herbs in it at all. In place of the promised basil were a few wilted leaves of roquette. As it result it was pretty bland and uninspired but – meh – it’s a pizza for a fiver eh?
We had higher hopes for our fish pie, which looked promising – it arrived in an iron skillet with a small pot of peas – and apparently included mustard mash and prawns, salmon, haddock and cod. However, there’s no mention of the stringy celery that was by far the most common ingredient.
The sauce was tasty but thin, and had split. There wasn’t much potato on top and the amount of fish in it was, frankly, embarrassing. We found one half of a small prawn and absolutely no salmon. There were small flakes of fish but they were so few and far between that we felt cheated.
We felt disappointed too, because we’d liked The Hub up until that point. Maybe they had an off-day, maybe the dish isn’t a strong point – but it was not a meal to inspire a return visit for the food.
We would return, however, for the choice of beer and for the warm welcome and the chilled Casartelli building ambience. Maybe next time we’ll just stick to the beer and sandwiches though.
The Hub Alehouse and Kitchen
12 Hanover Street, Liverpool